The Hunt: Interview Tote Bags

The Best Tote Bags for InterviewingSure, we all know what basics professional women are supposed to have in their closets, but if you’re buying one for the first time or replacing one you’ve worn into the ground, it can be a pain to find exactly the right incarnation in stores. In “The Hunt,” we search the stores for a basic item that every woman should have.

It’s been a while since we did a roundup on interview tote bags, so I thought we’d do one now (see our 2012, 2011, and 2010 roundups here). I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again: in my mind the perfect interview tote has structure (that it keeps if you set it down), is a muted color like black, and doesn’t have a ton of logos or other bling on it. In terms of size, I think it should be big enough to fit a file folder as well as whatever else you would normally carry in your purse, but not so big that you could fit a beach blanket or groceries in there.  In the past I’ve always preferred nylon to leather (much lighter weight) but I think readers have finally convinced me that the weight doesn’t matter that much.  (What do you think, guys?)  We’ve included some of the classics in previous roundups (such as the Kate Spade Maryanne line, most MZ Wallace bags, nylon Tory Burch totes, and Lo & Sons totes) so I’ll only include the newer ones in today’s roundup. Readers, what are the top qualities you look for in an interview tote? Have you made any great purchases recently? [Read more...]

Business Lunch Tips — And Other Awkward-to-Impart Knowledge

business lunch etiquetteOur “Top 10 Things to Know About a Business Lunch” article is one of our top posts here at Corporette. I still remember the day I wrote it — the blog was about a week old, and I was still (anonymously) figuring out content. (Both the TPS report and the Suit of the Week were things I added at the absolute last minute!) I went to a largeish group lunch with summer associates (maybe 10 of us?) and while no one acted egregiously, I remembered just how hard it was for me to learn that business etiquette stuff, and how awkward it was to try to impart that knowledge to summer associates. “To the blog!” I thought.

So I’m curious, readers — what are YOUR top three business lunch tips that you wish you could teach to all the young’uns at your company or firm this summer? What other tips do you think are important from a career and professionalism standpoint, but are awkward to talk about with younger colleagues?

Pictured: Fork!, originally uploaded to Flickr by Joshua Rappeneker.

What to Wear on the First Day at a Very Casual Office

Pictured: Clean slate, originally uploaded to Flickr by mikecogh. What should you wear on your first day at a very casual law office? Reader F wonders…

Thanks for the great blog – it’s been holding my hand, fashion-wise, since I started law school. I have a question: what should an articling student wear to work (especially on my first day) at an extremely casual law firm populated with some very prestigious lawyers? By “extremely casual” I mean that the last time I saw my principal at the office she was wearing ripped jeans and a vintage poncho/jacket sort of thing. She is a very senior & highly respected lawyer, and I am a lowly student, so my quandary is this: on the one hand, I don’t want to look like an overdressed nerd in a suit, but on the other hand, I clearly do not have the seniority to dress as she does. How to split the difference? What should I wear on my first day? Thanks!

Great question, F — you’re right to assume that you need to bank some credibility before you can start wearing very casual things. We’ve talked about how to have a great first day on the job, as well as what to wear for a business casual office, but we haven’t talked about what to wear at a very casual office. For my $.02, this is very field specific — and for most lawyers I’m going to fall on the “be safe and wear a suit” side of the continuum.  Your job involves representing other people, not yourself; your job requires you to get immediate respect on first impressions (e.g., from judges and juries) – and your boss wants to know that you understand that.  Since you describe this as a “very casual office,” I’m guessing the odds are approximately 90% that you’re going to immediately take off the blazer and leave it in your office — so make sure you like your outfit sans blazer — but you still want to show up and have that “I’m here and ready to work!” conversation in your suit. (You can then let your blazer live at the office to become your wear-with-everything black blazer.)   [Read more...]

What to Wear to a Company Golf Outing

golf skirtWhat do you wear for a company golf outing? Reader C has a great question that we haven’t talked about in a while:

Would you consider doing a post on what to wear to the corporate golf outing? I have several to go to this year, in US and UK – and need some guidance.

Wowza. We talked about what to wear to a company golf scramble back in the early days of this blog (with a bit of help from a girlfriend of mine who is a golfer), but I thought we’d revisit the topic. I’m not a big golfer myself — readers, what would you wear to a golf outing?

Some thoughts from poking around the web: [Read more...]

Business Lunch Etiquette: When Do You Offer to Pay?

business lunch etiquetteWhat is good business lunch etiquette where interns or summer associates are concerned — when should you offer to pay for your share of lunch? In general, when in business settings should you offer to pay? Reader S, about to be a summer associate at a law firm, wonders…

During summer social events, what is the protocol for paying for your share of the festivities / food / drink? I don’t want to be entitled but I also don’t know who to ask about paying. I might be over-thinking things a little, but I wanted to see if there was a polite (and non-awkward) way of asking about these things.

I think this is a great question — you hear a lot about summer associates being entitled, and it’s nice to hear someone wanting to contribute. We’ve talked about some good business lunch tips before, but we haven’t talked about when to pay. I’m curious to hear what readers say here, but for my $.02, this is how I look at it: [Read more...]

First Day on the Job: How to Make Your First Day a Great Day

first day tipsWith interns everywhere starting soon (to say nothing of college graduates), I thought we should have an open thread about what your best advice is for the first day on the job (and, hey, your first week!). We’ve talked about how to build a wardrobe for your summer internship (as well as no-duh tips in general for your summer internship); we’ve also talked about how to avoid acting young, and how to look professional without looking like you think you’re in charge — but I don’t think we’ve talked, specifically, about first day tips.  For my $.02, these are some of my top tips:

Before the First Day

  • Read the company’s website, particularly if they have a “Press” section.  Consider Googling further to learn more than just what’s in the press release on their website.
  • Google your company to see if it’s been in the news or mentioned otherwise.  If you haven’t already set up a Google Alert, do it now.
  • Research your liaison.  If you have the name of your contact or liaison, search for their name on the company website.  You may find mentions in press releases or a bio, but for smaller companies you may just find a listing of responsibilities.  You may also consider checking out their LinkedIn or even their Facebook page.  There is, of course, a fine line between being creepy and being well prepared, so be smart about what you ask him or her about at your first meeting.  Fair game:  responsibilities at the job, career path, school background.  Getting creepy: your making any comments about kids, significant others, or recent vacations the person may have posted about on Facebook.

First Day Tips

  • Look as professional as you did on the job interview. [Read more...]