The Hunt: Interview Totes

stylish interview totes 175Sure, 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.

A stylish interview tote is something that every woman needs — yet it can often be a hassle to find the perfect thing (at a price you like).  For my money, a good interview tote:

  • is black (and can be worn with any color, including navy)
  • has structure to it and will stand up by itself if you set it down
  • is big enough to hold at least a folder with your resume, as well as a small bag of makeup and a bottle of water
  • has interior organization (pockets and the like) so you can find what you need, quickly and easily, without digging

In an ideal world, a good interview top would also zipper on top (so it’s secure and won’t accidentally spill out), and would be able to be carried by a shoulder strap so your hands can be free.  We’ve gone on the hunt for these before (see our 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010 roundups here); also, guest poster Jean from Extra Petite recently shared her favorite tote bags with us.  Some of the classics that we’ve included in previous roundups (and are still available) are Rebecca Minkoff MAB totes, the Kate Spade Maryanne line, most MZ Wallace bags, nylon Tory Burch totes, and Lo & Sons totesReaders, what qualities do you look for in an interview tote bag?  Are there any classics that we’re forgetting?  Have you made any recent purchases of a great tote bag?

 

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The Hunt: Interview Suits

Stylish Interview SuitsSure, 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 almost time for thousands of law students and MBA students around the planet: interview week! We of course have the Guide to Women’s Suits for general advice, and we pick an interesting women’s suit once a week — but we haven’t rounded up interview suits in a while (charcoal suits in 2013, navy suits in 2012). There are, of course, a few Hall of Famers to note in this category:  Banana Republic’s lightweight wool suiting, Ann Taylor’s triacetate suiting, J.Crew’s Super 120s suiting,  Theory’s stretch wool suiting — in addition to those classics, below are the first six suits I’d try if I were looking to buy a classic, basic interview suit in today’s market.

Readers, do you have any favorite suits that are classic enough for interviewing? What’s your favorite budget suiting line — and your favorite splurge suiting line?

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Guest Post: How to Leave a Company Town (And Conduct a Long Distance Job Search)

How to Leave a Company Town | CorporetteIs your job very location-specific — and have you ever wondered what would happen to your career if you picked up and moved away from the “company town,” embarking on a long distance job search in the process? Today’s guest post comes to us from one of my best friends from law school, Mindy Barry, who was already pretty senior on Capitol Hill when I met her.  Since law school, she’s accomplished the incredible not once but twice: building a great career as a chief counsel on the Hill, and then chucking it all to build a new legal career in Michigan.  For all of the readers who feel chained to their city because of their job, I asked Mindy to share her experience.  (We have talked about finding a job in a new city, but not in ages!)  Mindy, thank you so much for sharing with us! – Kat.

Imagine you are midway into the prime of your career, you are exactly where you aspired to be professionally, you have the position you  worked for years to achieve, and you decide to give it all up to move for reasons unrelated to your career. How would you go about finding a new job in a new profession in a new city where you know almost no one?

That’s the situation I found myself in about seven years ago when my husband and I decided to move from Washington, D.C., to Michigan. At the time, I was a chief counsel on Capitol Hill, where I had worked for my entire professional career. Although I am a lawyer, I had never worked in a traditional law practice and was not sure how to parlay my experience dealing in politics and legislation into a challenging and rewarding career outside of the Washington Beltway. Making the move was an exciting but scary prospect. Looking back on that time in my life, here are some things I know now that I wish I had known then:  [Read more...]

Closing Career Doors

specialized jobsDo you close career doors when you take a specialized job?  How do you decide if it’s worth the risk of closing doors behind you?  Reader A wonders:

How to decide when you are at a career crossroads, if a great opportunity comes up, but it might close doors. (My best friend just got a great offer to run a $50MM business, but it’s an area that peripheral to her primary area of expertise, solar/wind, so she’s worried about LT ramifications, even though she’d expand her skillset.) What factors are important when you are opening one door and closing another?

Great question, Reader A.  We’ve talked about pros and cons to changing careers, how to change careers, and how to use LinkedIn to secretly investigate a new career — but we haven’t talked about closing career doors by taking a specialized job.  I’m really excited to hear what the readers have to say about this one, since obviously I’ve taken a career path (media law to fashion blogging) that has diverted me, a bit, from my original career path.

Here’s my $.02:  I don’t actually think doors are closed, even if you leave the career entirely. [Read more...]

Can You Interview in 4″ Heels?

Can You Interview in 4" Heels? | CorporetteAre 4″ heels too high for job interviews?  Is a red sole inappropriate for interviewing and networking?  Reader A wonders…

Hi I was wondering if I could get some advice on shoes. I will be starting law school in the fall and I’m wondering what heels would be appropriate. I currently own a black leather pair of Louboutins that are 4 inches. Do you feel it’s appropriate to wear them with the red bottom showing? Also is 4 inches considered too high? Thank you!

We’ve talked about Louboutins at work here, as well as which heels are too high, but we haven’t talked about either issue in a while. (Pictured: Christian Louboutin Simple 100 Leather Pumps, available in store only at Saks.)  Here are some general tips:

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Gray Suits for Interviews?

When Is a Gray Suit WRONG For an Interview? | CorporetteWhen is it NOT acceptable interview in a gray suit? Reader L, a med student, wonders…

I am in medical school, and will be applying for residency next year. Seeing applicants this year, I notice that it is a sea of black suits (women in pantsuits). I have a gray skirt suit from Banana Republic in 2004 that still fits perfectly and is unembellished. Should I be on the look out for black pantsuit like everyone else, or a grey skirt suit still in the realm of acceptable interview wear?

Wow. I often feel like I take the fuddy duddy line when it comes to interview advicewear a skirt suit (at least for traditionally conservative job interviews, which may not include medicine), wear pantyhose, wear walkable shoes — but here I’m going to be a little loosey goosey: wear whatever muted color of suit you like best.  Gray, black, navy — knock yourself out. If you’re feeling crazy, wear a beige suit, or a pinstriped suit.  Honestly, I think that as long as you’re dressed in muted colors, interviewers aren’t going to notice your suit, at least in a negative way.  (Pictured: Halogen® ‘Ela’ Suit Jacket (Regular & Petite), available in four colors at Nordstrom for $98.)

Readers, do you think a gray suit would ever NOT be acceptable for an interview?  Have you ever thought less of a job candidate for wearing a conservative suit choice?