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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Summer Associate Series: Ending an Internship Positively

How to End Your Internship Gracefully | CorporetteHow can you end an internship positively?  This week in our Summer Associate Series,* as the summer starts to wind down (for some, at least!), I thought we’d take a look back at some of our best posts on how to wrap up your summers, whether they be as summer associates or interns.  (If you do still have a few weeks of work left, though, you may want to check out our post on how to get the work you want, and how to network when you’re at the bottom of the ladder.)

Readers, what are your best tips for interns on how to end on a strong note?  How important is the home stretch in terms of making an impression?

(*Name aside, we hope this series will be helpful to ANY intern, whether you’re a law student or another woman interning in a conservative office for the summer.)  Check out our previous posts on general summer associate style, what to wear for the creative summer associate events, general business etiquette tips, and business lunch etiquette tips.

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Tool of the Trade: Fiverr

FiverrWhat new tools and tricks have you found that help you get your job done quickly and efficiently — or your life to run more smoothly in some fashion? We haven’t had a Tool of the Trade feature in too long!

My latest find is Fiverr, which, admittedly, may have limited use if you’re working with proprietary documents and the like — but if not is my favorite tool for fixing software problems, PDF problems, and more. Here’s the premise:  Various freelancers (from all over the world) offer a variety of “gigs” for the starting price of — you guessed it! — $5.  I’ve had someone:

  • clean up a massive Excel chart that was wacky
  • type 10 pages of handwritten notes for me
  • create a 3D image of a book
  • merge a JPG and PDF into one doc
  • fix/correctly resize a million PDF pages so I could get a book printed at Lulu (I forget if their size requirements were wacky or if the PDF pages I had were wacky. Random backstory here: when I lost a ton of weight on Weight Watchers back in the day I had printed out all of my food journals and kept them all in a huge redweld, always intending to get them bound somehow (both to commemorate the achievement and to be able to refer to them again).  There must have been more than 400 pages!  I sweet-talked my husband into PDFing them for me (thank you, hunny!) and eventually decided to get them printed at Lulu.  The bound book was something like $27 and was SO much better than the velobinding I’d originally been intending.  I know: it sounds like a lame project but I’m actually really happy with the finished product, which is about 1/4 the size of the redweld (and way prettier).)
  • help with a Photoshop issue for a personal business card
  • fix a Photoshop/JPG issue with sharpening/color correcting a photo of my husband and me that just didn’t look right in Shutterfly no matter what I did

Seriously, any time that I think of something that needs to be done and is not something I’m eager to spend hours poking through Google pages and arcane software menus — and can outsource easily without sharing too many passwords/giving permissions — then I check on Fiverr and sure enough, someone is offering to fix it for $5.  (You can also hire a ton of freelancers through eLance and O-Desk, but I’ve had mixed success with some of the freelancers I’ve hired through those.  (But then, I’ve also looked for bigger jobs/more complicated tasks through those.)

Readers, have you tried to outsource any tasks (either personal or professional) to freelancers?  What tasks would you outsource? Has anyone had success with someone cleaning up their iTunes library (mine is a mess!) or editing/organizing/tagging old photos or anything like that?  

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The Hunt: Low Heels

Six Low, Cute and Comfortable Heels | CorporetteSure, 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.

Low heels that are feminine and cute can be difficult to find!  We’ve looked before (in 2012 and 2013), and there are two Hall-of-Famers that I can think of:  Stuart Weitzman Poco and the Cole Haan Juliana 45 (2″, $90-$160).  In addition to those few, we’ve rounded up six other heels (below) that are currently on the market and all under 2.25″ — most are under $100.  Readers, what is your favorite heel height? Have you gotten any great low heels recently?  Can you think of any other “hall of famers”? 

 

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The Hunt: Fit and Flare Dresses

fit and flare dressesSure, 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.

I noticed a few weeks ago that readers wanted a Hunt for fit and flare dresses, so I thought we’d round some up today! I usually consider a “fit and flare” dress to be one that is fitted from the waist up, but A-line/fluid/flouncy/full from the waist down. (Interestingly, a quick Google for “what is fit and flare” turns up lots of wedding dress results.)

I generally think of the look as being less “classic work” than a sheath dress because it tends to be popular one season and disappear almost entirely the next — so, like the flouncy skirt, if you like this style on your body type, this is a great time to stock up.

The style is often described as “curve hugging” and with words like “flirty!” which make it seem like it’s less work-appropriate, but I think all of the pictured dresses are totally work-appropriate for even the most conservative offices. Obviously, watch your skirt length and your sizing, but that’s true of everything with workwear. One bonus with this style: there are a TON of budget options — almost all of my picks are below $100!

Readers, have you gotten any great fit and flare dresses recently? What defines a great fit and flare dress for you?

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Tales from the Wallet: Should You Get an MBA?

should you get an MBAShould you get an MBA? If you’ve ever pondered getting your MBA but wondered if it was worth the investment of time and money, today’s guest post is for you. We’ve talked about how to prepare your finances for grad school, as well as the pros and cons of changing careers, but we truly haven’t talked about this — so I’m thrilled to welcome the personal finance blogger behind Well Heeled Blog, a young woman who just finished her MBA. Welcome to Corporette! – Kat.  (Pictured: Ted Baker London ‘Neon’ Leather Card Wallet, $55 at Nordstrom.)

I recently graduated from a 2-year, full-time MBA program at one of the “15 schools that make up the Top 10 MBA.” I once heard a dean use that phrase and think it’s a humorously apt way to describe the way schools jockey for that much-vaunted “top 10.” designation.

Once you include the money I spent out of pocket and the opportunity cost of two years of foregone earnings and benefits (minus the living expenses I would have had to spend, MBA or not), this degree cost me at least $250,000. That’s enough for a house in many parts of the country, and a hefty down payment in even the priciest areas such as San Francisco or New York City.

Was my MBA worth it? I’m a long-time Corporette reader and occasional commenter, and I’ve seen several questions on MBAs and finances. The decision to pursue an MBA isn’t solely about the ROI in dollars and cents–there are plenty of non-financial benefits such as a grounding in business education, a wider and deeper network, and the opportunity to devote two years to furthering your professional and personal growth. Still, the fact remains that an MBA is an expensive proposition for most people, and this proposition can expand your career horizon while at the same time limiting your future financial choices. Here are my thoughts about the financial implications of an MBA now that I have completed my degree–what I would (and have) told friends who are thinking about pursuing an MBA, especially through a full-time program:

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