What to Wear to an Alumni Lunch Event

Should You Wear a Suit to an Alumni Lunch? | CorporetteIf you’re planning to attend an alumni lunch for your law school — and you’ll be taking the opportunity to network there — how should you dress? Is wearing a suit a must in this situation? (Pictured, Boss Juicy 6 Jacket, $575 at Nordstrom — check out our full guide to women’s suits for more ideas.) Reader K wonders…

I am starting to network to look for a new job and have decided to attend my law school’s annual alumni lunch (I am a lawyer). It’s on a Friday in a hotel ballroom. Should I wear a suit or is a professional business dress (with sleeves) sufficient?

Interesting question, Reader K!  For my $.02, I would say SURE, wear a suit.  Why not? You have one, and you want to look professional.  If anyone at work asks why you’re in a suit, there’s nothing suspect about attending an alumni event — and at the event if anyone asks why you’re in a suit, you can just say you have another big meeting.  (I doubt they will — my guess is that 95% of people there will be in suits.  But I’m sure this depends on your geographic location, as well as your law school.) Particularly given the fact that this is a lunch — and the law school alumni lunch at that — I would say that a suit is the easiest, no-brainer answer here — throw it on and be done with it.  (Read some of our best business lunch tips here, as well as some of our thoughts on alumni networking here.)

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Joining the Boys’ Club When You’re a Woman

Boys' club at work | CorporetteShould you join the office boys’ club if you’ll be the only woman? What if your male coworkers meet and talk shop outside of work while taking part in an activity — such as tennis or golf — that you don’t even like? Reader K, who works outside of the U.S., wonders:

I have a question regarding the ‘old boy’s club’ at work; my workplace is fairly conservative, with only 15% of the workforce women (although the number is increasing in the younger generation), but quite politically correct and thus nothing seriously sexist or misogynist. My male boss, in his mid-50s, has been fantastic to work with, and as a recruit (from a different company, relocating quite a distance), I’ve been happy with my position and also see potential in the company itself. BUT, after three years, I see that there is a ‘boy’s club’, where they get together and play tennis, have a beer, and get things done. My boss has even suggested that I join the tennis club (playing once a week or so) — but I’ll be the only female and really don’t like tennis. What would you do?

Tough question, K. We’ve talked about networking with older men, dealing with sexist coworkers, and whether or not to pick up the tab at lunch with a group of male partners, but not specifically about this topic. I’d ask myself a few questions first:

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The Next Step: Services

upgrading-personal-servicesWhat are the best ways to upgrade personal services such as massages, food delivery, personal training, and more? More importantly, where is the middle ground between DIYing it and, for example, hiring a personal chef? How can you outsource and save time in some areas of your life so that you can focus on spending your time (and money) on the things you enjoy the most?

We’ve already talked about a bunch of stuff in our Next Step series: how to step up your workwear, upgrade your handbags, graduate from IKEA furniture, and buy better shoes — but something else that I thought might be interesting to talk about is services. I came up with a few ideas for areas such as massage, food, exercise, hair/beauty, and home decor/organization — what other services do you think are upgradeable? What other “middle ground” approaches do you know of?

Note: These generally go in order of money required for each level (i.e., Level 1 can be done with little to no money), but obviously other factors come into play here such as time, energy, and desire. Of course, if you’re really into a certain category, you may want to do ALL the levels, all the time (money permitting); you may also want to pursue it further as a hobby or even a future career. Where possible I’ve tried to include thoughts for that as well.

These were my ideas for each category:

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How to Dress for Halloween – At Work

How to Dress for Halloween - At the Office | CorporetteHow to Dress for Halloween - At the Office | CorporetteHow do you do Halloween at the office (or even at a party with many of your coworkers)?  Being scantily clad for the holiday is so normal, it’s become a joke — and there’s nothing wrong with going that route, if you want to, for a regular party with friends.  But when Halloween and coworkers start to mix, it’s always a good goal to maintain some level of professionalism — which usually can’t be accomplished when you’re dressed as Snooki.  So what do you wear — without spending a ton of money or time on the costume? We’ve had so many great ideas from previous threads that I thought I’d round up a few of my favorites… Ladies, are you dressing up for an office-related Halloween event this year?  What will you be?  (Also: has anyone decorated their office to any degree?) 

Smart Costumes for Smart Women

  • Rosie the Riveter
  • Lara Croft
  • Amelia Earhart
  • Carmen San Diego: red trench coat, red pants, and black boots
  • Sherlock Holmes   (tweed blazer, hat, pipe)
  • Female politician — pick a well known political or business figure whose wardrobe resembles yours (Sarah Palin if you tend toward bracelet length jackets and pencil skirts; Hillary Clinton if you tend towards colored pantsuits; Condi Rice if you like knee high boots, etc.)
  • Audrey Hepburn from Breakfast at Tiffany’s — black sheath, loads of pearls, and cigarette holder.
  • Peggy / Joan from Madmen
  • Pirate: white blouse, black pants, tri-point hat, eye patch, plastic sword
  • Legally Blonde – pink suit, heels, stuffed toy puppy peeking out of your purse
  • “Attorney General.” I’m wearing a black pencil skirt, the merino tippi sweater from JCrew in houndstooth (it has cool shoulder details), and then I got a general’s hat, some fake medals, and little pin-on epaulets with gold fringe.
  • Waitress from Office Space: white polo shirt with basted-on green felt stripes, khakis, suspenders with a bunch of pins (courtesy of my nephew, who gets them at soccer tournaments), and a waitress-apron-thingy that I pinned together from some black fabric.
  • Witch (dress in black with green eye shadow)
  • Mad scientist (lab coat, glasses, crazy hair)
  • Headless goblin (cardigan over your head, jack o lantern under your arm)

And just for kicks, here are a few smart and easy couples’ costumes for office-related Halloween parties..

Couple’s Costumes

  • Pulp Fiction. It’s not the most creative but was easy to pull together. (Couple costume)
  • Abraham & Mary Lincoln
  • Christmas tree (green dress, brown tights, garland, tinsel, etc) and present (lots of bows as part of the outfit)

Any favorites in the list, ladies? What will you be this Halloween?  Does anyone have any fun Halloween-at-the-office stories (either of fun times or of costumes gone horribly wrong?)

Pictured: Img_0977, originally uploaded to Flickr by StayRAW.

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Guest Post: Online Dating for Professional Women

Online Dating for Professional Women | CorporetteOnline dating is something we’ve discussed from time to time on Corporette, such as when we asked you for your favorite online dating sites for smart chicks, as well as discussing how to find time to date when you’re busy, when to break it off, how to date a busy guy, and how to date a guy with more time (or less money) than you. I’ve been off the market for a while, so I asked reader Kryss Shane to guest post — she is a dual licensed psychotherapist who also does life coaching, and offers private Skype sessions for self-pay clients.  Welcome to the blog, Kryss!

As Kat tells me, when she was last single, there were a few main online dating sites for smart women, each known for their own crowd (one full of Christians, one just for those wanting to hook up, etc.).

A lot has changed since then. Now the web gives us some generalized dating sites (OkCupid, PlentyOfFish, Match.com, etc.) as well as options for those who are seeking a partner with shared religious beliefs (JDate, ChristianMingle) or for those in a specific demographic (OurTime, for people over 50; BlackPeopleMeet; InterracialMatch). There are sites for cougars, for those looking to date a prison inmate, for wine drinkers, and animal lovers. There are sites for fetishes, for preferences, for moods, for just one night, and for those looking for forever. Add in the apps for your cell (Tinder, Grindr, etc.) and it can certainly feel overwhelming!

For professional women, dating can already be tricky enough; some are turned on by our power, others feel competitive or resentful of it. We question whether to add our job titles to our profiles, we debate whether our photos should indicate what we do, we wonder if someone who looks but doesn’t message was turned off by our professional status. In short, we’re women who live in a society that teaches us in so many ways that we are doing what we shouldn’t: being self-sufficient, educated women.

Rather than attempting to break down the pros/cons for each of the major dating sites, let’s focus on the shared goal of trying to find the right match(es). With hundreds of thousands of people on these sites, how can a person with limited time properly narrow down the options? (Pictured: Schattenpaar, originally uploaded to Flickr by Benni.)

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Which Fall TV Are You Excited About?

Fall TV for Smart Women | CorporetteWhat fall TV is everyone excited about? What shows do you think are smart, or make good TV for smart women?   Which old friends are you happy to see return, and which new shows are you psyched about? (Any other shows on Netflix or Amazon Prime worth binge watching?) 

For my $.02 — we’ve finally gotten around to binge watching season 2 of Orange is the New Black, but beyond that it’s felt a bit quiet on the TV front.  So far I have my TiVo set for

  • Galavant — My brother convinced me to add this to the list after showing me this trailer.
  • Shark Tank — as I mentioned on CorporetteMoms, I only got into this show during my maternity leave, but I’m totally obsessed with it… I feel like there are a lot of great business lessons to learn, as well as lessons about great presentations as well as negotiations.
  • Selfie — I don’t even truly understand the premise, but John Cho and Karen Gillan? Sign me up.
  • How to Get Away With Murder — looks ridiculous, but hey, sometimes ridiculous is good
  • Forever — I only added it after seeing approximately 10 billion commercials for it during the Shark Tank marathon.  (My almost-4-month-old is apparently teething and having sleep regression issues already, so I’ve been watching a ton of TV while trying to nurse him and rock him to sleep.)

We’re still watching Masters of Sex, but I’ve been underwhelmed by the second season.  I realllly want to see Outlander… but not enough to sign up for Starz.  I have no idea when The Americans comes back on, but I’m totally obsessed with the show.  (And, annoyingly, everyone I know has had a Keri Russell sighting in my neighborhood except me — grumble!)

In terms of old favorites, I guess I’m excited for Modern Family, Hannibal (how are they going to get out of that season finale?), The Mindy Project (ooh, I always forget about this show but love it), Castle, and Game of Thrones (although, like The Americans, I have no idea when that’s coming back on).  (Ditto for Mad Men, although for some reason I am preparing myself to be disappointed in the final season.)  For binge watching, I highly recommend Veep, House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, and Silicon Valley.

Ladies, let’s hear from you — what are you looking forward to? Any new shows I should definitely add to my TiVo wish list? Any old favorites I’m not watching?  (Another Q: how much tv do you watch? Do you take advantage of the ability to watch wherever and watch at the gym, the office on your lunch hour, or other places that are not your couch?)