Sunday, July 13, 2014

What I Wore: Summer Florals

I had forgotten about the joys of outfit photos in summer weather until these photos happened. Actually, I'd forgotten about summer weather joys all together. When it's too hot to wear pants or shirts or any type of clothing for that matter. When the only appropriate hairstyle is an over-glorified messy bun. Could you detect the bitter sarcasm there? Summer weather has struck the northwest and it's too hot for anything.

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When warm weather sets in, my outfits get (even more) simplistic. Cute, easy dresses like this one from ThredUp are my absolute favorite thing to throw on with a belt, simple accessories and sandals for a day at the office. This is the hardest time of the year for professional dressing, but if you can find those go-to pieces, hold onto them for dear life. What's your favorite piece for summer days in the office?

Outfit details:
Mossimo Dress via ThredUp
JC Penny Belt (old)
Unlisted Sandals via DSW
InPink Earrings

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Campus to Career: The Graphic Tee

Did you miss the first installment of Campus to Career? Find out a few favorite ways to style a chambray shirt for the office. Campus to Career is about taking your favorite college staples and transforming to fit a post-grad dress code. Every other week, I'll feature an old campus favorite in new ways appropriate for the office. Have a request? Let me know in a comment!

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From dozens of campus events, sorority functions and cheap concerts, your closet is probably home to at least one graphic tee. But graduation doesn't mean you have to throw it out just yet. With the right work environment, your favorite tee can also have a home in the office.  Here are a few things to consider about graphic tees before adding them to your typical work wardrobe:
  • A tee is about as casual as you can get. These outfit suggestions were put together with an incredibly liberal, casual work enviornment in mind. I wouldn't recommend any of these looks for a big client presentation or corporate luncheon - unless you know it's part of the scene.
  • No matter what the style, your printed message needs to be appropriate. Avoid raunchy, obscene, racy and just plain distasteful. 
  • You might love your tee, but make sure it doesn't look well loved. Holes, stains and fraying hemlines are a big no to begin with. And it's even more true for your favorite graphic tee.

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Add a skirt! And other classic business pieces to dress up your favorite tee. I love how Jamie of Petite Panoply dressed up a well-loved band tee with a printed skirt and cardigan. The dressier pieces help balance out the tee for a look that balances fun and polished. If you're in doubt, opt for solid pieces or a structured bag to finish off the look.

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Dress it up! It's true that t-shirts often hit a whole new level of casual, but you can still dress them up a little bit! Jessica of Love Love Love proved this theory when she paired her cute graphic tee with a tulle skirt and statement necklace. Feminine details can make a tee completely appropriate for a day in the office. Try adding a flowy skirt and nude heels to your everyday top. Bonus points for an fun necklace or clutch.

I want to hear your suggestions! How would you dress up a graphic tee or tank for the office?

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Young PRofessional: Mandy Shold

Introducing a new series to Coffee and Cardigans Life after graduation can be a scary place, especially as a PR major. Thankfully, the Young PRofessionals series is here to help answer the hard questions. It's a monthly Q&A series with young and upcoming professionals in the communication industry. Mandy Shold is a recent June 2014 graduate working her dream job at Ketchum PR in San Fran. Here's what she says about post-grad life at one of S.F.'s top PR agencies: 

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What did your post-grad job search look like?
Let me first say that, by nature, I’m a planner. Not knowing where I was going after graduation terrified me, so I started the post-grad job search pretty early - informational interviews in the fall and applications in the winter. Searching for a job seemed like a full time job in and of itself, which was tough to balance since I was still a full time student and working 25 hour week.

Did you face any rejection through the job search? 
Fortunately, and unfortunately, the first job I applied for was my position at Ketchum. I know that sounds great, but it was honestly terrifying to apply for my dream job so early on! But they needed my application, resume and cover letter by mid-February, so I spent all my free-time in winter working on my website, proofreading and researching... Needless to say, there was a lot of crying involved in the whole job search process, both before and after the final offer.

What does your daily routine at the office look like?
Does anyone in PR actually have a daily routine? I read two newspapers every morning on my train ride, but that’s about my only constant. Once at my desk, I always start with writing my daily to-do list I’m the Sustainability Fellow here at Ketchum, so I work with clients on their sustainability efforts; that can mean anything from proofing a CSV report to media monitoring to researching events and conferences for clients.

What is your favorite aspect of the job?
Because Ketchum hired me for my background in sustainability as well as PR, they put a lot of trust in my environmental knowledge. I’ve developed a weekly email to go out to my team first thing on Monday mornings called “10 Things to Know by 10 a.m.” that goes over the last week’s top eco trends and news stories. I absolutely love pulling it together and actually being an expert in something!

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Are there any aspects of the PR industry that your degree didn’t prepare you for?
A huge part of agency life is being adaptable to change. For a planner like me, this was a rough transition. In school, I thrived on making to-do lists and schedules and sticking to them, but here you have to be able to prioritize and shift things around at a moment’s notice. I’ve also been learning how to say no to an assignment and “manage up” (i.e., managing your manager) when you notice your plate is getting too full – again, not something I had the chance to do in college.

What are some of the rewards and challenges of agency life? 
Rewards? I’m living the dream! This is exactly where I want to be and I’m thrilled to be working in my niche so soon after graduation. That being said, it is a lot of hard work. I’m constantly under caffeinated. There’s the fact that I’m in a ten week program…But I try not to think about all those things. I’m living the dream, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced going from college to the professional world? 
I’m always tired! I thought I was tired in college, but I still somehow mustered the energy to go out to the bars or see my friends. Now, once it hits Friday, all I want to do is go home, put on pajamas and read a good book. I feel like most of my time is spent at work or commuting, so I’ve learned to be productive at the office and on the train so that when I get home I don’t have to be. I’m still learning how to leave work at the office, but I think that’s a struggle most PR people face during their careers.

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What advice do you have for aspiring PR students or professionals?
Read. You’d be surprised how helpful it is reading the paper every day. Reading non-fiction and news sites and keeping up-to-date is crucial in PR. Everything changes so fast, so if you can be ahead of a trend or a news story, you’ll be ahead of the game.

How do you stay connected with the industry and news?
My answer is going to be different than most since I specialize in sustainability, but I subscribe to just about every environmental newsletter. My favorite sites to check daily? Huffington Post Green, Forbes, Politico, the Guardian Environment, TriplePundit and CSRWire.

Bonus: What’s your favorite coffee shop in San Francisco?
Oh! Well, I have two answers for this. My favorite place to get my morning coffee is at BlueBottle in the Ferry Building. It’s right on the Embarcadero, and it’s the most beautiful walk to my office. My close second would be this particular Starbucks on my way to work.

Follow Mandy on Twitter at @WayToRepresent or read more about environmental PR on her blog Journalist & Environmentalist.