Career hustle

Career #hustle: clothing edition

As an influx of interns and new employees flood the halls at work, I’ve been reflecting on when I started my own foray into the full-time, salaried, real-world life of working and #adulting. It’s been a long time (ahem) a few years since I first panicked about what to wear to an interview and how to look for an apartment in Toronto and thankfully I’ve learned a few things a lot since then, thanks to a combination of experience, mentors and wise friends. So in honour of graduation/intern/new job season I’ll be bringing sharing some of those lessons over the next few weeks. Now, since I have an arsenal of brilliant friends and readers, if there’s something you want to share on one of these topics throw it in the comments below!

First up – five things to have in your wardrobe when you start working that #professh life (sidebar: how has it taken me this long to write a post dedicated to fashion?!). Now these are pieces everyone should have, not just recent grads and interns.

This may seem a little basic at first, but bear with me, there’s more than meets the eye:

  • Blazer
  • Nice pair of shoes: this can be great pair of heels or flats but there are two important rules here: you shoes should be in good shape (not scuffed) and flip flops don’t can’t (yes, even leather ones)
  • Dress pants
  • Comfortable work appropriate dress
  • Nice blouse

Thinking, “I work for a super hip start-up and the dress code has basically been pulled from the Everlane lookbook with a dash of Zuckerberg’s hoodies”? Firstly 👏🏻 Everlane is my jam. But I get it. Dress codes differ greatly across industries and workplaces. In my first job I worked with students and was instructed to wear jeans and a t-shirt whenever I visited a school or gave a speech. If I had shown up in a suit and heels I wouldn’t have been relatable. In my next job I ran events that catered to a Bay Street and Government audience – they wouldn’t have taken me seriously if I was wearing jeans and a t-shirt with an inspirational quote on it. You have to know your audience.

But there may be a time when you’re asked to deliver a presentation to a client, join a meeting with the CEO, head out on a job interview, or even get invited to an event with a very “business” crowd. Having a few key pieces on hand means you don’t have to panic at the last minute and wander around the mall wondering where the heck Banana Republic and Ann Taylor are (3rd floor of the Eaton Centre – I got you). Instead you can just head to your closet and put together a combination that works for you and your needs. Meeting with a casual client? Awesome, grab your favourite dark wash jeans that make you feel like a rock star, but show them you mean business with your go-to blouse and blazer combo (and throw on those nice shoes while you’re at it).

A comfortable, work appropriate dress is a closet staple, because you just never know who might show up at a work event (pro-tip: invest in something stretchy enough that you can run in if needed)

Are you wondering why you should care? I dig your rebellious spirit. However, what you wear sends a message (remeber – know your audience). If you show up to pitch the CEO of a bank in those trendy track pants and a silk crop top odds are pretty good that they will be too distracted by your outfit to listen to the brilliant presentation you’ve laid out. You can let your personality shine through your outfit, just don’t let it distract from what’s coming out of your mouth.

Which brings me to my last point – these things don’t have to be boring. Notice I didn’t put a suit on here? I hate wearing pantsuits – I don’t feel comfortable or like my authentic self. However, I think the same thing can be accomplished with polished basics. I like to deliver suit vibes with my own twist – currently my black “suit” consists of lace dress pants, my black blazer, a blouse and heels. Boom. Suit. That said, you’re much more likely to find me wearing a dress with a pink houndstooth blazer, or a neutral blazer with colourful dress pants (a former colleague of mine defined my style as “the girl who wears colourful pants”).

A classic blazer with a colourful twist is my ideal wardrobe staple.

Don’t be afraid to inject some personality into these basics. Simple and classic silhouettes with a twist are the best way to let your personality sparkle, while looking put together and professh. The sparkly beauts below are my favourite way to elevate an otherwise drab outfit and instantly lift my mood. Just make sure to keep the rest of your outfit streamlined – pairing sparkly loafers with a sequin dress may read more showgirl than corporate boss.

Wondering where to find these things? Here are a few of my go-to’s to get you started:

  • J. Crew: there’s a reason this classic store makes up the majority of my wardrobe – they have perfected making quality, classic pieces with fun twists
  • Ann Taylor
  • Loft: their Rivera pants are my favourite work pants – they come in two fits and petite 🙌🏻
  • Kate Spade: perfect for comfy and quirky shoes
  • If you’re going to invest in one pair of comfy heels, make it Cole Haan – my last pair lasted five years of constant use
  • Artizia and Wilfred for those perfect, simple, elevated pieces

How do you approach wardrobe basics? Where are your go-to stores? Let me know in the comments below!

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Bright lights in the City: Osaka Edition

One thing I love about traveling is that inevitably something will take me by surprise. Whether it’s a city, new food, or the ability to stretch out in a park with a book in one hand and cider in the other as the hours melt away, each trip is punctuated by places and moments that astonish me in the most delightful ways. While we were in Japan that was delivered by our days in and around Osaka. Continue Reading

Career hustle, Hustle for happiness

Funkytown

Last week we talked about the ripple effect one small, positive chance can have on your life (missed that post? Check it out here). Even when great things come our way, sometimes we can get into a bit of a funk. I’m not sure if it was all of the rain we’d been having, the slow thaw of Spring or the fact that apparently Mercury was in retrograde (??? who else has a coworker that tracks this? 🙋🏼) but the last few weeks there were days when it felt like the whole city was in a bit of a funk. Thankfully I have a few standby’s that I like to keep on hand for those mid-day slumps when you just can’t even: Continue Reading

Gratitude hustle, Hustle for happiness

Gratitude #hustle vol. 9

These signs of Spring around Toronto are reminding me of all the Cherry Blossoms 📸 from Japan.

Trying something new with a Saturday post – I hope you’re reading this with a coffee in hand, ready to take it easy.

In the words of the man who writes the songs, “looks like we made it!” No? You guys, I’m talking about Barry Manilow. Seriously… love him… blame years of dance. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen a dance routine in every style done to Copacabana.

Anyyyyyyways…. looking back on this week one word really comes to mind: laughter.  Continue Reading

Hustle for happiness

The Ripple Effect

How many times have you opened your computer only to find five different tabs open with article headlines like, “Five Simple Ways to Get What You Want” or “Do These Two Moves and Eat These Three Things to Look Like [insert celebrity here]”?

It’s okay, this is a safe space. It happens. Plus I’m fairly certain I’ve never not opened an article that says “Here’s What Happened When I did X or cut out Y for 30 days” (I mean, I must know what happened!). I think what I love about those 30 day articles is seeing the impact that one simple action can make.

During a recent conversation with my fabulous professional development girl squad I begun to reflect on how easy it is to get stuck in an unending list of things you “need” to do and “want” to do, while never making the time to actually do them. Take a class. Get a new job. Go to the gym. Call your family more. The list goes on and on and on. Over time inertia takes hold and it becomes easier to not do anything than to try and tackle the things you desperately want to do, when you also have never ending list of things you need to do.

This is exactly where I was last summer.

Continue Reading

Travel hustle

Kyoto Part 2: Forests and Torii

Wandering through the vermillion torii of the Fushimi Inari shrine

After wandering the streets of Kyoto, and feeling like we were stepping back in time, we traveled to the edges of the city visiting Arashiyama and Fushimi Inari, spending a day surrounded by bamboo forests and vermillion torii.

Side note – these are both tourist hotspots any time of year. Given the crowds we’d encountered simply because it was cherry blossom season, we knew that both locations were going to be very busy. Continue Reading

Gratitude hustle

Gratitude #hustle vol. 8

A beautiful view last night after the rain

I had one of those days earlier this week where it felt like everything was off – my commute, my colleagues, and simple work things that I usually breeze right through with ease (thanks, I’m sure to some IT updates). I thought to myself, “well at least tomorrow is Thursday and I have x, y and z to look forward to at the end of the week.” Then I realized, it was only Tuesday morning 🙄 (and I’ve been one day ahead ALL week – I went to watch the Raps game last night and couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t on hahaha).

But then the winds changed Continue Reading

Career hustle

Coffee #hustle: how to rock a networking coffee

Got a networking coffee planned this week? Or maybe you read this post and decided that you’re ready to start flexing those networking muscles? In any case, good for you!

To help you get excited and feel prepared, I’ve put together some lessons I have learned and things I’ve seen in action to help you prepare for, and rock, your next networking coffee. Continue Reading