Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Tips and Trends: Business Travel #2 - How to Survive the Airplane

 Business Travel Tips and Trends
#2: How to Survive the Airplane

If you are anything like me, your typical experience with air travel is that it's stressful, crowded and exhausting. Upon arrival at your destination, you just want to go to sleep. Unfortunately, when on a business trip, it is more likely that upon arrival you will need to immediately head off to a business meeting, where you will be expected to be intelligent, composed and charming, and completely conceal the fact that you just got off a plane.

To help you accomplish this feat, I've put together two lists for what you should always pack in your carry-on and some tips that I always follow when having to take planes for business trips.

In your carry-on for short flights (max. 4 hours):
-Ear plugs
-Headphones that fit over the ear plugs
-Dark-colored, lightweight wool shawl/wrap
-Granola bars
-Eyeliner, mascara and blush
-Light moisturizer
-Printed copies of any documents you want to review
-Pencils and pens
-Flash drive with any digital files you may need

For short flights, you will likely be heading straight to meetings the moment you get off the plane and may be flying back the minute the meetings are over. Your carry-on should have all you work essentials easily accessible and should have a few extra items to help you look and feel your best. 

I highly recommend ear plugs, even for short flights, because they block much of the humming and white noise produced by the plane which reduces some of the stress and tension you feel when flying. Once you have your ear plugs in, put headphones on over the earplugs so you can listen to something relaxing while you review work materials. Make sure you have a lightweight wool wrap with you, as planes can become very cold very quickly, and a couple of granola bars, in case the only thing the airlines serves is drinks. When you get to your destination, pop into the ladies room and touch up your blush, eyeliner and mascara in order to look refreshed. I've found those are the three makeup items that can look the most "worn down" after a flight. If you have time, apply a bit of light moisturizer to your cheeks and forehead. 

When I'm on a short flight, I really don't want to lug my laptop out of my bag in order to work on some documents. However, sometimes I need to look at something that just can't be viewed on a tiny blackberry screen. I've found that the best solution is to bring along my iPad, though any tablet would get the job done. It's just easier to have something larger than hour phone, but still smaller and lighter than a laptop to use while you are sitting around in the terminal.

Always make sure you have printed copies of any important documents so you can review them on the plane, along with pencils and pens to make any notes.

I always think it's a good idea to carry a flash drive with any PowerPoint presentations you intend to give, just as a back-up. It also makes pulling up the presentation on a local computer so much easier.


Add to your carry-on for long flights (over four hours):
-Eye mask
-Thick face cream
-Hairspray, bobby pins, hair elastic
-Wool socks
-Warm outerwear (such as a fleece jacket)

For long flights, I ALWAYS wear an eye mask. It's the only way I can sleep on the plane and is incredibly helpful when trying to relax. I recommend not wearing any makeup on long flights, but instead take along a thick face cream,  slather it on right away after takeoff and then apply your makeup quickly in the bathroom after landing. The face cream will help your face retain water and look less puffy after the flight, and applying your makeup later means it won't have gotten smudged. The same idea goes for hair as well - just leave it down or in a braid for the long flight, then do an elegant bun or French twist once you've arrived at your destination.

On long flights airplanes can get very cold, so I always pack wool socks and a thicker jacket just in case.

While you can get away with an iPad for shorter flights, on longer flights you will probably want your laptop, particularly if you intend to do a significant amount of work on the plane.

Readers, what are your tips for how to look professional and ready for business after stepping off an airplane?

Monday, July 28, 2014

What to Wear to Work: Black Floral Skirt with Turquoise Scarf and Shoes

These turquoise Repetto pumps are absolutely lovely and one of my favorite summer pieces. They are a bit difficult to pair with outfits, as their color is so bright, but I've found that they go very well with black, white and grey. I've also paired them with navy blue, as you can see here. Which makes this fabulous black and white floral print skirt by Prabal Gurung for Target the perfect piece to wear with these shoes! Normally I find T-straps cut into my feet, but Repetto shoes are SO comfortable that I can wear these all day. I've even worn them while shopping up and down the Champs Elysee, which is appropriate since Repetto is a French company. Repetto shoes are not sold in many places in the US, and the website does not ship outside of Europe, but Net-a-porter and Saks Fifth Avenue carry a few styles.

To pair with the turquoise shoes, I've added this beautiful silk scarf that was a gift from my grandfather. Since the scarf is a bit long, I've tied it in a square knot and tucked it under my collar to keep it under control.

All together, I think the outfit looks quite nice against this graffiti mural business sign in Shoreditch. Graffiti art is incredibly popular in my neighborhood, and this business had a graffiti artist paint the name of their business on the metal screen that covers their windows after business hours. I love the bright colors and 3-D letters!

Shirt: Banana Republic
Skirt: Prabal Gurung for Target, similar here
Scarf: Handmade in Switzerland, similar color available here
Pumps: Repetto, similar bright blue pumps available here and here

Friday, July 25, 2014

What to Wear to Work: White Fit and Flare Dress and Red Beads

Summer is the only season where you can wear a little white dress over and over and over again! I was running a bit late today, so my outfit is super simple - just my favorite summer dress, a pair of nude pumps and a bright splash of color with this gorgeous necklace! I've heard so many of my friends raving about Baublebar that I finally had to try it out, and these cherry red beads do not disappoint!! I've also styled this dress a bit more formally here.

Dress: White House Black Market, similar here
Necklace: Baublebar

Pumps: Corso Como

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Tips and Trends: Business Travel #1 - What to Pack

 Business Travel Tips and Trends
#1: What to Pack

Starting this week, I will be doing a series of posts on business travel. I've been doing a lot of traveling for my law firm lately and thought I'd share some of the tips and tricks I've learned to help make business trips as easy, stress free and enjoyable as possible!

The first time I was told to travel for business, I started frantically searching "what to take on a business trip" and "how to pack for a business trip", because I simply had no idea. Now that I'm more experienced, I keep a basic list so that no matter where I'm going, I know that I have the essentials.

Business trips can take many forms - short or long, driving or flying, doing research where you will be all by yourself or going to meetings with executives where you need to look your best. Your business packing list should encompass all of these needs, so that you can easily cut it down if the business trip is short, but don't need to think through what else you might need if the business trip is long. The list below includes a number of basic toiletries, as I have found that there is often a chance that a one-day business trip can turn into a two-day business trip. Meetings can run late, clients can decide they want you to meet their business partner who is flying in tomorrow, flights and trains can get cancelled, and so on. Therefore, I like to make sure that if plans change unexpectedly, I'm not stuck having to search for an open drug store at 10pm in a tiny town in Northern Sweden (NOT a fun experience).

My packing list (for a non-overnight trip):

-light face cream
-makeup remover wipes
-small hairbrush
-hair tie and a few bobby pins
-wool pashmina
-wool socks
-change of underwear
-t-shirt or tank top (something I can sleep in)

It's always helpful to have your basic toiletries with you, no matter how short of a trip, so I always take along toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant and a light face cream. In case I get stuck overnight, I make sure I have makeup remover wipes and my glasses, plus a small traveling hairbrush, a hair tie and a few bobby pins so I can put my hair into a chic ponytail the next morning for the plane ride home. Plus, I always carry with me a wool pashmina and pair of socks in case I get cold (they are also useful for on the plane), a change of underwear and a basic tank top or t-shirt that I could wear to bed if I got stuck and had to stay overnight.

When I KNOW the trip will be overnight, I add the following:

-heavy face cream (for night)
-contacts and contact solution
-large hairbrush (instead of a small hairbrush)
-2nd set of business clothes

When the trip will last at least one night, I make sure to bring my basic makeup essentials, plus a night cream, as airplane rides, time zone changes and general stress can wreck havoc on my sensitive skin. I make sure I have along my contacts and contact solution - I wear dailies, so I actually bring a fresh pair of contacts, but if you wear normal contacts just make sure you have along your case. Since it's a multi-day business trip, I will actually need to stay in the hotel and be ready to work the next day, so I bring along my real hairbrush, full pajamas and a second set of business clothes.

Readers, what essentials do you always bring on business trips???

Monday, July 21, 2014

What to Wear to Work: Red Jacket, White Pencil Skirt and Manolos

I know there's a fashion rule about not combining pink with red, but these Manolo Blahnik shoes are really more of a blush or "nude for me" color. I also love that they make my legs look nice and long! I love having a jacket with short sleeves, because it leaves me so much cooler during my hot summer commute into the City. London buses aren't air conditioned. In the office, sometimes I'll wrap a shawl around myself if I get too cold at my desk, but in the middle of July that isn't very likely! Plus, a short-sleeved jacket lets me show off my jewelry, like this cute silver bangle that I picked up in Mexico and always want an excuse to wear!! As for the white skirt, I'm trying to get as much wear out of it as possible this summer, since here in London it's really just a one-season piece. You can see me styling this jacket with my grey pencil skirt here and read the story about my necklace here.

Readers, do you have any pieces that you really can only wear for a single season?

Jacket: Orsay, similar here
Cami: Ann Taylor
Skirt: Banana Republic, similar here
Pumps: Manolo Blahnik
Bracelet: from Mexico, similar here

Friday, July 18, 2014

What to Wear to Work: White Blazer, Grey Pants and a Dash of Orange

I LOVE wearing orange in the summer! I think it's because to me orange is a "cousin" color to red, which is my favorite color, and summer and fall are really the only two seasons when it looks right - maybe it's something about how the sun shines during those seasons. Anyway, I wanted to work my orange cami into a work outfit today, so I paired it with my white blazer and grey suit pants, and then thew on my blue Coach tote which matches the navy blue enamel buttons on the blazer. It's a bit of a color mashup, but I'm liking the result!!

Cami: Ann Taylor, similar here
Blazer: Zara, similar here
Pants: Classiques Entier at Nordstrom, similar here
Tote: Coach, similar here
Pumps: Stuart Weitzman

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Tips and Trends: Video Tutorial - How to Make a French Twist

Today I'm super excited because this is my FIRST video tutorial! The classic french twist is my go-to hairstyle for meetings, interviews, business lunches - basically any event that requires me to look extremely polished and professional! In this video tutorial, I will show you how to create this simple, yet oh-so-elegant hairstyle. This hairstyle requires at least shoulder-length hair. If you have shorter hair and find your hair keeps slipping out of the style, use some additional bobby pins to keep everything in place.

Let me know what you think in the comments below!!

Monday, July 14, 2014

What to Wear to Work: White and Navy With Red Accents

After several months of searching, I finally found a clutch that perfectly matches my red shoes!! This straw and patent leather beauty from L.K. Bennett is the ONLY clutch in all of London whose red trim is the same shade of red as my shoes! So of course I was dying to show it off, and what better way to emphasize red than with a classic blue and white combination?? The red absolutely pops against those colors and the effect is perfect for work, but oh so summery!!!

Skirt: Banana Republic, similar here
Blouse: Forever 21, similar here
Pumps and Clutch: L.K. Bennett, similar pumps and matching clutch

Friday, July 11, 2014

What to Wear to Work: White Dress and Turquoise Sweater

So sorry that the blog has been a bit quiet - we had a big family reunion in Switzerland and I was in a mountain cabin with very limited internet! Today's outfit is all about celebrating summer in a classy and polished way. Definitely get all the wear you can out of your white outfits - they'll be going back into storage soon enough! I love how this turquoise sweater can transcend the seasons - it looks as good in summer as it does in winter. And of course, nude pumps finish everything off perfectly.

Dress: White House Black Market, similar here for US and here for UK
Sweater: Gap, similar here for US and here for UK
Pumps: Corso Como, similar here for UK

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Tips and Trends: Summer Work Dresses on Sale

Summer Work Dresses on Sale

Top Row: 1) Planet, 2) Adrianna Papell at Nordstrom, 2) Adrianna Papell at John Lewis
Bottom Row: 4) Taylor Dresses, 5) Viyella, 3) Adrianna Papell at Nordstrom

Nothing is better than finding workwear at a great price!! Since summer sale season is upon is in both the US and the UK, I've selected six lovely summer dresses that are office-appropriate and would be perfect for work during July and August. These are all very much summer office dresses and won't look right once September rolls around, but on the other hand, you don't have to pay full price for any of them. 

Readers, what are you interested in picking up during the summer sales?
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