3 Easy Success Tips For New Lawyers

{three simple ways to instantly improve in your career}

3 Easy Success Tips For New Lawyers

{photo credit here}

Today we’re beginning a series of posts that do not address fashion and style, but rather professionalism in a larger context.  One of our readers suggested the topic and we believe it’s a great idea.  After all, when it comes to success in the workplace, demeanor and attire go hand in hand.  

So, we will endeavor from time to time to share our thoughts about how to survive and thrive in an office setting in ways that go beyond fashion and style.  We hope you enjoy the series and, as always, we welcome your feedback and ideas- please do so either by commenting below or by emailing us at houseofmarbury@gmail.com.  

Today, we’re sharing three easy steps to help you succeed as a new lawyer (and for the new seasoned professional, these tips will serve as a worthwhile refresher!):  

There are so many factors that contribute to our success as lawyers.  Some are nuanced and others are more straightforward.  You can be sure, however, that being an impressive lawyer in the first weeks and months of your career has little to do with your substantive abilities.  (For the most part, you will likely not be expected to facilitate a complex merger or file and argue a motion for summary judgment, anyway.)

Instead, the impressions you make on your colleagues will center on the intangibles – your ability to assimilate and integrate into your office, your understanding of your role as a new lawyer, and your ability to learn quickly.

These intangibles can be expressed in a variety of ways. Here are three easy ways to demonstrate that you are positioned to become a constructive, productive, and successful member of your legal practice from day one:

1. Don’t Show Up Empty Handed

As a new lawyer, you never want to go into a meeting or another attorney’s office without a legal pad and a pen in hand.  In fact, you should probably not leave your office (unless you are headed to lunch or to the restroom) without paper and a pen.  You always want to be in a position to take down an assignment when the opportunity arises, and impromptu conferences that result in assignments occur regularly.

2. Offer Support

Above all, your role as a new lawyer is to act in a supportive role for the more senior attorneys you are working with.  From day one, while you may not be adept at all of the technical nuances of your practice, you can demonstrate your willingness to contribute meaningfully by being as supportive and helpful as possible.  Show that you will do whatever it takes – stay late, come in early, run down the street to the courthouse, etc. – in order to help your colleagues get their work done quickly, efficiently, and correctly.

3. Adopt This Mantra

No project is beneath me.  Repeat:  No project is beneath me.

Entrepreneurs are responsible for learning every aspect of their business, from payroll to website development to sales and marketing.  Knowing your business inside and out is the best way to retain control, manage operations, and run things successfully.

For lawyers, the exercise should be no different.  Welcome any assignment that is given to you, no matter how simplistic or seemingly unimportant.  Regard every assignment as an opportunity – an opportunity to learn, to grow, to understand more about your legal practice. If you tackle each and every project you are given with zeal and energy and enthusiasm, in no time you will be assigned to more complicated projects and will be entrusted with more responsibility.

There is a steep learning curve from new lawyer to experienced practitioner.  There will be some inevitable ups and downs along the way.  But, the sooner you can identify the little things that will make you great, the small things that will make you impressive, the sooner you will become an integral member of your legal practice.

Want more practice tips and advice? Check out the guidebook that Desiree published on the topic, Thrive:  A New Lawyer’s Guide to Law Firm Practice.

For our more seasoned professional readers, what tips do you have to help those just starting our in their careers?

Cheers,
Team HOM

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Midi Skirts From The High Street

{on-trend, high fashion midi skirts at affordable prices}

We love the midi skirt trend.  It’s a beautiful, carefree look for summer, and works equally well in and outside of the office.  What we love even more, though, is the plethora of affordable, high street midi skirt options out there.  It’s the perfect opportunity to play around a little with what you choose, without worrying about breaking the bank.

Top Shop is leading the pack for us in terms of gorgeous midi skirts at affordable prices.  Our absolute favorite at the moment is this Antique Jacquard Midi Skirt in pale blue.  It’s feminine and summery, but the pattern adds sophistication, too.  Pair with a white button up and gold flats for office perfection.  (We’re apparently not the only ones who are in love with this skirt, by the way.  It’s flying off the shelves!)

antique

At the moment ASOS has a great collection of affordable midis, including some gorgeous floral prints that are perfectly on-trend.  We adore this full midi skirt in lavender with pockets

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as well as this beautiful floral number.

floral

Pair both with a black silk blouse, a high bun, and some patent leather wedges for a dynamic head to toe look.

You can’t mention high street without a nod to H&M.  And, not surprisingly, H&M does not disappoint when it comes to midis.  This easy pink midi is perfect for work and play, day and night.  It’s low maintenance but makes a statement nonetheless, and can be paired with anything from a navy blouse to a short-sleeved white cashmere sweater on a cooler day.

pink

Finally, Zara is doing the midi justice with items like this neutral poplin skirt.  The material is perfect for summer.  The look is nice for a casual day at the office and would be amazing with some bold accessories.  Love!

poplin

What are your best midi finds from the high street?  Let us know in the comments below!

xo,

HOM

 

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Yelena’s Wish List

{five things I’m dreaming of right now}

Kate’s wish list has inspired our entire team to narrow down our shopping wish lists to five items we are most excited about adding to our wardrobes.  This is actually more difficult than it seems – especially once you’ve seen Desiree’s and Kate’s lists!

So, here are five things that I’m dreaming of adding to my wardrobe . . . someday (perhaps when I’m not a poor law student, but a girl can dream, right!?).  Besides, it’s totally justifiable since my birthday is coming up in a month! ;)

1) A flattering sheath dress.  I love a pretty sheath dress because it looks chic for whatever occasion – from the office to brunch!  Unfortunately, with my hour-glass shape, too often sheath dresses are either too tight on the bottom, or too loose on the waist.  As my hunt for the perfect sheath dress continues, at the top of my list is a Calvin Klein dress, like this contrast trim lux sheath dress. 

Calvin Klein Contrast Trim Lux Sheath Dress

2) Nude ballet flats.  The other day, I stumbled across an Instagram account (@mesballerines) with the most beautiful ballet flats I have ever seen – classic perfection.  Unfortunately, it looks like they’re solely a French-based company right now (anyone with a Paris connection wanting to get me a birthday gift? – Specifically, the Margot flat in nude (although a pair in glitter will also do!).)

MesBallerines Flats

3) Riding boots.  So, I realize that it’s only mid-summer, but I’m already daydreaming of fall and boot season.  My current riding boots have lasted me several years, but I definitely think that it’s time for a new pair.  My problem is one of my calves is slightly wider than the other (totally weird!), making it difficult to find the right pair of boots.  On my wish list though is this pair by Frye!

Frye Jet Boot Riding

4) A white button-down.  I am so picky about my button-down dress shirts!  I like them to be fitted, but not so tight that you get the awkward gaps on your chest when you move your arms.  Plus, I like the shirt to have some shape, but not be too starched.  Phew!  So many requirements, but that’s probably why I’m still searching for the perfect one.  At the top of my dream wish list?  This Theory top that Desiree found!  But, for a more realistic option, this Banana Republic non-iron sateen shirt looks fabulous!

Theory Larissa II Luxe Top

5) An O’Bazzie Classics Satchel.  A student from my undergrad is currently working on launching his line of leather bags and luggage, and guys, it’s amazing!  I got to watch his pitch and see his prototypes at a business competition a few months ago and was astounded by the quality and design!  So now, I’m stalking their social media for updates on their official launch – specifically, eyeing the beige colored satchels!

O'Bazzie Classics

Now that we’ve shared our wish lists, what’s on yours?

-Yelena (the superstar intern!) of Team HOM

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A “Scandal” Clothing Line?

{olivia pope’s wardrobe will be yours this fall}

Scandal inspired wardrobe

If you haven’t heard yet, Kerry Washington (aka Olivia “Liv” Pope and our favorite TV lawyer), ABC, and “Scandal” costume designer Lyn Paolo have partnered with The Limited to launch a collection inspired by Liv’s wardrobe.   Think cream and neutral-colored pieces that are feminine and classic.

More details on Fashionista.com!   Can it be September already please?!   We kinda need that jacket in the first sketch!

-Team HOM

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From Hem to Toe

{what sleeve lengths are appropriate and when}

You often hear fashion advice for women relating to proper skirt length or proper heel height, but you rarely hear anyone address sleeve length.  Well, one of our lovely readers requested a post on this exact topic and we’re here to provide some guidance:

What sleeve lengths are appropriate for the office?

[photo credit here]

Hemline:  In brief, the general rule of thumb is for the hemline on your skirt to be no shorter than 2 inches from the center of your knee cap when you’re standing.  For formal suits, aim for a hemline at the middle or bottom end of your knee cap.

We find that skirts cut to slightly below the knee are undoubtedly professional and quite flattering with heels.  Of course, this rule is easy to observe for those of us who are average to below-average in height.  Taller women may have more difficulty meeting this standard, and they are afforded some flexibility.

When a skirt is teetering on the 2″ mark, consider wearing a pair of tights or nylons, or pairing with a looser blouse or more conservative button-up to balance out your look and ensure a professional appearance.

Pant length:  Pant legs should fall to one inch above the ground, revealing the front and back of your shoes.  Of course, that’s easier said than done since many of us own heels of varying heights.  To deal with this, when purchasing a suit, know which pair of shoes you intend to wear with it and judge the proper height accordingly.  If you bring a pair of pants to the tailor, be sure to bring your pumps with you to help your tailor get the perfect length.

Cropped pants should be tailored to about an inch above your ankle bone.  Anything higher, such as capri pants, are not work appropriate.

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Ok, onto the sleeves:

Spaghetti straps:  Any top with thin straps that show a significant amount of shoulder are never professional and must be covered by a jacket or sweater at all times.  Of course, whatever you wear under your blazer or jacket is fine, and we have several tank tops that we rely on for just that purpose.  But, when you choose to wear an undershirt with your work ensemble, make sure that it remains just that.  

Sleeveless + thick straps:  Sleeveless blouses or dresses with a thick strap are ideal for wearing underneath a blazer or jacket.  And, if minimal shoulder is exposed, it is acceptable to wear these sleeves in and around your own office, but, you should throw on a sweater or jacket in any meeting, when speaking with a superior, and, of course, to court.

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Cap sleeves:  Cap sleeves, or any sleeve that slightly extends beyond your shoulder, are appropriate to wear around the office, to a casual meeting, or a casual deposition, especially in the summer.  Cap sleeves are also easy to wear with a jacket, and they should be for important meetings, court appearances or other formal events.   

Half sleeves:  Sleeves that fall to the mid-bicep are appropriate for wear around the office and to inter-office meetings, especially in the summer.  You will need to add a jacket if attending a formal meeting or court appearance.

Three quarter sleeve to full sleeve:  A full-sleeve is the most professional option without a jacket.  Full-sleeved button-ups, blouses, sweaters or dresses are appropriate for wear anywhere within your office, any inter-office meeting, most depositions, and any informal event.  

Finally, to roll or not to roll:  It is perfectly acceptable to roll the sleeves on your blouse or button-up and wear them around your office, to inter-office meetings, and any informal event.  Take a cue from the men in your office and see if and when they wear rolled sleeves.  Unless you are the only one wearing your work shirts that way, there is no need to reconsider the practice.

Cheers,
Team HOM

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Finding Inspiration One Pin At A Time

{how to use pinterest to inspire your closet}

We are thrilled to have Christina, a self-professed Pinterest fanatic, and recent winner of the HOM anniversary giveaway, guest posting for us today.  Take it away, Christina!

If you sit back and think for a minute, can you imagine life without Pinterest?  I can’t picture my life without it anymore.  For those who aren’t familiar with Pinterest, let me just say that you have been missing out!  Wikipedia describes Pinterest as “a visual discovery tool that people use to collect ideas for their different projects and interests.

People create and share collections (called “boards”) of visual bookmarks (called “Pins”) that they use to do things like plan trips and projects, organize events or save articles and recipes.” So, basically, Pinterest is awesome and anyone who has spent as little as 30 seconds “pinning” would agree with me.

I remember when I first discovered the magical world of Pinterest.  Within one week of establishing my account (missmendez125—come obsess with me!) I had managed to not only find an inspiring quote for any situation that compels one emotion or another, but I had also planned my wedding with the boyfriend I didn’t have!  Once you start pinning you just can’t stop.  This makes for some very late nights but who needs sleep when you have hundreds of ideas to pin?  Priorities ladies, priorities. ;)

The thing I enjoy most about Pinterest is that it’s full of tips and tricks and the inspiration it elicits is endless.  Although I have a special place in my heart for my “dessert board,” my favorite boards are my style boards.

Pinterest has truly allowed me to become creative with my style—it’s now my go-to fashion tool! Because my personal style isn’t all that specific, I find that when I look into my closet I see great pieces but I don’t always know how to style them and that’s where Pinterest comes in handy.

I like to pick out my outfit the night before because everyone knows that ten extra minutes of sleep is golden.  So, right before bed, I’ll usually do one of two options:  I’ll either pick a piece in my closet that I’d like to center my outfit around and then head on over to Pinterest for some inspiration, or I’ll just search my Pinterest app first and pin outfits I think I can create with what I have in my closet.

By simply typing into the search bar something like “lace skirt” or “polka dot shirt” I am given hundreds of style options for my viewing pleasure. With all of the options that appear, I always feel real excited… just like when I walk into ULTA after getting my paycheck (I know you know what I’m talking about).

It’s also a lot of fun finding another “pinner” who shares the same passion for fashion as you do.  I enjoy being able to follow their board(s) and gain even more styling ideas!  (See below for links to HOM’s boards!)

The great thing about Pinterest is that the whole idea is for you to save an image you like to a board of your choice so that you can return to it later on.  If I’m ever in a rush or if I have an event or meeting to attend and I don’t have a clue what to wear, it’s so great to just pull up my profile, click on the occasion I need inspiration for (ex: my “Career Chic” board for professional or casual business attire), and see all the potential outfit options I have to play around with.  You’ll have the perfect outfit picked out in no time.

My friend Holly and I literally spent the first year of law school studying, reading, writing papers, and pinning!  I’m telling you, Pinterest is actually quite therapeutic. ;)  I asked her what her favorite thing about Pinterest was and she said, “I can only pick one thing?!  My favorite thing is being able to send cute outfits, fun crafts, and yummy recipes to my friends and family who are on Pinterest—especially when I see something that reminds me of that particular person.  It’s easier than taking a screen shot and sending it via test message.”  She went on to say that she also liked the variety of things Pinterest has to offer… there’s always something you can pin! I’m so glad that I have her to send half my pins to!

The pictures shown here are looks I recreated with Pinterest pins as my inspiration.  Remember, you don’t have to have exactly what the person in the picture is wearing.

The beautiful thing about these pins is that they’re just a great way to get your mind thinking, “Hmm… I bet I can recreate this look using this piece and that piece that I have already!”

Be creative with your style, play with different colors, prints, and patterns, and most importantly have fun!

pin 1 pin 2 pin 3 pin 4 pin 5

Now that you know all about the magical world of Pinterest and how to use it as a fashion tool there’s only one thing left to say… Happy pinning!

For HOM-approved Pinterest style inspiration, check out our boards:
How do you use Pinterest as a fashion resource?
Cheers,
The Ladies of HOM
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Maternity Suiting

{our favorite maternity suiting for any business occasion}

I am nearing the end of my pregnancy and, after a relatively quiet one from a work perspective, suddenly I have a number of client meetings and events I have to attend in the three weeks before I head out on leave.  Thankfully, I collected a few great suits and suit pieces early on that I’m looking forward to wearing, despite the general ridiculousness of being 8+ months preggo.

I thought I’d share with our mama and mama-to-be readers so that you have this as a resource if and when you find yourself in need.

As a preface to this post, the two most important things I have learned from two rounds of maternity dressing are: (1) look for workable non-maternity pieces when possible, and (2) be creative about how you put looks together.  In terms of the second point, in particular, every mama-to-be carries differently, feels differently about her new body, and has different sensibilities when it comes to what works style-wise while pregnant.

Maternity shopping can be a bit stressful in that some things don’t fit despite technically being your size, or don’t look right for your stage of pregnancy, or don’t look like you thought they would when you eyeballed the item on the hanger.

In short, until you find your preferred designers, styles, and sizes, you can’t just grab and go.  So, be patient with yourself and with the shopping experience and be willing to be flexible in terms of how you pair and style your daily looks.

Also, when in doubt, go with black.  It’s easy, reliable, and, in a professional setting, allows you to get away with more while giving in to the stress of maternity dressing a little less.

Isabella Oliver Work Collection

Isabella Oliver is by far my favorite maternity designer, and I have had great luck in particular with her work collection.  Everything from pants to suit jackets to dresses are work-chic and allow you to feel some semblance of normalcy despite, well, not.  I found that I could rely on IO’s blazers, in particular.  They are well-shaped and well-conceived for pregnancy (as opposed to others, which double as huge, ill-formed capes).

The key here is to repurpose the IO blazers – use them with matching (or mis-matching) pants to form a suit, and also throw them on over a great IO dress for an equally professional look.

For this pregnancy, I adored this Everyday Maternity Blazer.  The styling and cut are great.  Very unique and thoughtful as far as maternity goes.  (I generally prefer buttoning over the bump as opposed to buttoning across, which does nothing for your self-esteem (see cape note above!).  Buttoning over allows you to wear a more fitted blazer on top, too, which generally looks neater and more professional.)  And I love the color of this blazer.

IO blazer

Pair it with some trousers or a fabulous (and comfy) wrap dress for a perfect court, meeting, or other occasion look.  I’m obsessed with this dress, by the way.  It’s nicely form fitted so you don’t look like you’re wearing a bag, but it’s modest, a great length, and covers all the right areas (ahem – upper arms, chest).

bluewrapdress

Maternal America

Maternal America is another fabulous professional maternity brand.  What I love about Maternal America is that they have had the decency to design “normal” looking clothes for pregnant women (no dots, huge bows, and other awkward childish looking designs that for some reason other maternity designers gravitate towards) that happen to fit well and that are low maintenance, too.  I recommend MA for everyday work dresses.  Throw them on with a great flat and you’re done.  MA also shines in the suiting department.  I love this peplum suit in navy.  It’s super cute, a great maternity fit, and is equivalent to any non-maternity suit I would buy.

peplum suit

Nordstrom

At the end of the day, we rely on Nordstrom for everything.  The e-store, in particular, is an easy shopping experience and you’ll find whatever it is you are looking for – even great maternity clothes – guaranteed.  I turned to Nordstrom for some staple pieces (i.e., black work pants) that I could wear weekly, at least, and rely on for a great fit and comfort.

I also grabbed a wrap blazer (similar style here) that I paired with my maternity skirts, pants, and dresses.  A great wrap blazer will give you a snug-enough fit that you’re not drowning, but also enough coverage to have confidence that your belly is not going to be the center of attention.  This style is a must-have, along with your staple black trousers.

wrapjacket

These Rosie Pope ‘Pret” Maternity trousers are a good go-to (though test out your preference for waist bands – many of my girlfriends loved the half-panel, while others preferred the larger, whole-belly covering panel).  The length and width of the leg are nice – all purpose, professional, easy to transition from day to night, work to weekends, etc.

blackpant

What are you favorite professional maternity lines?  Let us know in the comments below!

xo,

Desiree and the ladies of HOM

PS: Huge thanks to my dear friend Kim for introducing me to Isabella Oliver and Maternal America via some fabulous maternity clothes on loan for this pregnancy!

 

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Ladies, Meet The Bob

{how to personalize summer’s hottest hair cut}

You know something significant must be happening when even Taylor Swift chops off her hair.  This summer seems to be the season to cut your locks.  The most popular cut?  The bob.

You can personalize this trend with a straight cut and side-swept bangs like Karlie Kloss.

2014-Karlie-Kloss-Short-Hairstyles-Wavy-Haircut-for-Short-Hair

Or with no bangs and an angular cut like Keira Knightley.

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You could also go shoulder-length with a polished cut that frames your face like Fearne Cotton.

Fearne Cotton summer bob

Or, something a bit more loose and textured like the famous Jennifer Aniston look.

Jennifer Aniston Hair Cut

The most popular cut though? “The Lob” – aka the long bob.

Ranging from right below your shoulders to your shoulder blades, this cut is The Look for this season. Personalize it to flatter your physical characteristics like coloring and face shape or even your personal style. From cross bangs to ombre (or maybe even a new hair color?), the options are endless!

hair-inspiration-long-bob

[image source]

And yes, we know that most of the time it seems really hard to style short hair, but perhaps this is the beauty behind the long bob: it’s short enough to count as a short cut, yet long enough to still be able to style updos.

For hairstyle inspiration, we love this slideshow of Ashley Tisdale showing off four completely different looks with her long bob (complete with photo tutorials!):

Ashley Tisdale Hair Style

And don’t worry, curly-haired girls can also rock a bob. Take inspiration from Keri Russell with a choppy look.

Keri Russel Curly Hair Bob

Or, shoulder-length and simple like Meg Ryan’s famous curls.

Meg Ryan Short Hair

And, the classic asymmetrical bob (short in the back, longer strands in the front) is perfect for girls with really curly hair.

Asymmetrical Bob

Not sure if the bob is the haircut for you? Try out a faux bob for a day or two to see what if looks and feels like on you. We love this tutorial - looks like a real hair cut (people will definitely compliment your new hair cut!) + it’s super simple to do!

Faux Bob Tutorial

So, yes, please do bookmark this page for your next visit to the salon. You can thank us later. ;)

-Team HOM

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Readers’ Choice

{what topics most interest you?}

Dear HOM,

{photo source}

In the aftermath of our big anniversary celebration, we are refocusing and generating great topic ideas for next year, and we want to hear from you!  What professional fashion and style topics do you want to see covered on HOM?

We’re all ears!  Let us know in the comments below or email us at houseofmarbury@gmail.com.

Thank you, as always, for reading and supporting HOM!

Cheers,
Kate and Desiree

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It’s A Wrap

{the best wrap dresses}

Summer is in full swing, and if your office observes casual Fridays, you need a go-to casual look.  For us, that’s a wrap dress.  It’s comfortable yet office-appropriate, universally flattering and feminine.  Throw on a pair of heels or closed-toe wedges and your outfit is complete.  

When it comes to wrap dresses, there’s no better designer than Diane Von Furstenberg.  The fit of her dresses is flawless- fitted in the torso, flattering neckline and plenty of fabric for a flowy skirt.

The New Julian Two Jersey Wrap would make a great addition to any wardrobe.  It’s perfectly tailored and would look lovely any time of the year with virtually any heels or accessories.  Available in black, gray, berry and teal, you can’t go wrong with any of these.  

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This Silk Jersey in Panther Black is sophisticated yet casual, ideal for the office.  Pair with nude heels in summer and black heels in winter with layers of silver or gold jewelry.

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Or, add some color and really look the season in this Silk Wrap in Indian Borders Yellow.  Camel booties in summer or slingback neutral pumps would be darling.

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For more affordable options, try Banana Republic.  They have myriad wrap dress options for under $100, including this lovely Gemma Windowpane Dress and this Geo-print Wrap Dress.

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What’s your go-to look for casual Friday?

Cheers,
Team HOM

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