The Fundamentals Of A (Fabulous) Professional Wardrobe

{check out our guest posts on levo league!}

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We are so honored to be writing for Levo League, one of our favorite on-line resources for professional and career-oriented women.  Last week, we broke down the fundamentals of a fabulous professional wardrobe.

This week, we’re sharing how to build a professional wardrobe on any budget! Do check out the articles and let us know what you think!

And, if you’re not a member of the Levo community, we hope you take some time to explore what they offer and join in on their impressive efforts in support of women.

Enjoy!
Team HOM

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Professional Pleating

{pleated details for your professional attire}

We love pleats and more and more designers are using the detail in skirts as well as other pieces.  We rounded up a few of our favorites that we thought you’d enjoy:

When you think pleating, you probably think skirts.  Fortunately, the days of the pleated plaid skirt uniform are far behind those of us who went to private school.

Nowadays, you can find all sorts of gorgeous pleated skirts out there, like this swoon-worthy skirt from RedValentino.  We love the blush pink color and the flattering flare of the skirt. What’s more, it’s equipped with pockets!

pleat 1

If you can’t drop a cool $400 on a skirt, or you’re too tall to wear the above to work, this white pleated skirt from ASOS is extremely similar, has a more modest hemline and is one-quarter the price.

pleats 2

Patterned pleats are especially lovely because you can really see the effect the pleating has on the fabric.  We cannot get enough of this Ellie Grid-Print skirt from British designer Whistles.  Gorgeous.

pleats 4

Or, go for double texture with this pleated eyelet skirt in black from Vince Camuto.

But why stop at skirts?

We adore the pleating detail on these cropped trousers by Gillian.  Pair with killer heels and a crisp button-up, similar to what’s pictured.

pleats 6

Or, go for all-over pleats with this stunning dress in eggshell by Calvin Klein.  This dress would transition effortlessly from day to night- simply pair with a summery cropped jacket for daytime and switch it out for dangly earrings in the evening.  Love.

pleats 7

For another flawless day-to-night option, check out this amazing jumpsuit with subtle pleated details bordering the neckline.  If the neckline is a little low, wear a camisole underneath during the day and remove it before going out for the night.

pleats 5

For more subtle pleating options, you cannot go wrong with this Wrap Pleat Tulip Dress by British designer Therapy.

Will you pleat?  Tell us in the comments below.

Cheers,
Team HOM

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Tips for Organizing Your Office Space

{five easy ways to help you stay on top of things}

Tips for Organizing Your Office Space

{photo credit here}

If your early legal career is a typical one, your office or cubicle will be your home away from home for some time. As soon as you have settled in, create a space that is organized, comfortable, and familiar for you.  This will make working in the space (or living in the space, as the case may be) much more palatable.

Weekly Clean Up

Organize your office today (!) and spend a half-hour every Friday morning thereafter, for the duration of your practice, maintaining your office. (For the most part, not much goes on on Friday mornings, anyway, and you will be thankful Monday morning when you return to a workable space.)  This is a good idea not only because an organized office will reduce your risk of malpractice, but also because a neat, organized, inviting office suggests that you are a neat, organized, inviting practitioner. More senior attorneys (and eventually clients) like this.

Organize your Supplies

Organize pens, notepads, and file folders in a purposeful way that works for you and that you will stick with going forward. Use one designated notepad and one designated file folder for each case, project, or deal you are assigned to. Clearly mark each notepad and file folder with the case, project, or deal information it contains. While it is tempting to combine these things (notepads in particular) for multiple cases, your organization will suffer for it.

And when a partner comes into your office and asks you to quickly look back at your notes on a particular assignment, you want to be able to do so without flipping haphazardly through all of the notepads piled on your desk like a lunatic.

File, Label, Repeat

Ask your administrative assistant for help with creating file folders with detailed labels and categories (i.e., research and working files, personal/firm information files, “chron” files, etc.).  Place all hard copy documents in their appropriate files.

Below the Fold

Rather than have shoes and other personal items strewn about disastrously under your desk, use an empty bankers box as a designated shoe/personal items box. Keep this tucked away under your desk.

Self-Reflection

Finally, your office or cubicle space should reflect who you are – and it should resemble a space you would like to spend a significant amount of time in. Blank walls are uninviting. They also suggest that you do not intend to be with your firm or office for the duration (this is generally not something you want to project, even if it’s true).

Demonstrate to the more senior attorneys in your office that you are enthusiastic about your integration into the firm and intend to be there for some time by hanging up your framed diplomas and placing other personal items (photographs, artwork) on your desk or walls.

Building an organizational system and creating a familiar but professional atmosphere from day one will ensure that, as your practice gets busier, your office will remain a comfortable, productive working space for you.

Want more inside tips on thriving in your legal practice?  Check out Desiree’s book, Thrive – A New Lawyer’s Guide to Law Firm Practice

What tips do you have for staying organized and on top of things?

Cheers,
Team HOM

 

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Tour De Europe

{our favorite European (and beyond) designers}

I was in Greece recently and stumbled upon a brilliant designer – Ioanna Kourbela – who I am now obsessed with.  And discovering her got me thinking about all of those amazing designers out there who are not necessarily front and center when we’re shopping in the US.  In this post, we’re taking a tour of Europe and cataloging some of our newly discovered favorite designers.

Ioanna Kourbela (Greece)

There is so much to love about this relatively young Greek designer who has made a major splash on the world stage in recent years (when I was in Greece a high-end store owner was telling me that all the big designers come through his store looking to see what “Ioanna” is doing).  And it comes as no surprise to us.  Everything from her dresses to the detail in her unique belts and shoes is to die for.  We would like one of each.

Our favorite work appropriate pieces include the “Snow White” Dress in black (here it is bustled and embellished with a belt that makes it more evening appropriate, but the bustle comes out and you can omit the belt for an easy work look).

snowwhite

and this “Accordion” top to wear with black or khaki trousers and a shell underneath.

blouse

Massimo Dutti (Spain)

Since coming across this line, this Spanish designer has quickly become a staple in our professional wardrobes.  With easy silk blouses, straight-leg trousers, and gorgeous knit blazers, falling in love with Massimo Dutti was inevitable, really.

massimo

blazer

Co|Te (Italy)

Co|Te is an up and coming Italian design house with an amazing aesthetic and style.  The clothes are fashion forward but, with some modifications, would make incredible statement pieces to add color and excitement to any professional wardrobe.  Their gorgeous Fall/Winter 2014/15 collection is all you need to know to start following this amazing brand.

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Ayala Bar (Israel)

Hailing from Israel, Ayala Bar is not technically a European designer.  But, she’s incredible, and we want you to know about her work!  We simply adore the risks she takes with color, shapes, and untraditional designs.  Her jewelry is fun, but artful, too, and we can picture any low key outfit (a grey suit with a white button up, for example) made more interesting with one of her bright and bold designs (many of which are available on Amazon).  Love!

 

ayala

What undiscovered designers do you love?  Let us know in the comments below!

Happy Monday,

HOM

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Accessorizing for Lawyers

{five tips for accessorizing your professional wardrobe}

A few weeks ago we solicited your thoughts as to what you would like to see us write about in upcoming weeks.  We received some great responses and we’re so excited to tackle the various wardrobe and attire topics our HOM readers raised.   In this post, per an HOM reader’s request, we are discussing accessorizing with five tips on defining what accessorizing means to you!

Kate Spade beau bag

[photo credit]

1. Have a statement piece.   Sometimes, statement pieces can be intimidating – how do you even know if something is a “statement piece?”  Or, what if you’re a woman who prefers simple pieces and thinks anything with color or florals is gaudy?  No judgment here!  A statement piece is something that can stand on its own and makes you feel extremely happy and pretty.

For example, this Kate Spade bib necklace is the epitome of a statement accessory – it’s bold and chic.  We’d wear it with a white button-down, a grey tee and jeans, or a simple sheath dress.

Kate Spade Statement Necklace

If you want a more classic statement piece, try these Kate Spade drop earrings – with the pearl inserts and gold foundation, the colors are classic, yet the design makes a bold statement.

Kate spade new york Capri Garden statement earrings

In the end, the key is to make sure that you love the accessory and that you feel comfortable wearing it at work.  Also (especially at work!), keep it to one statement piece at at time.  Let your skill and hard work shine by using accessories to compliment your work, not for distraction!

2. Remember the classics.  There is much to be said for a simple pearl necklace or diamond studs (aka the age old debate of diamonds vs. pearls).

3. Shoes + purses count too!  Too often, we get into a rut of thinking that accessories = jewelry.  But, don’t forget that you can also use shoes and purses to add a personal touch to your outfit.  For example, these Sergio Rossi Suede pumps have the perfect heel height to be work appropriate, yet the material and shape are like a work of art for your feet!  For a more affordable option, try these Laud and Cheer heels from Mod Cloth.  Or, who can resist these floral pumps by Stuart Weitzman?

Sergio Rossi suede pumps

Handbags can also act as an accessory, but the key is to find something that also fits your needs as far as style, comfort, and storage space.  The simplest way is to find a bag in your favorite color – in royal purple perhaps like this Gregory Sylvia bag?

Gregory Sylvia bag

You can also play around with shape, keeping the color neutral, but finding a bag with some structure.  This Michael Kors tote in white is perfection for summertime!

Michael Kors bag

Oh, and scarves count too (especially silk ones!).

4. Get creative.  Just search accessorizing on Pinterest, and you’re bound to stumble across hundreds of images for inspiration.  For example, you can experiment with arm parties (a stack of a variety of bracelets + a watch) or necklace layering.  You can also order customized jewelry pieces, like your daughter’s name in cursive.

Customized necklace

5. Know thyself.  In the end, accessorizing is all about you, because it’s one of the easiest ways to express your personality through your style while remaining work-appropriate.  In a sea of black suits, be the one to wear a statement necklace with your business suit or the woman with the perfect bag.

Trust us, these little details will not go unnoticed (in a good way!) and will surely strike up a few good conversations with your fellow lady attorneys!  So, pick your favorite colors and patterns and work them into your wardrobe (even if it’s a small arrow ring like this).

Want to add to this discussion?  Please do so in the comments below!  And if there are any topics you’d like to see us cover in upcoming weeks, let us know that, too, by leaving a comment or emailing us at info@houseofmarbury.com.  Thank you!

Happy accessorizing,

Team HOM

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Instagrammers

{the instagram accounts we’re inspired by}

We’re fairly new to Instagram, but loving it as a tool for connecting with our readers, sharing some of our favorite outfits (or #ootd – outfits of the day – which apparently is the correct corresponding hashtag on Instagram), and getting inspired by other fashion bloggers.

For this Thursday’s inspiration post, here is a run-down of some of the best Instagrammers we’ve come across so far:

The best Instagram accounts for fashion and style inspiration

  • @leaf_greenerThis lady is funky and fun and all around amazing.  She’s constantly jet-setting, eating, and finding aesthetically inspiring things.  We’re big fans.
  • @chiaraferragni: Perhaps one of the best known names/handles in fashion blogging (she is also known as The Blonde Salad), Chiara Ferragni’s Instagram account does not disappoint.  It’s pure outfit envy, post after post after post.
  • @sincerelyjulesWe love this tiny powerhouse fashion blogger, who has made her way to the top of the Instagram charts and beyond.  Her style is casual chic but there are gems embedded in each of her posts.
  • @_yanyanchanFinally, you’re totally missing out if you’re not following Yan Yan Chan on Instagram.  She’s funky and her style is amazing, as are her food and travel photos. Love!

Who are your favorite Instagrammers?

Let us know in the comments below!  And be sure to connect with @houseofmarbury on Instagram, too!

- HOM

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For The Very Casual Professional

{what to wear on a casual day in or out of the office}

Recently, another one of our lovely readers wrote in asking for a post about very casual attire.  She works as a consultant and regularly meets with clients and colleagues in coffee shops and other casual settings.  While she wants to look competent and put-together, she explained, there’s no reason for her to dress in business formal or business casual, even.

layering casual friday look

She poses a great question because many attorneys – most attorneys, actually – do not get up and dress for court every morning.  And even for those of us that do, there are times when we have a casual meeting or day outside of the office and need to look the part while dressing appropriately for the activity or setting we are in.

For those informal days, consider the following outfit suggestions:

Trouser jeans + fitted sweater + necklace + wedges

If jeans are doable in your office or for your casual meeting, go for it.  We recommend a trouser jean like this Marion cut by Raven.  This trouser design looks almost as professional as slacks, but gives off a comfortable, less intimidating vibe.  Balance out the oversized trouser with a fitted sweater or tailored blouse.

trouser jean

[Photo credit here.]

Maxi skirt + tucked in button-up + flats

When perusing Pinterest for the purposes of this post, we came across this look and we think it’s great.  Maxi skirts are uber comfortable and feminine and when worn in a preppy pattern and paired with a button-up, they look great.  We love this striped maxi skirt from Piperlime, or this affordable striped version from GAP.  No need to pair with a blazer; instead, we suggest tucking in a button-up or tying one in front like so.

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Skinny jeans + untucked button-up + necklace

This outfit combination is super straightforward, but it works well and will always be considered appropriate for a casual day.  We would caution against a lighter, faded wash or any jeans with rips or holes, and instead opt for a dark solid wash.  Pair with a blouse, such as this adorable Bib Popover from J.Crew, or this more affordable collarless button up from LOFT, throw on a short necklace underneath or a long, thin necklace over top and you’re good to go.

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[photo credit here.]

White or colored jeans + chambray top

We love chambray, and the denim-looking linen fabric is ideal for casual days.  Pair with white jeans or any other color denim.  This dark rinse keeper chambray top from J.Crew is ideal (and on sale!), or, this fitted boyfriend floral chambray shirt from GAP adds subtle pattern to the classic chambray.

casual 3

[Photo credit here.]

Shirt dress + flats or wedges

A simple collared shirt dress makes for an effortlessly chic casual outfit.  This linen number from Isda & Co. is lovely (and affordable!); as is this chambray version from GAP.  

eqzoom85.ms
Do you work in a casual office?  What are your go-to casual outfit combinations?

Cheers,
Team HOM

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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

lavender

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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