Office Talk

{some clever ways to add color and personality to your office}

We talk a lot about how to best present yourself in an office or professional setting via attire, but, as of yet, we haven’t talked much about office decor.  We are so grateful to one of our readers for suggesting this topic, as the way your office looks is absolutely a reflection of both your style and your professionalism.

This is an easy thing to overlook, but we’ve realized from personal experience that this is important not only from an aesthetic perspective, but from a well-being perspective, too.  When you like your office space, you’ll enjoy coming into work more, too.

Here are a few tips for making your office look great and for feeling good about being in your office.

1. Keep Your Office Neat

This is a challenge for busy professionals, and for lawyers in particular.  But nothing is more calming, centering, and productivity-making than a tidy office.  If your office is not neat and well-organized, any tips about styling your office are useless.  We try to make a habit of spending 5 minutes at the end of each day, and a half an hour on Friday mornings, organizing and cleaning up our office so it is presentable for colleagues and clients, and bearable to be in on a day to day basis.

2. Control The Lighting

A friend of ours suggested this years back and we’re so glad he did.  Rather than suffering through dim or flourescent lighting that can plague many offices, turn those off and opt for some soft or bright lighting (at your preference) by bringing in a lamp or two.  Choose a few different types of lamps you can strategically place around your office for style and for pleasant, non-headache-inducing lighting.  And they don’t have to be proper “office” lamps, either.  Choose some unique lighting to add interest to your otherwise plain office.  For a great selection of all kinds of lighting, Ikea is our go-to.  For example, this Klaab table lamp would be a brilliant addition to any office space.


(So few people do this, by the way, but it’s completely genius and will change the way you work for the better.)

3. Get some Statement Desktop Pieces

Without cluttering your desk, opt for a few statement pieces that will add interest and color to your office.  Some of our staples include a unique business card display case like this handmade business card holder.  A guaranteed talking point.


We also like to keep an assortment of nice frames (with pictures of family, friends, pets, etc. – as long as they are all professional) on our desktop.  You can mix and match the frames for a home-decor-at-the-office feel, which will certainly lift your mood no matter how you’re feeling about your work on any given day.  World Market has a great selection of inexpensive, colorful frames.


Since we believe strongly that success in any office environment depends on mentorship, collegial efforts, and making connections, we like to keep thank you notes on our desk as well.  That way, anytime someone assists you in any way in your career, you can pop a thank you note in the mail with little effort.  Choose bright cards like these notes from Tiny Prints and leave them out on your desk for an additional spike of color.

thank you

4. Time It

Much like with lights, we have rarely seen colleagues bring in clocks of their own, but it’s such a great idea.  Clocks are a fun and inexpensive way to decorate your office, and functional, too.  We love this colorful Watch Me Clock by Normann Copenhagen that we came across on Fancy recently.


5. Flowers

Office plants are so 1980s.  When we picture desk-top plants in an office, more than anything we picture some dejected guy walking out of the office carrying a cardboard box filled with desktop items, and a limp plant hanging over the edge.  Sad.  We are big fans of skipping the plants and keeping a nice, bold vase at your desk instead.  Each week, bring in fresh flowers and add some instant life to your office space.  Nambe carries some gorgeous and truly unique vase designs.


What do you keep on your desk?  Share in the comments below!


Team HOM

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Happy Labor Day!

Like you (hopefully), HOM is taking the day off in observance of this important day of observance.  We wish you a fun, safe and happy Labor Day!


Team HOM

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The Secrets to Shiny Hair

{five easy ways to get shiny locks}

The Secret to Shiny Hair - House of Marbury

[image source]

Humidity tends to bring out the worst in a girl’s hair, so that no matter how much you straighten it or smooth on serums, it still looks dull and lifeless. So, we decided to scour the Internet for the best tips on getting shiny hair. Here’s what we found:

The cold rinse. At the end of your shower, rinse your hair with cold water (as cold as you can handle it!). This is a super easy trick and does wonders (I tried it and yes, it works!). Hot water lifts the hair’s cuticle, which creates a rougher, less light-reflective surface. On the other hand, cold water will smooth your hair cuticle, resulting in – you guessed it – shiny hair.

Clarify. Your hair probably sees a lot of action – heat styling, different hair products, and even pollution in the air. All that stuff builds up over time, leading to dullness. To remove the buildup without damaging your hair even further, add a few ounces of apple cider vigenar to your shampoo, then follow up with a moisturizing conditioner. The smell might be a tad bit awkward, but the luster in your hair afterwards will totally be worth it!

Try an at-home glaze. Kind of like a temporary topcoat for your hair, using a glaze treatment once or twice a week will add a layer of gloss to your hair. From my research, one of the top contenders is the John Frieda Luminous Color Glaze (and it’s only $10!). You can also try a few other DIY home hair masks using things like coconut oil, avocado, or a mix of olive oil and mayonnaise.

Eat the good stuff. Yes, we hear about it all the time – you are what you eat. But, this motto also applies to your hair. For shiny, conditioned hair, eat foods with omega-3 fatty acids. For example: soybeans, flaxseeds, walnuts, Brussels sports, kale, spinach, salmon and tuna.

Put some oil on it. There are tons of shine serums out there, but you must first try the ones that are made of natural oils. One of the most popular options is Moroccanoil - it goes on light and smells divine! Similar options include the Kitoko Oil Treatment and the Josie Maran Argan Oil Hair Serum.

How do you keep your hair shiny?

Team HOM



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Style Inspiration: Paper Crown’s Fall Collection

{looking ahead to fall with lauren conrad’s collection}

Although we’ve been trying to hold off on posting about fall looks and clothing, we couldn’t help but take a “chic peek” at LC’s new fall 2014 collection for Paper Crown.

There are some absolutely stunning pieces, and many that are work-appropriate.  Check it out for yourself, and scroll through a few of our favorite looks below:

Paper Crown Dress

This Paper Crown Porter dress is ideal for fall.  The high neck, empire waist, below-the-knee hemline and deep V back, make for a flattering and feminine silhouette.  Gorgeous.

Paper Crown Skirt

This eyelet Farren pencil skirt is stunning.  The textured fabric and below-the-knee cut are ideal for a sophisticated business casual look.  Love.

Paper Crown Jumpsuit

You know I love me a jumpsuit, and this Havilland Jumpsuit is no exception.  The bow detail on the back is perfect for a night out, but wear it with a blazer during the day for the ultimate day-to-night transition.

Happy Thursday,
Team HOM

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Stylish Accessories From M + G

{a look at the new Mark and Graham}

Recently, a dear reader brought Mark and Graham to our attention.  M+G is almost two years old, but, somehow, we had never heard of it.  When we checked it out, we were beyond impressed with the preppy, high-quality accessories- perfect for the stylish professional.

As it turns out, M +G is an affiliate of Williams-Sonoma (so you know it’s good) and was founded with the goal of providing a new twist on the gift giving and monogramming industry.  The company specializes in colorful yet sophisticated products for men, women, pets, and the home.  The site is user-friendly and conveniently divided into sub-categories, such as gifts for her, gifts for him, gifts for the entertainer, etc.  Nearly every item can be customized, and monogramming/customizing is always free!

Here are a few of our favorite pieces available at M + G:

These leather iPad envelope cases are adorable.  We love the envelope styling and the single capital letter monogramming option.  Or, if a laptop is your word processor of choice, these skinny laptop totes serve a similar function and are great, too.

M+G ipad case 2

If you are looking to invest in high-quality leather goods, this Academy Satchel is the epitome of preppy chic.  Or, this Audrey Boarding Bag is the perfect size and shape for a sophisticated yet functional professional handbag.  For the man in your life, this saddle brown leather briefcase is ideal.

M+G handbag

This silver plated business card holder is classic and chic.  The monogramming is great and the price is quite reasonable.  Consider one for yourself or give it as a gift to any new lawyer or professional.

M+G Business Card Holder

M+G also carries a wide array of custom stationery, paperweights and letter openers, great accessories for the prepared professional and easy gifts for a new colleague.

Fun offers for HOM readers:

Place an order through friend of HOM, Meredith Stradley, and receive free shipping on your order!  Simply follow THIS LINK and enter Trunk Show ID: 814081697837 Access Code: WS9627163 to unlock free shipping.

In addition, M+G offers 10% off certain corporate purchases and most items can be printed with a custom business/firm logo.  Finally, if you live in the D.C. area and are interested in hosting a truck show, contact Meredith at

Thanks for the info and the offers, Meredith!

Team HOM

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ESQ Clothing

{meet lawyer-turned-fashion business owner Ge Wang}

Last week, we had the pleasure of talking with the founder of ESQ Clothing, Ge Wang.

Ge is an attorney who left full-time practice to start a custom men’s suiting company.  Ge filled us in on how he made the jump from legal practice to fashion, style tips for practicing attorneys and some of his favorite trends for the upcoming fall season.

Read on to learn more about Ge and his custom suiting business in downtown Chicago.

ESQ Clothing 1

Q:  Tell us about ESQ Clothing and how it came to be.
A:  Honestly, the idea of ESQ Clothing came about because I did not have a custom suit maker that I was thrilled about in terms of both quality and price. Being into fashion, I figured I would try to give other attorneys a quality product at a very competitive price.

Q:  We heard you got a lot of attention from a collaboration with Matt Forte- how did that come about?
A: Matt was originally a friend of a friend. We’re about the same age and we both decided that we could help each other out. Watch out for a great season from Matt Forte this year.

ESQ Clothing 3

Q:  Has your training in the law helped in the development of your business?
A:  A legal background can never be detrimental. Critical thinking, negotiation skills, work ethic… One learns so much starting in law school and then really develops these skills in the legal profession. My law background has helped tremendously in setting up ESQ.

Q:  How would you describe your personal and professional styles?
A:  My style is very classic. When it comes to suits, it typically means a blue suit with a crisp white shirt, but I will add always add something that is unique to me – whether that be the tie, pocket square, socks etc. In my personal life, my style is pretty casual. For men, especially, please check out Lululemon as their stuff is so comfortable. My advice is to carve out your own style. Use the magazines only as a guide and really add your own personality to your style.

Q:  Do you have any tips for our male (or female!) readers regarding professional attire- how and what to wear to the office?
A:  In a professional setting, you want to look exactly that – professional. Know your workplace. If your workplace is very conservative, navy and charcoal are your staples. If your workplace is a bit more fashion forward, check out some unique shades or blue (indigo or midnight) or add a subtle pattern. Oh, and avoid black. Black is traditionally for funerals and weddings.

Q:  Since you specialize in custom tailoring, do you have some tips for our readers regarding the fit of a suit and/or other professional clothing?
A: In recent years the trend has been slim and then skinny fits for men. Thankfully, men’s fashion has gone back a bit now to slim. We’ll leave the skinny suits for the early 20s crowd. A slimmer cut suit is ideal for every man as it will make you seem younger, taller, and show that you care about your appearance. The fit of the shoulders is key. Chances are, your are wearing a size or two too large. The shoulders should form a prefect 90 degree angle without any excess.

Q:  Who is your favorite designer?
A:  If I were to pick a suit designer I’d say Ralph Lauren Purple Label, though all of my suits are now ESQ. For casual looks, Lululemon.

Q:  What are your favorite looks/trends for the fall season?
A:  It isn’t for everyone, but greens are my favorite for this fall. It’s certainly a bolder look. Brown tweeds and flannels are very popular for fall 2014 as well.

ESQ Clothing 2

Q:  What are your favorite fashion resources- blogs, apps, stores, etc.?
A:  I typically stick with GQ and Esquire. A lot of good advice in both those magazines.

Q:  What’s your favorite part about your job at ESQ Clothing?
A:  Nothing brings more joy than when clients send me photos of the wedding dressed in ESQ. I like to think that I help add a little joy to the special day.

Q:  What’s your favorite item available at ESQ Clothing right now and why?
A:  My favorite item is your imagination. With over 7,000 fabrics in stock, we can create any suit or shirt of your dreams, with an impeccable fit.

Q:  Where do you see ESQ Clothing going from here?
A:  We’ll be here in Chicago for anyone who needs us.

Q:  How can our readers check out ESQ Clothing for themselves?
A:  We take reservations for private fittings. Please call 312.818.9088, email or visit for more details.

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The Colors Of The Rainbow

{nail polish colors that are appropriate for the office}

Thanks to a request by one of our fabulous readers, today we’re talking nail polish colors across the spectrum that are appropriate for work.  While at least one of the HOM ladies (Desiree!) loves going out on a limb with her nail polish colors, there are certainly rules to live by in terms of what is office worthy and what is strictly weekend wear.  Let’s take it color by color:


Yes!  Absolutely.  Most shades of red, from pinks to burgundies, are fantastic, professional choices that will absolutely compliment your professional attire.  For traditional, non-controversial colors like red, go with shellack and keep your nails looking beautiful and polished for up to a month at a time.  There are so many gorgeous reds and red-to-pink shades to choose from, and, as we said, you basically can’t go wrong.  At the moment, we adore Tom Ford’s Smoke Red.



While any level of bright orange will not work, a pale orange (we’re thinking salmon or coral) would be very pretty in summer.  Keep it matte versus shiny, and wear it sporadically so that you are not defined by your “wild” or unusual nail color.  As much as we love fashion, we also love our jobs, and we don’t want to risk our reputation or the impression we leave simply on account of some nail polish that is going to chip as soon as you do the dishes.  For a lovely coral-orange, check out Where did Suzi’s Man Go by OPI.




Nope.  No way.  Tacky (we’re going to go ahead and say stay away from yellow even on the weekends) and not even a little office appropriate.  Perhaps if you could find a soft, pale yellow that verges on white, you’re OK, but in that case you may as well just go white, as it is more flattering for almost all skin tones and unquestionably more serious and professional.


We searched high and low for a green tone that would be appropriate for the office, and we’re coming up short.  Green is not quite as intense as yellow, but it’s still a bit cavalier and a little too out there for any office setting we can think of.  (Though we have to admit we love this Mojito Madness for summer weekends!)


Blue is tricky.  This is not a color you want to whip out on your first day at the office – or even in your first year.  Over time, depending on your office setting and what you have going on that week (i.e., no court or client meetings or other professional occasion), a pale blue (that borders on grey or lavender, perhaps) could very well be office appropriate.  We do love blue nails – and if it’s the right blue it can be a super chic look, particularly with gold jewelry – but this is one where you have to use your judgement, and if any part of you is hesitant, don’t do it.  No shellack on this one either.  The right blue for a few days is fun and unique; a whole month of blue is a little much.  For an office blue that could work (again depending on office and circumstances), try Essie’s Lapiz of Luxury.



Barney purple, no.  Lavender purple, yes.  The lighter and more subdued the purple, the better.  And a week rather than a month is preferable with purple, too.  One of our favorites in this category is Prince by Ten Over Ten.



All shades and tones of white are lovely for nails and absolutely office worthy.  For a beautiful white for summer, try Essie’s Urban Jungle.



As with yellow and green, we’re going to have to go flat out “no” on black nail polish.  The goth vibe really doesn’t go in an office setting.  With that said, there are various shades of grey that are not only office appropriate, they are a nice combination of subdued and unique.  For a go-to office grey, we love RGB’s Steel.  As a bonus, RGB makes chemical free, vegan, made in the USA nail polish!


Agree or disagree with our break down here?  Tell us in the comments below!


Team HOM

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Color Design

{color combinations inspired by interior design}

End of summer always makes me want to re-invent my style.  Maybe because fall is my favorite season and I can’t wait to wear boots and sweaters, yet the temperatures are still too warm to really dress for fall.  So, during this in-between season, the best way to mix things up a little is to play with color and the items you already have in your wardrobe. 

For color inspiration, go to the experts: interior designers.  Scroll through your Pinterest feed and you’re bound to see dozens of shots of living rooms, bedrooms and even kitchens featuring extraordinary color schemes.  Unless you’re currently remodeling (or just dreaming of your perfect home for someday), those photos are not much use in your daily life.  But, after this post you’ll never look at that couch the same way:

Purple + navy + a dash of yellow 

purple navy color combination

Kendie from Kendie Everday styles this color combination so perfectly!  This outfit works for a day of casual errands, but for the office, we’d update the look a little.  For example, this cropped pair of Alice + Olivia slacks, paired with a simple silk T-shirt makes for a gorgeous outfit.  Just add a statement necklace for your dash of yellow!

Mint + pink + gold accents

mint and pink color combination

We love how Rachel from Pink Peonies styled this color combination – such a perfect work outfit.  You can never go wrong with a colored pencil skirt, like this J. Crew one, or a cardigan in your favorite color.  (Gap and Old Navy are great for affordable cardigans!)  We particularly like how Rachel paired the colors with a neutral base of a chambray shirt and then added gold jewelry and accessories.

Beige + white + shades of blue

Beige shades of blue color combination

If a Hampton’s beach house could be an outfit, this would be it.  We just love how easy and simple this pairing of neutrals is.  Although traditionally white and beige are not worn together, when paired with a navy blue, the color combination works so well!

Green + cream + grey

green white gray color combination

This shade of green makes us dream of the emerald city, but oh my, how gorgeous is this color combination?  We especially love how this 2012 J.Crew ad styled the layers of colors, textures and patterns!  These Kate Spade green, cropped pants, paired with a white button-down, and a grey sweater or a striped blazer is perfect to transition from summer into fall!

Regardless of the colors you’re styling, remember to throw in a neutral shade like white, beige or grey to build a strong foundation.  Plus, gold accessories are always a great accent shade!

What are your favorite color combinations right now?
-Team HOM

[All images via Pinterest]

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Style Inspiration – Pink Peonies Closet

{a customized closet worthy of any fashionista}


We do love Olivia Palermo’s closet, but when one of our favorite fashion bloggers revealed her new closet, our jaws struck the floor in awe.  Animal print carpet, white fixtures, a chandelier, the most gorgeous desk and so many beautiful wardrobe pieces lining the walls!  It’s pretty much every girl’s dream!  Plus, it really does give a whole new meaning to shopping your own wardrobe.

For more photos of this stunning space, visit the Pink Peonies blog!


Team HOM

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Suit Up For The Job You Want

{the best suits to wear to an interview}

It’s that time of year again.  Many law students are heading back to school early for on campus interviews, soon-to-be attorneys have just completed the bar exam, and the summer is coming to an end, which means that some seasoned professionals are starting to consider making a move or making a pitch for partnership.

We’ve talked about what to wear to an interview before, and have given you tips regarding what else to consider in completing your most professional of looks (accessorizing, make-up, hair, etc.).  Today we’re telling you where to find the best suits of the moment to help you feel put-together, confident, and polished during the interview process.

This Stellita two-bottom wool suit from Brooks Brothers in dark gray is striking and classic.  The simple lines and heathered color allow you to stand out while still looking conservative and professional.  Pair with a crisp white button-up or a white blouse, black shoes and a black skinny belt.


Or, switch things up with this One Button Blazer + Dallasa Sheath by Hugo Boss.  The conservative nature of the matching navy jacket and sheath paired with a single strand of pearls and modest nude pumps make for an interview-appropriate look.  Consider putting a button-up underneath so that the collar shows above the sheath’s neckline for the ultimate professional statement.


For a more affordable option, we love this pinstripe straight-leg pant suit from The Limited.  The subtle pinstripe adds the right amount of interest, while maintaining an entirely professional appearance.  Pair with a white button-up and brown heels for a complete look.


Or, for a classic black skirt suit, look no further than this lightweight wool jacket + pencil skirt from Banana Republic.  The cut and fit are purely professional and the price is right.  Pair with a black pump, black and white patterned blouse or silk button-up, and be sure not to style your hair like the model in this photo.


Any of these suits will work wonderfully for an interview, whether you’re just beginning your legal career or you’re making a move to a new office or new position within your company or firm.  Remember to dress conservatively, but to maintain some individuality and to be comfortable.  These three factors will help you feel confident, which is the biggest asset you need to succeed.

Good luck!
Team HOM

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