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Fashion by Felicia

Felicia Caponigri | Thursday, January 26, 2012

It is an undeniable fact of our fashionable life that every fashionista has a pet peeve: something that drives her off her style rocker. I am no exception. More than mermaid tails on gowns (always strut, never waddle), cheap fabric (uncomfortable and unsophisticated), and large bows (what am I, a present?), I loathe interview outfits.

As our Notre Dame Career Fair approaches, I am overcome with dread. Picking out an outfit for this circus is more complicated than negotiating a peace treaty at the Hague.

What do I want to project to this potential employer: who I am, my strengths? Do I emphasize my boldness or play down my fashion sense to emphasize my intelligence? Why are these two things mutually exclusive? To suit or not to suit? Is wearing a silk scarf too exotic? A briefcase or a purse with portfolio?

And let’s not forget the shoes! I know you, fellow fashionistas, understand my plight. We are in a precarious position. We are on the cusp of adulthood (actual employment) and at the zenith of our youth.

And unless you’re interviewing with a luxury brand goods company who prides itself on innovation, a backless black linen halter dress with red patent leather shoes, purse, and belt (yes, I did wear that to an interview, with great success I might add) is not going to cut it.

So, what are we to do? Clearly, break the cookie cutter mold, and show those interviewers the tiramisu they’ve been missing. We need new fashion ingredients to redefine the Career Fair Fashion recipe.

No. 1: Suits are optional

There was a time (circa Working Girl) when we women felt the need to prove we could occupy the same playground as our male colleagues.  We hid our femininity under boxy blazers and pencil skirts. No more. Wearing a dress or even walking shorts with a blazer communicates your ability to think outside the box. When your employer needs a new spin on that marketing plan, they’ll know who to turn to. If you do feel more comfortable in a suit, pick a flattering cut. For pants, make them skinny, don’t drown in boot cut. Make sure the blazer emphasizes your waist, not your shoulders.

No. 2: Color is Your Friend

Imagine how many people will be standing in line in front of you. Twenty, thirty? How do you expect to make an impression on an interviewer if you’re just one of many in black? Sure, you can talk up your experience, but give them visual cues to match you to your résumé. A red dress, a bright electric blue blazer, even a patterned blouse will get you the attention and remembrance you deserve.

No. 3: Accessorize, Accessorize, Accessorize

I once had an employer tell me the reason I received an assignment was because he was impressed by the way I coordinated my outfits. I swear. He said that if I paid that much attention to the detail of my ensemble, he could only imagine how detail-oriented I would be on the project. Clearly, he was a very smart man.

No. 4: Streamline shoes

Heels are a must, but don’t go out and buy the token, clunky interview pair. Wear heels you’ve worn before, that you feel comfortable in, to which you’ve attached good memories. And they don’t need to be black! It will make standing on your own two feet, literally and figuratively, much easier in a stressful situation. And with that, you are woman, go roar.

Contact Felicia Caponigri at fcapognig@nd.edu.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.


The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Fashion by Felicia

Felicia Caponigri | Tuesday, January 17, 2012

During one chic aperitif hour over New Year’s, while settling a linguistic tête-à-tête, this fashionista discovered that dear Mr. Dictionary defines new as “not existing before; made, introduced, or discovered recently or now for the first time.” As we descend upon our snow-covered campus, we return to our dorm rooms from holidays at home, with multiple suitcases of winter clothes dragging oh so gracefully behind us. It occurs to me that Mr. Dictionary must have known a chic young collegiate woman intent on combining her Summer/Fall wardrobe with her Winter/Spring items into one minuscule wooden frame (masquerading as an adequate closet space) when composing his definition.

For indeed, during this January fashion merger we fashionistas are engulfed with the “new:” dresses we forgot we owned, that scarf that fell behind the bed in August, that favorite earring potentially lost forever found in that secret compartment in the purse hiding under the sink! Alongside these pleasant “new” discoveries, however, come the unpleasant ones: those coats are obstructing the view of my dresses, I can cram the silk shirt next to that scratchy wool sweater (can’t I?), where in heaven’s name are all my boots going to go?! The course of true fashion devotion never did run smooth, but there are Shakespearean organization tools at our disposal to stiletto-ready the path.

1. Clear, colorful plastic containers

Instead of cramming all those T-shirts, and sweaters into those pitiful drawers underneath your closet, strut on over to Target and invest in this alternate storage option. The see-through quality allows you to quickly identify the contents. Color-code the apparel within for quick wardrobe decisions on your way to that 8 a.m. lecture. The tops close securely and tightly, banishing any worry of pesky moths. These tops are themselves colorful, easily accenting your room’s color scheme. Easily stackable and impossible to break, they fit anywhere and come in multiple sizes (the smaller ones work wonders for gloves and scarves). Add some potpourri for an elegant effect.


2. Hang clothes by design

Decode your own dressing methodology. Ask yourself, do you usually dress as a result of how you feel emotionally? Physically? Does it depend on the weather? I myself find that blustery, grey days bring out the inner colorful bright rebel in me. Analyze and then act accordingly. Hang your clothes by cut (dresses together, pants, skirts, etc.) for easy access. To go the extra mile, organize by color within these larger sections. Evening ensembles get their own prized section of course.

3. Over-the-door shoe racks

Shoe organization is key for your own sanity. Invest in stackable racks for boots, and over the door ones for pumps, keeping them crisp and presentable.

4. Wooden pegs/metal hooks

Purses were meant to be hung on these contraptions. Stuffed in a pile or in a container, they fall to the bottom and drown. On pegs they are easily visible and quickly become part of a grab-and-go system.

5. Moleskine’s style carnet

This cherry on the sundae allows you to catalog your entire wardrobe with special remembrance notes and thumbnail pics, all in a chic moleskine notebook. Finally, we can put those note-taking habits to proper use. With organization like this, it’s going to be one chic 2012.

Contact Felicia Caponigri at fcaponig@nd.edu

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.