Alyssa J Freitas

September 29, 2016

The Do's And Don'ts Of Dressing Professionally

Enjoy this guest post by Meredith Stewart (a West Coast transplant now in Texas who lives and breathes fashion) all about the etiquette of dressing professionally! 

It’s never great to show up somewhere only to see you are sorely underdressed. Oscar Wilde once said, “You can never be overdressed or overeducated,” and he definitely has a point. It is always better to be dressed too well than to feel like the only one who didn’t get the memo. Especially when it comes to dressing professionally, there are a lot of questions people have on what is appropriate to wear and what is not. Although fashion is subjective, there are some objective, unspoken “rules” that should be taken into consideration when putting together an outfit for a professional setting. It is poor etiquette to show up in an outfit that’s too casual or too sloppy, so here are some of the do's and don'ts of dressing professionally.
The Do's And Don'ts Of Dressing Professionally

Do: Ask about the dress code. 

Sometimes the simplest question is the most effective. If you’re not sure about how casual or dressy the attire should be, just ask. Something as simple as, “Is there a dress code?” gives off the intention that you want to dress appropriately and want a little direction. It’s polite and will likely give you a definite answer as to how to dress.

Don't: Take too much of a fashion risk. 

If you’re not sure about that extremely trendy yet borderline risqué skirt, maybe you should save it for a time that’s not as professional or important.

Do: Opt for conservative pieces. 

When in doubt, cover it up. You’d rather be covering too much skin than showing too much. Sometimes a too-low top is too offensive for people to handle. Know your audience and keep it conservative when you’re not sure if something is too scandalous.

Don't: Wear ill-fitting clothes. 

You come off a lot less professional when you’re swimming in a drab sweater and baggy pants. Take Bustle’s advice and make sure your pants are hemmed, fit well, and your outerwear is tailored.

Do: Find fashionable shoes that are just as practical. 

There’s no harm in sporting a stylish pair of shoes in a professional setting. There is harm, however, when you spend a lot of time standing and choose impractical stilettos that aren’t broken in. To avoid awkward situations and unimaginable pain, make smart shoe choices. Lyst’s idea to wear classic ballet flats is a timeless style move that’ll never fade.

Don't: Wear anything too out-of-date. 

Sure, some throwbacks have proven to be fashion gold, but keep the outdated styles of out of the workplace. CNN notes that looking outdated can give off the impression that you lack fresh ideas, and that’s not quite the best career move.

Do: Be mindful of what everyone is wearing. 

If you’re not sure how your clothing will stack up to what everyone else wears, do a little research to see how people dress at the place or event you will be attending. If it’s your first day on the job, try to think back to how everyone was dressed when you walked in for your interview. If it’s a networking event, see if you can find photos from previous years or similar occasions.

How do you determine what is most appropriate to wear? What are your favorite professional dressing tips?


September 27, 2016

4 Consignment Shopping Tips

Do you remember how I was on that shopping ban for the past year? Even though it was tough, I learned so much and most importantly better understood the value of a dollar. Now that the shopping ban is up, however, I've allowed myself a bit more freedom. Something that I've been absolutely loving is going to consignment stores.
4 Consignment Shopping Tips
A consignment store is where people bring in their new or gently used clothing which are held for a certain length of time in the store. If it is sold in the designated time then the person gets a cut of the sale and if not (generally) the person will take them back. The beauty of consignment shopping is that you can get great quality pieces for a quarter of the price.

For example, I recently popped into my favorite consignment shop in Princeton called Greene Street and made out like a bandit! I got four pieces for just under $100 including two J. Crew sweaters, an Ann Taylor blazer, and a darling professional dress from Laundry by Shelli Segal. These are all great quality items in wonderful condition at the best prices. Today I am going to share with you 4 tips for how to make the most of consignment shopping.

01. Location, location, location

If you want to get good quality stuff you have to go to an area where the people dress in high end brands. For example, I mentioned my favorite shop is in Princeton and that is largely because I like the style and brands that are popular there. Find an affluent area, look for a consignment shop, and go crazy.

02. Don't look for something specific

Here's the deal: you can easily fall in love with something at a consignment shop and it doesn't fit, but there is no other size option because this is consignment, baby. This means that you shouldn't go to a consignment shop with a particular item in mind. It's best to go in with the mindset of just seeing what you can find and having fun looking.

03. Try on A LOT of things

Most of what you try on will not work. At all. It's a good idea to give yourself a fair amount of time and try on all of the things because the majority will not be quite right.

04. Don't let size hold you back

I know you've probably read a lot about size being just a number and looking for fit, but this is especially important when consignment shopping. Pieces are generally arranged by type (shirts, sweaters, dresses, etc) and then by size, so don't be afraid to look in the medium section if you're usually small and vice versa. When I went with my friend Calea she picked out a size dress for me that I wouldn't have expected to fit, but it was actually perfect and is now my favorite. Take a look at all of the options and don't restrict yourself.

So, those are my top 4 tips for consignment shopping! Hopefully these help you to find the best pieces and take advantage of the unbeatable prices.

Do you have any consignment tips?


September 22, 2016

3 Ways To Deal With Change

I was having a conversation with my mother recently about change. With each successive year of college I have felt my friendships shifting and evolving and changing. And I'm not a big fan. Sometimes it instantly feels like it's for the better and other times it can be upsetting and disappointing (especially if it's because you aren't as close with someone as you once were). But here's the thing: we are not in control of everything and change is an inevitability of life (just like rain and taxes...but we're not going to get political in this post).
3 Ways To Deal With Change
Something my mother said that warrants repeating was:
"Do you really think anything is ever going to stay the same? I mean, think about science. At one point we thought that there were nine planets, and now we're down to eight. Pluto is out? Who would have ever thought that Pluto would get kicked out. But you see, even science changes."  
And you know what? She's 100% right, as mothers so often are. That's why today we're going to discuss 3 ways to deal with change.

01. Put it in perspective

If you haven't noticed, perspective is something that is talked about a lot around here (check out exhibit A, exhibit B, and exhibit C). One of the first things to do, no matter what the situation, is to take a deep breath and think about it's actual magnitude and relevance. If you're in a situation like our poor friend Pluto, then it may be time to get upset about change. But, if it's an inevitable circumstance, like finding yourself in more challenging classes (look at this post about what to do when you need academic help) or not living with the same roommates as you did before (here's a guide on how to approach them for the first time), then you are better off acknowledging it and not letting it be a source of pain or to upset you. 

02. Put a positive spin on it

You may have been thinking, "Ok, Alyssa, you say not to let it be a source of pain or upset me, but how do I actually DO that?" To this I say, "You have a valid point." It's not as simple as flicking a switch on your emotions, but rather takes a mindset shift (which you actually do have much more control over). I wrote an entire post on how to turn a negative into a positive that will allow you to deal with any change you may be facing. Take a look here.

03. Take heart in the fact that it happens all the time, everywhere, to everyone

It can be tempting to view yourself as a special circumstance and not vulnerable to the not-so-fun parts of life. Thanks to my mother, I realized that even science is not above shifts and changes, so I can take heart in the fact that just as things change for me, so they do for everything else. And as cliche as it may be to say, sometimes a change in one area leads to something even better. 

If you put your situation into perspective, shift your mindset, and acknowledge that you are not alone, you will be able to handle anything that may come your way.

How do you deal with change? Is there a process you go through that works for you?


September 20, 2016

Dating Etiquette Vlog

My very kind, benevolent friend allowed me to stay in her off-campus house for a few days before I could move in for the start of the semester. When I walked into the house I met an Irish study abroad student who was, like me, using the house as a bit of a hotel before moving into permanent residence for the semester. We got to talking (Patrick is his name) and discovered that we both enjoy sharing our opinions on the web. He checked out my blog, I took a look at his YouTube channel, and then we enjoyed learning more about each other and discussing relationship stuff (i.e. our everyday lives of confusion with the opposite sex).
Dating Etiquette Vlog
When Patrick asked if I wanted to collaborate with him on a vlog, I said yes! Here you will find the result of an Irish boy and an American girl discussing the do's and don'ts of dating. Enjoy!

What do you think of our advice? Did we miss anything? 


P.S. Be sure to connect with Patrick on YouTubeTwitter, Instagram, and his blog

Also, take a look at my posts on Dating Advice From My Father, Breakup Etiquette, and Why I Deleted Tinder

September 15, 2016

Darling Magazine: The Etiquette of Breaking Up With a Friend

For quite some time I've been enamored with Darling Magazine. It's a beautiful women's magazine that focuses on deeper issues and doesn't retouch any of their models. After attending an event run by Darling last year (you can read all about it here), I have been thinking about how I can get involved in what they refer to as the "Darling Movement." Today I am so excited to share a portion of the article I wrote for the Darling blog. Make sure to check out the whole thing here!
Darling Magazine: The Etiquette of Breaking Up With a Friend
When you think of the word “breakup” you may imagine teary eyes and pints of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. Or perhaps a broken heart and sad Taylor Swift music comes to mind while you try to convince yourself that there are always more fish in the sea. What we don’t often think of is a breakup of a different kind: one with a friend. Let’s discuss how to identify what type of friendship situation you are in and how to go about a breakup, if necessary, with the standards of good etiquette in mind.

Identify The Situation 

Generally, there are three cases of friendship breakups: a friendship that ends slowly and organically (The Natural Fade), a friendship that becomes detrimental (The Toxic Friendship), and a friendship that no longer serves value for both parties (The Necessary End). If you are uncertain about a friendship, make an effort to be in tune with how you feel, both when you are with him or her and when you are apart. Through observation you can better understand and examine the situation.

The Natural Fade 
For the first case, you naturally grow apart from a friend as communication slows and you both move on. That is a common course of life and is a way that we all grow and change. Try asking yourself questions like: Are we transitioning into a new phase of life (such as graduating college or moving)? Has our common denominator (working in the same office or going to the same school) changed? If yes to these and similar questions, you are likely in The Natural Fade.

The Toxic Friendship 
Another scenario is when you are in a toxic friendship and it can make sense to stop talking, cut your losses, and focus on people who build you up and who improve your life. This exists when someone mistreats you and a relationship becomes a source of negativity or pain in your life. Examine your responses to questions like: Do you feel bad about yourself after spending time with this friend (because he or she makes negative comments or criticizes you without merit)? Is there anxiety or stress associated with being around this friend? When this is the case, you may very well be in The Toxic Friendship.

The Necessary End 
The third situation is when you have realized there are areas of a friendship that no longer create value and you would prefer to move forward without this relationship being a significant part of your life.

For example, perhaps this friend only seems to have fun with you when you are out on the nightlife scene (and despite initiating time together in other activities that feed your soul and develop your relationship, he or she does not put in the effort). Or maybe there is an element of selfishness that, while not malicious, leaves you wanting in the relationship. Ask yourself: Are there fundamental differences in your values (like not agreeing on issues that are important to you)? Are you putting in far more effort or is there a lack of reciprocity in the relationship? While we must be certain to not be unduly critical or have unfair expectations, if there are areas of the friendship that cause you true and justified discomfort, then you are in The Necessary End.

Be sure to check out the rest of the post over on the Darling blog!