Life at the bottom of the Fashion Caste

Tips n Advice

Beer, Wine, Champagne: the Interview

I’ve been attending scores of interviews lately. Moving to a new city will do that to a girl.  Now that the whole process seems old-hat, I’ve taken to sitting back in my assigned folding chair and really analyzing the other applicant’s interview strategies. There’s the awkward shy one, the goody-two-shoes, the bad-attitude, the it’s-my-first-job-interview one, the list goes on. I tend to be the quiet but extremely competitive type. What can I say? I’m ruthless. Especially when I know I’m the best person for the job. Not hard when the job is cashier at your local Banana Republic, but still.

Aside from interview techniques, appropriate interview attire has also been a great topic of interest for me in the last few weeks. Since the idea of next month’s rent still leaves a terrifying pit in my stomach, I couldn’t rush out and buy the latest anything for my successive job-hunting endeavors. So I turned to my closet in lieu of a credit card. It was tough at first, but I was able to tailor what I already owned into relatively appropriate outfits for my desired positions (read: everything nice I own now has at least one hole or delightful grease stain). Not having the best outfit made me nervous and left me doubting my ability to perform in said interviews. It’s stupid, I know, but an interview is the one place where first impressions count, BIG time.
So, in my day-dreaming frenzy, I came up with some more ideal variations on that theme:
The Dreaded Interview
What you’re working with: a structured black leather tote or messenger bag (anything that will fit extra copies of your resume without folding/bending/otherwise ruining that pristine record of your previous employment), a folder for aforementioned record, natural makeup, and a subtly edgy, black jacket or blazer. DON’T FORGET A PEN!!!
The beer:
Appropriate for your standard, entry-level position just about anywhere (excluding department stores, secretarial positions, etc.), this outfit lets you be comfortable so you can focus on incredible answers and crushing the competition. Wear to college campus tours, most food service interviews, and casting calls.
The wine:
The bouquet of this ensemble has lovely notes of metallics and a spicy pop of red. It’s so important to let your personal style be seen in interview settings. You probably have less than an hour to make an impression on this person so you’ve got to be sensibly impactful. Wear for internship interviews, mid-scale retail stores, and anything where wearing the pants could give you a leg up. Pun intended.
The champagne:
The creme-de-la-creme of interview wear. This pulled-together look suggests you’ve got the brains for your desired position and the responsible attitude. At first I wasn’t too thrilled with the grey-on-grey situation, but the subdued plaid of that lovely Equipment blouse paired with the houndstooth of the J.Crew pencil skirt is a more serious way to play with your patterns, even in a professional environment. Wear for all grown-up girl interviews including corporate offices of any kind.
Hop over to the polyvore to get the deets on all the pieces and good luck out there!
Until next time,
– The Fashion Serf


Is it just me or is New York really slacking in the creativity department? No, not the designers (well, not all of them; Thom Browne case-in-point (!!!!!!!!!!!)), but the fashion folks on the street. One of my favorite aspects of Fashion Month is pouring through endless Tommy Ton et. al. slideshows of those lithe (and sometimes beautifully un-lithe), unfathomable beings as they flit from show to show.

So, naturally, I took the bait when I saw the Refinery29 link to “70 Next-Level NYFW Street-Style Snaps.” I was able to get to photo 29 before drifting down to the comments section where someone brashly proclaimed “So basically, you can wear anything to fashion week, and R29 will call it chic.”

Seriously. I thought. Seriously!

Okay, I take that back. I honestly don’t think it has anything to do with R29’s vision of what is “chic” or “next-level,” whatever that happens to mean. But I DO think that, as a rule, anyone who dons a pair of overalls, looks like a lady, pretends to be ironic, or is wearing anything from net-a-porter will be photographed for some sort of photo blog FW situation. Believe:

Okay, so no one ever said I was the poster-child for wild dress. But, bro, if you’ve got the budget, the status, the influence, SURPRISE me! Push the boundaries. Dare yourself. Dare me.

Thank goodness that to make a rule there must be exceptions, am I right? After much sifting, I picked these as my fave looks from NYC.

I can’t say how excited I am for the London collections. I may be slightly biased but London is second to none in both designer and street style excellency. I can always count on the Brits to not only excite and inspire me, but remind me why I fell in love with the whole crazy world of fashion in the first place.

Until then!

– The Fashion Serf

All photos via, The Sartorialist,,, and

You Don’t Look Chic: A Word on Sweatpants

image via:

“You know the message you’re sending out to the world with these sweatpants? You’re telling the world: ‘I give up. I can’t compete in normal society. I’m miserable, so I might as well be comfortable.'”

– Jerry Seinfeld

I hate them.** As much as I can get behind the ‘athletics-inspired’ trendiness of the post-Olympics season, I will never be seen in public sporting a pair of fleecy grey (or any other colour, for that matter) sweatpants.

Why is this? you may ask yourselves. Why is it that a perfectly respectable young college girl could not fathom the benefits of sweatpants on a brisk overslept morning of exams? I will tell you, young grasshoppers. There are a number of reasons I detest these ‘sweats:’

Namely, it is because I care about aesthetics. I don’t just admire them from afar, I want every aspect of my life to be visually pleasing. If I’m having one of those not-so-rare off days, my aversion to gymwear in public is even more severe. If I’m feeling crummy or inadequate, I attempt to make up for it by looking polished or at least interestingly risky. Just as anyone would feel awkward while sporting their laundry day unmentionables in the midst of a two hour lecture, throwing on a pair of oversized, ‘comfortable’ pants on a day where I’m already not feeling myself will only make me feel more uncomfortable.

Secondly, while wearing sweatpants out and about (walking to school, on the bus, god forbid, at a restaurant), there is a horrifying swishiness of fabric about my legs. The rough, overwashedness of the once-fleecy lining of a pair of sweatpants scratches at my thighs and provides a constant reminder that I could fit several legs inside the width of these pants. I’m obviously a big proponent of a fitted trouser and will gladly slip into the odd wide-leg denim, but no matter what famed fashion house comes out with a line of designer sweatpants, there shall be no excess of fleece shrouding my legs anywhere besides within the comfort of my own home.

Furthermore, in this day and age, there is absolutely no excuse to don sweatpants in public. The equally comfortable and infinitely more chic cousin of the sweatpant, the legging, is always at your black letter day service. So the next time you feel the urge to reach for those sweatpants, streamline your look with a pair of black leggings. Heck, even throw on a pair of bright red ones! They have an instantly slimming effect and balance out that oversize sweater you want to crawl into during the height of your winter cold. I’m not alone in my thoughts. Trust me, the world will thank you.

Until next time,

–> The Fashion Serf

** Yes, hate is a strong word. I will admit that I love a good sweatpant-clad Sunday while drinking a strong red wine and crying gently to yourself over the end of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Again. But my hatred of the aforementioned sad excuse for legwear largely stems from the hoards of bubble letter writting, non note-taking, collegiate coeds who think it’s appropriate to show up to a formative presentation proudly wearing their high school softball team’s warm-up bottoms or any variation of the sort. Let me tell you, it’s not appropriate. It’s foolish.

Wet and Rusting

Bridge trail


yepknucklzmawioxfordsleapoffaitharcherybalancedWhat I wore today, on this lazy Monday. It’s been unseasonably warm these last few days making for a rather wet and foggy climate which I can totally dig but which also leaves me wanting to stay hidden away indoors with Anna Karenina and a piping hot cup of earl grey.

This weekend the social butterfly in me was in full swing, however, while attending my city’s first-ever Improv Festival. It was such an incredible accumulation of talent. My sincere congratulations to my closest confidant, Lois Louis for more than one spectacular performance.

One last thing to note: my sweater is Donna Karan. Yes, a real life “designer” is clothing my pauperish body, it’s true! No, I did not pay the requisite 350 smackaroos for said sweater. I got it at Opitz. I got it at Opitz for five dollarsWhat is this Opitz’s you ask? Solve the mystery by clicking this link.

In other news, here’s the breakdown:

Hat: Asos UK (last seen here), Jacket: Macy’s, Sweater: Donna Karan at Opitz, Leggin’s: thrifted, Crossbody: thrifted, Brogues: Asos UK (kinda like these but not), Necklace: Mawi London, Rings: all vintage/thrifted.

Until next time,

->The Fashion Serf.

Free Stuff

Dear fellow Fashion Serfs of the world, I wanted to alert you about the abundance of free stuff up for grabs during this holiday season.

There are SO many competitions/contests/giveaways out there on the interwebs at the moment. I shamelessly admit that I literally created a pinterest just to get myself in the running for a bunch of different prizes. We peasants gotta clothe our bods somehow, dontcha think?

Here’s a roundup of four ongoing contests and such, but act fast! They end soon. Or maybe don’t act fast at all so there are more chances for me to weeeeeeeen! Just kidding. But really, there are so many more out there, you just gotta sleuth around for the goods.

– Win £1000 to Spend at from Matches and Motilo (Pinterest) My entry is here.

– Pin it to Win it with Saks Fifth Avenue (Pinterest) My entry is here.

– Mix Well with Madewell (Pinterest) My entry here.

Dwell Holiday Giveaway

– Also, It’s My Party Dress contest from Modcloth (Pinterest)


Celebs in Real Life: Krysten Ritter

Fashion Royalty Krysten Ritter looked stunning during her recent red carpet run at the GQ 2012 Men of the Year Awards. No one on the interwebs seems to know where her shoes come from but as far as I can ascertain, the woman is in head-to-toe Dolce. For this, I admire Ms. Ritter’s moxie.

We mere peasants, however, could eat for three months on the funds it took to dress dear Krysten for this event. Literally. This is when I ask myself, how would celebrities dress in real life? “Real life” being the world of those who earn less than a million dollars a year. Who could say?

But if you’re wishing to emulate Krysten’s ensemble without the haute price tag, look no further. In fact, you could probably purchase all three of these outfits for less than what it costs for the real thing. Just saying.

And now, the Steal, Deal, and Splurge:

Celebs in Real Life: Krysten Ritter

It was pretty tricky to find a similar top with such beautiful embellishments for these outfits but I figured you could just throw on a statement necklace to mimic embroidery. Also, if you’d like to parade about with nothing but a sheer bit of fabric between your knickers and the world, feel free to cut the liner out of your skirt of choice. But, for the sake of us all, at lease be sure to wear some cute panties.

Buy this stuff here:

Steal: Blouse – Modcloth, Skirt – Dorothy Perkins, Clutch – Etsy

Deal: Blouse – Modcloth, Skirt – Topshop, Clutch – Asos

Splurge: Blouse – John Lewis, Skirt – Ted Baker, Clutch – Tory Burch

Until next time,


$100 or Less: Brunch with the Gals

Something I’ve been rather awkwardly stumbling across ever since coming home from school is that flustered run-in with that semi-good acquaintance from high school. I always end up being in a state of disarray during these instances.

But when that semi-good acquaintance asks you to coffee or brunch and you exchange your new numbers in all that “I haven’t seen you in a while” niceness, keep in mind these tips for your next meeting. This way, you’ll be sure to keep up that “I was moderately well dressed when you knew me last, a time when I was relying on my mother’s pocketbook for all my fashion needs but can still maintain that look even though I am less than penniless at the moment,” appearance.

That’s right, an impressive edition of $100 or Less perfectly suited for Brunch with the Gals.

$100 or Less: Brunch with the Gals

And now for the breakdown:

Black Diamante Rose Stud Earrings via River Island – $5.00

Amity Bow Kitten Heels in Rust via Shop Ruche – $34.99

Porch Swing Dance Skirt via Modcloth – $35.00

BDG Printed Sheer V-Neck via Urban Outfitters – $9.99

Grand Total: $94.98

At this rate, you’ll even have enough cash left over for a bottomless mimosa to help you through the dreaded catch-up chat. Throw your locks up into a sloppy sweet topknot, spritz on your favorite perfume, and, if you’re feeling daring, a red lip. A navy/cream/maroon cardigan might also be in order.

Do note, this outfit works best assuming you have a base canvas of a solid leather bag, warm winter coat, and black tights.  You know, that stuff you bought before you were broke.

All my best for your brunch date, good luck, and be sure to brag about your new European boyfriend you met taking Honours Chemistry 410.

Until next time,

The Fashion Serf