Graduation is not the end – it’s the beginning!

This Saturday, I’ll be graduating from American University’s School of Communication with a BA in Public Communication and a minor in Marketing. I’m sure it comes as little surprise that I’ll be moving back to New York at the end of May, and while I’m feeling very sad + nostalgic about leaving DC after four years, I’m ready for NYC!

To commemorate the occasion of my college graduation, I partnered with Tiny Prints, an awesome company that offers chic and modern stationary, to design beautiful graduation announcements.

In true DC fashion, I headed over to the gardens at the National Cathedral with my lovely and talented friend Ada Thomas, who photographed my shoot. It was a beautiful spring (summer?) day and the perfect opportunity for me to style a graduation outfit and take some pics for the grad announcements.

Stacey Levine graduation American University

Though I decided to design an announcement that only featured one photo, I wanted to share some of my other favorite shots as well!

Stacey Levine

Stacey Levine

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Dress: H&M // Heels: Vince Camuto // Necklace: BaubleBar (similar) // Lipstick: MAC Retro Matte in All Fired Up // Hair styled by PR at Partners // Graduation announcements c/o Tiny Prints

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Interview Outfits: Dress For the Job You Want…Within Reason

For my final college semester I’m taking a class called PR Portfolio, which is essentially a public relations capstone class where we work in teams to create a PR program for an actual client. The class is amazing and my professor is fantastic – it’s basically a culmination of everything I’ve learned in AU’s School of Communication over the past four years. Another great thing the class does is prepare us for the “real world” – whatever that means. Each week my prof hosts Career Corner, where she tackles another topic we’ll need for after graduation, such as negotiating a salary, turning an internship into a full time job, etc. It’s pretty fab. 1

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Last week, we discussed interview outfits. How do you dress to interview for a job in a field where each company’s dress code is vastly different? The professor showed us the following visual as a depiction of an appropriate PR interview outfit. 3

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A lot of the class, myself included, had some major problems with it. One classmate brought up the point that she would feel like a child dressing in her mother’s clothes in an outfit like this. Another mentioned that in an office where your interviewer might be rocking jeans and flip-flops, this seems off-message and inappropriately formal. I’ve interviewed and interned in many different office environments – I’ve worn outfits at different jobs that range from jeans and a t-shirt, to sky-high strappy heels, to corporate dresses. But at none of these jobs would a suit have been an appropriate interview outfit choice.

So stop rambling, Stacey, and tell us what we should wear, right? PR is a professional but creative field, and we need to represent our personal brand when interviewing. The outfit you choose is a huge part of that. Here’s how I feel about every interview (in the PR industry, to be fair) – dress professionally, dress appropriately, show your style & creativity. There’s a difference between being casual and being stylish.

Here’s my typical interview outfit formula: black/grey/white dress + blazer + memorable necklace + closed-toe pumps + leather purse = a foolproof interview outfit

On top of that, the clothes you wear need to be of good quality (note: not necessarily expensive, just good quality!), ironed, fit you appropriately, and they should also be comfortable! If you can’t walk in heels, please god, just wear flats (clean, leather or patent leather, black or neutral flats). Now, of course, you can always wear a skirt/blouse or pants/blouse combo, which is just as good! For tops, I recommend silk, tie neck or button down, etc. Dresses are just my outfit of choice – no tucking/bunching to deal with!

Still not sure what to wear? Check out some options for Strategy in Stilettos-approved interview styles below!

Dresses

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 Blazers

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Necklaces: Statement/Delicate

interview appropriate statement necklaces

delicate understated necklaces for job interviews

Pumps/Flats

shoes

Purses

bags

I’d love to hear/see what you wear to internship + job interviews, and what types of outfits you think are appropriate. Share in the comments or tweet @staceyalevine!

Styling Bold Prints

This post has been a long time coming! A few months ago, I was gifted a great butterfly printed top C/O Nieves Lavi. Nieves Lavi is a New York-based contemporary design label classified by original artistic prints and simple, yet sophisticated silhouettes. Their pieces have been worn by celebs from Sarah Jessica Parker to Tyra Banks.

Upon receiving the top (which I chose to belt), I decided to do a post featuring bold prints, and how to style them! In addition to pictures of myself, I’ve included some cute printed looks I found my friends sporting around campus! Check it out below.

For Warm Weather:

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Cute Casual:

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Preppy Chic:

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Boho Chic:

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Top 3 Tips For Styling a Tasteful Crop Top

One trend that I absolutely love is crop tops – but only when they’re done right! It’s so easy for a crop top to look trashy, and even more easy for a crop top to be unflattering. You just need to be aware of your body and the features of the clothes you’ve bought, and you’re on your way!

When styling a crop top, here are my top 3 tips to making it classy and tasteful!

1. Edit the Amount of Skin Showing: To wear a crop top tastefully, you only want to show a sliver of skin – tease it! Hold up 2 fingers – now 3. A good rule of thumb is that your amount of skin showing shouldn’t be any wider than that!

2. Hide the Belly Button: The big difference between crop tops of 2013 and belly shirts of the 90s is the belly button. Let’s be real: the area of your stomach where your belly button is is not the most flattering part, and it’s also just TMI. Hide the belly button!

3. Style with High-Waisted Bottoms: Building off of the first 2 tips, take note of where your crop top hits, and style it with a skirt, pants, or shorts that will fall about an inch or so below the crop top.

For some examples, my friend Gwen and I have styled some tasteful crop top looks for y’all! Take a look:

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The skirt slipped a little for the picture…what bellybutton?! 😉

gwen crop top

Summer Style

Memorial Day Weekend has passed, and we are officially in summer mode! In New York it tends to get pretty hot (today was 87 degrees, in May) and the best way to deal with the weather is by dressing accordingly!

Below are a couple of my favorite summer trends to deal with the heat in style:

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Maxi Dress #summerstyle

Maxi Dress #summerstyleDress: Max Studio, Necklace: BaubleBar, Purse: Olivia + Joy, Jacket: vintage

The maxi dress trend is going 2 years strong right now, and I have no intention of giving it up. They’re breezy, instantly glamorous, and super comfy. What I love most about them is the ability to dress it up or down. This picture was taken on my Memorial Day vacation to Bethany Beach, DE.

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IMG_0348Top: J. Crew, Necklace: BaubleBar, Bracelets: Alex & Ani, Shoes: barefoot! it’s summer 🙂

I have too many positive things to say about a white on white outfit! First of all, it amplifies my non-existant tan – so that’s always a plus. White on white is instantly classy, and adding a colorful statement necklace makes the outfit trendy and fun too!

What are your favorite summer trends?

Alex & Ani: The Adult Charm Bracelet

I have an obsession that’s been a few months in the making, and it’s time I blogged about it. The brand: Alex and Ani. The company offers tons of jewelry, but my favorites are their charm bangles. These bangles come in silver and gold, and each feature one charm (plus some mini ones that say “Made in the USA”!

The company prides itself on “elegance with an edge” and its values are rooted in positive energy. Each product has symbolism, and the charm bangles are each associated with 3 adjectives and a blurb about the symbol’s significance. They also have several bangles that support philanthropic organizations!

The coolest feature of these bangles is that their wire technology features a sliding mechanism that allows for adjustment and expansion to your wrist size – customized for the perfect fit.

Below are the Alex and Ani bracelets that I have, as well as my wish list! Are you as obsessed as I am?!

MY JEWELRY BOX

Alex and Ani Phi Mu

Phi Mu: Sisterhood • Tradition • Loyalty

Alex and Ani Compass

Compass: Objective • Direction • Transition

Alex and Ani Ladybug

Ladybug: Luck • Happiness • Affection

Cupcake: Sweet • Divine • Optimistic

Cupcake: Sweet • Divine • Optimistic

Alex and Ani Sea Shell

Sea Shell: Beauty • Intuition • Luck

Alex and Ani French Royalty #fleurdelis

French Royalty: Regality • Faith • Renewal

MY WISH LIST

Alex and Ani Wishlist

1. Starfish

2. Initial

3. Plume Feather Wrap

4. Washington D.C.

5. NYC Subway Token

6. Birthstone

Which Alex and Ani bracelets do you have or want? Tweet a photo or Vine to me @staceyalevine!

Guest Post: Plus-Size Fashion

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Hello all you wonderful followers of Strategy in Stilettos! Our lovely and talented Stacey A Levine herself has let me write this little post for her blog about something that is near and dear to my heart (just like this blog!) — plus-size fashion.

Good plus-size clothes are hard to find, and harder to talk about. Being a salesgirl, in one of the lovely establishments I’m about to tell you all about, gives me a little bit of insight into things that most people don’t know much about. (For a prime example of a plus-size girl having no idea how to dress to her advantage, check out yours truly circa 2009.)

Dana’s Picks: The Top 5 Stores for Curvy Girls

  1. Torrid – Probably the most expensive on the list, but if you shop smart, you can definitely get some good deals. I think they tend to overstock, because their clearance section always has the good stuff from last season (not just the failed experiments and rejects). I live and die for Torrid jeans, even though they don’t go on sale much, and I tend to wait for a coupon or special deal to buy them. The quality is good though — don’t rule them out because of price, because they’ll last. Torrid sizing can be a little complicated, so definitely ask a salesgirl for help (they win the prize for friendliest employees!)
  2. Target – “But wait!” I hear you say, “Target isn’t a plus-size store!” Don’t rule it out! Target sizes go up to XXL in most cases, if not higher (XXL = 18/20). Target always has some fun things that tend not to break the bank. The main downside of target is the fact that is has no specific plus-size section, so it’s hit or miss if you’ll find your size, but it’s still a great option.
  3. Forever 21 – They have a pretty great plus-size section for all the season’s trends. I tend to be a little more conservative in my clothing choices, so sometimes what Forever 21 has is a little too much for me to pull off, but I’m sure any of you avant-garde fashion lovers will definitely find a home there. In terms of price, it’s the same extremely reasonable price range in the rest of the store. Downside: don’t try looking for any of the things you find in the main store area in the plus-size section – it’s pretty much a completely different line.
  4. Ashley Stewart – This store is a little more “urban” than the preppy, trendy, or soft-grungy stores before it on the list. Definitely somewhere to find something to go to the club, or to the office. While their casual clothes are seriously hit-or-miss, their party clothes and career clothes are spot on. While the quality of their jeans may not be as good as Torrid’s, they put up a good fight, and will routinely go on sale about once a month for $19.99. I’ve also heard great things about the support of their double-backed butterfly bra for the bustier ladies. PS- These girls definitely know how to do a peplum right! See my New Year’s Eve dress from them, below:

    Dana is third from the left, in Ashley Stewart's black peplum dress

    Dana is third from the left, in Ashley Stewart’s black peplum dress

  5. Rainbow – Another store with a decent sized plus-size section, and let me tell you, most of these prices are a steal. While the clothes are definitely less quality than some of the other stores on this list (Torrid, Ashley Stewart) it makes up for it in price (example? Torrid cami = $18.50, Rainbow cami = $7). It is definitely a good place to get cheapo, fun, casual clothes that will probably only last the season. My advice: try and get the trends that you know will die out here, and the basic classics in a little better quality elsewhere. Plus, I just got my new favorite outfit from Rainbow! Check it out:

Dress and shirt from Rainbow

Dana is a senior at Goucher College in Baltimore, MD. Follow her on twitter @lolzkaban, or on her hilarious tumblr, Textual Harassment. Thoughts on plus-size fashion? Leave them in the comments!