Thursday, June 28, 2012

Paralegal Career Dressing: Keep or Go Skirt?

I scored a few Talbots skirts almost two years ago at an end of season clearance, with an extra 60% off, paying less than $25 each for them. You know I'm a fool for a full skirt and lux fabric. I love them so much, but they're all too big now. The one I am wrestling over keeping now reminds me of a Monet watercolor, but I've had trouble styling it in the past.

Talbots skirt - clearance
Fred David Stretch shirt - thrifted
Easy Street sling backs - @$16 bucks at Hamricks last spring
Chain - Steinmart clearance @$3
Flower Stretch Ring - F21

For some of today's shots, I decided to try Allie and Sal's method of shooting in a parking lot or street. I kind of like how the pictures turned out, but had to get a few in front of a neighbor's blooming mums, too. Dear Hubby is a patient and gracious photographer.

Lately, I've been heavily influenced by Psyche's and Kasmira's knotted button front shirts with skirts and dresses, so I decided I'd go for uber-comfort and a little pattern-mixing by pairing my "watercolor skirt" with a thrifted striped navy shirt tied at the waist. Add low heels and a chain with some turquoise to pick up the colors in the skirt, and I kind of liked how it turned out.

I also used one of Mina's Fasheners to take in the waistband of the skirt. (You can actually see it in the top photo...)

Like Gracey, I am working hard to edit down my closet, getting rid of items I just don't love, and making some room for my increasing love of color. It's so hard to believe how hard I clung to my "funeral chic" even as much as a year ago. I think wearing the right colors brightens up our skin tones, especially as we age, and creates a much more interesting visual style - as long as we don't go outside the boundaries of our wardrobe needs, such as needing to stay employed in a conservative office.

Don't get me wrong, I love it when there are no boundaries, and I'm insanely jealous of one of my fave style blogger Desiree's beauty, original style, artistic use of wild color, vintage clothes, sexy leggings, and rather magical accessories, but I know I couldn't wear most of her daily wear to work, although she has a couple of 40s, 50s and 60s style dresses and suits I know I could rock in the law office! I have to get my Desiree fix via her blog, and plan my fantasy photo shoot where I can run around in something wildly beautiful and totally inappropriate for work, and pretend I'm a Celtic goddess.

Do you have clothes in your closet that you love but find hard to wear? Do you think I should keep this skirt, or pass it on?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Paralegal Career Dressing : Two Thumbs Up from the Big Boss

I have two supervising attorneys, one I've worked with for about 20 years, give or take a few minutes. He's the same one who complimented my "new" ankle bracelet last summer - the same one I've worn every summer for ten years.

So this morning we're talking in his office, and as I get ready to leave, he asks, "What's with this new and improved style you've had for the last three or four months? You've really looked great. I like it. What's going on?"

Judy Bond vintage bow tie blouse ~ thrifted A Second Time Around, Wilmington, NC
Loft stretch pencil skirt ~ thrifted last year
Maripe red pumps ~ thrifted $6
MMD obi tie belt ~ Megan Mae Daily (She has several beautiful ones in stock now.)

Well, first, I was a little bumfuzzled that he even notices what I wear. Second, you can't help but wonder if you looked really bad before...

Knowing that blogging, mine or anyone else's, is not an area he follows much, I explained I had taken my paralegal blog in a new direction over the last year or so. While I had always posted about budget career deals since the start of the blog in 2008, I didn't start sharing my own outfit posts until a little over a year ago.

I started focusing more on budget career dressing, because when I attended large gatherings of paralegals, that seemed to be what they were most interested in - other than how to use their new iPads. Readers wanted to know where I shopped, what other style blogs I was reading, and what I was wearing. Many told me they were inspired to try thrifting career clothes because of this blog, or were using more accessories to liven up their more conservative career clothes.

I also told my boss that when I started trying to find other career style bloggers to read, besides Corporette with its Wednesday business suit recommendations often in the $500 - $1,000 range, I couldn't find very many style bloggers like me. You know. Middle-aged. Limited Budget. Not a model. Unable to afford J. Crew or Anthropologie even on sale most of the time.

So I decided to put my small wardrobe where my mouth is, even though self-photography is not something I'm comfortable with. I always managed to take all the family pictures or magically disappear when others were taking them. I was a homely kid, a kind of awkward plain woman in my 20s and 30s, and a little lost when it came to dressing my 40s body, especially when it got sick for a few years and I was too tired to care what it looked like.

The Teen, wearing a Loft striped cardi, Toms, and her elephant pendant from Jada's Jewels, helps take my pics sometimes.

I also learned a lot about re-mixing an existing wardrobe and adding more exciting thrifted or inexpensive elements from some of my favorite style influences: Megan, Sal, Sheila, Patti, Kasmira, Lydia, Melanie, Gracey, Psyche, Mongs, LeeAnne, and Tara, just to name a few. I learned my old clothes had more infinite re-mixing possibilities than I'd ever imagined, and was inspired to try stepping outside of my comfort zone more often (not too far out, I do work in a law firm.)

A slow and gradual weight loss due to a neurological condition that took a long time to diagnose has also been responsible for my changing wardrobe. I've even had to give away clothes bought last year that are now too big. Taking outfit pictures has not only helped me see I was wearing clothes that were swallowing me whole, but that certain cuts, styles, and colors really do a lot more for my figure challenges than others. I'm short, slim, with broad shoulders, long arms and a big head. (Thank you, T-Rex).

So, I'm not actually responsible for my new and improved style; many of my readers and new style blogger friends are. This blog is actually turning into a journey of self-discovery for me, as I espouse solid middle-age and even celebrate its pluses (and try to use fashion to minimize its minuses); as I try to express my artistic side with a more interesting wardrobe; and as I try learning to use my camera as another artistic outlet. I've always loved taking pictures of (other) people, and I've always loved clothes. And I've always told my paralegal readers they didn't have to have a lot of money to have a gorgeous interview suit and a working wardrobe that expressed confidence, professionalism, and great personal style.

Thanks to my boss for making me stop and acknowledge that my style is changing, and that maybe for the first time in my life, I have many days when I leave the house feeling like a beautiful woman.

Where are you in your own style journey? Still finding out what really works for you, or completely satisfied with your own unique style?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Paralegal Career Dressing: Fave 10 Snapple Real Facts

This is what happens when your brain is fried, and low light is not your camera's friend. You get 10 of my fave "Snapple Real Facts" and Fun with Picasa.

#1 A Goldfish's attention span is three seconds. (How do they figure this stuff out?)

 I love these XAppeal Zeena wedges with green toe nails.

#29 On average a human will spend up to 2 weeks kissing in his/her lifetime. (Sad. Kiss more.)

#31 The average human will eat an average of 8 spiders while sleeping. (Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh. Don't sleep.)

Ann Taylor skirt (thrifted)
Loft blouse with covered buttons (thrifted)
Wide belt (salvaged from teens' GoodWill bag)

#48 Cats can hear ultrasound. (They cannot hear, "Get the hella off my head!")

Sasha Jane and green toenails if I'd had time to do the pic in pencil or pastels.

#85 The Mona Lisa has no eyebrows. (Hey, cut a gal some slack. We've all gone a li'l tweezer-crazy.)

I have lipstick on my teeth, so I can relate to poor eyebrow-less Mona Lisa.

#129 Mosquitoes have 47 teeth. (Don't I know it. I have the scars on my legs to prove it.)

#163 The first penny had the motto "Mind your own business". (And fine advice that is.)

My stylist forgot to tell me the pendant was backwards, but it still works.

#205 For every human being in the world there is approximately one chicken. (Do we have soul-chickens?)

 Elephant pendant from Jada's Jewels. Not getting the daily jewelry deal email? Sign up here.

#265 Your breathing rate increases when you start to type. (Duh. This is called stress.)

The Teen rockin' a striped tee from Loft, and a striped vest from Ross Dress for Less.

#271 Dim lights reduce your appetite. (I don't believe this one. Dim the lights, and I want pie.)

Source:  Snapple Real Facts

Monday, June 25, 2012

Paralegal Career Dressing: Is that Poison Ivy?

Oh, this Monday never had a chance to be cute. I got to work AN HOUR early so I could get a few key tasks done before taking a live online CLE (continuing legal education for you non-legal peeps) class.

The Limited skirt ~ blogger swap
Sere Nade sleeveless bow tie blouse ~ Steinmart several years ago about $10
Cropped cardigan ~ Banana Republic online sale (my boss liked it so much she bought one, too)
Coccinelle flats ~ blogger swap
MMD button flowers ~ Megan Mae Daily
Flower bracelet ~ my grandmother's

But when I opened up the updated CLE materials emailed to me at 4 a.m. today, I noted four different start times. (Yes, very helpful telephone webinar lady, I do know about the different U.S. time zones.) There were four different EASTERN STANDARD TIME start times.

The webinar, prepaid, and about a newer area of law for me, finally ended up starting after 3:30 p.m. EST. Yup. I got to stay at the office until after 7 p.m.

So I did something I rarely do. I took a li'l lunch break. Thought I'd eat my lunch in peace, grab some outdoor outfit pics, since I was wearing bangin' shoes and a super-swingy-twirly pleated skirt from my blogger swap with Megan (I also got a kitten, but I did not give her one of my dogs), as well as her cheerful MMD button flowers pinned on my cardi.

Only I didn't have any lunch (forgot), my camera tripod (forgot), or an SD card (still in computer at home). But I don't give up easily. I had a spare SD card, and I've seen plenty of other bloggers just set their cameras on car hoods and get decent pics.

Having set myself the no-tripod photography challenge, I then proceeded to pretty much not get in many of the pics I took. Haha. I love a good learning experience. One of the best shots resulted from setting my camera on a concrete wall, and then leaning myself against a tree. The dead leaves at the bottom of the tree? No problem. A little icky and crunchy in my shoes, but anything for budget career fashion, dontcha know.

Only my feet started itching like crazy-crazy-crazy-crazy, and I thought I was experiencing my first case of poison ivy, and would end up in the local immediate care, getting IV benadryl - and miss that darned prepaid live webinar that was supposed to start at the crack of dawn, and was responsible for all my work day woes to date.

I begged The Teen to save my Monday by taking a better pic for me.

No such luck. I think I'm just allergic to dead leaves. Indoor pics against a plain ol' painted wall are starting to look like my new photography goal, tho'....

Then I begged The Teen to take a pic of Sasha Jane and me for Megan. (Nope, she's not an outside kitty.)
Do you have to take annual continuing education or certification classes for your job? Do you prefer online or live?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Paralegal Career Dressing: When a Travel Capsule Wardrobe Doesn't Cut It

As incoming Vice-Chair of the North Carolina Bar Association Paralegal Division, I got to spend a very enjoyable weekend in beautiful Wilmington, North Carolina. This will be a mostly pictorial post just to show you what I wore at a function where the majority of attendees were lawyers. In the interest of complete and total transparency, these are not the only outfits I wore, which is unusual, because I pack lightly (except for accessories) and hate changing clothes, unless it's into my pjs.

Our state's weather had been so lovely and mild, I packed a small travel capsule wardrobe to mix and match and handle all occasions. Hah. The weather turned on me, and the air became 95% warm water. A well-prepared paralegal, at least one that ventured beyond the air-conditioned hotel confines, needed about three outfits a day. I will explain how I partially resolved this below.

Thursday Travel to Convention

If you ride for four hours in a car, just in time to get to your first Board of Governors meeting, you need a no-wrinkle dress. It was about an hour into the trip before I realized this dress was a bit low-cut for work, and I needed a cami under it. Too late.

Thank the Gods of Career Style that that the hotel was freezing, and I had a turquoise cardigan handy to button up to my neck. Cleavage problem fixed.

Laundry by Design dress ~ Steinmart uber-clearance about $11
Every gold-colored bracelet I own
Key pendant ~ TJ Maxx a couple of years ago

For those of you who wonder why I wear so many nude heels, I'm short. Nude heels make shorties' legs look longer, and I like faking being taller than I am.

Meeting Friends at the Convention

Remember I don't own any shorts. This will be important later. For now, just know I think skinny jeans suit every occasion, and sometimes I cuff or roll them in warmer weather. They were perfect for walking down the riverside to Convention Central for coffee and companionship.

Or just sitting.

Tee ~ Loft Outlet
Cuff bracelet ~ Jada's Jewels
Chain necklace ~ Burlington Coat factory years ago (but still cool enough that The Teens borrow it)

As for hairstyling, I tried to anticipate what I knew the breeze from the river would do to my wild, uncontrollable hair, and started every day with wild hair artfully uncontrolled with gel.

When I got to Convention Central Friday 7:30 ish a.m., someone tried to hand me a raffle ticket. I didn't want a raffle ticket. I wanted coffee, but accepted it so the nice lady with the raffle ticket basket would stop blocking the way to the coffee machine. As I stood there groggily waiting for coffee, the first drawing started, and I had just enough wits about me to realize I'd won a free two-night stay at the gorgeous Riverside Hilton. Woo hoo, another teen free weekend to anticipate.

Later in the day, I told my husband I was going for a walk (he had work to do for his online classes), but only got about a block and a half up the road to A Second Time Around, a terrific vintage and consignment shop in downtown Wilmington. Between the $2 racks, and the 75% off rack, I ended up staying there for about two and a half hours, and had so much fun talking to the talented sales associates, they started showing me stuff from the "secret stash". You have to follow me on Twitter or friend me on Facebook to see some of the awesome shiny stuff I tried on. But I have one style blogger teaser for you: zebra pants. (Which I blame on Tara and her zebra scarf at Mix and Match Fashion.)

Turned out the real score was a skirt. Remember I don't wear shorts? By the time I got back to the hotel, I was dripping wet with lady-like perspiration sweat, and panicked. I had insufficient clothes. Wait, what was I carrying in my hands? Scads of $2-$6 clothes. Pre-washing suddenly seemed sort of pointless since they were just going to soak up my lady like perspiration sweat when I went back outside.

Did I mention the high winds breeze?

Shell ~ Loft super-sale
Talbots skirt ~ thrifted (and luckily matched all the shirts I packed)
Wide belt ~ Ross dress for less
Wide beaded bracelet ~ thrifted
Flip-flops ~ a dollar at a beach store last year and they died on this trip


I knew there would be very few legal staffers at the gala celebrating the swearing in of the new NCBA president, R. Michael Wells, Sr., other than maybe two other paralegals and the terrific NCBA staffers that make the organization's events run so smoothly, so I was real a little concerned about what to wear to a BTO/B (Black Tie Optional or Business Wear) event.  I'm not in the budget range for A GOWN.

So when I found this David Meister "people" dress 40% marked down at one of my fave consignment shops in downtown Winston-Salem, Yours Truly, I jumped for joy. Literally. This dress is incredible, with a full slip, and separate built-in corset with boning (I know these things from The Costume Technician). Once you have this dress on, nothing moves or droops, good news for women kissing 50.

David Meister dress ~ thrifted Yours Truly
Breva ice blue pumps ~ John Fluevog
UK French Connection earrings ~ Sears $2.12 (nope, that is not a typo)
Bracelet cuff ~ Jada's Jewels

Sorry the picture quality isn't the best; no way was I chancing the hair, such as it was, on the river breeze and incoming rain. (An add-on flash is on this paralegal's camera wish list. Also, this is my entry for Not Yet Dead Style's Visible Monday.)

Y'all, I felt like Cinda-fucking-rella (Pretty Woman, peeps) in this dress, even the part where we got to ride in a golf cart over to the Wilmington Convention Center.

I tried to get a close-up of the fox ring (I had my hand grabbed to see it), and the cool people partying on the dress.

Sunday Board of Governers Meeting for 2012-2013 

I had some business to take care of, an employer not to embarrass, and didn't think my new zebra pants were quite the thing (plus they have to be altered). I defaulted to the Loft Outlet dress I'd planned to wear; I can usually acquire them in the $15-$20 range, and they generally suit my boyish figure, career-dressing requirements, and my small budget.

Dress ~ Loft Outlet
Wide Belt ~ Ross 
Bracelet cuff - Jada's Jewels (you're probably beginning to see a theme here)
MMD button flower ~ Megan Mae Daily

I also managed to grab another photo of the three paralegal amigos at the BOG meeting (pardon the blur due to low light and peeps racing out to start their drives home at the close of business): (from right to left) Karen Mendorf, the incoming Chair of the NCBA Paralegal Division; Stephanie Crosby, a past PD Chair, this year's Distinguished Paralegal Award winner, and co-chair of the 4ALL Committee (a first for a non-lawyer member), and me.

So, do you own a dress that makes you feel like Cinda-fucking-rella when you wear it? (If enough of you say "yes", Practical Paralegalism will host its very first virtual style blogger Cinda-fucking-rella party, and invite you to submit a picture of you in that dress :) Color Blocking | Everybody, Everywear

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Paralegal Career Dressing: Packing & Puking

I didn't leave work until after 6 p.m., didn't get home until after 7 p.m., and still have to pack for a business conference. So I figured I would just write "packing," and put up a few pics, and you guys would understand. I despise packing.

Linda Lucia top (thrifted)
Jones New York skirt (thrifted)
Connie pumps (thrifted in Tennessee, $2)
Coral skinny belt (Target)
Cuff Bracelet (Jada's Jewels)
Earrings (Steinmart I think)

But I thought I should be a transparent blogger, and give you a little glimpse into my so-called life today, so you can see what a bad squirrely woman I am.

While I was waiting in the long, long line at the pharmacy, the most cherubic little boy with the rosiest cheeks, started puking violently on the carpeted floor. As one gentleman immediately swiped the drugstore's handy sales circulars from their cage and laid them on the floor for, er, protection, my only thought was, "This is how it starts in Stephen King's The Stand." (Which is one of my fave books ever, and I've read, like, 1,563 times.)

Then I wondered if dumping one of the nearby 24 oz. antibacterial hand soap bottles over my head would be considered shop-lifting if I was willing and able to pay for it, and was standing in line anyway.

I did ask the poor kid's mom if she needed help, and tell a drugstore employee there was a cleanup, on, uh, aisle...the carpet. Then I completely wigged out wondered if I had just been exposed to The Modern Version of The Plague for the next two hours.

Which really interferes with my packing. Here are my thought processes regarding the key elements of my suitcase:

Those Blue Shoes (John Fluevog Breva Pumps go with everything)
The Miracle Belt (Coral skinny belt from Target goes with everything)
Zip lock bag of MMD button flowers and safety pins for any fashion accessory emergency (Megan Mae Daily)

It's okay if you stop reading my blog. I certainly don't read it :P

Name one thing you have to travel with that others' might find, er, odd. You know, just to make me feel better.

Addendum: I am super, super STOKED! Ally got the outfit Megan and I thrifted for her! She rocks orange!

Paralegal Career Dressing: Almost Lilly Pulitzer at the Law Firm

Vivia Chen of The Careerist recently published an article, "Lilly Pulitzer at the Law Firm," which made me wonder how can I get some Lilly Pulitzer for the law firm myself? Chen describes her usual style as "Funeral Chic" (a good description of my own former every day style at work), but calls herself the "Lilly Pulitzer Girl" in the summer.

I remember my aunt making the most wonderful shorts and sun dresses from Lilly Pulitzer fabrics, when I was a child. Of course, I had no idea then how much anything by Lilly Pulitzer cost.  Designer eye candy with "gusty color" ain't cheap, and when I did a quick search for affordable Lilly Pulitzer for legal and office staffers like you and me, I came up with nada. Nothing affordable, and nothing with a modest enough hem length for conservative offices, not even on eBay. (I don't have time to go thrifting at 9:30 p.m., sorry, guys.)

Yep, nada.

But all is not lost. I remembered all the cool dresses I tried to win at other style bloggers' eShakti giveaways, and also remembered that while some of the bright floral patterned dresses are super vivid, they are a little more toned down and affordable for the average working girl. Plus, the hem lengths are more modest.

So's here's three bold print dresses from eShakti that could make me - and you guys - the "Almost Lilly Pulitzer Girls on a Budget":

So are any of you wearing bright "gutsy" floral prints to the law office (or other equally conservative office environment) this summer?

Practical Paralegalism received no goods or compensation from eShakti in exchange for this post, and probably would have purchased her own eShakti dress by now, except there are so many great choices, she can't make up her mind. She does continue to visit the website and drool a bit almost daily.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Paralegal Career Dressing: Total Outfit Cost = $16

Bling Excluded :)

You know yesterday I discussed the voices in my head blogger style influences I took shopping with me this weekend, and when I put on this totally new to me outfit, I realized I'd forgotten to include Psyche of Economy of Style (I've been longing for a button front shirt since she's been refreshing older dresses with them for the last few weeks), and Terri of Rags against the Machine (she has this long reversible silk wrap skirt that converts into all kinds of dresses. She says mine do too, but I can't figure it out.)

I'm not sure if I found the same video as Terri, but I did find this one showing 100 ways to wear reversible silk skirts that look like the two I already own.

Look for a cursing style event soon as I struggle to make one skirt comply with a least two of these looks :P

MegaThrift in Winston-Salem was having a 50% off its pink tag marked better women's clothes, so I scored this green pastel button front shirt for $3, and this brand new reversible skirt with the tags still in it for $3. I like these long skirts because they are a take on this season's maxi length trend, but are a little dressier for the office.

New York & Co shirt (thrifted)
Synergy silk reversible skirt (thrifted, but still had sales tags attached)
XoXo black wedge pumps (thrifted)
Vera Wang multi-chain rhinestone necklace (Kohl's uber-clearance reject rack for a couple of dollars)

But it was the XoXo black wedges that really caught my eye. (If you follow me on Twitter, @ExpertParalegal, I tweeted a better side view of these cool wedges today and Saturday from the thrift store). I risked accusations of shop-lifting as I wore them all over the store while shopping to make sure they were comfy. Gawd, they are comfy, and well worth a freakin' $7.99. I brought them home, wiped them down with disinfectant (yep, that's me, OCD Girl), and used a black Sharpie to touch up the very slight signs of wear and tear on the toe.

That's how I roll, peeps, thrifted shoes right alongside the most expensive shoes I ever bought, my John Fluevog Coffee Breva ice blue pumps on clearance. After the initial breaking-in horror story, they are without a doubt the most comfy and most commented on shoes evah.

The Teen took these pics with my Nikon D3100, standard kit lens. I'm saving for the better lens (Nikon AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D Lens) for portrait photography (am totally open to recommendations from great photographers for a more affordable lens option), but this picture is proof that you can take a darned good headshot for your LinkedIn profile at home.

Anyone else own one of these super-cool reversible skirts and know how to do more than one thing with it? Call me!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Paralegal Career Dressing: Visible Monday Is Vintage

So I already 'fessed up to engaging in a little retail therapy this weekend.

Yeah, I tried the other kind, and it wasn't nearly as much fun.

But enough about my mental health, and more about the voices bloggers I hear in my head when I go retail therapy-ing. This weekend it was mostly Megan from Megan Mae Daily (my choices were more minimalist and modern); Sheila from Ephemera and Megan from The Fashionable Bureaucrat (just in case anything from Smoking Lily does actually show up in a thrift store in the Deep South); and Gracey from Fashion for Giants.

Gracey always scores the best vintage dresses. Since I'm old enough to remember actually wearing vintage dresses, and am sometimes painfully reminded of my big shoulder pads, wide lace doily collars, and dropped waists of the 80s (hey, it wasn't just me, peeps), I don't always do so well in the few stores around here that even offer vintage clothes.

But when I saw this vintage jcp dress for $9.99, it screamed, "GRACEY WOULD SO WEAR THAT!"

At least I'm pretty sure she would.

jcp dress ~ (thrifted)
Coral skinny belt ~ (Target)
Nine West wedges ~ (Ross Dress for Less)
Pearl necklace and ring ~ (my mom's)

How do I know it's a vintage dress? Well the tag looks really old, which I should know from all the years I played dress-up in my grandmother and her friend's clothes, and the tag said it was. Plus, it was in the section 'specially reserved for vintage clothes. Surely MegaThrift wouldn't lie.


My should-be-patented style blogger pose. Because I am always looking at my shoes, or your shoes.

Anyway, the dress is completely sheer, and required a black cami and slip. I highly recommend investing in several good slips. They make all the difference in the world with the hang of unlined dresses and skirts, not to mention avert that awkward see-through thingie (which I've done on this blog, so tell me how awkward that

Thanks, Gracey!

Also, I'm participating in Visible Monday, created by the gorgeous Patti at Not Yet Dead Style. I encourage you to head over to her blog, and check out all the lovely peeps celebrating style, individuality, and beauty of all ages. Plus, you have to super high-five any woman who goes to lunch with another woman, and then swap dresses right there and then.

P.S. More proof this dress is vintage: the full  label says JCPenney Fashions, the washing directions are "machine wash warm," and the original belt is black tassel, which made the whole thing look a wee tad too curtain-like for me.

Scored any vintage threads that you love wearing to work?

Paralegal Career Dressing: Today's Deal Is a Lucky Elephant

Ever since I saw Dark Shadows (2012), I've desperately longed for an elephant pendant like the character Victoria Winters wore. Sure, her elephant was white, and the chain was short, but I just wanted a good-lookin' long elephant pendant.

"Is that all you got out of that movie?," you ask. Yes. I am so mad at Tim Burton and Johnny Depp for ruining their wild, fey, magical partnership with this horribly long, plodding film, that I've pretty much blocked everything from my mind but the desire for an elephant necklace. That's what happens the first time I see a movie in which Depp looks horrible. Post traumatic elephant disorder.

When I opened my daily email from the lovely Jada's Jewels today and saw ELEPHANT NECKLACES (yes, I know that's Internet shouting), it brightened what has otherwise been a considerably stressful Monday.

So, in case you saw Dark Shadows, and the only thing you can remember is Vickie's elephant pendant, here you go:

Lucky Elephant Necklace (Hematite) ~ $12.50 (Jada's Jewels)

I've loved everything I've ordered from Jada, including this cuff I wear all the time, and my sister tried to take from me yesterday:

Cuff Bracelet from Jada's Jewels

My daily deal from Jada's Jewels is usually the best email I get all day. If you're not already on her mailing list, you're invited to sign up here.

Do you know how hard it is to make Johnny Depp look bad?

Practical Paralegalism received no goods or compensation from Jada's Jewels in return for this post. Practical Paralegalism really does just like her daily JJ email.

Walking the Red Carpet with Sherlock

We promised pictures from the red carpet, so here we are, hanging with the mysterious and high cheek-boned lone consulting detective himself. We promise he did not find us boring.

Well, actually, he probably did, and never even noticed us standing right there.

Photo Credit: The awesome Megan of Megan Mae Daily. Want your own drawing done? Here's the link for more information:

Paralegal Job Fair 101: What to Wear

After participating in the North Carolina Bar Association Paralegal Division Job Fair last Friday, I'm going to share a few posts about the experience, geared toward paralegal students, as well as new paralegal graduates and job seekers. Today's post is mostly a pictorial one, featuring a few of the terrifically and appropriately dressed attendees at the fair, most of them seeking their first paralegal job.

I want to add there were over a hundred attendees, and I saw very few that were not appropriately dressed for a job-seeking and networking event. I was manning the workers' compensation table with fellow NCBA PD Council member, Joy Belk, NCCP. I also discussed my work supporting attorneys in the areas of immigration and Social Security disability. After my first outfit picture, Joy really got into the spirit of the career style mini-project, spotting, grabbing. and styling people who were really rocking the whole interview outfit look. (Sorry, about the yellow tint to the pics, all indoor under fluorescent lights).

Without further ado, here are some great ideas about what to wear to a paralegal job fair (in the order taken):

Margaret Powers, a student at the ABA-approved post-graduate Meredith College Paralegal Program, is wearing a suit dress from Pendleton, Naturalizer pumps, and her aunt's pearl necklace.

Rebecca Davis, NCCP, is wearing a NYGARD blazer (we loved the terrific black trim), and a Jessica London lace-trimmed blouse. She's also wearing a simple pearl necklace, which is a great accessory for an interview outfit.

Marion Young, NCCP, is a Past Chair of NCBA PD, and was volunteering, not job-hunting, but I loved her blue linen dress suit scored from a sale rack at Belk. When asked about her shoes, she said they were "100 years old". When asked about the terrific long chain she's wearing, she said, "My mama gave it to me because she loves me." I love you, too, Marion.

Joy and I were gobsmacked by Veronica Rockwell, NCCP's terrific herringbone suit, and even further gobsmacked when she told us she scored it at a bathing suit shop in Topsail Beach, NC, last year.

When I saw Debbie Burch approach our table, she was so stunning, I thought she looked like an editor of a high fashion magazine. Because of the indoor lighting (and my still rudimentary photography skills), this picture does not do justice to her well-cut suit and green short-sleeved sweater scored from a Talbot's Outlet, the pretty necklace with green beads purchased from Ross-Simons online, and her chic but comfortable Easy Spirit pumps.

This is another photo that does not reflect how beautifully turned out Kathryn Wiegand was in person. She was just so wonderfully tall and elegant. She's wearing the pants and jacket from a three-piece suit she purchased for under $80 at jcp, pearl jewelry and a drape-neck white blouse she bought at Target, and super-comfortable Merrill shoes. Her pulled back hair was the perfect touch.

I took several headshots for job fair participants who did not have a LinkedIn photo, including Kathryn's, which again emphasizes how elegant she looked - and that you can get a great headshot for LinkedIn at home.

Joy and I probably frightened Wanda Wright a bit when we photo-jacked her, because we loved the ribbon detail on her suit so much, as well as her great brief case. Wanda purchased her suit on sale at Steinmart for about $70, her bag on sale at Target for $29.99, and her shoes at Off Broadway. She asked if she should remove her glasses for the picture, and we were all, "NO, they are awesome and perfect!"

Joseph Miller, a recent graduate of the Duke Paralegal Program, looked great in this gray suit purchased from Belk. What I really loved was his pale blue shirt worn with a pale yellow tie that had small flecks of gray in it. Here's a closer view, but it still doesn't reflect how the suit, tie, and shirt complemented his glasses and hair.

Again, the shirt was bluer and the tie while subtle, popped more in person. I liked his tie so much that I bought two yellow ties for Dear Hubby for Father's Day.

Again, there were many people perfectly dressed to meet other legal professionals, but only so many within reach of my work station. Thanks to everyone who graciously allowed me to photograph them, as well as to everyone who volunteered, sponsored, and attended the event, with special thanks to fellow PD Council member, Denise Hargrove, NCCP, who does a terrific job organizing these job fairs.

Practical Paralegalism welcomes guest career-dressing posts from legal staffers and attorneys on a budget. All you have to do is email me ( your outfit photo and purchase details (if you remember them), and a short 2-3 sentence bio about you. You know Practical Paralegalism is especially fond of the career recessionista, who shops at retail discount and/or thrift stores, and knows how to work a clearance rack and/or coupons.