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The Busy Girl's Guide To After-Hours Style

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    Photographed by Meredith Jenks.

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    When you work at a 24-hour media site such as Refinery29 — not to mention, in the city that never sleeps — the idea of disconnecting can seem ancient, like life before the Internet (children of the '80s, you feel us). The content flow never halts, the story ideas need to be fresher than your CSA, and the pace travels faster than the speed of light a computer screen glow. But, despite the tendency to always be plugged in, it's just as important to unplug from time to time. So, what does a web editor's life look like off the clock?

    Up ahead, we ask three of our intrepid R29 editors to paint us a picture of their plans after hours, how they navigate and maintain the delicate dance that is the work-life balance, and the style hacks they employ when their busy schedules take them straight from the office to a well-deserved night out. Click through to see the evening looks they swear by with fall styles from DVF. Then, clock out already and hit the town. Advertisement


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    Neha Gandhi, executive editor
    Her After-Hours Scene: Celebratory Dinner Party With Friends
    The Dress Code: Festive

    "Most of the time, I opt for daytime pieces that feel polished and pulled-together, that transition easily to evening — even without heels. And, because I shop that way, my after-hours transition is more about adding a bright lip, a little more eyeliner, and maybe a smaller bag."

    What do you love most about your job?
    "I work with our editors, helping to refine their stories, assign and edit features, and think critically about our editorial strategy. Specifically, we balance a data-driven approach to digital publishing while encouraging out-of-the-box creative thinking and wild, smart, unpredictable ideation." Advertisement

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    What do you think it takes to succeed in a fast-paced environment like R29?
    "I've gotten to hone my long-lead editing skills as well as my ability to innovate and adapt in a state of agile development. To really succeed at a place like this, you have to be able to balance both of those skills, and I'm really lucky to have a range of experience that has taught me exactly that."

    Since you're managing a 24-hour website, do you feel like you're always "on"?
    "For sure. And, I don't think that's a bad thing. Working in a creative industry, I'm really lucky to be able to pull inspiration from every single part of my life. We're a site for women, and we want to speak to every single aspect of women's lives. So, the things that I notice and want to talk about in my life tend to all be relevant to my work. And, that's pretty incredible."
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    But, we all know we're supposed to unplug, for real, on a pretty regular basis. Do you think that's realistic?
    "I'm actually really bad about this, but I've been trying to create some moments of here-and-now time, where for 30-minute chunks, I just won't look at my phone. It's hard, but it's obviously totally worth it, both for the sake of my sanity and productivity. If you're 'on' all the time, you're denigrating the value of the work you do — not just from a perception standpoint but from a quality-of-work standpoint. So, I'm working on it."

    Easier said than done, right? What do you do to implement that "me" time?
    "My big cheat that's been totally helpful has been the neat trick that Apple's mail app allows, where you can see emails from select 'VIPs' on your lock screen. So, I screen for my bosses and a few people who I know will need me, late at night and on weekends, and try and push everything else off until business hours. So far, it's working." Advertisement

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    Her After-Hours Scene: Networking Event
    The Dress Code: Polished With Personality

    "I'd like to wear this blue jumpsuit pretty much everywhere. I think it would totally work for a day at the office and then could go straight out, as well, maybe with a change of accessories."

    What's your going-out style mantra?
    "I'm a big fan of things that nip in here and there but don't actually touch my body. I just hate things that feel constricting or binding. Generally speaking, I like my nighttime clothes (and my daytime clothes, too) to feel like they float a bit. Cher Horowitz taught me to fear party clothes that are too binding, and I've taken that lesson to heart over the years." Advertisement

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    Do you hoard outfits at your desk for post-work quick changes or do you plan outfits that go all day?
    "Oh, yes. I tend to work late, so it's not really realistic to plan to go home and change between work and dinner or drinks. So, I just make sure that whatever I put on in the morning can take me anywhere I plan to go in the evening. Unless, I happen to be attending some kind of black-tie something in the evening. But really, how often does that happen?" Advertisement