The Busy Girl's Guide To After-Hours Style

Photographed by Meredith Jenks.
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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Photographed by Meredith Jenks.
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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Photographed by Meredith Jenks.
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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Photographed by Meredith Jenks.
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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Photographed by Meredith Jenks.
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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Photographed by Meredith Jenks.
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
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Photographed by Meredith Jenks.
When you're headed out for the night, do you set a curfew?
"Sort of. I have an 11:30 p.m. bedtime Sunday through Thursday. But, I don't really have to enforce it because I just get a little worn out by that time of night. I love the morning hours and those few hours before work when I can read The New York Times, drink some coffee, go to the gym, and just generally have 'me time.' But, making that happen definitely can't include staying out late." Advertisement
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Photographed by Meredith Jenks.
Jessica Roska, senior editor, brand experiences
Her After-Hours Scene: Date Night
The Dress Code: Flirty And Functional

"My date attire is always a mix of something feminine and something a little edgy or unexpected. For me, this flirty skirt paired with a crop top accomplishes that look."

Your road to R29 is kind of an unexpected one.
"It's true. I began my career developing and writing treatments for fashion and beauty reality TV shows at a start-up production company, but I didn't love it — there were never sparks. I took a job doing brand communications and copywriting for a contemporary fashion brand, and after about two years in that role (and about five years of stalking R29 and their job openings), I saw a position here that sounded perfect — part working with brands, part editorial. For me, not getting this job wasn't an option, so I put all my energy into pursuing this path. And, here I am." Advertisement
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Photographed by Meredith Jenks.
As someone who's always worked in a fashion-focused work environment, you must have mastered the desk-to-dinner outfit transition.
"I'm always thinking about everything I'm doing that day at work and beyond. If the after-hours look requires something dressier, my heels, accessories, and evening makeup are coming with me to the office in my bag. This is probably why I'm such a bag lady. I also think about outfits that transition easily, like by adding or removing a layer or element."

Care to give us an example?
"If I'm sporting a femme skirt, sweater, and leather jacket for work with boyish brogues, I'll swap the sweater for a crop top and the brogues for a heel to jazz it up." Advertisement
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Photographed by Meredith Jenks.
What's more important, the going out look or being comfortable in the look?
"It depends on what I'm doing. If I'm going to be dancing or a lot of walking is involved, a hands-free bag and comfortable heels (yes, there is such a thing) are key. But, I will admit, there are times when I dress up and it's not comfortable, yet I do it anyway because it accomplishes the look I'm trying to achieve." Advertisement
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Photographed by Meredith Jenks.
Her After-Hours Scene: Charity Fundraiser
The Dress Code: Cocktail Attire

"When you think of an evening look, you often think of something a little more revealing, a little sexier. But, in my book, that doesn't equal skin-tight or super short. I'm also all about structured, more masculine looks for the evening."

When you're headed out for the night, what are your style signatures?
"A deep burgundy lip, heels, a crossbody or clutch, and an amazing jacket to top it off. I'm not the type to wear a jacket just as a layer only to take it off later — it's always very much a part of the outfit for me and oftentimes the hero piece."
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Photographed by Meredith Jenks.
Making time to go out, and do the other things you love, can be hard to do with a packed schedule. What's one of the biggest misconceptions about work-life balance?
"I've learned that when you think you don't have time for your other interests, you actually do. It just requires better time management. Sometimes you just have to take a breather and live in the present. Even if it's just taking 20 minutes for a run or to meditate — whatever brings you calm and reconnects you to yourself — it makes a big difference."

So, you make it work. What's your stance on "unplugging"?
"I really try to unplug completely on the weekends. There are times when I want to get ahead or take care of something on a Saturday or Sunday, but I try my best to refrain and allow myself two full days of 'me' time. It's so important to disconnect and refocus your energy on the other things in life that matter to you and make you happy. I try to remind myself that there's nothing that I could tackle on a weekend that I couldn't take care of early on Monday morning."
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Photographed by Meredith Jenks.
What do you think is one of the biggest challenges for women in their 20s pursuing careers in NYC?
"It's hard to know when to stop. There's always more to be done, but at what point do you say 'I'm done?' That's hard to determine sometimes. I think, especially in our 20s, women are pouring themselves into their careers, and that's a good thing. But, it's easy to prioritize work over everything else when it's what consumes you almost all day, every day."
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Photographed by Meredith Jenks.
Annie Georgia Greenberg, senior style editor
Her After-Hours Scene: Art Opening
The Dress Code: Creative Casual

"I'd wear this look on any workday. I love that it's comfortable yet sophisticated enough to go from meetings to appointments to an after-hours event, like an art show."

So what do you love most about your job?
"In my day to day I write fashion posts profiling designers and major events, but video is definitely one of my favorite aspects of my job. It's how I first came to know the company and something I feel I've helped develop in my time here." Advertisement
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Photographed by Meredith Jenks.
With all the events you cover after work, your job is very around-the-clock. Do you ever actually unplug?
"I'd like to think I do. I'd like to think I can find full-fledged, unplugged Zen time even in a lunch hour or weekend."
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Photographed by Meredith Jenks.
And, when you find the time to go out, not for a work event, what's your idea of a perfect night out?
"Lots of friends. Lots of food. Lots of wine. Lots of music." Advertisement
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Photographed by Meredith Jenks.
Her After-Hours Scene: Covering The Red Carpet At A Movie Premiere
The Dress Code: Dressy Casual

"This look is a bit more polished than my everyday wear but in a good way. It definitely plays up my more grown-up, feminine side. I'll get there one day..."

To avoid wardrobe changes — because, let's be honest, nobody likes lugging a bag of clothes with them to the office — do you end up planning 24-hour outfits?
"I think of myself as a pretty spontaneous person. That said, I try to pack subtle outfit changes, even if it's just jewelry or lipstick, in my bag, should my days or nights lead me in unexpected directions." Advertisement
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Photographed by Meredith Jenks.
So, are you a heels or flats girl?
"I used to wear heels all day, every day. Now it's primarily a nighttime thing for me. My feet are super grateful."
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Photographed by Meredith Jenks.
Do you get nervous talking to influencers you admire on camera?
"It's kind of funny. I actually get more nervous after I talk to someone I admire. Beforehand there are some nerves, but they're mixed with adrenaline, so I don't focus on them as much. It's also really interesting how human people seem when they're IRL and not on a screen. Cuz, well, they are human — they're just shaking your hand, and you're asking them questions like you would anyone else." Advertisement