Photo: Lordale Benosa.
When it comes to my work wardrobe, I sometimes feel like I live in two different worlds: the business world — where my style is more classic and I wear a lot of simple, bold colored sheath dresses — and the tech world, where I prefer to dress a bit edgier and often work in some black leather.
It’s partially about the audience: In my role as founder of The Muse, I have to play to both the technology sector (VCs, other entrepreneurs), and a more standard business set (our clients, media partners, more traditional investors, etc.). The truth is, I love both worlds, and both styles that come along with it. So, while I have sheath dresses in just about every color under the sun, I also own a killer pair of Aritzia faux leather leggings that are tons of fun for the right start-up event. Because, honestly, I was sick of getting patronized by people who thought I was a nice girl or not tough enough to build a business. Guess what? In leather pants, fewer people make that mistake.
I work pretty insane hours, but it’s mostly on my schedule. Generally, I'm up around 8 a.m. answering morning emails and taking a few calls from my pajamas (shh! don’t tell). Then I’ll shower, throw on a simple dress or pants and flip-flops for my commute and walk to work, taking more calls on the way. Meetings usually start in earnest around 9:30 a.m. and continue on and off for the rest of the day, but depending on who I’m meeting with I might not put makeup on until midday — if at all. I have a small kit of essentials I carry with me, and otherwise I try not to worry too much about it. Media is an exception, but, thankfully, most stations provide a makeup artist. My team jokes that they can tell what station I’ve been on — Bloomberg, CNBC, Fox — by how aggressively my makeup is done. Fox is definitely the most intense.
Photo: Lordale Benosa.
I'm the public face of the company, so I spend a lot of time connecting with investors, clients, strategic partners, reporters, and others, usually until pretty late in the day. The weekends are when I really get the "life" part of work/life balance!
I always have flats with me — usually, leather flip-flops on my feet and heels in my bag, or vice versa for meetings. I love being able to switch it up on the go. I have one of those cloth bags that I wrap the shoes in, and then I can carry it separately or in my purse.
I find it helpful to look at women I admire in my space and notice what they are wearing, and if it will work for me. For example, I like both Marissa Mayer’s jewel-toned dresses and Vivian Rosenthal (of Snaps) totally badass rocker look, so I've taken inspiration from both for different pieces. If you're lucky enough to have a female entrepreneur friend, it can be helpful to bring them along for a second opinion. If I’m going to a really high-stakes meeting or giving a big speech, I’ll usually get my co-founder Alex Cavoulacos’ thoughts on what tone to strike (elegant, tough, etc.) on that given day.
My style is pretty classic; in NYC I generally shop in places like Ann Taylor, Zara, and Tumi — though I have the aforementioned pair of killer faux leather leggings from Aritzia. When I’m visiting my parents in the Washington D.C. suburbs, I love going to department stores like Macy’s and Lord & Taylor with my mom; for some reason, the sale racks there are really, really good to me! I’m also a big fan of new, female-run e-commerce brands like Tailour and M. M. LaFleur.
Finally, when you're nervous, it's always good to fall back on clothing that’s a bit "lucky" — even if you don't really believe in that sort of stuff. I have a green dress that Alex and I jokingly call my “power dress” because I wore it when pitching to some of our big name investors.