Archives for posts with tag: totally superficial advice

Did you miss me, dear readers? I missed you while I went on two back-to-back academic law library interviews in the Midwest. My Hillary-in-the-90s skirt suit and I bravely endured all day grillings, meet and greets, and gave two presentations–but alas, we did not prevail.

Hillary Red, by Meg

I have only a couple pieces of totally superficial advice re: academic interviewing, which you should take with a grain of salt as I haven’t successfully obtained an academic job from one of these interviews:

  • Don’t fear your red suit. Maybe it’s a DC thing, but it is a totally acceptable color choice, and I got lots of compliments, including one, “Oh thank goodness you’re not in a black suit.”
  • Wear flats, even if you wear heels often (like me). No one else wears heels, and it worries people when any sort of walking is involved, even if you’re fine.
  • Wear a blouse that you’re not ashamed to be seen in without your jacket. You’ll be eating lunch with folks, and it’s not a terrible idea to take your jacket off, lest you be stained for the rest of the interview if you eat like me.

Now, I am pleased to say that I will be starting work on Monday in the DC library of Latham & Watkins, a law firm on which the sun never sets. They have offices, like, everywhere. I’ve met all the staff a couple of times, everyone is super nice, and I’m excited to be getting into something a little different: private law librarianship.

When I start next Monday, my unemployment will have lasted a grand total of 61 days. Thanks to everyone who has been supportive of me, my job search, and my ample free time!


I love everything about thrifting: the thrill of the hunt, the unreal bargains, and of course, the exclusive delight of saying, “what, this old thing?” If you’re a new librarian starting a professional position, or a seasoned pro looking to update your look, thrift store shopping can give you great value for your hard-earned money. Most communities have a thrift shop, bigger ones will have multiples, and high end community thrift shops will be full of really nice desginer stuff. But, no matter where you are, they all start looking like this:

Today we’re talking pants. A few things to bear in mind when shopping for any garment at a thrift store:

  • Deep set stains are a no-go, but lots of spots will come out with dedication and stain remover. Consider shopping with a Tide pen.
  • Look at hems and seams to make sure they’re still there. Try turning the garment inside out.
  • If a garment needs to be hemmed, or have a button sewn, or any other kind of tailoring work, be honest with yourself about whether you’re going to make that happen. Yes, fabulous trousers that needs a button could be yours for a mere $5, but it’s $5 wasted if you never sew the button, and never wear them.


When I’m looking for new (to me) clothes, I always pay close attention to the care instructions and fabric content. Will I need to dry clean (kind of a deal breaker), iron (haha, no)? Will I need to wash this after wear (unlikely), will it stand up to me sitting all day (let’s be real here)? In pants, I find that the pockets are a good indicator.








Slash pockets (ones that are cut horizontally) tend to lay flatter for longer, no matter your body shape, giving pants more life in between washes, and thereby making them look newer when they’re brand new (to you). Slant pockets (ones that are cut vertically) tend to poof out after hours of sitting, causing wrinkles all over the front of the pants, making you wash them more frequently. Furthermore, slash pockets tend to accompany flat front pants, which look more polished than pleats on librarians of all shapes and sizes.

How to try on pants at the thrift store? A few options:

  • Wear leggings or bike shorts, and try on the pants over your own clothes
  • Go to the dress section, find the biggest baddest mumu they have, throw it on over your clothes and use it as a personal dressing room
  • Wear your own mumu
  • If your mumu is too precious to leave your home, wear a maxi dress for the same effect

A wise man once said that intelligence is knowing that a tomato is a fruit, but wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad. There are plenty of smart things to be said about professional networking, presenting new ideas, and other important conferencey things. Here, instead, are some pearls of feminine wisdom for your upcoming trip to Boston:


  • East Coast summers are warm and sticky. In light of this fact, you might be tempted to wear skirts and dresses to AALL. That’s a good idea: they’re polished, packable, and versatile. However, don’t forget about what’s going on under the skirt–warm and sticky legs. Try leggings, biker shorts, Spanx, whatever keeps your legs encased in their own cocoons of cool. Plus, you can sit cross legged on the floor of the exhibit hall and eat free appetizers like a lady.
  • Of course, you’re planning to wear comfortable shoes. A. We’re librarians, but B. You’re smart. Be mindful that what’s comfortable for an 8-10 hour work day may not translate into comfortable for a 10-14 hour conference day.
  • Are you dropping your resume at the Career Center? You might end up at an on-the-spot-ish interview! Fingers crossed for you, friends. Does this mean you need to pack an interview suit? Heavens, no. Travel with a structured cardigan and a big girl scarf. They’re less likely to arrive in Boston a rumpled mess, you can keep them in your big ass conference tote bag, plus you can incorporate them into other outfits and not feel like you packed useless garments.
  • How to tie a big girl scarf? Check out Liberty London’s videos, and these charming illustrated diagrams to get started.


  • Going outside into the heat and humidity, then inside to a frigid conference hall, and back and forth and so on makes skins dry and unhappy.  May I suggest a simple, light weight, fragrance free hand cream that can double as a facial moisturizer to keep in your big ass conference tote bag? It’s one more thing to carry, but it’s better than scratching at your face and neck all day. I like Nivea products, but you do you.
  • Waterproof mascara is not just for synchronized swimmers. Don’t forget, humidity is water in the air. I use CoverGirl LashBlast Length Water Resistantmascara. They make a LashBlash Volume in Water Proof, but I find it’s too hard to remove, and I look like I’ve misapplied falsies.

  • What else does water in the air do? It wrangles your hair like a baby calf. Let your natural hair do it’s thing, and you won’t look like it’s your first time at the rodeo. Worried that your natural hair is a little too Afro Circus? Channel your inner Diana Ross.

Meeting & Greeting

  • There are so many strangers at library conferences. The goal is not to meet everyone. But, you’ve got to meet someone, hermits. If you start a conversation with someone, the odds that they’re relieved you spoke first are fairly high. You know us.
  • But, what to say? If you’re hanging in the exhibit hall, talk about vendor swag. If you’re post-session, talk about how to apply what you just learned at your library. If you’re at a reception, talk about the food. I know it’s hard sometimes, but be brave!
  • Of course, some strangers are stranger than others. The odds are good that you’ll meet fabulous people–but the goods can be odd. You know us. Is there anything wrong with laughing in the middle of an awkward exchange for no reason at all? I think not. Fly your freak flag higher, then politely excuse yourself, and don’t think a thing about it.


  • The best part of any gathering with free food is the free food, no? Be wary: not everything presented as finger food is really finger food. If something is slippery, saucy, loosely breaded or covered in spice, look down to see if your outfit is of a coordinating color.
  • BBQ sliders and a red dress? No problem. Decadent chocolate cupcakes and a white button down? Exercise caution. Marinated antipasti on tooth picks? You’re never getting those olive oil stains out.
  • No one is giving away apples for free, but don’t forget to eat some veggies while you’re at conference, or you’ll be way tired and not know why by day three.

Have a safe trip to Boston, enjoy annual meeting, and I hope to see you there!

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