Monthly Archives: March 2014

Made to measure

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I was recently lucky enough to be offered a chance to select a dress from PIOL, a new company offering made to measure dresses. PIOL lets you piece together your desired style, choose the fabric you want, and then uses your measurements to create the perfect dress just for you.

The PIOL website is pretty spiffy–all pointy clicky–and you can see your dress take form as you are directed through an easy-to-use step-by-step creation process. The most difficult parts of the process? Actually committing to a design and getting your measurements right.

So how did I do? I wanted to make sure I judged the dress on a fair playing ground plus I wanted a dress that I might wear to death and wear everywhere, so I chose a tailored silhouette, a moderate v-neck, a long pencil skirt, and cap sleeves. In black. But before you judge and shun me for not choosing one of their multitudes of great patterns, I just want to say that I thought black would be the best option for seeing the true lines of the dress. AND, I chose black matte stretch, which turned out to be a to-die-for fabric.

The dress is lovely and looks exactly as it’s shown on the site.

piol

UNTIL, and here’s where the advantage of off the rack comes in, you turn it around and see…

The exposed stainless zipper. Which I know was all the style last year but it’s not a readily disclosed feature on the site (although I can sort of see it in the photo now) and it really destroyed the LBD demure dress image I had in mind.

For my measurements, I measured and measured and measured again before submitting them. The bust size is spot on. Unfortunately the bust size fails to take into account my slightly broad shoulders and the fit isn’t quite perfect there. Also, I feel like I would take in the waist and hips in a future dress. It’s a little roomy. At maximum fatness, the dress would probably be fine but since I dropped a bit of weight since taking the measurements a few weeks ago, it’s not perfect. I probably should have cinched that measuring tape right up like a corset. Mea culpa. Completely. But I was also afraid of getting a dress I couldn’t slip on. Which would have been worse.

So would I do it again? I’m not sure. I’ve got a lovely Tahari black dress that fits me quite nicely that cost a small fraction of the PIOL retail. But I DO have difficulty finding dresses that fit (I’m talking to you J. CREW!) and I am certain that I’d have the measurements completely dialed in the second time around. But the zipper was a real shocker and I would be super nervous about choosing a pattern without seeing it in real life. To its merit, PIOL does its best to minimize risk and does offer a very gracious return policy (all you are responsible is for the shipping costs both ways). So I guess I’m undecided (although I know I would be tempted) and I hope they work on a hidden zip option soon.

Building on your base

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Often we focus exclusively on our base salary when looking at a job offer, but our base is only part of the package. The benefits and non-tangibles that a company can offer, even if they aren’t able to budge on your salary, can be truly substantial and can often be more readily granted by employers whose hands might be otherwise tied.

Things to consider negotiating for next time you get the opportunity:

  • Signing bonus
  • Performance bonus
  • Equity
  • Extra vacation
  • Work from home privileges (you’re saving on commute dollars as well as time spent)
  • Employee savings match (this can end up being tens of thousands of dollars each year if you’re a diligent saver)
  • Salary reviews at a shorter interval (at your six month anniversary instead of the year)
  • Paid attendance at industry events
  • Paid mobile bills (assuming your phone usage or accessibility is relevant to your job)
  • Career related training (it could help you get a better paying job in the future)
  • Paid network access at home
  • Sabbatical
  • Title promotion (even if it doesn’t come with a pay increase, it could translate into one on your next review or your next job)
  • Health club access/fitness benefits
  • Parking

On a somewhat related note, I recently stumbled upon an article on Forbes by Liz Ryan which I think uses a great (and highly comfortable) dialog for a sample salary negotiation. It’s a quick read and a real confidence builder.

Sing the blues during your next interview

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A recent CareerBuilder survey makes the connection between colors and employers’ impressions of them. Over 2,000 hiring managers and human resources professionals from a variety of industries and company sizes were surveyed.

They were asked to advise job applicants on the best color to wear to a job interview. Their top pick? Blue. (Although admittedly, blue received only 23% of the total vote.)

Your worst choice? Orange. While it’s associated with “creative”, it’s also associated with “unprofessional”.