Style at Work.. A Short Interview with Kate Betts

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Style at Work.. A Short Interview with Kate Betts

This blog was written by Paola Reyes, our Campus Ambassador from the University of Texas.

This past month I had the amazing opportunity to attend the Texas Conference for Women, which took place in Austin. First off let me say how awesome it was to see 5,000+ women gathered at the Austin Convention Center for one purpose, to empower each other. The first panel I attended was a Career Advancement 101 panel titled “Defining Success on Your Own Terms.” Panelists included Alyce C. Alston, former VP of Conde Nast and current CEO of Austin’s Culturemap, Alexis Sclamberg, speaker, media personality, and future cast member in the Oprah Winfrey Network, Wilka Toppins, attorney and founder, Danielle LaPorte, author of The Fire Starter Sessions, and none other than Lauren Berger, CEO of Intern Queen Inc.
The second session I attended was called “Style at Work“ and it was led by Kate Betts, author of, Everyday Icon, Michelle Obama and the Power of Style. With a vast expertise in fashion, Betts spoke about style in the office and how what we wear is important when channeling our personal image at work. Some of the topics that were addressed were dressing to fit in, the difference between fashion and style, and fashion don’ts. Two statements from Kate that would summarize the session were, “style is telling a story over and over again” and “there is never a danger in over dressing.” I found this session very informative and especially helpful for women who have trouble shopping for work clothes. I also got the chance to ask the author a few questions before she left for her book signing:

How did you start work in fashion?
When I graduated from Princeton I knew I wanted to be a journalist, but I didn't get an internship I applied for at TIME magazine so I moved to France. I wanted to learn French, and I had found an internship at The Herald Tribune. I stayed in Paris and did a lot of freelancing and eventually landed a job working as a reporter at WWD and W Magazine at Fairchild Media. At first, I didn’t think about working in fashion until I started covering it for the magazine. I loved all of it, the extravagance and the beauty of it. After three years at WWD Anna Wintour offered me a job at Vogue in New York City as a writer. Eight years later I was appointed editor-in-chief at Harpers Bazaar. After Harper’s Bazaar I began working at TIME magazine and I recalled that this is where I first wanted to work when I graduated from college. The funny thing is that when I was younger I had applied there twice for an internship and never got it.

In regards to the experience you had, especially ending up working in a place where you had applied before what advice would you give college students?
Follow your passion. Don’t think about what you should do, think about what you want to do.

What are you working on right now?
My next book, which is a memoir of sorts about what it took to break into the fashion business in Paris in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Overall, attending this conference was an amazing experience and a great networking opportunity. I was able to meet women entrepreneurs from all over the US and learn about a wide range of topics. These types of conferences happen frequently all over the country, look for them in your region, and attend! You will not regret it!

Connect with Kate on Twitter, @KateBetts