April 2013

Hello Eva! I'll be graduating college soon, and wanted to send out hand-written thank you notes to a few of the people who've supported me throughout my journey. Do you have any recs for places to get stationary? I'm looking for something grown-up, and welcome custom logos or embossing. I'm willing to splurge for quality, but since I'm still on a college budget, nothing gilded in gold! Thank you in advance~

Oh! Your message makes me so happy because a) I love stationery. It is without doubt one of my favorite things in the galaxy. (Want proof? Check out this Instagram picture—that’s just the paper I brought with me to Los Angeles!). And b) I’m happy you’re establishing good habits so early in your career. That show of gratitude will be remembered—by your professor who you might need a graduate school or job recommendation from, friends who you’ll always want to be by your side. I remember every thank you note I’ve ever received from former interns or staff members. Not because of their particular eloquence (though many of them were) but because, shockingly, it was a rare occurrence. Anyway, enough lecturing… Here are some of my favorite stationery brands: Iomoi, Tinyprints, Minted are on the lower end… Medium range: Dempsey and Carroll, who have a bi-annual sale that is major (sign up on their website now for an alert). And if you can splurge, Smythson, absolutely.

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Eva, Your taste is shoes are phenomenal. ♥ If only I had a high tolerance for pain I would raid my closets of heels & more heels. But, I go to school in RISD, ( infamous for its giant hills). So, it makes it difficult to walk around in heels everyday. Esp, heels without the platform in the front... How do you walk around in those ? Is there some sort of secret trick, I am missing out on. Please fill me in !

First of all, congratulations on RISD—that’s phenomenal. My first bit of totally tangential and unasked-for advice is to take advantage of every moment of college (and for those non-collegiate readers, school in general). Once you finish school, it’s harder to explore, to take detours, to spend time abroad, and generally take a minute to just enjoy the process of your mind expanding. Okay, onto your question: there’s no mandate that says you have to wear heels to class. If I could Back-to-the-Future myself to college, I’d probably wear low-heeled boots (think Isabel Marant or Rag & Bone) or any of the bountiful array of cute Nike Dunks (or running sneakers) out there. Or, I’d wear chic little slippers—I buy them by the truckload from Zara because I wear them out so quickly walking in NYC. (And to answer your question: my secret to wearing heels is a) don’t buy them if they’re not walkable/comfortable in the store. They won’t get more comfortable, let’s just put it that way b) be sensible. If you’re going to be on your feet all day, don’t torture yourself. Wear your comfiest heels or bring an extra pair of insoles to slide in there c) keep in mind that I take a fair number of taxis. It’s an indulgence, what can I say). 

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Hi Eva! I need some mascara advice, please? My eyelashes are short, and even though I use a curler they flatten out by the time I put the curler down! :( I'd like something that would give me volume and shape, but not too much for everyday-use. I don't know if it's maybe the curler (MAC) or the mascara (Diorshow Extase) I'm using, or if I should use something in addition. Thank you in advance for your time, best wishes!

Your lashes sound woefully similar to my lashes and, speaking from firsthand experience, it’s not the curler (I use this one, for the record). The problem is likely that your lashes can’t support the weight of a super-thickening, dramatic mascara (Diorshow is a phenomenal product but not right for all lash types, in my opinion). My lashes work best with lengthening and defining formulas—mascaras that give you a long, fluttery Bambi-like lash, versus a thicker look. My favorites: Eyeko Fat, Covergirl Lash Blast Length, and—for girls in Europe—Max Factor Clump Defy. And my latest obsession is Benefit’s They’re Real, which might be a good compromise—they thicken lashes for a more dramatic look, as well as lengthen, without being terribly heavy and flattening. 

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I really love your blog; I have been following for a long time now!! :) I'm going to NYC in 10 days for a week and I would love to have your top 5 recommendations! Thank you xx

It’s impossible to contain my love for my hometown in just five recommendations! Okay, let’s start with touristy must-visits: Top of the Rock (that’s where I interviewed Chloe Moretz recently) or Empire State Building for views (go on a clear day, obviously). Chinatown—I would suggest Shanghai Cafe (bring cash) for soup dumplings and cheap, painfully good foot massages (Yan Mei is the name of the place I frequent. It seems seedy but it’s not). Central Park—when you’re done window-shopping on Fifth Avenue (a must, obviously. Bergdorf’s for tea and epic views if possible, Apple store/cube, Tiffany’s), the tip of Central Park is right there! The Metropolitan Museum of Art—that museum makes me feel like I’m back in high school. Onto shopping and beauty: Catbird in Brooklyn for the best, daintiest rings ever. Marie/Sakura/Valley nails for nail art (book now or forever hold your peace). Premium Laces in Nolita for awesome sneakers (they have a great selection of Nike wedges in patterns, ahhh. Almost bought like six pairs). Marc Jacobs on Bleecker (and that whole area/street in general. I know there’s Zara in like every city but the flagship on Fifth Avenue is mindblowingly epic. Also, check out my profile on Foursquare. I pretty much check into every new place I visit, so you’ll get a sense of some recurring favorites there. Happy NYCing—get swept away by this city’s gritty beauty!

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Hey Eva! So in about 40 days (I have a countdown on my phone) school will be out for the summer. I'd like to do something productive, and Im becoming increasingly interested in the fashion/ magazine world as a career. I'm a sophomore in high school so I have a little while to decide. Anyways, do you have any suggestions as to what I can do? Maybe an internship somewhere? Thanks in advance! (:

Oh, I remember the days when I used to countdown the days until the last day of school. And then… I’d start summer school. Haha (sigh). I think it’s absolutely wonderful that you have a career goal/path in mind, but unfortunately it can be rather hard to get an internship as a high school student. Most larger companies (Hearst, Conde Nast, Time, etc) require you receive college credit. My suggestion: start by going to your high school’s college or career counselor. Ask them if they know of any alumni who work in magazines or fashion. Reach out to them and ask them for an informational interview (that’s where you sit with them for fifteen minutes or so and ask them questions). If you hit it off, ask them if they need any interns or help—even if it’s just shadowing for a day or two—over the summer. If that doesn’t turn up anything, I’d suggest a summer program in writing, journalism, or fashion design or merchandising. If you’re near Parson’s, FIT, FIDM, or SCAD, I know they all offer summer programs for high school students. (If not, check your local college as well). Relish the summer—remember, there’s no such thing as summer breaks once you’re in the working world… so enjoy!

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Hey Eva! Hope you're doing great! So I really wanted to try face or body oils and then I heard about garnier's hair, face & body oil.. Should I try it or not.. Because it sounds a bit supicious.. Thanks!

I love that you’re calling Garnier’s oil “suspicious”, like it’s a shady character with a goatee in an episode of Law & Order: Beauty Crimes Division (first of all: if that doesn’t exist yet, it should. secondly, yes, I think goatees are shady. if you are not a goat, you should not have a goatee). So, my thoughts on the categories of oil: Oils get a bad rap. Certainly, there are oils that are bad (oil spills. oily hair). We spend so much time stripping our face and hair of oil—but we forget that not all oils are bad and that oils are naturally-occurring on the surface of skin for a reason: to create and seal in moisture. I think almost everyone—barring people with cystic acne, whom I think should consult a dermatologist—would benefit from oil on their face and hair. Hair-wise, rub a bit between your palms and then apply to ends or from the mid-shaft down (especially if you heat-style). Your hair will feel softer and, well, yummier. Skin-wise, in the winter months especially (not so much in the summer when the humidity helps out skin), I use oil as a serum. My favorites are this one (made for oily skin), this one (if you have ultra-dry skin), and this one (my most recent discovery). On a side note, your body will also benefit from consumption of oilslike healthy ones found in fish, avocado, olive oil. I take fish oil (sounds gross, because it is! But capsules aren’t too bad) and I really think it helps with my skin, hair, brain, everything, boosting it from the inside out. 

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Hi Eva, I was wondering how you deal with competition in the industry. It seems pretty cut throat and I'm wondering how people deal with it/work around it

So, I’ve made analogies to The Hunger Games or Game of Thrones when describing the fashion industry to friends. You win or you die! May the odds be ever in your favor! But, really, it’s been in jest. I truly think that every career path has the potential to be competitive: academia (getting on tenure track!), law (partner track!), medicine, retail, film, really anything. What it is, I think, is that the fashion industry can attract people who, er, have a flair for the dramatic (and understandably so—it’s often their daily job to dream up larger than life stories or images). The fashion industry gets a bad rap; I almost think people want life to resemble the magazines depicted in movies or television (which, ultimately, are works of fiction. They’re not documentaries, unless you’re talking about The September Issue, which I just think highlighted the next-level professionalism of Vogue staffers). To be honest, in my decade of working in the magazine industry, the kind, considerate, helpful (so, so many have been helpful along the way) people have far outweighed the catty, witchy, or cutthroat. So my advice to you: the best thing you can do, whatever career you’re interested in pursuing, is to maintain your sense of self and be the best version of yourself no matter what. If you feel yourself changing or find yourself surrounded by people you fundamentally don’t agree with, it’s time to course-correct.

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March 2013

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Hi Eva! I love your blog and Instagram. I was wondering, what was your first fashion-related job? Did you like it? What made you good (or bad) at it?

I’ve talked endlessly about my first internship at a magazine (visit my Ask Eva archive should you want to read about it… I know I’ve written about it at least 9842 times), but my first real job was at Lucky magazine in the fashion department. I was hired as a freelancer, which means I wasn’t full-time, with benefits and health insurance—but I didn’t care. I was so happy. Why? Because I had spend the last nine months in veritable misery. You see, when I first graduated, the magazine industry was in a time of transition (much as it is now) and magazines were folding (politespeak for going out of business). I couldn’t find a job in magazines and took a job at a law firm. My soul died a little, working at the law firm, but I did learn a lot—how to work 110 hour weeks, how to file and redact like a champ, and how much I didn’t want to be a lawyer. When I got that lifeline from a former colleague at my first internship, I was so grateful. At Lucky, I helped compile the credit (where to buy) information for hundreds of items in each issue (such as: Marc Jacobs Daisy Eau de Toilette, $90 for 4.2 oz, sephora.com). It was very detail-oriented work, and the sheer volume of it was rather insane, but I loved it. I was so happy just to be surrounded by and immersed in the magazine world again. I suppose what made me good at it was my previous job, actually: the crazy, microscopically detailed work I had to do at the law firm. What made me bad at it? I’m not sure—perhaps the fact that I got a full-time job after just six weeks. So, the lesson to be learned from this rambling response? Find value in every job you do. Even if it’s not strictly related to your field of interest (like, say, working at a law firm if what you want to do is magazines, or temping at a doctor’s office, etc)—maybe it’s organizational skills, perhaps it’s dealing with difficult people (I feel like working in retail or the restaurant business can be so helpful as you have to deal with all sorts of people)—there is always something to be learned. 

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Hi Eva! I was recently accepted early decision to NYU for the Class of 2017. I wanted to know your advice on how to gain experience in the industry and network as a young student living in New York for the first time. Also I was wondering if you would recommend a journalism major for success in the industry. I am currently conflicted with my interested in journalism, international relations, and economics. Any advice will be greatly appreciated! thank you!

Wow, congratulations! Ah, how am I going to squeeze in all my advice into one little post. Hmm, well, to begin: A) In terms of beginning working and interning immediately upon getting to NYC, I know the first instinct is to be like, “Hooray, my ‘real’ life is finally beginning! Off to work/network I go!” Don’t do it. Give yourself one semester. Your freshman year first semester is a magically fun time. Meet as many people, try as many wacky classes, and enjoy it as much as you can. You will never get that time back and you will not fall behind at all by taking your first semester off. You’ll still have 10+ (2 per school year, 1 per summer) internship semesters ahead of you. B) even though you’ll have friends who know their major (or seem to know it), wait to declare until the last possible second. Again, try as many things as you can before committing to one major. You never know, you might discover you want to be a sociology major and a zoology minor. You never know. And—a minor piece of advice—C) don’t bring too much stuff to NYC. You’re going to end up buying a whole new set of everything—clothes, furniture, cute tchotchkes. Travel light and with your eyes and heart wide open. 

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Do you have any book recommendations for aspiring editors? I know that a lot of editors (Grace Coddington, Kate White, Jean Godfrey-June, etc.) have written advice/memoir type books. Do you have any favorites and would you consider writing one?

You’ve mentioned three great ones already (I particularly love Jean’s writing style—her columns for ELLE magazine in the 90s were one of the reasons I gravitated towards magazines, and beauty, at all). I would also look into Diana Vreeland’s memoirs, The Teen Vogue Handbook (not just saying that because I worked on the book. It gives a great baseline knowledge of the different careers in fashion, from art department to designer), and—this may seem random—The Mailroom. The latter is a book about working in the mailroom (basically as an assistant) at top talent agencies (CAA, William Morris, UTA) in the 80s and 90s. It may seem like an utter disconnect but when I read the book, I saw a lot of parallels in what it takes to make it as an agent as it does an editor: the same drive, ambition, organizational skills (truth!). Lastly, I would encourage you to be informed about the world as the whole, not just the fashion world. It’s important to be attuned to current events, local issues, and culture—you can live for fashion, but remember that you live in a larger community that informs fashion. Make yourself as well-rounded as possible. (And to answer your last question: yes, it is in the works ^_^)

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