Interview with Stephanie Wickouski
What is your current job position and what is the dress code?
I’m a litigation/bankruptcy partner in the New York office of Locke Lord LLP. The dress code in my office is creative business casual and is in a state of post-pandemic redefinition.
How did you come across our brand and what caught your attention?
I met Nora years ago at her first pop up store on Lexington Avenue. I was impressed by her entrepreneurial spirit and by her practical, forward-looking vision for her brand.
What are the main things you look for in your work clothing?
I want my clothes to look good, feel good, and make sense. What you wear is a big part of how you present yourself to the world. Work clothes should look professional and have aesthetic appeal. An outfit has to comfortable, physically and psychically. Clothes should not make you feel “squirmy.” Last but not least, clothes have to be practical, e.g., easy to wear and maintain. The biggest of these is “comfortable psychically.” Do the clothes align with who I am and how I see myself? If I am sitting in a room of lawyers, investment bankers, and C-suite executives, do I feel just right, or do I feel ridiculous? Never wear anything that makes you feel ridiculous.
What is your favorite thing to wear on a big day?
I spend a lot of time in court and in business meetings. For court appearances, I wear true menswear: a charcoal or navy suit. For meetings, I prefer the more contemporary look of a short dress with a long blazer and ankle boots.
Two of my favorites are Nora’s Verana dress and the Clea dress. I also love her new Stephanie dress (although I confess to some bias).
How do you deal with stress and maintain a healthy work-life balance?
Work-life balance is overrated. Stress management is not. To keep stress from becoming toxic, I stay in the zone of healthy behaviors. I run and bike. I try to get enough sleep, although this sometimes has to yield to work demands. I simplify my life as much as I can. Resilience training, which the US military gives to soldiers going into combat, is highly effective in reducing physical and mental stress.
Organizing your space, including your closet and your work attire, also reduces stress by saving time, effort and mental energy. Nora’s line offers great solutions here.
What advice would you give to your young self?
There is nothing I could add to the wealth of good advice I got from my family, teachers, and mentors. Some common threads were: Don’t let fear or greed control you. The most important things can never be taken away from you: education, experience and integrity. Most of all, ignore bad advice.
How has your relationship with workwear fashion changed over the years?
I’ve always liked business wear, but over the years I’ve come to like it more and more.
Women enjoy a wide range in what they can wear. My clothes have more versatility
than ever before. The right dress can take you from a boardroom to a funeral to a party (hopefully not all in the same day).