Style + Ask the Edit

Ask the Edit: Vol. IV, No. Thirty-One

We have a little bit of everything this week — from backpacks to groomsmen gifts to what to do with your hair when you sleep.  No question too big, no question too small.  You asked, I (or in this case, we) answered.


I recently finished grad school and I am interviewing for government and/or government affairs positions in DC. What are your thoughts on blazer+dress or dress for interviews? I don’t know if I am hung up on an old idea that I have to wear a suit for interviews or if that is still the reality. For reference, I own this dress and I absolutely love it but I don’t know if it would be appropriate for an interview on its own.

Thanks for your help! MF

The dress you linked to isn’t quite right for an interview.  Fine for work, but just not quite formal enough for an interview.

So if you want to wear a dress and blazer, I think that’s fine for a government relations job.  But for an interview you want to keep it simple and sophisticated.  I would recommend a sleeveless sheath and coordinating jacket.  I like this combination for a professional, but vibrant look.

Lightweight Unlined Blazer ($209)

BR Birdseye Sheath Dress ($140)

The navy and pale periwinkle coordinate without matching.  Both pieces can be matched with others later on.  And both are in traditional, professional cuts and lengths.

You could also try a white blazer over a black dress or a dark grey blazer over a lighter grey dress.   Why not navy with navy or black with black?  Unless the pieces are the same brand and color, they often don’t match perfectly and that can look a bit haphazard.


This might seem weird, but what do you do with your hair when you sleep?  My dermatologist says I need to keep it off my face because of the oils, but I have no idea how to accomplish that without damaging my hair with elastic bands.  And, of course, he’s no help because he’s a man, and bald.


Scrunchies.  This is the only reason they still exist.  They’re soft enough to tie up your hair without breakage.  Go with a high ponytail or loose bun.  Sometimes, if I’m on third day hair, I’ll pull my bangs back with an elastic headband.

Another option: good, old fashioned shower caps.  This turban style is pretty great.  I also like this palm leaf printed one.  For something under-$10, try this flamingo printed cap.  Now, are these the sexiest thing ever?  No, but neither is acne.

Hi Abra!

My fiance is looking for gift ideas for his groomsmen. (I already have my bridesmaids covered). I thought you (or Kyle!) might have some good ideas! Price range is $65-$100. Thanks so much!

– Victoria 

Hold on, tapping in Kyle.

I like the idea of getting them a gift box that contains a nice tie, a pocket square, and a pair of socks to wear to the wedding.  All of this is re-wearable.  (Ed. Note: Unlike bridesmaid dresses that we’re all promised we can wear again.)  A leather dopp kit like this one or this one is also a good option.

But the problem with giving a generic groomsmen gift is that every group of friends is different.  Are your friends golfers (monogrammed divot tools)?  Are your friends cigar smokers (cutters)?  You need to tailor the gift to your friends and something you like to do with your friends.  This is why most of the generic gifts suck.

One word of caution though: don’t give them booze unless you want them to drink it before the ceremony.  They will not wait.  They will not save it.  They will drink it.


Wondering if you could help me find an affordable, work appropriate backpack? Never in my life did I think I’d be carrying a backpack to work, but I commute and have to carry my laptop and my shoulders were screaming enough is enough! But I’m having trouble finding something that doesn’t look like my high school backpack. Thank you!

– Susan 

We just had this question in our Community Group, so let me share some of their most popular suggestions.  I kept the suggestions under-$250.

Tumi Voyageur Backpack ($236)

Caraa x Athleta Backpack ($138)

Everlane Snap Backpack ($68)

Hi Abra,

Help! I picked up a lovely pair of Michael Kors loafers in dusty pink. They’re crazy comfortable and I wore them all over on a recent long vacation. Now that I’m back at work, I love how they compliment a navy outfit. But they squeak! They are SO loud.

Do you have any idea what I can do to make them office appropriate (aka: silent)?

Thank you so much! BN

To silence squeaky shoes, you first have to determine if it’s from moisture buildup (aka. sweat) or not.  Most moisture related squeaking can be fixed with baking powder and WD-40.  This article teaches you how to find and silence the squeak.

If you’re certain it’s not moisture, it’s probably air buildup under the heel or sole.  I had a pair of heels that squeaked non-stop; I took them to a cobbler and he reapplied the sole to cure the squeak.

Hi Abra,

You mentioned that you found a cream that reduces redness on an Insta Story.  I didn’t write down what the cream was, do you remember it?


When I don’t wear makeup, I wear Cicapair Color Correcting Treatment.  It’s a green cream that, when you apply it, turns a beige color.  It corrects redness and also heals acne and inflammation.  It’s the best solution I have ever found to covering a bad breakout when you don’t want to wear makeup.

{this post contains affiliate links that may earn commission for the author}



  1. kleigh says:

    On groomsmen gifts, my brother did Ben Silver regimental ties in a theme that fit their profession or interest or school colors (i.e. there are ones for the medical profession and legal profession, and also tons of regimental stripes in various school colors), and my husband did monogrammed julep cups. Both went over extremely well.

    July 25, 2018/Reply
  2. Eleni says:

    I have tried using a wrap/ shower cap to sleep in and they never stay in all night and just get super annoying. What works best for me is just to do a high loose bun and pin/clip it in front of the bun so it’s comfortable to sleep in. I have long, thick hair and it manages to stay put throughout the night.

    July 25, 2018/Reply
  3. Susan says:

    Re: scrungies
    Ulta sells satin ones that are designed for sleep and to not ‘kink’ your second day blowout. They work quite well, no weird bend in your hair near the top of your ear that you get from normal scrungies

    July 25, 2018/Reply
  4. Lexi says:

    I’ve been using the Bartaile bag since December, and am loving it. It looks professional and I needed a backpack because of back pain. It can convert to a messenger back and a tote. I carry it as a backpack, but when I’m in a meeting, I switch to carrying it as a tote.

    The only thing is that it doesn’t hold much, so if you’re looking to carry more than the basics, then it’s not the bag for you. And, the straps are really comfortable.

    July 25, 2018/Reply
  5. JJ says:

    A friend’s company makes these TSA compliant multi-tools that can be monogrammed for groomsmen gifts. We use ours quite a bit, so I think it’s useful. The company is called Lever Gear (the product is the toolcard).

    July 25, 2018/Reply
  6. TheLOOP says:

    I picked up this vegan leather Brouk and Co backpack for work and I love it. It’s $60 but because of the leather look, it’s perfectly work appropriate.

    July 25, 2018/Reply
  7. TheLOOP says:

    Sorry, here’s the link:

    July 25, 2018/Reply
  8. Katie says:

    My (thick, sorta wavy) hair is long, and if I leave it loose when I sleep, I’ll wake up with it wrapped tightly around my throat come morning — not fun! My solution is to put it in a chunky braid before bed. It keeps my under control, and I don’t get strangled in my sleep!

    July 25, 2018/Reply
  9. Dom says:

    In re to the hair at night – why not try a satin or silk cap? It not only keeps the hair out of your face, but also helps keep your hair nice and healthy!

    July 25, 2018/Reply
  10. Julia Leonard says:

    I second the advice to use a pin or a clip on the away-from-pillow side of a bun – I’ve found that even scrunchies get really tangled and end up breaking my hair if I use them overnight. Depending on how long your hair is, a braid can also be a great option, and you might not even need any kind of clip or elastic to hold the end.

    July 25, 2018/Reply
  11. Jules says:

    I have this black backpack for work commuting and love it! Pretty compact and fits a laptop.

    July 25, 2018/Reply
  12. Jules says:

    For groomsmen gifts-
    Here are a couple my husband received that he/we still use
    – a REALLY good chefs knife. I thought it was the MOST RANDOM gift at first and totally scoffed at it, but HOLY MOLY I take it back. It is SO useful, and had made cooking much better, and I think about the couple everytime I use it.
    – an engraved flask. LOL kind of a cliche but sometimes you gotta sneak in alcohol, ya know? 🙂 (we are in our thirties if that makes a difference)

    Clothing/accessories were never used again, because of personal style differences.

    A friend gave engraved glass whiskey containers (like a really fancy bottle with a top) and matching glasses. All the groomsmen went totally crazy for them. YMMV

    July 25, 2018/Reply
  13. Msmarymary says:

    For the first letter writer, i think you could also pair a dress in a traditional pattern with a blazer (or vice versa). I have a black and gray plaid dress that works well with either a black or gray blazer. Or a color, but I’d stay comservative for interviews. I used to have a houndstooth print dress that worked the same way. You could also do a tweedy blazer with a solid colored dress.

    Good luck!

    July 25, 2018/Reply
  14. Angela says:

    Curly girl here. I sleep on a satin pillowcase and I use a satin bonnet for my hair. I’ve bought pricier bonnets but my favorite is a $3 bonnet I got from the drug store which is about the same size as a regular shower cap. I second the comments about satin scrunchies too!

    July 26, 2018/Reply
  15. A says:

    In the sleeping problem for shorter haired girls–I went from having long, relatively one length hair to a lob with bangs, basically making beloved high sleeping buns impossible. I’ve started wearing a wide headband like this one to sleep and it’s kept my hair off of my face without destroying my bangs.

    July 26, 2018/Reply
  16. Emily says:

    I can’t recommend the Silke Hair Wrap highly enough! They are elegant looking (in a very Old Hollywood way), and have done wonders at keeping my long, thick, coarse, wavy-curly hair looking great day after day! It’s roomy without looking baggy on your head, and stays put all night. I don’t work for them, I’m just a fan!

    July 26, 2018/Reply