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fashion

Work It: Carrie Hammer

The designer’s work essentials and fashion tips

Carrie Hammer sat between piles of glitter and bottles of champagne the first time we met her. And while that first impression seemed hard to top, the designer and entrepreneur’s successes (two profitable companies, a prestigious mentorship under Tory Burch, countless TV and print appearances) since our introduction in 2011 have been inspiring in a more serious sense. Hammer’s custom dresses cater to working women with classic sensibilities and a preternatural ability to keep their shit together (a.k.a. her).

q&a!

What are your work clothing essentials?
1. A gorgeous one-zip dress that fits perfectly and comfortably and is ready at a moment’s notice. This is what my company specializes in.
2. A classic tailored jacket with a modern twist. (I love the new necklines on trend now and the peplum jacket from our collection.)
3. Comfortable nude pumps. My favorites are the Cole Haan Nike Air Chelseas. They have the perfect heel and an extra air pocket in the forefoot to keep feet happier longer. Changing into running shoes at your desk is not so chic.

And your bag?
I like bags that don’t scream brand. Tory Burch’s Robinson bag is lovely and tasteful and fits everything you need. It is sleek enough to take from desk to dinner. I always have my laptop on me, so it is necessary to have a bag with compartments — nothing is less professional than rummaging around in your bag with receipts and lipstick flying everywhere.

Most of our editors have a cache of sweaters and shoes at their desks. What pieces do you keep at hand just in case?
I am a big fan of a lovely, high-quality scarf. The alpaca wool version from Cuyana is one of my mainstays.

How often do you recycle outfits?
Very often! Change your shoes, belt, makeup, or add a piece of statement jewelry, and a dress appears totally different. Look for well-tailored pieces as your base, then follow trends at lower-priced stores. A fun-colored top or an interesting statement necklace can jazz up a staple in seconds.

Tell us about your worst/funniest/first job?
My funniest job was an internship at The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Ellen and the staff had me cracking up around the clock. Ellen is Ellen on camera and off.

Any words of career wisdom for our readers?
Ask for what you want. Always. Even if it seems scary.

Can you tell us a bit about your time with Tory Burch?
Tory Burch is the most generous woman I know. Her company is a multibillion-dollar company; she herself is a billionaire, yet she makes it her ultimate life goal and priority to help female entrepreneurs through her Tory Burch Foundation. I have been introduced to incredible mentors through her and her programs — Arianna Huffington, Valerie Jarrett, and Mika Brzezinski. I’ve even had the opportunity to have lunch with Lloyd Blankfein, CEO and chairman of Goldman Sachs, as a result of my participation in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses/Tory Burch program. Getting advice from each was truly an honor.

Say we’re starting a business. What three things do we need to know?
1. It’s not as hard as you think.
2. It’s going to take longer than you think.
3. Cash is king. Keep an eye on your cash, and your business will stay afloat.

And now for the quick-fire round. Tell us the first thing that comes to mind.
University: UCLA
Boss: “Like a Boss,” from Lonely Island
Selfie: Not flattering
Best friend: Forever
Best practices: Break the mold
Flannel: Hipster
Vice: Champagne
Dream career: I’m in it!
Holiday party: Don’t get too drunk
App: Instagram

For more, go to carriehammer.com and dynamicstyleshop.com. Follow her @carriehammer on Twitter and on facebook.com.

Photo: Courtesy of Carrie Hammer