Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Job Seeker Struggles With Wardrobe for Meeting

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a 25-year-old woman currently searching for a job. I have reached out to a family friend who has set up a meeting with someone who works in my desired industry. The meeting is scheduled for the end of this week.

What should I wear to the meeting? Because I am not going on an interview with this person -- it’s just a general meeting about working in the industry -- does it mean I don’t need to wear formal interview attire? Could I go in business casual as opposed to business dress? I am more comfortable in business casual, but wanted to know your opinion on what to wear in this type of meeting. -- What to Wear?, Trenton, New Jersey

DEAR WHAT TO WEAR?: Go to the meeting as if you are going to a job interview. That means your attire should be appropriate to the role you want. Do you know how people typically dress in this industry? Ideally, you should dress in a manner reflective of the role and in sync with what the person you’re meeting with may be wearing. It is always safe for you to dress professionally. A step up from business casual would be wise. Wear a jacket and dress shoes. No jeans. Nothing too trendy. Make sure your hair is styled conservatively and your makeup is subtle. You want the person to see and hear you and not be distracted by how you present yourself.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am part of a parent group in my town. The group comprises 15 to 20 mothers who meet once a month to discuss issues that have arisen in our children’s lives. Some of the common topics we talk about include house parties, underage drinking and low grades. Recently, some of the mothers in the group have used the meeting time as more of a gossip session. Instead of discussing our kids, they use to it talk about their tennis drama, or where the best chopped salad is. I’m getting sick of going to the meetings and dread when the time comes each month. Should I continue going if I don’t see them as beneficial? Is there something else I can do to change how the meetings go? -- Leaving the Parenting Group, Syracuse, New York

DEAR LEAVING THE PARENTING GROUP: Before you take your leave, ask the group if you can have the floor for a moment. Remind them of the reasons why the group was formed. Tell them that you, for one, are still having issues with your children’s behavior and would greatly appreciate their input on some of the things that plague kids today. Point out that it seems that the conversation topics have shifted to other things. While you respect that personal issues of the moms may be important, you are lobbying for the focus to go back to the children. Your plea will at least get the mothers to thinking about why they started to gather in the first place.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)