August 17, 2012
Fashion Office With The Coveteur: Nicole Phelps
Explain your job in one sentence please: As the Executive Editor of Style.com, I'm responsible for managing the site's daily content"conceiving, writing or editing, and producing the features that we put up every day. What is a typical workday like for you? I check my email right after I wake up to make sure there aren't any urgent issues that need addressing. I like to get to work around 9, so I have a few minutes to catch up with WWD and other fashion sites before our morning planning meeting. From then on, I'm editing copy, writing copy, or meeting with other editors to discuss future stories. I try to leave around 6 so I can get in an hour of playtime with my four-year-old son. What is your go-to work outfit? I love jeans. Lately, I've been wearing a pair of skinny JBrands with sandals or pumps. How did you get this job? Did you always know you wanted it? I knew Janet Ozzard, who held the position before me, from our WWD days. She recommended me to the then editor in chief Jamie Pallot. This was late 2004 and people were a bit surprised I'd leave a magazine (I was at Elle) for the internet, but I'm so glad I did. What did you do before you started your company/freelance career? I spent almost two years in PR after college and hated every minute of it. My first fashion job was as assistant to Etta Froio, the WWD and W editor who retired this year after three decades at Fairchild. What's the best part of your job? The worst? The best part of my job is working with Style.com's small but supremely capable staff. The worst part of my job is working with them at 4 in the morning, a regular occurrence during the shows and on nights like the Oscars and the Golden Globes. How important is having a fashionable/chic work area? I take a lot of inspiration from the books, thank you notes, and other ephemera I've collected over the years. I couldn't spend nine hours a day in the office without it. Do you email or use the phone more? Email! What surprises you the most about your career? Last September at the Vera Wang show I was seated next to Madeleine Albright. I never expected that to happen at a fashion show, but how lucky I am that it did. What changes do you make to your look if you have to go to dinner or drinks immediately after work? If I'm going out after work, I either wear heels to work or bring them along to swap with my flats. I don't wear much makeup, so I tote eyeliner and mascara around with me on most days too. What items do you think every working girl should own (clothing and accessories)? I'm a big believer in black. The last couple of years with all the electric colors and vibrating prints have been hard for me fashion-wise. Do you use a Mac or a PC? (or Blackberry or iPhone?) Mac. I have an iPhone for personal use and a relic of a Samsung 3.2 Mega for emailing that inevitably gets laughs when I'm writing emails at the shows. What do you listen to when you're working? I find music distracting when I'm writing. What do you try to teach your interns/assistants? Lately I've been thinking a lot about interaction and attitude. You get a lot further with kindness than you do with cattiness, although plenty of fashion types would probably disagree. And it's a bummer to work with people with bad attitudes, so I try to encourage positivity (in myself most of all). Have you fulfilled your career goal or do you still have more to achieve? I hope there's still more! What advice would you give to someone who wants to emulate your career path? Read a lot, I think reading makes people better writers. And pay attention to the edits your editor gives you. Style.com's editor in chief Dirk Standen is a great editor and I learn from him every day.