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  • Writer's pictureMikahila Bloomfield

Anna Wintour's Best Career Advice For Young Professionals

The infamous bob behind the Miranda Priestly depiction by Meryl Streep in the 2006 film The Devil Wear's Prada — Anna Wintour. She may be notorious for her icy demeanor, yet still, she offers sage advice to her staffers as well as those hoping to break into the fashion industry and advance in their careers. Here, we've gathered a few pieces of Anna Wintour's best advice she's doled out over her storied career as the global chief content officer for Condé Nast and editor of U.S. Vogue. These gems can be useful whether you're a recent graduate, or you're looking to make a move in your career, or just hoping to make it through the work week.

Condé Nast Global Chief Content Officer, Anna Wintour (Photo Credit: Vogue/Ryan McFaul)

Find the one thing you are known for.

Before Sylvana Ward Durrett decamped Vogue to co-found children's clothing line, Maisonette, she sought the advice of A.W. “She’s always told me, ‘You have to find the one thing you’re known for … one thing people will come back to you for,’” says Sylvana.

Go to school. Build a brand.

"People have to go to school, learn their craft, and build a brand. That's the right, healthy way to do things. If you're an overnight sensation, you can be yesterday's news in no time, whereas building something slowly and carefully that has value and quality, that's what's going to have legs." - Anna Wintour, Teen Vogue Handbook

Presentations over Fashion Shows for new designers.

"Please listen to me when I say: an interesting creative presentation is just as effective as a fashion show," Wintour pleaded to an audience of aspiring designers and students at Central Saint Martins.

"I see people who are paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for fashion shows, which I simply don’t think is necessary. A presentation gives us all an opportunity to meet you, rather than to go and sit in some dark room somewhere and wait for you to start, then (have) no time to say ‘hello’, and rush off to the next one."

Young Anna Wintour
Young Anna Wintour as an editor in the late 1960s. [Photo Credit: Michael White]

What should you wear to a job interview with Anna Wintour?

“It’s so interesting to me how people dress when they come in for interviews,” Wintour says in video series "Go ask Anna"

“Sometimes you feel they’re wearing clothes that they just bought that morning, or maybe the night before, and not something that in any way suits their personality and who they are. I think what everyone should remember, whether they’re interviewing at Vogue or indeed anywhere, that we’re not hiring your wardrobe. Your wardrobe is not going to be doing the job for you — it’s who you are.”

“I’ll always remember a young man who came in in a dress and a handbag, and I gave him the job on the spot,” Wintour goes on. “You have to dress for yourself. It’s the same for any job you might be going for. I think it doesn’t do yourself a service to fake it.”

If you must wear all black...

"Just don't wear all black." Wintour advises. "It seems too gloomy, as if one's going to a funeral." Consider "adding some color or favorite piece of jewelry or maybe white boots. Just something that's a little bit unexpected."

If you're feeling pessimistic about the media landscape.

"I think we're so fortunate today to have so many different channels in which to speak to our audiences," Wintour says speaking with CNN's Christiane Amanpour.

"If you go back to when I was a young girl growing up in Britain, and (when) I went for my first job, it was considered a great thing if we reached an audience of 90,000 people with a monthly magazine. Now we have, I believe, 22 million followers on Instagram alone at Vogue US. So we are talking to men and women all over the world ... in so many different ways (and) in a way that we couldn't possibly have imagined even 10 years ago, 15 years ago."

Do you find this advice from Anna Wintour helpful? Leave a comment below, follow Fashion League on Instagram, and subscribe to our newsletter for Faux or Fashion™ trivia, and the latest job postings from some of your favorite companies.

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