Posted On July 6, 2012 by Print This Post

Sell it With Simplicity – Stylist Ashley Hammen with Fashion for RWA Conference

RU Crew and especially those of you attending the RWA conference, help me welcome back Ashley Hammen, one of my besties and a stylist to the stars. Ashely has worked for Style’s “How Do I Look?” and has traveled extensively throughout the USA. She’s here to help sort out those questions of “What do I wear to a pitch?” and “How many shoes can I pack in my suitcase?”

Host Jeannie Mai and Ashley Hammen from “How do I Look?”

It used to be said that when you walk into a room, within 30 seconds, the people will have drawn their first impression of you.  But that was then.  NOW, researchers are saying that this impression can be formed in the blink of an eye….no pressure or anything =)

With that said, yes a pitch, especially when travel is involved, can be stressful, but there are many ways to prepare and minimize the stress.  In order to help alleviate that stress, I offer one tip- KEEP IT SIMPLE!

This starts from the get-go, aka packing.  Chances are, for the average pitch, you will only be in town for three days max.  To avoid those pesky (and ever increasing) baggage fees, pack one killer outfit that can be modified to create three different looks.  This way, you still have “options” without lugging your whole closet.  Aim to pack no more then ten items, as to of course, leave room for that “congratulatory purchase” after you nail the pitch!

For your outfit’s “base” I would aim for a classic black option-timeless and perfect for any season.  A great example would be black slacks or a pencil skirt, a fitted black blazer, and some classic black pumps.  In addition to these three items, I would aim for three solid-colored tops, a tailored pair of dark denim jeans, a pair of black flats that will fit in your purse (in case of lengthy walks), and something for sleeping.  In addition to the casual outfit you wear while traveling, these items alone can formulate up to 12 or more different options!

Key materials to aim for are those that do not easily wrinkle.  Avoid linen! For a summer pitch, it is lighter, but will be a wrinkled mess by the time you reach your destination.  Call your hotel ahead of time and ask if they have a steamer.  If they don’t, pharmacies, Target, and Wal-Mart all carry effective, travel-size steamers that will fit perfectly in your carry-on!

Grace Lee, Producer/Director for Style’s “How Do I Look?” and Ashley

Another great way to spruce up your outfit choices is ACCESSORIZE.  To be on the safe side, aim for a small pieces to avoid distracting your interviewer.  The key here is to look professional and to keep eyes on you- not on your accessories.  However, the great thing about accessories is that they are small and can easily take a piece from day to night, so don’t hesitate to throw in a few fun pieces in case there is cause to hit the town post pitch or for a social event with other authors!

As far as pitch perfect hair, most hotels have a blow dryer.  I’d recommend pulling your hair back in a bun or a polished ponytail.  If for any reason, this is an absolute NO for you, at least make sure that your hair is pulled back from your face.  There is nothing worse then trying to keep eye contact while strands blow in your face!

And finally, go light and fresh-faced on the make up.  Must-haves for the purse are blotting pads (99 cents or so at the pharmacy), a lip gloss/stick, and a travel-sized deodorant!  This will make a quick and easy fix if you have to do any walking and/or are nervous.

With all of this said, you should have all of the materials for a great pitch trip and all while only toting a carry-on and a purse!  Most importantly, don’t forget your best and most important accessory- YOUR CONFIDENCE!!!!  As for the rest, just remember, keep it simple and let your writing speak for itself!


Okay, here’s your big chance to ask what to wear!

Join us on Monday and meet author Jillian Dodd!


Bio: Ashley Hammen, good ol’ Midwest gal, grew up in Storm Lake, IA, aka the middle of nowhere. Other than fellow RU’er, Carrie Spencer, most don’t know where that is….so if you want, you can just refer to it as the “middle of nowhere.” After her graduation from the University of Iowa, she spent time living in New York City, before finally settling in Los Angeles. Well, settled for now that is =)

She slowly found that her passion for style, celebrities, and pop culture could easily translate into her career field. She was accepted into an internship program with BNC PR in New York City the summer following her junior year of college, and now her journey has led her to find continuous work as a Freelance Producer for Networks such as Style, ABC, MTV, and currently she works for Ellen Rakieten Entertainment (Ellen was one of the co-creators of The Oprah Winfrey Show!!!).

Currently residing in hip West Hollywood, California with her long-term boyfriend and her cat, Mr. Beasley, Ashley loves the opportunities that LA has presented her with. Although she misses her family and the Midwest community that taught her everything there is to know about love, life, and how to play nice with others-she feels blessed to have been able to try her hand in the entertainment industry…and SUCCEED! In her own words, “I feel so blessed for the life I get to live and most certainly enjoy!”

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20 Responses to “Sell it With Simplicity – Stylist Ashley Hammen with Fashion for RWA Conference”

  1. Hi, Ashley,

    Welcome back to RU! I’m a huge believer in traveling carry-on only. In fact, it killed me to check a bag on my current travels, but I’ll be away from LA for about 10 weeks total in two different climates so checking was a must this time. 🙂

    Here are a couple of personal packing strategies:

    I love being able to pack multiple necklaces in a small space. The pendants make for great travel souvenirs too!

    Happy Friday,

    Posted by Kelsey Browning | July 6, 2012, 3:22 am
  2. Morning Ashley!

    Great ideas! I admit to being a terrible traveler, determined to take my entire wardrobe “just in case”. And that’s even for a day trip to the mall. =)

    What’s your thoughts on colors? I personally am a huge fan of bright orange, but I can see how it might be kind of an in-your-face type of color. Would it be subdued enough by a black blazer?

    Thanks for posting with us today and congrats on the new job! =)


    Posted by Carrie Spencer | July 6, 2012, 5:30 am
    • I love orange. It’s assertive and confident. Note Adrienne’s comment about cardigans. 🙂

      Posted by Jennifer Tanner | July 6, 2012, 11:09 am
    • Ahhhh thanks Carrie! Ironically, neon is very trendy right now- so you are totally on point! However, I would say, for a pitch it is better to stick with primary colors for safety….however, if you fly with your orange top on, it could easily be one of your casual pieces to wear during any down time or when exploring Anaheim….or perhaps, even a trip to Disney 🙂 Just saying….when in Anaheim….

      Posted by Ashley Hammen | July 6, 2012, 11:23 am
  3. Thanks, Ashley! I’m a “throw it all in just in case” traveler for the most part, but I can pack light if necessary. (Like when I have to pay extra at the airport if I bring too much!)

    Posted by Becke Davis (Becke Martin) | July 6, 2012, 6:10 am
    • I am so guilty of attempting to over pack. What has really helped me is to write down my outfits by days/events. If I don’t have a day for it- I say it’s gone from the suitcase! That way, you can make room for a fun souvenir or new outfit picked up along the way!

      Posted by Ashley Hammen | July 6, 2012, 11:25 am
  4. Hi, Ashley. Great post! I’ve become a big fan of the cardigan for conferences. With temperature changes in convention centers, if I get cold I can just whip out my cardigan. Plus, I think it completes a look without a lot of fuss and it looks professional.

    Posted by Adrienne Giordano | July 6, 2012, 6:25 am
    • Agreed!!!! Not to mention, ladies bags are large enough right now to easily slip the cardigan inside if it is not needed, instead of toting it around all day. AND the very best part about it is, cardigans rarely wrinkle, where a blazer tucked in a purse could be a disaster!

      Posted by Ashley Hammen | July 6, 2012, 11:27 am
  5. You’ve been peeking in my suitcase! I’m a great believer in a black base with brights. One other thought is that scarves are great look changers and very chic this season.
    But for RWA? No way for a carryon for me! You forgot to mention the evening wear for RITA, Harlequin Party, etc.

    Posted by Blythe Gifford | July 6, 2012, 6:47 am
    • AMAZING SUGGESTIONS! Scarves are a great way to easily jazz up any look. They can also double as a shawl if the room is freezing! As for these other glamorous parties–I was totally in the dark that everyone attends–thought it was a “ticket purchase separately kind of deal!” HOW FUN! If you are attending these, a garment bag may be necessary…where can I learn more about this party…I mean Anaheim is only a hop skip and a jump for this gal! Thanks so much Blythe!

      Posted by Ashley Hammen | July 6, 2012, 11:30 am
  6. Hi Ashley,

    Packing for anything gives me hives. Thanks for the ideas.

    Mary Jo

    Posted by Mary Jo Burke | July 6, 2012, 7:50 am
  7. Good advice…I assume, though I look ridiculous in a pencil skirt. Black slacks, OTH, I have. Seriously, though, since I’m writing romance novels about billionaire business people, I have to know this stuff. Thanks.

    Posted by Dave Thome | July 6, 2012, 10:45 am

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