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What the Team Behind Polyvore Wears to Work

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Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

Welcome to Working It, where Racked follows street style into the office. Forget pedestrian khakis and button-downs—these fashionable professionals take dress codes to a whole new dimension. Quick, somebody call HR!

Polyvore has revolutionized the way we think about mood boards thanks to its easy-to-operate platform that allows users to drag and drop products into sets that can be shared and monetized. The company has offices on both coasts—the main headquarters are in Mountain View, California, and there's a smaller office in New York City—but their reach extends around the globe, with roughly half of their visits coming from international users.

One big thing that separates Polyvore from the rest of the Silicon Valley pack is its largely female staff, including co-founder and CEO, Jess Lee. Below, see the team's office style and their cool California space.

Jess Lee, CEO and co-founder, is wearing a Helmut Lang sweater and boots, Rag & Bone jeans, and rings designed by Eric Prestemon on Shapeways.

Besides Polyvore, what's your favorite internet wormhole?
I spend a lot of time on community sites like Tumblr and Reddit. Tumblr is the best place for fandom, and Reddit's great for news and humor. Some of my favorite subreddits are r/AnimalsBeingJerks and r/UglyDuckling.

What are your beauty must-haves?
For skincare, I use Paula's Choice and a Japanese brand called Hada Labo Gokujyun. For makeup, I mostly use Bare Minerals and Nars. My full makeup routine takes about seven minutes and is on Polyvore's Top Beauty Picks.

Who's your professional role model?
I love seeing female leaders who are comfortable in their own skin. I love seeing funny, authentic female leaders who are just as willing to talk about their successes as their failures, and who don't feel any need to put on a false show of bravado.

What are some of the brands you use most in your Polyvore sets?
Helmut Lang, Rag & Bone, H&M, Zara, Dominic Jones, Eddie Borgo, Mania Mania, Pamela Love, and Alexander McQueen.

Your closet's on fire! What one item would you save from the flames?
My Helmut Lang black leather jacket. I bought the jacket on a trip to New York when I visited Polyvore's New York office. I stopped by the Helmut Lang store and discovered this gorgeous jacket. Now when I wear it, I think of it as a symbol of how far we've come and how much we've grown—we started in one of the co-founder's living rooms, and now there's an office in the the heart of New York City.

What's your uniform?
My year-round uniform is monochromatic. People at the office make fun of me for only wearing black, white, and gray, with the occasional pop of turquoise or dark red. I like architectural shapes, draped tops, and spiky jewelry.

What was your first job?
I sold anime-style commissioned artwork on eBay. Someone once paid me $75 to draw a picture of them in the arms of their favorite character from the manga Ranma ½.

What trends are you into?
I love basic tees with a surprising edge. I have a few shirts that have shoulder or back cutouts. I'm not a fan of the neon trend, given my preference for a monochromatic palette.

Alexandra Johnson, Software Engineer, is wearing a Nordstrom BP jacket, a Scotch and Soda top, Paige Denim jeans, Franco Sarto shoes, Sennheiser headphones, and vintage and gifted jewelry.

Who are your professional role models?
Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are my tech role models, because they're incredibly dedicated and successful. Also, Karlie Kloss has always been a little bit of a role model, even more so now that's she's getting involved in women-in-tech organizations. I remember reading a Vogue profile of her when she was 15. I thought, "She's my age, she works so hard at something that she's very talented at, and she's so successful."

What are some of the brands you use most in your Polyvore sets?
J. Crew, Keds, Ray-Ban, Frye, Topshop, Valentino, Scotch & Soda, American Eagle, Alexander McQueen, and AllSaints.

Besides Polyvore, what's your favorite internet wormhole?
Facebook and Pinterest, and I also like watching comedy shows on Hulu.

What was your first job?
My first real jobs were my internships during the summers in college. I worked at Duolingo, Facebook, and Rent the Runway.

What are your beauty must-haves?
Tinted ChapStick and tinted moisturizer or foundation with SPF for my face.

Your closet's on fire! What one item would you save from the flames?
My house actually did catch on fire when I was a sophomore in high school, so I've made this choice in real life! Sad to say, my clothing choices were a jacket and boots to keep warm in the snow, but I also grabbed the gigantic Vogue "Power Issue."

What item of clothing makes you feel the most like yourself?
I have a men's flannel shirt that I'm wearing to death. "Boyfriend style" was seeing a resurgence around the time I bought it, but I didn't like any of the women's boyfriend-style flannel shirts, so I hopped over to the guy's section.

What's the best shopping advice you've ever received?
I'm reading this great book right now called Women in Clothes that's absolutely full of amazing advice. I haven't finished yet, but I've probably highlighted 100 quotes on my Kindle. One in particular that stood out for me was taken from an interview with Lena Dunham: "Wear things you feel confident in, that you don't have to tug at. Choose colors that make you happy. Be warm enough (but not too warm). I'd say stay comfortable, but the epic shoes may be worth it."

Do you shop more online or in-store?
I feel like I have to shop in stores because I'm tall enough (5'10") that it's hard to find things that fit properly. It's ironic because I'm a software engineer who's very interested in the fashion industry, especially how people buy and interact with clothes online. My personal experience with clothing stores is probably what motivates me to learn about how to build a better online shopping experience.

Vickie Peng, Senior Product Manager, Monetization, is wearing a Mackage jacket, Rag & Bone jeans, a Daniel Rainn top, Frye boots, a Marc Jacobs watch, a Cartier necklace, and a Fitbit Flex.

What was your first job?
I was an investment banker. It's been a bit of a long winding road to get to the career I have now, but I'm so glad I made it here!

What are your beauty must-haves?
Sleep. And Bare Escentuals matte foundation.

Besides Polyvore, what's your favorite internet wormhole?
Believe it or not, fantasy sports. I'm in three football leagues and two basketball leagues.

What's your winter uniform?
Dark jeans, a sweater, ankle boots, and a jacket involving leather.

What trends are you into?
I love the fact that there are so many types of flats that are in right now: boots, oxfords, etc. I don't miss wearing heels every day like I did in banking—I think they look sexy, but most of the time the pain isn't worth it in my book.

Your closet's on fire! What one item would you save from the flames?
The jeans I'm wearing in this photo shoot! They're super comfy and I think they're pretty stylish. I love the piping detail.

What's the best shopping advice you've ever received?
I really believe in investing in statement pieces. I think a lot of things in a closet can revolve around one awesome jacket or pair of boots. Not everything is a splurge, but once in a while I'll go for what I think can be a statement piece.

Do you shop more online or in-store?
Definitely online. I probably haven't set foot in a mall in over a year.

Jocelyn Lin, UX Lead Designer, is wearing a homemade top, Gap Maternity denim leggings, Eric Michael Soho boots, an Acre's La Reine necklace from Etsy, and an Everlane backpack.

What are your beauty must-haves?
For everyday, I go super basic. It's just Neutrogena face wash, moisturizer (Olay unscented with sunscreen), and a dab of cherry ChapStick. On blemish-y days, a Nars stick concealer hides spots. And a really good haircut.

What's your uniform?
Being pregnant the second time around, I've finally figured out what works with my awkward second-to-third trimester body. Uniform one is a stretchy pant or leggings and a long tank top, a loose top, and a cardigan. Uniform two is a maxi dress and jacket, plus my black suede ankle boots.

What was your first job?
I was the greeter at a Natural Wonders-type of store for a summer in high school. The idea was to welcome everyone that walked in while showing off cool knick-knacks. I was not very good at it.

Besides Polyvore, what's your favorite internet wormhole?
I read design and lifestyle blogs and articles on my phone through Feedly and Flipboard. If I have time, I'll binge-watch Asian dramas on Viki or Dramafever.

What item of clothing makes you feel most like yourself?
An Organic by John Patrick collared short-sleeve chambray top. It's simple and not too girly.

Do you shop more online or in-store?
Definitely online—I don't have the luxury of a few hours to myself to go out shopping. It also takes forever for me to commit to a purchase, and it stresses me out when I know people are waiting for me to finish browsing in a store.

Your closet's on fire! What one item would you save from the flames?
My hand-tailored wool winter coat. That thing took me five months to make, is the warmest coat I've ever had (I'm perpetually cold, even in California), and fits me perfectly!

Susan Dimaculangan, Senior Account Manager, is wearing an Alice + Olivia jacket, a Club Monaco top, Paige Premium Denim jeans, Stuart Weitzman boots, a Sophie Hulme bag, Gorjana and Momentus NY necklaces, and a Cartier watch.

What's fashion rule do you shamelessly break?
I feel like this is an old-school rule so it may not apply anymore, but I was always told never to mix navy and black, but I think it's a chic combo. And the "no white pants after Labor Day" rule I break all the time—that's just silly!

What are some of the brands you use most in your Polyvore sets?
I've been wanting a splurge handbag for a while now, so I feel like all of my sets either have the same Givenchy or Saint Laurent bag that I've been eyeing! I can't quite pull the trigger, though, so they'll forever be in my sets.

What was your first job?
In high school, I worked at Loehmann's so that I could get 40% off clothes, handbags, and shoes. I used to love when they'd put me in the stock room because I could check out all the new inventory and then hide the items I liked in my size and buy them. My clothing obsession started at a very young age.

Your closet's on fire! What one item would you save from the flames?
That's a stressful question that I cannot answer.

Do you shop more online or in-store?
Online, especially with retailers with flexible return policies. There have definitely been times when packages arrive to the office that I've forgotten I ordered...maybe wine played a part, but it's just so easy!

Besides Polyvore, what's your favorite internet wormhole?
Checking Feedly and trying to keep up-to-date with all of the blogs I follow.

What are your beauty must-haves?
My eyelash curler! I have both the Shiseido and Shu Uemura curlers and I'm obsessed. I was recently introduced to using a BeautyBlender for applying foundation, which gives a very airbrushed look. And I'll always have lip balm in each of my bags—I use Lip Smackers or Vaseline for a little shine.

What's the best shopping advice you've ever received?
If your gut instinct isn't "I have to have this," then you don't have to have it! I have a difficult time splurging on some items, and my friend told me about approaching prices from a cost-per-wear perspective, so I try not to invest in anything like formal dresses that I'll only wear a handful of times, and instead invest in staples like a leather jacket or handbag.

Vishwa Ranjan, Senior Product Manager, is wearing a Five Four shirt and jeans, and Converse sneakers.

Besides Polyvore, what's your favorite internet wormhole?
Netflix and Reddit.

Who's your professional role model?
I'm a big fan of Elon Musk. He has the guts to take on biggest challenges at all costs.

Your closet's on fire! What one item would you save from the flames?
Right now most likely my black leather Converse All-Stars.

What's your uniform?
I bike to work, so it's all about layers. My daily uniform is jeans, a shirt, a hoodie, and most likely a Converse shoe.

What's fashion rule do you shamelessly break?
There are fashion rules? There shouldn't be any rules for self expression.

Do you shop more online, or in-store?
I'm too picky to shop for clothes online. I binge shop in stores.

Cindy Chu, Senior Engineer Manager, is wearing a Helmut Lang dress, a Bebe leather jacket, a BCBGMAXAZRIA necklace, Wolford tights, Stuart Weitzman shoes, and a Michael Kors bracelet.

What are some of the brands you use most in your Polyvore sets?
Giuseppe Zannoti, Alexis Bittar, and Balmain—but I'm discovering new favorites all the time!

What trends are you into?
I love hardware (zippers, studs), so when that was trending, I found a lot of great stuff! I don't get peplum and it's not a style that's flattering on me, so I'd be fine if it went away forever.

What's your winter uniform?
Black leggings, a solid-color top, leather jacket, and boots. If it's rainy or particularly cold, a coat over all of that.

What item of clothing makes you feel most like yourself?
I'm not sure I could pick just one. I try to keep my closet to only things I love and wear, so I'm always getting rid of things. I feel most "like me" as long as I'm in a some kind of jacket, and I have a lot of them.

What fashion rule do you shamelessly break?
I mix black and navy and silver and gold all the time.

Besides Polyvore, what's your favorite internet wormhole?
I bake for the office every Monday, so I read a lot of baking blogs for inspiration and ideas. Also, I love the r/awww subreddit.

Do you shop more online or in-store?
Online, definitely. My tastes tend to run a little outside the mainstream, so I've found online offers a better selection. Plus, I'm on Polyvore all day, so I'm always saving things. Later, whenever I get a sale alert on those items, there's a good chance I'll buy it. I'm a total sucker for a sale.

What's the best shopping advice you've ever received?
There are only so many things you can buy that will bring you happiness, so when you find them, you might as well buy them!