Girl Code Rules – E. Jean Tips

Dear E. Jean: Can you clarify the Girl Code? I’ve been finding myself in some questionable situations over the past couple of years that somehow or other always come down to potential violations of the Girl Code. I may be out of it—I’m 28; you’d think I’d have a clue—but what are the rules among girlfriends? What lines shouldn’t be crossed? —Totally Frustrated

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Miss Totally, My Truffle: A crone of 28 should be too experienced to follow anything called the “Girl Code.” Here’s the BLC—Basic Lady Code: Never hate a woman you’ve never met, never date a friend’s ex, never reveal another female’s secret, never leave an inebriated friend alone at a bar, never invite a friend’s enemy to a party, never dine alone with a friend’s boyfriend (unless it’s his last meal and he’s being shot at dawn).

So much for the elemental stuff; as for those famous “lines” that “shouldn’t be crossed” by girlfriends, here’s the AWC—Advanced Woman Code:

• Never stay silent when a friend is falling for an asshole.

• Never favorite a best friend’s bon mot. Always retweet it.

• Never trust a girlfriend who dates a married man.

• Never refuse to write a recommendation for the offspring of a friend (no matter how big an idiot the kid is).

• Never steal your friend’s thunder at a dinner party—when she’s on, give her room! Pound the table! Bang your glass with a spoon! Laugh the loudest at her story!

• Never give your friend’s business four stars on Yelp. Always give five.

• Never agree when a friend says she’s flabby, baggy, saggy, lumpy, floppy, veiny, squishy, scrawny, etc., etc. Tell her to shut up. Tell her life is too short. Tell her to eat, drink, and be merry. And finally…

• Never treat other women disrespectfully: It gives men ideas.

This letter is from the E. Jean archive.

Packing Tips and Advice from Packing Expert and Blogger Hitha Palepu

Welcome to “The Perfect,” ELLE.com‘s weekly roundup, where we lay out exactly what you’ll need for the perfect outfit, shopping list, Saturday night, or whatever it may be. In a shopping landscape where the options are endless, consider it a complete snapshot of must-haves.

Believe it or not, there’s so much more to packing than considering what you might want to wear while you’re away and tossing it all in your suitcase. “It takes some planning, but you can absolutely pack for 10 days in a carry-on,” explained Hitha Palepu, an expert who’s wrote the book, literally, on smart packing (How to Pack, amazon.com). “I’m a big proponent of packing clothes that can be worn in multiple looks, and for trips with a lot of single-wear outfits, especially weddings, you can squeeze 3-5 days in a carry-on suitcase,” she told ELLE.com.

“I was traveling on a weekly basis for my work at a pharmaceutical company. Each trip was different and often had multiple pit stops: a pitch meeting, a manufacturing facility tour, internal meetings. Packing in a carry-on was a must when you’re expected to move quickly and efficiently, but not a reason to sacrifice my personal style,” says Palepu. A year of suitcase trial-and-error resulted in a method she wound up sharing with others on her blog, an experience that proved the hunger for help is real (“Tips for power-packing have become my most viewed and shared content”). Here, an entry-level class on perfecting your packing game.

Photographer Michaela Wissen Shares Her Best Instagram Tips

Left: Armani Exchange Dress, $110, armaniexchange.com; Superga Cotu Sneaker, $65, nordstrom.com. Right: Janessa Leone Quatre Hat, $285, janessaleone.com; Armani Exchange Sunglasses, $75, armaniexchange.com; Blouse, Michaela’s own

Using natural light is one of her most easy-to-apply tips, though be thoughtful about the time of day you’re going out. Wissen tends to spend the mornings at home with Harper and their three dogs, venturing out post-lunch. “It’s really hard to shoot midday because I like it to be a little softer. Afternoon golden hour I love, just a couple of hours before the sun sets. That’s when you can get really good back lighting.”

Colette de Barros

Armani Exchange Dress, $110, armaniexchange.com; Janessa Leone Quatre Hat, $285, janessaleone.com; Armani Exchange Watch, $180, armaniexchange.com; Armani Exchange Sunglasses, $75, armaniexchange.com; Blouse, Michaela’s own

From there, she launches into a mini master class on lens flare. “It’s like a little rainbow of light, and I love it. It happens when you’re shooting a person and the sun is behind their head, maybe peeking out a little behind either side. It creates a little flare,” she explains. “I’m always aware of where the sun is positioned and will keep moving around to catch the best light. When you move you see where the light comes out” from behind whatever object you’re focusing on.

Michaela Wissen

When it comes to what you’re shooting, Wissen says not to force yourself toward the currently trending Instagram aesthetics. “I see all these accounts where people do clean, white stuff. It’s so popular right now. People will go to a market and shoot fruit. It’s everywhere on Instagram.” Instead, she prefers to shoot people, objects from her real life, and bright colors. “Right now I like a lot of green. I love shooting against blue sky; it’s just really easy.” If you’re throwing down a pair of shoes or a bag, hoping for a faux-casual effect, style it. “I’ll throw it down and fix it so it looks like I just threw it down, kind of effortlessly. In this example, I wanted people to see the tag since it felt like, naturally, someone wouldn’t have wanted you to see it.” (The too-contrived way would have meant tucking away anything that hints at the real world).

And of course, when it comes time to edit, she suggests taking a ton of photos and weeding through them right away. “If you’re taking something in the moment, you want to convey that feeling you felt.” When she’s using her phone, not a proper camera, she averages 100 snaps for one image. “My best advice is to take a bunch of different photos from a bunch of different angles so you can figure out what you like. Then you can delete.” With Instagram shots as her bread-and-butter, Wissen tries to shoot with a proper camera, not her phone, and will edit on the computer. For amateur snappers, she suggests utilizing the burst mode function when capturing moving objects (like pets) and iPhone’s new portrait setting for a professional-looking focus. Find a filter you love too and stick with it: She only uses two in order to keep consistency on her feed.

Colette de Barros

Armani Exchange Sunglasses, $75, armaniexchange.com; Basket and bandana, Michaela’s own

Style Director: India-Jewel Jackson; Art Director: Rebecca Kimmons; Stylist: Henna Koskinen; Hair & Makeup: Elena Perdikomati

Self-Motivation Tips from 7 Top Female Athletes

Career cred: Gleich was the first skier to be a Blue Climate and Oceans Project ambassador.

“When I’m on a spicy, knife-edge ridge and climbing along, I say to myself, ‘Humans are very sure-footed animals.’ It’s a mantra I learned when I was a little kid on a horse backpacking trip. High up on the trail, I get scared, and the horse guide would say, ‘Don’t worry, horses are very sure-footed animals.’ It helps me stay calm and keep my footing. When I’m doing something really scary, I sing a song to myself. One is from a silly YouTube video of fuzzy animals playing in a band. It goes, ‘Fuzzy, fuzzy, cute, cute.’ Something about the baby hedgehog reminds me to stay calm, because freaking out never helps anything.”