Thursday April 17th 2014

Portland’s most fashionable workplaces: CIEE

By: Shannon Bryan

If you’re in the vicinity of Pearl Street and Fore Street in Portland on any given workday, there’s a good chance you’ll spot employees of CIEE headed toward the company’s Fore Street office or headed out for a quick lunch at a nearby restaurant. And you might notice, as I did, how fashionably dressed all those young professionals seem to be. From vibrant stripes and colorful Converse to sleek skirts and bold button up shirts, the styles at CIEE are as varied and unique as the employees themselves. The diversity makes sense. CIEE operates international exchange and education programs in over forty countries, and the CIEE employees featured in this piece hail from Russia, Bulgaria, Spain, as well as Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and right here in Maine.

It wasn’t feasible to photograph each of the nearly 500 CIEE employees located in Portland and around the world (as much as we might have liked to). So to kick off our Fashionable Workplaces series, we’d like to introduce you to 10 of the fashionably hardworking people of CIEE, chosen by their colleagues. [Photography by Claire Jeffers]

Jess

Regional Sales Manager, Work Exchanges
Hailing from: Wolfeboro, NH
Her style: “Simple and classic.”
Where she shops: Portland Trading Co. for shoes and denim, Asia West for jewelry, and Anthropologie
Favorite fashion find: “My new Wolverine oxford shoes that I found at the Portland Trading Co. I love them. They are masculine yet elegant at the same time!”

 

James

Data Specialist, Participant Services
Hailing from: Rutland, VT
His style: “I like to be classic with a twist. I enjoy pushing the norms of the ‘business casual’ button down and slacks with color and patterns.”
Where he shops: GAP, Banana Republic, Express
Favorite fashion find: A navy and white polka-dot button down shirt from Express

 

Emily

Senior Coordinator, Custom and Faculty-Led Study Abroad Programs
Hailing from: New Gloucester, ME
Her style: “I usually stick to classics and neutrals, with a few colorful accessories.”
Where she shops: Anthropologie, J.Crew, Material Objects
Favorite fashion find: “I always buy a piece of jewelry when I travel abroad; it’s easy to fit in a suitcase/backpack. My favorite find is a ring I bought while hiking the Inca Trail in Peru – it was handmade by a local artisan and the design emulates the profile of where the tiered mountainside meets the sky.”

 

Jake

Support Coordinator, Participant Services
Haling from: The great state of Pennsylvania
His style: “Stay fresh, stay fly”
Where he shops: Ferdinand, Find, and my lovely grandmother also gets me some quality shoes from time to time.
Favorite fashion find: “My favorite find was a pair of purple high-tops I discovered at a hole in the wall in Montreal. I wore them into ground, duct taped them, and continued to wear them until they eventually disintegrated.”

 

Raquel

Support Coordinator, Participant Services
Hailing from: Seville, Spain
Her style: “COLORFUL! The key to looking unique without looking like a clown is to coordinate your outfit with nice compliments. Life is too short to wear dark colors! Colors make me happy!”
Where she shops: In Spain: Zara, Desigual, Stradivarius; in the US: H&M, Forever 21, Urban Outfitters and local second hand stores like Material Objects and Second Time Around.
Favorite fashion find: “A Desigual dress that I bought in Sevilla that is like a piece of art. No kidding! The details are incredible.”

 

Rita

Customer Service Coordinator, Participant Services
Hailing from: Izhevsk, Russia
Her style: “I like to look sharp, with some edginess to accentuate my figure. I like bright colors and I am not afraid to wear a statement outfit in the office, but… I always look forward to Fridays when I can wear my favorite jeans.”
Where she shops: “I am not a compulsive shopper, I save my pennies and dimes! I have a few favorite places: 1. Cache, Maine Mall, So. Portland, ME – great clothes for both the office and a night out. (Ask for Sue or Agnes). 2. My second favorite stop for shopping – Bebe – requires a day trip to Peabody, MA. (Margo is most helpful). It’s a great store for young women who like to dress up at reasonable price. 3. If you are looking for a one-of-a-kind gorgeous swimsuit or a designer bag, I recommend to visit Stilettos, a boutique in Portsmouth, NH. (I guarantee Gabriel will take good care of you). 4. And lastly for my bling-bling I go to Swarowski at the Maine Mall. I love the originality of their jewelry pieces, it’s all crystals and looks very good. (Caitlin is your girl there).”
Favorite fashion find: “I went to a couple garage sales and picked up a small Prada purse and a luggage style Louis Vuitton bag that turned out to be authentic for the 10th of the original price.”

 

Maggie

Coordinator, Enterprise Funds
Hailing from: Bulgaria
Her style: “I like dressing up. I think I got it from my mother. When I was little, I loved looking at her dressing up and I was often sneaking in her closet to try on her high heels. As to my personal style, I think it is very eclectic. One day, I like to be more classy, the next day I like to be more colorful, the third day I like to feel more comfortable. I think that this has to do with the fact that I like to change the way a look.”
Where she shops: Express, Mexx and Calvin Klein
Favorite fashion find: “My suede red shoes that I purchased at a Mall in Sofia (Bulgaria). They go well with everything- a skirt a suit or even jeans.”

 

Sarah

Copywriter, Marketing and Communications
Hailing from: Scarborough, ME
Her style: “If it’s black or hot pink and involves heels (the higher the better), I live in it. I like feminine, classic clothes with unexpected details, like a vibrant pop of color or an intimidating cluster of spikes. And I’m always on the lookout for that unique piece that transforms ordinary clothes that fit everyone’s personality into an outfit that expresses only mine.”
Where she shops: Helene M., BCBG Max Azria, Kate Spade
Favorite fashion find: “A pair of 100-year-old (at least!) beaded necklaces passed down to my grandmother, then to my mom, and finally to me when I was a teenager. I pull them out when I want to be reminded of the amazing women who came before me.”

 

Molly

Account Manager, Work Exchanges
Hailing from: Born in Maine but grew up overseas. “As all true Mainers do, I moved back.”
Her style: “I used to think of myself as a trendy dresser but now lean towards classic. It agrees more with my personality and budget. When I’m shopping, I ask myself if the piece I am about to buy is something I really need and is it something that will be a good investment. However, I can’t resist a good deal!”
Where she shops: TJ Maxx, J.Crew, shops downtown during their sales and Zara when I am traveling abroad.
Favorite fashion find: “Its’ a tie between my vintage Oscar De La Renta blouse I found at Material Objects on Congress Street and my chartreuse suede oxfords that I bought in Taipei! I love buying shoes in other countries over any souvenir.”

 

Ashley

Program Coordinator, High School Exchanges
Hailing from: Jackson, Mississippi
Her style: “Classic, edgy, oversized. Mod and vintage.”
Where she shops: The Black Parrot and Bliss
Favorite fashion find: “I recently got married, my most favorite find ever was my rehearsal dinner dress… it’s a beaded 20s-style dress designed by Jenny Packham, from Neiman Marcus.

About CIEE

The modern, glass-front building at 300 Fore Street looks brand new compared to the historic-looking red brick facades next door. But CIEE, which operates on all five of the building, has a 65-year history helping people gain the knowledge and skills needed to live and work in an increasingly interdependent and culturally diverse world. They do this through study abroad programs for high school and college students, teach abroad programs, international faculty development seminars, and inbound high school exchange, work, and internship programs that involve sixty study centers in over forty countries. Tens of thousands of participants – from the U.S. and abroad – take part in their educational exchange programs each year. FMI: www.ciee.org

KNOW ANOTHER FASHIONABLE WORKPLACE?

Tell us about it in the comments or email sbryan@mainetoday.com.