The World on the World Wide Web

Dear DECORUM! Readers,

Get a grasp on global with the fascinating World Clock from Poodwaddle!  It estimates ever-changing numbers for farming to bicycles production to diseases up to the second.  Check it out:

Also, this wonderful page provides another look at our world, bending space, size, and time:



Dear DECORUM! Readers,

The amazing Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup last month!!!!  YAY!!!  What a great job those guys did.  The city went wild over it: I went to the homecoming rally downtown the Friday after the victory, and 2 million of us banded together to scream and shout for our team and for what’s now OUR CUP!

In honor of the Hawks’ achievement, let’s a bit about sports and diplomacy.

Sports are often used as diplomatic exercises.  They encourage teamwork, foster friendly competition, but most important of all in such a situation, they can bring people together around a common interest.  In other words, even if two nations are each rooting for their own separate teams, they are united for 3 periods, 9 innings, or minutes with the same interests.  Some examples include  cricket matches between India and Pakistan, Armenia and Turkey starting negotiations with a soccer game, and President Obama playing basketball with Russian students.  Of course, there is also the unfailingly awe-inspiring Olympics (

Anyone have thoughts on or examples of this they’d like to share?  If so, please comment! :)

For internationally-themed sports links and stories, click here.


Emily Post

Dear DECORUM! Readers,

Please visit this great website:, home of the Emily Post Institute, which was founded by Emily Post in 1946 to continue her work in teaching etiquette (and many of the Institute’s  books and articles are still written by her lovely family members!).  You can’t go wrong following her guidelines!

Ladies: for more great manners scoop, check out this 1938 book Better Than Beauty: A Guide To Charm.  The writing in it is wonderfully articulate and strong, and though some of the scenarios discussed are dated or quaint, many of the examples and almost all of the principles remain the same today!


Another Reason To Be Optimistic

Dear DECORUM! Readers,

In the theme of one of DECORUM!’s earlier posts, I’d like to share the website of another group harnessing the power of optimism:  Optimist International is an association of  “adult volunteers [who] join Optimist Clubs to conduct positive service projects in their communities aimed at providing a helping hand to youth.”  All right!


Dress For Success

Dear DECORUM! Readers,

Imagine you are meeting UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon for a casual business lunch.  What do you pull out of your closet to wear?

This may seem like a trivial decision that only people like the fashion-savvy Elle Woods of “Legally Blonde” seriously consider, but such clothing choices are important for anyone, diplomats certainly included.  Dressing with class gives a striking, good first impression to those you’re going to be interacting with.  It will boost your confidence; when you are making a speech, working a room, you will have no reason to be distracted by or nervous regarding any mistakes in or bad comments about your look.  Nice pieces can also make for casual ice breakers such as, “Nice tie!” or “I love your earrings!  Where did you get them?”.  The list of reasons to commit to trying to look your best–and, when working, your most professional–each day  goes on and on.

In our example of meeting the Secretary-General (and for all other business occasions a diplomat would encounter), western business attire is required.  UNA-USA offers a handy reference chart of what falls into this category and what doesn’t:




Suits A suit always looks professional. Be sure to keep suits clean and wrinkle-free. A suit always looks professional. Be sure to keep suits clean and wrinkle-free.
Tops No t-shirts. A blouse, sweater, or button-down shirt of any kind is appropriate. Dresses are also appropriate as long as they are not revealing and adequate in length (follow the rules below for skirt length). No t-shirts. A collared/button-down shirt is appropriate and do not forget a tie!
Bottoms No jeans or shorts. Slacks and suit-pants are acceptable. Skirts must be worn with pantyhose/stockings and should not be more than two inches above the knee. Bottoms should have a subtle pattern; avoid loud designs. No jeans or shorts. Slacks, preferable in dark colors, are appropriate.
Shoes No sneakers or open-toe sandals. Remember: high-heeled shoes may look pretty, but they can also be very uncomfortable, so use your discretion. No sneakers or open-toe sandals. Loafers or other types of dress shoes are preferred.
Hair Keep hair clean and out of your face for a professional look. Keep hair clean and out of your face a professional look

(This information and more can be found at

Note to participants of Model UN: As you probably know, these are the standards followed at MUN conferences, too!  At the last conference I attended, one of my vice chairs frequently complained about how many girls were clad inappropriately in sundresses.  You don’t want to earn that negative attention!  Additionally, if you are on a committee with an after-hours crisis simulation, expect to be changing out of those pajamas!  Business attire is not required for a midnight session at all conferences (another delegate and I were the only 2 out of  about 15 kids that wore formal clothes instead of street clothes at one back in December, and he said, “Well, I guess everyone can tell we’re new to this!”), but it’s safer to change back into your professional apparel anyway (“Hilary Clinton probably sleeps in her suits,” joked one vice chair).

Neutrals like black, white, cream, gray, and brown are good for basic pieces like suits.  Accents of color–maybe on a tie or vest for men and on a shirt, scarf, or hangbag for women–will make you stand out from the crowd and look confident.  Deep teal, classic red, rose, and eggplant are universally flattering colors that look good on all skin types (see and   Color pyschology is also a factor we can throw into the mix.  Check out and for organized and fun facts on the common or universal associations with and impressions given by different hues.  (Blue seems like a good pick for diplomatic relations.)

For more inspiration, check out the TV show What Not To Wear, in which hilarious style experts Stacy and Clinton take on fashion-challenged folks and help them change their look.  Besides offering great advice and lots of laughs, the show demonstrates how much of an effect clothing style can have on your lifestyle in an honest, heartwarming way.

Also, check out these wonderful organizations: Dress For Success and Career Gear.  Both are non-profits that work to improve the economic independence of disadvantaged people (Dress For Success helping women, Career Gear helping men) by supplying business attire along with other support networks and tools.  See how much one suit can do? =)


Update, Take Two

Dear DECORUM! Readers,

My apologies again for the serious delay in new entries here!  Some random notes:

  • Please send questions/comments about this blog to our new address,! =)
  • Gals, check out these resources promoting true “girl power”: Global Girl Media, an organization helping “young women around the world to find and share their authentic voice” in journalism and other leadership (; Teen Voices, a magazine that fights for “improving young women’s social and economic status” by challenging, changing,  and contributing to media in a fresh way (; Girls For A Change, a great national group that “empowers thousands of teen girls to create and lead social change” (; and the Seventeen Magazine Project, a blog that documents one girl’s experiment following all the advice of Seventeen to call attention to how media can misrepresent and mislead young women (
  • I picked up the book Quick Spanish for Emergency Responders by David B. Dees at my local library recently.  I’m not planning to be an EMT, but the book seemed like a useful review of important words needed to ask about someone’s condition, explain directions, or alert people of an accident.  And indeed it is!  It also has a handy index of slang words, so you can tell whether you are being flattered, insulted, etc.  I highly recommend that folks learning Spanish pick up a copy if possible!  (Readers learning another foreign language: do you have any recommendations for similar books?  I’ll keep looking, too!)
  • Check back  soon for DECORUM!’s first interview, a post about apparel, and more!



Dear DECORUM! Readers,

Please take a look at the new page up here, Lena’s Links!  It has websites for everything from donating to animal welfare (Care2) to renting college textbooks (Chegg)!  The page will be consistently updated as I add in more URLS and descriptions of each link.  If you have any suggestions for new additions, please leave a comment!  Thanks!


The Importance of Business Cards

Dear DECORUM! Readers,

In any ventures into diplomacy (and many other fields), you’ll likely do some networking.  We’ll talk more extensively about networking itself later. But here’s one aspect of it I’ve been thinking about lately: when you meet people you’d like to stay in touch with, how do you exchange contact information?  For a casual friend, it makes sense to reconnect on Facebook later or to trade cell phone numbers.  However, for a future business partner or mentor, those methods would be less appropriate.  A business card would be more suitable.

Business cards are fantastic for supplying your contact info to new acquaintances you’ve met in any situation, whether they are a older researcher who may give you an internship later or a student around your age who also loved the movie “Iron Man.”  They are also handy for entering free lunch raffles. [;  Make your own for cheap or for free with these websites:

-About.Com’s Free Business Card Templates:


-Great FX Business Cards:

-Microsoft Office Online Business Cards:

Vistaprint Business Card Top Deals: