How to Have a Successful Working Relationship with the Person Who Sits Next to You

Photo: Easton and Roso

How do you sit next to someone for three years and still manage to have a good working relationship with them? It takes patience, respect, and a lot of communication. At InStyle, there’s no “slow” month. The fashion team is always fastidiously working on the next cover, the next shoot, the next trend report. No two people know this more than Ali Pew, our senior style editor and Alexis Parente, our assistant fashion editor. Here, they discuss the ins and outs of their working relationship.

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How do you maintain a good working relationship with each other?

Ali: Open communication. We are in constant communication, whether on set for a shoot or in the office. Sitting two feet from each other definitely helps! We have a very consistent routine in the way we do things, which ranges from putting together shoot concepts, selecting fashion for stories, covering market appointments, or writing for We've been working together for three years, so we have it down!

Alexis: By having mutual respect for one another and always communicating. We work as a team, constantly discussing ideas and always finding ways to improve things. Everything is a work in progress when you work at a magazine; so it’s helpful when you’re able to openly communicate about the trillion things that are going on.

What’s a style tip/trick you’ve learned from Alexis?

Alexis is a master knot tyer! She can tie a belt in a clean, even, perfect knot. She has also has taught me some great sewing tips. She is a super talented seamstress.

And from Ali?

It's been three years and I think I have finally mastered the "Editor’s Cuff"!

Alexis, What’s the greatest thing you’ve learned from watching Ali work?

While assisting during photo shoots, I have learned how to handle any unforeseen situations. You really never know what’s going to happen on set and you need to be sure to have a backup for the backup in case of a fashion emergency. Once we were on set and had pants that were entirely too long. No tailor in sight. That was a doozy.

Ali, what’s been your mentoring strategy?

I have always focused on training someone in the beginning by being super hands-on and detail-oriented. Then, once they are in the swing of things (as Alexis is!), it’s important to let your employees have autonomy and support them.

What’s the most fulfilling part of working with each other?

Ali: Watching Alexis grow! Over the last three years, she has taken on more and more responsibilities and has become such a great editor. She handles multiple things (usually at once!) seamlessly and always stays cool-headed, which really helps me when things get stressful!

Alexis: I think the most fulfilling part of my job is knowing the trust that Ali has in me. As an assistant, it’s easy to slip into the mundane, task-oriented daily routine if you don’t have a boss that’s willing to let you learn and try new things. Ali is always giving me opportunities that let me grow and help me to be a better stylist.

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