Spring is Here and Pink is the Color

After all the coverage of snow and blizzard conditions its nice to know that spring is on the horizon!  And the color thisspring 1 spring is PINK!  Not just any pink – real pink – fushia pink – bright pinks! Incorporate pink in your lipsticks and blush and in tops and accessories in clothing.  Have fun with it and don’t be afraid to wear it at work.  When you do however, use it in small doses such as a top and veer away from pastels or your Sunday best when it comes to the office.  Happy spring!spring-outfits-47jackets okjacket

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What we see on the outside tells us what we’ll find on the INSIDE

A lot of people think that dressing well from head to toe is not important or they think it costs too much – so why try.  Think about it, like packages on the grocery store shelves, a book cover, or the outside of a bank  – what we see on the outside essentially tells us what we might find on the inside.  A package tells us a lot about what to expect like premium ice cream or Chanel perfume.  Hence, we want to make an effort to look our best whether it is for work or play.  Moreover, dressing well does not cost a fortune but focuses on good hygiene, wearing clothing that is clean, coordinated and fits and is from head to toe.

So when it comes to packaging yourself, what will your look say to others about who you are and what you can accomplish!

Networking +

Tis the season for networking and for many, its a frightful thought walking up to someone and starting a conversation.  Usually its easier to walk up to someone you know to get introduced.

But once you’re introduced then what?Remember an individual can size you up in 3 to 4 seconds. However, in the next 10 minutes after a first meeting you have the opportunity to make or break those formed expectations, beginning with your greeting.
Here are some tips to make your first impression a lasting one:
• When you are introduced, if you are seated, stand up. This communicates that you are indeed happy to meet the person.
• Once you have stood up, step forward and smile. Even if it’s been your worst day, try to look pleasant and extend your hand and say hello.
• When you are in public and someone sees you and says hello, a smile and a nod is all that’s needed when passing by.
• When being introduced to someone who does not have full use of his or her right arm, extend your right hand anyway and they will extend their left.
• When seeing an old friend, extend your hand rather than giving a hug in business.
• If you tend to be nervous when meeting people, resulting in clammy hands, don’t fret. Carry a handkerchief with you and wipe them off before meeting someone.
• Practice making a good handshake – it communicates everything about you. A lifeless handshake equates to a lifeless, insecure person. Forget crippling handshakes, the “politician’s pump” or “the glove.” Give a handshake that is positive and firm and held for about 3 to 4 seconds. Give direct eye contact and smile as well.
• To initiate conversation you might ask a few questions to learn more about the person but avoid the “twenty questions.”
• Another way to get past the hellos and how-do-you-do’s is to ask questions related to attitudes, likes and dislikes like food, the music or the place that the event is being held, or about interest in the arts and literature. Avoid complaining about the event, though.
• Another way to stimulate rapport is to give a sincere complement. A simple thank you is all that is necessary as a response. Don’t tell how much it cost and where you got it.
• Asking for help is another way of establishing rapport. People are more than happy to help someone who asks for advice. For example, “Where should someone go for a great meal and entertainment?”
• Another way to approach someone is to start a conversation about your hobbies. If one of your hobbies is traveling, you might ask whether the other person has traveled and talk about his experiences. Don’t monopolize on your hobbies, ask them about their hobbies. This brings out the best in people and establishes a sound, lasting rapport.
• Humor is another approach. For example, “Gosh, if this party gets any more popular, we’ll have to start lining up like sardines.” Avoid off-color jokes and other touchy subject. It’s safer to joke about the weather than about religion, race, politics or the battle of the sexes. If you’re not a great joke teller you might want to avoid this approach.

*Read the newspaper and other daily news sources so you have some things to talk about other than work and career.

Dressed to Tech

In just the past five years the world of work has changed as well as the clothing we wear for it! Of particular importance is how the tech industry changed the course of business wear as we know it. What was once considered “Business Casual” is simply business as usual. Inasmuch as we want to dress down, it’s still important to look good and communicate instantly our expertise and professionalism. Although suits are definitely not a requirement with tech firms, options might include a jacket and maybe jeans; but there is a right and a wrong way to approach these.
Here are some basic tips for communicating your expertise and position instantly to others:
• Focus on classic styles that have endured such as tailored notch collar shirts and blouses, blazers, A-line skirts, cardigans, trench coats, and shirtwaist dresses.
• Keep the look simple and clean accessorizing for impact with gold, silver, pearls or jewel tones to add sparkle and affluence to your best asset – your face.
• Incorporate fabrics that have body such as cotton/poly blends and heavier knits that are opaque.
• Create a slimmer appearance by wearing darker colors such as navy, burgundy, charcoal and black.
• If in the field, realize that you are communicating the brand image so dress professionally yet comfortably, if the environments vary widely. If jeans are permitted they should be a dark wash, fit at the natural waist, and be hemmed not dragging.
• Build your wardrobe around the neutrals such as black, taupe, navy, camel, gray and olive and add color in tops, scarves and belts.
• When meeting with a prospective client, consider a jacket with a fitted shirt and trousers. Also consider tunic tops with pants and a short jacket for interest. If you want to go sleeveless do so but wear a jacket or cardigan.
• When dining with clients consider simple pants or skirts with interesting tops and jackets. Consider a dark colored dress with a shawl around the shoulders. As well consider a fitted shirt worn out with black pants and a blazer or a mid calf skirt and an over blouse or tunic belted.
• Consider unstructured jackets such as jean jackets and cargo pants with limited detailing but avoid “hoodies,” hats and sweats. Pants and skirts need to land at the natural waist or a little below but avoid hip-hugger styles.
• To create a slim line and add height, incorporate vertical lines either decoratively in the fabric pattern or structurally as in vertical darts, princess seams, or a placket down the front. Also consider incorporating long chains or scarves around the neck, as well, as three quarter length sleeves. When wearing a jacket put the collar up.
• Avoid tight clothing rather introduce simple angular lines such as A-line skirts, tailor-notched collar shirts and blouses and tailored jackets to offset the roundness of the body and bring it into balance. Plain front pants and skirts are recommended over pleated varieties.

Bottom line – realize that your appearance counts at work no matter what you do!

Check for Quality and Save Money for Back-to-School!

As we approach Back-to-School buying season, spending money on clothing for your children should not be wasteful.  Your kids will want certain brands yet be vigilant, no matter the name on the label be sure to check for quality.  Most clothing is made in an overseas factory with very little over sight.  Fabrics are not checked for color transfer and seams are not finished.  Moreover, buttons have very little thread attaching them to the outfit and stripes do not match up at the seams.  Here are some other tips in making your dollar go further when buying your children’s back-to-school wardrobe.

  • Check for proper labeling:  In addition to the brand name, the law states that there should be a label attached to the garment that identifies the fiber content and the care of the garment.  This information will help you in picking clothing that have easy care properties.
  • Do the plaids and stripes match?  It takes more fabric to line up the stripes and plaids at the sides, back, front and shoulders.  This is your indication of a better made garment.
  • Interfacings should lie smoothly:  If the interfacing is too stiff or is pulling away from the placket of a shirt or waistband of a skirt – walk away.
  • Check for flaws and stains:  Some fabrics by their very nature have flaws and this is noted in the labeling.  However, if there are rust or any other stains – walk away – you can’t get it out and it shouldn’t be your job to try.
  • Is the top and bottom of the outfit the same color?  Fabrics absorb color differently even if its the same fabric on another bolt.  Some of the finest brands of suits have been guilty of the top and bottom being slightly different shades of the same color as a result of irregularity in color absorbtion.  When a suit or two piece outfit seem a bit different – you are probably right and need to walk away.
  • Will the seams ravel apart after the first washing?  Most seams are not finish today.   Clothing termed as fast fashion, often found at H&M and Forever 21 are that – fast and not meant to last.  Check the seams to see if they are finished at all, this will allow them to last a least a few washings.
  • Do the seams pucker:  Usually if the seams are puckering it was sewn with the tension too tight on the machine.  You cannot fix it so walk away.
  • Check buttons for secure attachment:  Since there is very little thread attaching the button to the garment make sure that additional ones are provided.
  • Do your pockets tell all? Does the fashion fabric go far enough into the pocket not to reveal the lining?  Better check and see.
  • Check the inside as well as the outside:  With the limited dollars available to purchase clothing for back to school, make every dollar count and check for quality before you buy.  You will be glad you did!

Make a Big Impact with a Thank you Note

Probably the best tip my father ever gave me was to write thank you notes.  I may have grumbled at first but since it has proven to be a great business tool.  First saying thank you adds miles to any relationship whether business or personal.  However, to take it to the next level, consider writing a thank you note either via text, email or writing and mailing a note.  In this day when everyone seems struggling for a few more hours to get things done, thanking folks for their kindness or services rendered has become a lost art.  You might say its assumed but people still like to hear it and it goes miles in enhancing any relationship.  In business, sending a thank you email or writing one helps you stand out from the crowd and be remembered as the individual that took some extra time to thank them.  A while ago I reached out to a professional contact and they remembered me as the person that wrote the thank you note – that suggests to me that saying thank you in any capacity is rare these days yet is very much appreciated.

Common courtesy will ALWAYS work in your favor and saying thank you to someone that has helped you either personally or professionally will truly enhance your image and reinforce your business associations.  When writing a thank you note choose note cards that are personalized with your name or plain if for business and perhaps something that reflects your personality for social occasions.  Occasions when thanking someone is meaningful include after interviews, when good service has been rendered, when adding a new client, or when someone has extended a hand to help you such as moving or house sitting.

Take the time to thank others and you will be surprise how impactful those two little words can be!

 

Keep that Youthful Glow: Skin Care 101

As we approach the summer months, now is when people think about protecting their skin; however, it doesn’t matter how young or old you are it is critical to take care of your skin. Although we can’t change genetics and its effect on our skin we can minimize the damage of environmental factors on our face and body. One of the worst culprits in premature aging is the sun. I’m sure you’ve heard a lot about the rise of skin cancer; bottom line, the sun is not our friend.

Whether you are  20, 55, 80 it is essential to protect our skin from the sun and ultraviolet exposure of any kind (tanning beds). You may not see it now but guaranteed you WILL see the damage from the sun in the form of freckles that don’t go away, sun or liver spots, wrinkles, and leather like skin. If you have an office window, drive a lot or bike to work, you will get exposed to damaging rays. Wearing sunscreen is a start but may I suggest SUN BLOCK with protection of at least SPF 50 because it’s stronger than sun screen. In addition to sun block, may I suggest a hat with a wide brim when outside. Also if outside a lot cover the rest of your skin with long pants and shirts – yes I know it’s hot!
Here are some other tips that will stave off the look of aging and keep your skin in tip top shape:

  •  Hydrate!!! Drink at least eight glasses of water daily. Avoid caffeinated beverages as your sole source of hydration as well as mineral water and club soda. It’s ok to drink your coffee in the morning but refrain from it throughout the day. I can assure you if you get in the habit of drinking water you will learn to like it and want it to quench your thirst. Try some herb teas as an alternative.
  • Take supplements such as C and E as well as essential fatty acids that are rich in Omega 3’s.
  • Get plenty of rest! Sleep is natures repair shop. If you don’t have enough sleep its shows all over your face and overtime promotes aging. As well, research has shown that a lack of sleep promotes unnecessary hunger and eating and in time will add unwanted weight.
  • Reduce stress. This is not easy, I know that. The heart palpitations, the sweaty palms, the anxiety and frustration, are unbearable and they take their toll on our hearts, arteries and skin. I suggest incorporating yoga as a vehicle to exercise, relax and reduce stress. Yoga helps develop your breathing that ultimately aids in stress reduction. There are many, many kinds out there, find the one that’s best for you. Besides it helps you to tone and strengthen your body.
  • Exercise. Did you know that when you get the blood flowing that the increased circulation helps to aid the skin and ward off wrinkles?
  • Don’t smoke. Inhaling smoke constricts the blood vessels and promotes aging as well as other problems that we are well aware of.
  • Minimize alcohol. Moderation is the key.
  • Wear sunglasses and protect your eyes and the skin around them.
  • Moisturize hands with a lotion and sun block throughout the day.
  • Get into the habit of a daily skin care regime. No matter your age, get into the habit of cleansing, moisturizing and protecting your skin morning and night. Avoid soap and cleanse with a soap free cleanser. Even soaps that claim to be moisturizing bars are predominately soap.
  • After cleansing, use a toner such as witch hazel or alcohol free kinds. If you have sensitive skin avoid alcohol at all costs, this will really irritate your skin. After that moisturize and protect with a sun block.
  • Exfoliate your skin at a minimum once a week.  Exfoliation takes off the dead skin and helps reveal new cells creating a fresh appearance.

 

 

The LBD is Alive and Well

The Little Black Dress (LBD) is the staple of any wardrobe because it can go from day to evening and can be paired up with anything.  What’s great about it is its versatility and ability to coordinate with just about anything in your closet to dress it up or down for any occasion from work to cocktails.   Audrey Hepburn made it famous wearing a simple silhouette with a strand of pearls and it was a hit that has endured the ages.  When choosing among the millions of choices when it comes to an LBD consider your figure for the style that high lights your assets and minimizes your liabilities.  For example, if you have large hips, look for styles that put the emphasis from the waist up with detailing such as epaulets and buttons.  If you have a thick waist consider a drop waist or one with princess seams to camouflage or create a waist.  If you are large busted, choose a style that has long or 3/4 length sleeves.  Avoid any detail or attention in the bust such as lace or square neckline as these draw attention to it.  LBD 4LBD 6LBD 5LBD 2

Fashion is Radiant Orchid this Spring!

And the color to have this spring is Radiant Orchid!  Whatever your interpretation – pink, raspberry, or lavender or purple – let it embrace and energize you this spring!jackets okbag radiantradiant orchid fashioncolor panel radiant orchid

A Good Lookin’ Oscar!

 

I had the opportunity to watch the Oscars like a million or two other people and really enjoyed it.  Ellen set the tone as a night of joy for whoever won the Oscar.  For once the “stars” seemed like real people that experience all the things regular folks do such as being hungry and tripping over one’s gown.  Even more so the class and style that prevailed that evening just makes me want to revisit Oscar night all over.   The fashions worn by the stars were truly beautiful and spoke of timeless beauty, simple and elegant recalling the days of class with Audrey Hepburn.  Peplums were seen as well as simple silhouettes with focus on jeweled fabrics.  Julia Roberts gown was a feminine take on a classic silhouette with lace overlays ,  Some of my favorites included Cate Blanchette, Amy Adams, Angeli Jolie, Lupita Nyong’oAngelina and Brad Jennifer Lawrence and Sandra Bullock.

Sandra Bullocklupita Nyong'oJulia 2Cate BlanchetteJ-law and matAmy Adams