What to Wear to Work

What You’re NOT Wearing to the Office:  How it May be Holding You Back

Wear-to-work - "Working-Girl"Once upon a time, in an office not so far from you, workers arrived at their desks each day in clothing called “suits.”  They wore outfits of matching pants (or skirts) and jackets.  It was standard workday uniform, and none of the workers questioned this.  They went about their days, accomplishing their tasks, and paid no mind to the regulation office dress….

Then one day, someone uttered the term “Business Casual.”  Behold!  “We could leave our ties at home?” said one man.  “I wouldn’t wear a jacket with my skirt” a woman asked?  And workplace attire was never again the same.

In some industries, the suit still remains a core element of professional protocol (think law and high finance), but this has become the exception in offices, rather than the overall rule.  Workplaces now run the gamut of so many varieties and levels of “casual,” that a suit seems like a museum artifact to some, especially younger professionals.  And as a result, something has been compromised with its disappearance:  the message of influence the suit’s jacket represented.

The business suit's early daysThe good news?  You don’t have to wear a suit to benefit from the credibility of its jacket.  The impact-making component of the suit isn’t the trouser, after all.  The “suit of clothes” that was the forerunner of today’s business suit, debuted following the European revolutions of 1848, reflecting the seriousness of the age.  To this day, the suit jacket maintains it’s long-standing reputation of importance and credibility.  Why not infuse your own professional message with that time-honored reputation?

Imagine yourself and a colleague, equal in talent and competencies:  You’re dressed in your favorite jeans and golf shirt; your counterpart is in casual trousers, sweater and a relaxed, but stylish blazer.  Which one of you are invited into a meeting to represent your department with your firm’s newest client?

Here are six occasions a jacket can boost your career:

You have an important presentation.  Say you’re teaching a breakout session at conference.  You want your audience to recognize you, as the expert, amongst the sea of business casual attendees.  Wear a jacket.

You’re being interviewed (job, media, internal committee, etc).  It’s not any ordinary day, and you’re on review.  Your goal is to come across with confidence and authority.  Remember that the suit has meant “serious business” for 400 years.  Wear a jacket.

You’re meeting a client for the first time.  “You never have a second chance to make a first _______.”  (You know the drill.)  Wear a jacket.

Jacket in business = credibility boostYou’re a petite woman, and those you’re doing business with are not.  Diminutive size can often suggest youth and inexperience.  A tailored jacket takes up physical space (think of the structured shoulders).  Wear a jacket.

You want to amp up your professional brand.  You work in a business casual environment, but want to project your discerning judgment and standard for excellence.  Lean on the suit’s impeccable signature.  Wear a jacket.

Will a jacket guarantee that next promotion?  Maybe not.  There are some opportunities, though, that you’ll never know you missed due to someone’s impression of your too-relaxed demeanor.  Only you know if you can afford the risk.

Patty Buccellato Image CoachPatty Buccellato, is an image coach and founder of Refined Images.  She brings extensive knowledge and expertise to her work with men and women individually, as well as with corporate employee groups. Patty established Refined Images in 1994, and while her studio is based in Rochester Hills, Michigan, you’ll find her serving clients throughout North America in their homes, offices — and, yes, even in shopping malls!   To get your FREE copy of Patty’s “How to Shop Like a Stylist,” visit www.RefinedImages.net or contact Patty.

Go here to claim your FREE eBook!

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Fall Transitional Dressing

How to Transition to Fall Gracefully

A little over a week ago, I took an early-September dip in the pool on a near 90°F day. Later that week, my husband fired up the furnace for a different kind of dip (overnight temp’s in the 40′s). If the weather’s as eccentric in your neighborhood this time of year, you might be reluctant to commit to your fall wardrobe just yet. After all, you might be wearing those cold-weather styles for several months.

Fall Transition Dressing - jumper

Consider a summer sheath worn as an early-fall jumper. (Image source: Popsugar.com)

In my own wardrobe world, which resides in Michigan, I get plenty of time to wear my cold-weather clothing. I’m quite weary of those pieces come March, so I don’t begin wearing them earlier than necessary.

A savvy way to shift gently into autumn dressing is by incorporating one. piece. at. a. time. Meaning: carry some of your summer pieces into fall outfits. “Transition” seasons like this (the other one comes between winter and spring) offer opportunity to get creative with outfit combinations you won’t wear any other time during the year.

Consider the v-neck sheath dress you wore to work this summer. Layer a menswear-style shirt or long-sleeved t-shirt beneath to convert to fall. (The more luxurious the fabric, the dressier. Think: “silky.”)

Fall Transition pieces.

A whispy-weight skirt in warm color tones transitions well from summer to fall. Seasonal accessories make it timely.

Ways to make transitions work right now:

  • Keep colors autumn-ish. Choose those from your own wardrobe’s color palette that are a bit deeper than the rest.
  • Opt for light to medium-weight fabrics. Save the heavy-weights for true cold-weather times. Combining lightweights and medium weights in an outfit matches the “in-between” quality of the season.
  • Make sure footwear is weather-appropriate. A suede shoe or smooth-leather boot replaces a sandal for fall-worthiness.
  • Accessories complete the package. Lightweight and airy works well with light, summer fabrics. As you add bulk with clothing, choose jewelry and other accessories with more substance.

Have a comment?  Question?  Let me know your thoughts in the comment box below.  I read them all.  (You just might be the inspiration for my next blog post.)

 

Image Consultant Patty BuccellatoPatty Buccellato, is an image coach and founder of Refined Images.  She brings extensive knowledge and expertise to her work with men and women individually, as well as with corporate employee groups. Patty established Refined Images in 1994, and while her studio is based in Rochester Hills, Michigan, you’ll find her serving clients throughout North America in their homes, offices — and, yes, even in shopping malls!   To get your FREE copy of Patty’s “How to Shop Like a Stylist,” visit www.RefinedImages.net or contact Patty.

Go here to claim your FREE eBook!

Connect with me!  

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What to Wear in Early Fall

5 Tips to Dress Rationally on 3-Season Days

September:  the month with a personality crisis.  One day it feels like picnic & swimming pool season, the next, you want to bundle up in flannel and ear muffs.  Even more, it’s autumn chilly on the morning commute to work; fresh and fragrant like spring at lunch time, and summery-warm by mid-afternoon.  It’s tricky to dress “season appropriate,” and maintain comfort when temperatures swing in a 35-degree range.  Not to mention fluctuations with indoor heating and cooling systems in many office buildings and restaurants.  But you can look fabulous and be comfortable at the same time.

The Key:

Layering.  That’s it.  No complicated fashion codes to crack.  What’s important, is knowing how to combine pieces.  Can you wear summer’s white cotton gauze shirt under your new wool tweed jacket?  That depends.  Here’s a checklist to help you decide:

  1. Choose fabrics in moderate weights.  With the exception of heavy-weight sweaters or jackets for outer layers, keep other garments in light-to-medium weights.  They’ll co-mingle better when they’re not at opposite ends of the spectrum, and keeping things on the lighter side eliminates bulk.
  2. Opt for more-fitted silhouettes.  When layering garments, maintaining
    Source:  Goodhousekeeping.com

    Source: Goodhousekeeping.com

    shape is important.  Close-fitting under layers help to keep things on the lean side.  Use your natural shape as a guide, and if you’ve got a pronounced natural waistline, belt your outer layer for shape definition.

  3. Mix textures.  All smooth surfaces are boring, and too much texture complicates an outfit.  Consider layering texture over smooth base pieces.  For example, a cashmere cardigan over a silk blouse or camisole.   When you venture outdoors and discover a rise in temps, simply shed the sweater to quickly climate
    asos.comtweedshort

    Image source: asos.com

    adjust.

  4. Harness the power of accessories.  Hosiery and neckwear make an autumn style statement in gradual moves.  A dark-colored walking short or pencil skirt worn with opaque tights provides coverage and an update from your summer outfit version.  Scarves add “finish” and coverage in one easy step.

 

Have a comment?  Question?  Let me know your thoughts in the comment box below.  I read them all.  (You just might be the inspiration for my next blog post.)

 

Image Consultant Patty BuccellatoPatty Buccellato, is an image coach and founder of Refined Images.  She brings extensive knowledge and expertise to her work with men and women individually, as well as with corporate employee groups. Patty established Refined Images in 1994, and while her studio is based in Rochester Hills, Michigan, you’ll find her serving clients throughout North America in their homes, offices — and, yes, even in shopping malls!   To get your FREE copy of Patty’s “How to Shop Like a Stylist,” visit www.RefinedImages.net or contact Patty.

Go here to claim your FREE eBook!

Connect with me!  

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End-of-Summer Style

Dog Days of August – What to Buy Right Now

Dressing for Dog Days of SummerThe phrase “dog days of summer”  generally makes us think of steamy-hot, lazy days.  There probably was a time when August was reserved for the final stretch of summer — enjoying the last days of free-style schedules and beach or backyard gatherings before the school bell made it’s first ring of the season.  Now?  For many, it’s a frantic race to buy school supplies, clothes, and dorm essentials.  What on earth happened to the “lazy”?

Maybe you’re fortunate to be enjoying one last vacation “hoorah” before fall.  If you’re on the beach or at the pool, save this post for later.  If you’re ready to shift your summer outfits into gear for cooler nights (and days ahead), here’s your best ticket for right-now shoppingThe Jacket.

The jacket in its many forms:  jean jacket; cropped jacket; motorcycle (“moto”) jacket,… you pick!  Here’s how they work right now…

Wearing a maxi dress at end of summer.

Lane Bryant maxi.

Jean Jacket.  Top your favorite summer maxi dress with a jean jacket, sleeves rolled up, for a casual, almost-fall look.  When the dress colors are deeper, like the one at left, the combination goes well into fall.  (Swapping out sandals for a ballet slipper, or other closed-toe style, makes it cool-weather suitable.)

End of Summer Style - Anna Singleton

Anna Singleton’s patterned jacket. (Source: FlynetPictures.com)

Patterned Jacket.  A jacket print mixing light and dark color values suits the in-between-season time perfectly. Over a tank and jeans, or over a cocktail dress on Girls Night Out, it gives lightweight coverage when the final days of summer spring a little bit of chill on you.

Cropped Jacket.  The versatile cropped jacket in a moto style like this one (J. Crew Factory) serves equally well over a red sheath dress to work, or a brightly-colored capri and floral blouse to dinner.  Your accessories (a little bling in your jewelry and a heeled pump) dress it up when you want it a little more formal.

End of summer style - transition jacket

J. Crew Factory cropped jacket.

 

Leather Moto Jacket. 

End of Summer Style - Helen Mirren

Helen Mirren – Dolce & Gabbana gown & leather jacket. (Source: Dave Hogan – Getty Images-Europe)

Though you’ll see photos of celebrities donning leather jackets mid-summer (maybe they’re only removed from an a/c environment for a 5-minutes sprint to Starbucks), you might find it less than practical on an 85-degree day in your own life.  But as the temp’s dip, it’s the perfect transitional piece to make your summer dresses seasonally correct.  Wear your own version of biker chic over a strapless maxi, an eyelet sundress, or combine with a ribbed tank and chiffon skirt for a take on the tender/tough  look.

 

(Read this blog post for hot-weather wear-to-work tips.)

Have a comment?  Question?  Let me know your thoughts in the comment box below.  I read them all.  (You just might be the inspiration for my next blog post.)

 

Image Consultant Patty BuccellatoPatty Buccellato, is an image coach and founder of Refined Images.  She brings extensive knowledge and expertise to her work with men and women individually, as well as with corporate employee groups. Patty established Refined Images in 1994, and while her studio is based in Rochester Hills, Michigan, you’ll find her serving clients throughout North America in their homes, offices — and, yes, even in shopping malls!   To get your FREE copy of Patty’s “How to Shop Like a Stylist,” visit www.RefinedImages.net or contact Patty.

Go here to claim your FREE eBook!

Connect with me!  

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Do Pantyhose Make Me Look Old?

It’s Bare-Leg Season:  Dare You?

old fashioned pantyhose?When the hosiery vs. no-hose controversy comes up in my workshops, a woman or two inevitably resists with an earnest, “No! It’s not professional (insert: proper, hygienic, tasteful, comfortable).”  Usually, she’s a woman in my own age group.

Whether it’s tiny spider veins that start creeping in after 35-ish, a history of sun over-exposure, or any other skin imperfection, some women simply don’t love exposing their legs.  Yet, we’ve crossed the time threshold from when the “bare legs look” was a passing trend, into the realm where panty-hosed legs are labeled “unfashionable.”

If it’s any consolation to those who prefer we’d blast back to the days of suntan-colored pantyhose, I’m with ya in the “my-legs-are-not-my-best-asset” camp.  In my case, time has been of little consequence.  I’ve been the whitest girl on the beach for as long as I’ve been going to it.

If you want a little help before going bare, and don’t like the fuss of sunless tanners, see below for two solutions that make summer’s bare-leg season a bit kinder & gentler.  (Note:  I’m not compensated for promoting these products.  Just offering “Image Consultant-Tested” options!)flip flops to the office?

Visit this post for more tips on how to avoid an image meltdown in the summer heat.

 

Right to bare legsStudio 35 pantyhose in a can

The Studio 35 product (left) can be purchased at Walgreens, Drugstore.com, and other retailers via Amazon.  It acts like a bronzer, evening out skin tone with a slight glow-sheen.  (Application tip:  Spray on your palms to apply and avoid bronzing your bathroom floor.)

The Joan Rivers product (right) adds no color, but acts much like a facial concealer, covering small spider veins, blemishes, and other skin discolorations.  I paid $22.50 from a catalog retailer, then later found it here for $9.99.

To your rockin’ awesome legs!

Patty Buccellato http://refinedimages.net/Patty Buccellato, is an image coach and founder of Refined Images.  She brings extensive knowledge and expertise to her work with men and women individually, as well as with corporate employee groups. Patty established Refined Images in 1994, and while her studio is based in Rochester Hills, Michigan, you’ll find her serving clients throughout North America in their homes, offices — and, yes, even in shopping malls!   To get your FREE copy of Patty’s “How to Shop Like a Stylist,” visit www.RefinedImages.net or contact Patty.

Go here to claim your FREE eBook!

Connect with me!  

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Seasonal Clothing Storage

Smart Care for Your Off-Season Wardrobe

seasonal wardrobe storageA client recently asked (believing it was finally safe to put her family’s winter coats away), how best to store them.   If you had your own winter wear in “ready mode” for so long you wondered if you’d be able to stow it at all, your coats & sweaters may have landed in an unfortunate heap in the corner of your bedroom floor or laundry room.  It’s time now.  School’s out for summer; your dark colors and lofty woolens can take a rest.  As you send them to their proper location, use this tip list to make sure they’re in top form to serve you another season come fall.

#1 Clean Thoroughly

launder wardrobe before seasonal storageFollow manufacturers’ recommended laundering or dry cleaning instructions before stowing garments for the season.  Even if an item looks clean, when you’re not certain whether it was worn after last laundering, give it a good-measure cleaning.  Stains not visible to your eye now, when allowed to set over time, may surprise you when resurrecting your clothing from storage after a few months.*  Food particles have the added nasty habit of attracting moths.  Fabric softeners and starch can attract insects as well, so avoid these in your laundering process.

* If you notice tiny holes in sweaters or other items, and suspect they indicate moth damage, do this:  put the item in a plastic bag and place in your freezer for 48 hours.  Remove for a day, then re-freeze for another 48 hours to thoroughly kill off any larvae.

#2 Smooth and Press

Make sure items are completely dry before putting them away.  Moisture, locked in over using Jiffy steamer before seasonal wardrobe storagetime, results in mildew.  Take an iron or steamer to laundered items that the are left wrinkled after drying.  Wrinkles can become semi permanent after months in hibernation. (I like Jiffy steamers.  They’re the makers of professional launders’ equipment.  Use the code of “IMAGE225” and you’ll get free shipping at Jiffy’s site.)

#3 Ditch the Plastic

Remove dry cleaners bags before putting your good stuff into storage.  In fact, it’s a good practice to remove plastic from all garments as soon as they come back from cleaning.  Natural fibers like to breathe.  Plastic also locks in moisture, again allowing mildew to form and mold to grow.  This will not make for a pretty reunion with your favorite dress next fall.  Save the paper shoulder covers that come from the dry cleaners — they provide good dust protection.  Alternate protection comes in the form of fabric garment bags like these.  Or, if you’ve got an entire section of closet dedicated to your out-of-season clothing, toss and old (clean) sheet over the whole area.

#4 Pamper Knits

Knit sweaters, tops, and dresses require special care.  Store them folded instead of hanging so they don’t lose their shape during their time in storage.   Hanging them as you do a blouse runs the risk that they will “grow,” or come out of storage with unsightly “bumps” in the shoulder.  The very best scenario is packing your knits in an unused suitcase lined with acid-free paper.  Cardboard boxes can attract bugs and harbor moisture (there’s that mildew issue again), and plastic bins are bulky and, well, plastic. If you don’t have a proper storage container and must use hangers, use this method.  More about protecting your precious wardrobe investment here.

folded sweaters before seasonal storage

Do this.

don't hang sweaters for off-season storage

Not this.

 

 

 

 

 

#5 Repel Unwanted Guests

Once you’ve made wise choices in cleaning, choosing proper containers, and packing, you’ll not want to leave things to chance.  Take the extra measure of insect management by tucking some lavender sachet or cedar blocks into your clothing packages.  (Your grandma might have used moth balls, but we now know how toxic these can be to children, pets, etc.)  Keep your storage area cool, dark, and dry.  And to be sure all is well in the insect department, consider checking in on your off-season wear every few weeks.   A mark on your calendar may help.  Most of us aren’t likely to think about our wool coat and scarf during beach season.

(Read this blog post for help deciding what not to store away.)

Have a comment?  Question?  Let me know your thoughts in the comment box below.  I read them all.  (You just might be the inspiration for my next blog post.)

 

Patty Buccellato http://refinedimages.net/

Patty Buccellato, is an image coach and founder of Refined Images. She brings extensive knowledge and expertise to her work with men and women individually, as well as with corporate employee groups. Patty established Refined Images in 1994, and while her studio is based in Rochester Hills, Michigan, you’ll find her serving clients throughout North America in their homes, offices — and, yes, even in shopping malls!   To get your FREE copy of Patty’s “How to Shop Like a Stylist,” visit www.RefinedImages.net or contact Patty.

Go here to claim your FREE eBook!

Connect with me! 

 

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What (Not) to Wear to Work this Summer

Avoid an Image Meltdown when the Mercury Rises

flip flops: what not to wear to work this summerWhen the sunny skies of summer roll around, it’s tempting to let a relaxed mood spill over into attire.  Beware when it comes to your work wardrobe.  Whether you’re the receptionist or the CEO, snap judgments are routinely made based on your appearance.  Many smart and talented workers have lost promotions because their look didn’t match the role.  Take the time to dress with intention so you’re sure to earn all you’re due. In most offices, flip-flops are a “don’t” to no one’s surprise, but what about the subtler choices of dressing for work?  Here, some tips to keep you on course.

Broad Coveragewear to work in summer - Kasper ruched-sleeve jacket from Macys

Summer fashions, by their nature, bare more skin.  Choose office-appropriate image over fashion flair by opting for modesty at work.  Cover up over-exposed skin on arms, back, or chest to keep professional.  Sleeveless summer dresses with halter necklines are made office-worthy with the simple addition of a jacket or cardigan.  Your clothing can do double-duty from work to social with a few simple tweaks.  It’s all in how you wear it.  (Remember that skirt hems at the office are best at or around knee length.)

Lighten Up

Lighter fabrics & cheery colors give that comfortable summer feel.  A head-to-toe lime green outfit isn’t likely to boost your professional image, but there are plenty of ways to incorporate color in moderation.  Consider waking up a basic black trouser-jacket combo with coral pumps for a color pop.  A bright sheath dress gets down to business when topped with a classic navy blazer and simple jewelry.  Maintaining balance is important.  Remember to keep something “serious” in the mix so your outfit remains work-appropriate.

 

 

Keep Your Coolwhat not to wear to work this summer:  blue shirt

… and avoid the “blue”!  Guys, it’s that classic blue cotton shirt that most shows evidence of your overheated body during summer heat waves.  Avoid an uncomplimentary look with white, or other light color options. (And for your health’s sake, keep hydrated!)

Bottom-Up Focus

With flip flops on one end of the continuum, and fully-enclosed pumps on the other, a variety of foot-exposing options in between are now acceptable in many workplaces.  More-baring shoes beg for an extra level of pedi hygiene.   Wearing open-toed shoes require manicured toenails, and sling-backs mean tending to dry heels. Don’t skimp on grooming details — they, too, are a reflection of your work quality.

More on Professional Image.

Patty Buccellato http://refinedimages.net/

Patty Buccellato, is an image coach and founder of Refined Images. She brings extensive knowledge and expertise to her work with men and women individually, as well as with corporate employee groups. Patty established Refined Images in 1994, and while her studio is based in Rochester Hills, Michigan, you’ll find her serving clients throughout North America in their homes, offices — and, yes, even in shopping malls!   To get your FREE copy of Patty’s “How to Shop Like a Stylist,” visit www.RefinedImages.net or contact Patty.

Go here to claim your FREE eBook!

Connect with me! 

Posted in Business Professional Attire, Dressing for Success, Professional Image | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Spring 2014: Floral Prints

Floral Frenzy

Everything’s coming up roses,… and peonies, and daisies, and everything in between.  It’s a season of garden patterns in every color under the sun, and if they’re not yet growing in your yard, you can find them in your favorite clothing boutique.

Patterns can be tricky to wear if you’re not mindful of scale.  A large blossom on your backside is not always a girl’s best friend.  Here are a few ideas to get you in the floral mood.

Floral Variety

Just like in a garden, floral varieties mingle with one another in this spring’s take on prints.  The key to pulling off a pattern mix is having a “link” between your printed garments.  Ideally, the connecting element is a color that’s common to both prints.  In the example above, it’s a color family (the aqua and blue-greens) that links the top and bottom.  This one’s pre-mixed for you in a one-piece dress.

Another key to pairing your prints is choosing them in varied scale (size of the print).  The print on this top is smaller than the allover botanical print of the dress’s skirt, making it work in a quirky sort of way.  The “allover” quality helps, too.  The top has lots of background space, where the bottom does not.  This way, it’s far less overwhelming on the body than full, allover patterns in both the top and bottom.

Floral Pants

The larger the print, the more apparent the body area becomes.  If you’re a bit shy about wearing a loud print on your bottom half, look for one that contains colors that are not in stark contrast to one another.  (A black-and-white mix, for example, is considered “high contrast.”  Ivory mixed with white in a print is not as striking, and thus, “low contrast.”)

Floral Tops

Tops are generally easier to wear than floral bottoms, but don’t overlook scale here either.  If your facial features are small and delicate, you might be overwhelmed by a large-scale print.  Similarly, if your body size and features are large, a very small print tends to look a bit “off.”

Maybe you just can’t envision botanicals hanging in your closet.  If you want to play the floral game low-risk, get yourself a handbag in a fun floral design.  You can flash some flower for minimal investment and look like a pro who’s savvy to the detail of accessories.

 

Patty Buccellato http://refinedimages.net/

Patty Buccellato, is an image coach and founder of Refined Images. She brings extensive knowledge and expertise to her work with men and women individually, as well as with corporate employee groups. Patty established Refined Images in 1994, and while her studio is based in Rochester Hills, Michigan, you’ll find her serving clients throughout North America in their homes, offices — and, yes, even in shopping malls!   To get your FREE copy of Patty’s “How to Shop Like a Stylist,” visit www.RefinedImages.net or contact Patty.

Go here to claim your FREE eBook!

Connect with me! 

 

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Personal Color: Rockin’ it in Your Closet

Personal Color in Real Life

In my last post I wrote how color temperature, value, and intensity can help you look your most vibrant and healthy.  An awareness of your personal best colors makes it easy to know what to purchase when a wardrobe makeover’s in order .  But what if you’re not planning to overhaul your closet contents?  Let’s face it, in real life we sometimes have boundaries (time, money, etc.).  There’s no reason you have to wait to look your best, though.  Using color to flatter needn’t require a total wardrobe revamp.  Often, a little creativity does the trick.

Building a Wardrobe with YOUR Colors: 3 Quick Ways

  1. Face first. The biggest effect color has on your appearance is when it surrounds your face in a harmonious way.  (Flattering personal color can take years off your “visual age.”)  When you’re presented with the scenario of making a color compromise, do so in your lower body.  Perhaps navy blue isn’t your best color choice, but sage green puts your face aglow.  A sage green, floral blouse containing bits of navy in the floral print can be a perfect solution.  The blouse links back to your navy bottom with the multi-colored print, while surrounding your face with uplifting color.
  2. Think small. Little things can, under the right circumstances, make a huge impact.  Let’s say you’ve got an outfit in a rusty-orange hue.  It looked pretty on the mannequin at the store, but you’ve never felt particularly attractive wearing it — not like you do when you wear your favorite butter-yellow sweater.  Accessories to the rescue!  A relatively small investment in a scarf or bib necklace gets that winning personal color, in this case butter-yellow, right up around your face.  Result:  a new lease on life for an under-appreciated outfit.
  3. Neutral Territory. The fashion world has taught you that black, white, beige, and taupe are “neutrals.”  Your own personal neutrals, though, make for a much more interesting look when you use them in your outfits or as accents.  Finding the variations that make up your eye color are one way to incorporate personal neutrals (more here).  Your hair and eyes aren’t the only place to look, though.  Ever pay attention to your natural lip color — before you’ve added any lipstick or gloss?  That’s a personal color that makes a fabulous statement in an outfit.  The color that you blush when you’re embarrassed?  Another color you’ll wear beautifully.

How have you found that color makes a difference in your wardrobe?  Let me know or ask me a question in the comment box below.  (I read them all.)

If you haven’t taken the color IQ test, find it here.  Want personal color feedback?  Work with me.

Patty Buccellato, is an image coach and founder of Refined Images. She brings extensive knowledge and expertise to her work with men and women individually, as well as with corporate employee groups.

Patty established Refined Images in 1994, and while her studio is based in Rochester Hills, Michigan, you’ll find her serving clients throughout North America in their homes, offices — and, yes, even in shopping malls!   To get your FREE copy of Patty’s “How to Shop Like a Stylist,” visit www.RefinedImages.net or contact Patty.

Go here to claim your FREE eBook!

Connect with me! 

Posted in Personal Color, Personal Image, Wardrobe Planning & Auditing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Personal Color: Making the Best Choices

What Makes a Color “Yours”?

Personal color, when chosen wisely, has the potential to make your face appear brighter, healthier, and more vibrant. At the same time, unflattering hues hold equal power to drain the “life” right out of you! Short of having a professional colorist in your closet each morning, there are things you can do on your own to look fabulous every day.  Here’s some guidance.

First, some color basics. Three characteristics to look for in choosing personal color:

  1. Undertone (Temperature). Colors can be primarily cool (with a blue undertone), or they might be predominantly warm (yellow based).  Most people look better in one temperature than the other. When your clothing is in the same color temperature as your features, you achieve personal color harmony.
  2. Intensity. This is what might be thought of as the power of a color.  A color can be soft, with a muted or dusty finish.  Alternatively, clear colors are at the other end of the spectrum with strong saturation, or brightness.  For some skin tones  or hair/eye combinations, intensity is the most important quality in personal color.  Achieve color harmony by wearing colors in

    High Contrast

    the same temperature as your own features.

  3. Value. A color’s value can also be described by its depth (or darkness).  It may be light ordeep. This quality rela

    Low Contrast

    tes to the wearer’s personal color contrast level.  For example, dark hair against light skin represents “high contrast,” where skin and hair that are close to one another in depth are in “low contrast.”  When you wear clothing in color values that relate to your own contrast level, you allow the clothing to support you, rather than compete with your natural coloring.

(How well do you see color?  Take the Color IQ Test!)

Simple strategies to make color-wise choices for your next knockout look:

  • Use your eyes and hair color as personal color neutrals.  Neutrals don’t have to be black, white, or navy.  Your own neutral colors might be deep olive, or brick red.  (Look closely when examining eye color – there’s more than one hue in there!  Check out all of the flecks and “spokes.”)
  • Let your Mother Nature-bestowed pearls guide you.  When you purchase your next basic white shirt, see that it relates to the color of your teeth or whites of your eyes for optimum flattery.  (If your teeth are a creamy version of white, you can bet they’ll look yellowed against the coolness of a bright, pure-white shirt.)
  • Determine whether your skin undertones are cool or warm, and choose garment hues accordingly.  DIY home test:  Take 4 sheets of construction paper, or fabric if you have it, in brown, black, white, and cream.  Alternately hold each up to your face In front of a mirror.  (Smile while you’re at it!)  If you’re cool based, the white and black will be the more-flattering set.  A warm-base is flattered more by the brown and cream.  Hint:  look for unevenness in skin tone; dulling of the eyes, or extra shadowing in facial creases as indicators when evaluating your own personal colors.

What are your experiences with color?  Let me know or ask me a question in the comment box below.  (I read them all.)

Watch for my next blog post where we’ll explore building a wardrobe around your personal color palette!

Want to learn more?  Work with me.

Patty Buccellato, is an image coach and founder of Refined Images. She brings extensive knowledge and expertise to her work with men and women individually, as well as with corporate employee groups.

Patty established Refined Images in 1994, and while her studio is based in Rochester Hills, Michigan, you’ll find her serving clients throughout North America in their homes, offices — and, yes, even in shopping malls!   To get your FREE copy of Patty’s “How to Shop Like a Stylist,” visit www.RefinedImages.net or contact Patty.

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