Is My Office Too Casual?

mans_legs_dog_dressed_123rf_26893889_m-©damedeesoManagers:
Has Your Office Image Gone to the Dogs?

You’re walking through the office on a normal Monday morning and you see the sights of, well, any other workday:  hoodies; leggings (as pants); ragged jeans, and (wait,…. are those pajama pants?). You wonder how it ever came to this. Your team is talented, committed, and engaged, yet they look like they just rolled out of bed and came to the office as an after ripped-jeans-123rf-8307831_s-© John McAllisterthought.

If your people aren’t client interfacing, you might have no problem. The fact that you’re reading this article, however, suggests otherwise. If you hesitate to invite clients to your site for meetings, isolate prospective customers to a single zone in the office to limit employee exposure, or feel inclined to make “dress up tomorrow” announcements when visitors are expected, consider the following practices:

Give credence to your appearance policy
Publish it. Post it. Refer to it.

When no one knows you have a policy, conformance is a far away fantasy. Let your people know why the code exists (i.e. “we desire to send a positive and consistent brand message to our clients, prospects, peers, and community at large”), and help them interpret it.

No policy, you say? There’s your first action step.

When expectations are unclear, haphazard results ensue. Develop a written document that staff can reference when questions arise around what is appropriate. Provide examples, preferably visual, of what is office-worthy, and what isn’t. Human beings, by nature, better support a program they’ve had a part in creating, so consider forming an internal committee or task force to develop the policy.

Special note: If segments of your staff work outside of the office in client settings, or entertain customers, it’s valuable to address protocol for those environments as well.

Lead by example
If the CEO arrives to work looking like he’s on the way to his kid’s soccer game, all bets are off. Expecting to uplevel your staff’s image is futile when the Big Kahuna sends an opposing message.

Rally the support of your entire leadership team when striving to raise the bar on workplace professionalism. When not all departments or business units back the company’s goals and equally enforce guidelines, dissention may result from finger pointing and perceptions of favoritism.

Elevate “Jeans Style”
Whether Friday is jeans day, or every day is casual at your office, there remains a difference between workday jeans attire and weekend jeans style. Communicate that difference to your team. And, at every turn, demonstrate it (see: “Lead by Example,” above). Share the following tips for office-worthy jeans wearing:

  • Dark wash jeans (dark, indigo blue or black) vs. pre-worn/faded jeans uphold higher professional decorum in a casual office.  In other words, they look new.
  • Pair jeans with long-sleeved shirts and sweaters for a more office-appropriate impression.  casual-couple-jeans-and-jacket-123rf-8747148_s-©nyulThe more skin that shows, the less formal the message.
  • Shirts with collars support a more polished appearance than those without. Imagine a t-shirt and jeans at the far left of the casual-to-formal dress continuum. Collars serve as a key point in moving toward the more buttoned-up end of that scale.
  • Take the office blue jean to the highest level of neatness and professionalism by wearing it with a jacket or blazer. A cardigan sweater over a shirt or blouse is a more relaxed, but still pulled-together, approach to 3-piece dressing.

 

Have the conversation
When things aren’t working, address the issue. If another system in your office is off-kilter, you talk about it. You look for solutions, and you get a handle on it. Your organization’s brand is no exception. A problem ignored is a growing problem, and denial about your public image can cost you projects, clients, and ultimately, money.

Make sure everyone understands that this is an important (and highly visible) success factor for your firm. A company-wide training initiative to raise awareness around professional presence assures that each and every member of your team receives the same brand-boosting message.  They learn the value of impression management, not only to the company, but to their own advancement potential as well.  Contact me to explore how an impression management training program can bolster your company’s brand.

What strategies have you found to support a professional atmosphere in your office?  Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.

Want to learn more? Work with me.

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 Bloomfield 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! ic_fbk_36ic_twit_36

Posted in Business Professional Image, Dressing for Success, Men's Image, Personal Image, Women's Image | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Over-50 Style – How to Rock it!

What You Don’t Have in Common with a 20-Something Style Maven

COVER-PHOTO-Favim.com-fashion-blogger-street-style-267223-Image-Source-Stylescrapbook.comWhat’s the one thing over-fifty women have in common with their younger sisters? They want to look FABULOUS.

‘Doesn’t matter what our calendar age, we all want to look our best. As we become more “seasoned” in life, there are a few new tricks to pull out of the style bag. They’re easy, though. Natural, in fact. It very simply boils down to using the adult sensibilities that are part of our wise and experienced nature.

Consider kicking these old-school style strategies to the curb:

Follow the latest fashion trend to a “T.”  Of course not. Copycatting a fashion magazine’s look head-to-toe is a tactic best left to Helen-Mirren-cheetah-Image-Source-express.co.ukfashion slaves of the striving-to-fit-in youth. Over-fifty women are too savvy to settle into “mimic mode.” A cheetah-print handbag is style smart. A leopard-print dress, shoes, and turban (all in one outfit),… not so much.

Tip: Integrate a style trend one piece at a time for a grown-up expression of style (see Helen Mirren’s cheetah shoes, right). Consider a statement necklace against a classic sheath dress, or a quirky-patterned jacket over a solid-color pant and sweater for tasteful balance. Bold watch? Why not – just go subtle in other elements of your ensemble.

Take advice from your bestie while shopping. Probably not. She’s got her style; you’ve got yours. The most well-meaning friend is going to lean to styles that she relates to. Make decisions based on your current body shape, natural coloring, and unique personality.

Tip: If you haven’t been shopping in a while, take a quick browse of online shopping sites to get the lay of the land and identify the season’s looks that appeal to you. You’ll be less likely to get slammed with a case of “overwhelm” once in the mall. Consider going it alone and meeting up with your BFF for an after-shopping lunch date.

Never buy boring underwear.  Never use the word “never.” Racy lust-have-slimming-teddy-pSPXNA-MS2441_BLACK_main_v275-Image-Source-spanx.comlingerie does, as a matter of fact, support a sexy self image. That said, a maturity-perfected body often craves undergarments with support and smoothing power.

Tip: Put support first, then shoot for the moon. Why not go for sexy and bump smoothing? The Lust Have Slimming Teddy by Spanx offers a “cheeky cut that flatters rear” and “back ruching that prevents uni-butt.” Why settle?

Fashion-Cover-29157231_s-Image-Source-123rf.com-©Brett-LambSubscribe to multiple fashion magazines and style blogs.  Maybe, but they’re not your style bible. You’ve raised a family, managed a successful career, and traveled the world. The last thing you need is a fashion editor telling you the “Styles to LOVE this Season.” Advice on flattering shapes for a changing body and tips for complexion-flattering color choices, sure. But only you know what you’ll love. You’re way past buying something because it’s the thing to do.

Tip: Take in current fashion trends through a best-for-me filter. Let’s say waist-cinching belts are the must-have item of the season. If Midlife Midriff has left you full in the mid section, a belt will only draw attention to this area of your body. Assuming that’s not your objective, steer clear. On the other hand, if you’ve maintained a naturally-cinched waistline, then this trend is your friend.

Borrow from your sister’s closet.  You’re the outdoors-loving sporty type; she’s a statement-making adventurer. There’s no way you’d even consider painting your closet doors the colors she did; you’re definitely not going to feel natural wearing something from inside those doors.

Tip: Wear what speaks to you. Your wardrobe is a reflection to the outside world of who you are, how you live, and what you believe in. Build the wardrobe that feels good to you – that’s what’s called authentic style.

When we’re young, we choose clothing that builds social acceptance and helps us fit in. After 50, well, we’re done with that. Celebrate the uniqueness you’ve earned and build a wardrobe that validates YOU.

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.)

Want to learn more? Work with me.

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 Bloomfield 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!ic_fbk_36ic_twit_36

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Tights with open toe shoes?

Open-Toe Shoes & Hosiery:  Yes You Can

open toe shoes and hosiery

©Dovima2010

White sandals with suntan-color-reinforced-toe-pantyhose. Can you see it?  If the image makes you cringe, you may be old enough to have a residual memory or two from the 1980’s fashion police (it wasn’t yet a cringe-worthy look before that decade).  The flashback may have kept you from ever again considering the option of hosiery with your favorite peep-toes.

Your great-aunt who wore seam-toed pantyhose with sandals did it because it was once acceptable “style.”  And then it wasn’t.   Now, we’re given a chance for a new take on an old look.

If you want to take the trend for a test drive, here are some do’s & don’ts to help you out the door:

Do:

  •  Wear shaded, opaque tights for a fresh look with your open-toe or open-back shoes.  (Yes, it works for sling-backs, too.) It’s not only on-trend, but it’s a practical strategy when the weather cools and bare legs just aren’t comfortable.
  • Choose a color that is in the same (or lighter) value range as your shoes.  In other words, avoid black hosiery with white shoes.  There are a multitude of exceptions to this suggestion, but if you’re just starting out, low-contrast colors are a safe choice.print-shoes-shaded-hose-smaller-watermark
  • Consider tights in a color borrowed from your shoe’s print or pattern.  For a bolder statement, contrast the color (i.e. red looks fabulous with leopard print).
  • Match hosiery opacity to the “weight” of your outfit. Tights are the heaviest, often giving a completely opaque finish, so they’re best with tweed wool skirts and sweater knit dresses. Opaque pantyhose have a slight sheerness to them and are a good match for smoother materials like a leather skirt or fine wool suiting.

Don’t:

  • Wear standard-issue pantyhose with your peep-toe shoes. Skin-toned hosiery is for princesses and flight attendants.  More about that here and here.  Now, it’s all about color.
  • Choose color “brights” for tights unless you’re ready for a lot of attention.  Bold hues can work well, but if you’re shy, avoid the head-turning look.
  • Mistake tights, pantyhose, (or leggings, for that matter) for pants.  They’re layering pieces for wear beneath skirts, dresses, pants and tunics.
  • Buy (or DIY) toe-less shaded tights to wear with open-toe shoes. Really, don’t. Lots of instructions online telling you how to do this. Ignore them. Legs and toes are the same color in real life. “Toeless” only works for ultra-sheer (nude-toned) pantyhose.

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.)

Want to learn more? Work with me.

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 Bloomfield 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!ic_fbk_36ic_twit_36

Posted in Accessories, Personal Image, Professional Image, Uncategorized, Women, Women's fashion, Women's Image | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Proper Fit: 3 Women’s Clothing Fit Points

Fashion Fit 101how not to look frumpy

Feeling frumpy today?  A little out of style-sorts in a way you can’t define?  You may to need look no further than the fit of the clothes you’re wearing.  And you might be surprised to find that the secret is hiding in your top or pant’s length proportions.

I’ve impressed more women than I can count with a subtle length tweak that takes her outfit from “meh” to marvelous, with a capital “M,” and a magic genie I’m not.

3 Key Corrections

Check these 3 fit points to amp up your style confidence.  (And for more on how not to look frumpy, read this post.)

women's pant length - poor example

Pant: Too short

1)  Pant Length.  Too short, and you look like a child who’s outgrown last year’s school clothes.  Too long and, well you’ve seen it, they’re tattered and torn from dragging on the ground — not a shining example of style, especially when it comes to career image.

What to look for:  The bottom of your pant (the “hem”) should gently rest on the top of your shoe in front.  It’s called a “break,” where the fabric gives due to contact with your shoe.  In the back, you want your hem to be 1/2″ – 1″ from the floor.  (You might prefer them on the shorter end of that range when in a lighter color, or if they’re part of your winter wardrobe and will be seeing slushy winter pavement.

women's pant length - good example

Proper pant length with “break” over the top of foot.

women's pant length - exception

Exception: skinny pants are worn shorter to avoid getting hung-up on your shoe.

 

 

 

 

 

(Secret tip:  commit to the heel height you’ll wear with a new pair of pants.  Visit your tailor wearing a shoe in that height, and your pants will be right every time.)

2) Skirt Length.  You’ll find different styles begging for varying lengths, but when it comes to the most commonly worn version, the pencil skirt, the right length can flatter not only your legs, but your entire vertical silhouette.

proper length skirt - too-long example

A too-long skirt can look dated or dowdy. Visually shortens legs, especially unflattering on petites and women with short legs..

The ideal length for a pencil skirt is right around the knee, or just a bit above or below.

The ideal length for a pencil skirt or dress is right around the knee, or just a bit above/below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re wearing a skirt to work, it’s no secret that a too-short hem won’t boost a professional presence. The distraction of needing to adjust it every time you get up from a chair doesn’t help your focus on work much, either.  But a too-long take on this skirt can leave you looking downright dowdy.

The universally-flattering length for a pencil skirt or dress is right around the knee, a bit above or a bit (just a bit) below.  If you want personally-precise measurements for perfect fit from your tailor, visit the folks at Fashion Fit Formula for custom dimensions.  If you’re eyeballing it, keep hem lengths in the knee zone unless you’re in a fuller skirt, or one that is not-for-the-office, body hugging.

3)  Sleeve Length. This one’s a biggie.  When sleeves are too long, you’ll like the kid that borrowed her big sister’s jacket.

Sleeve length - too long

5’1″ Reese Witherspoon’s frame is overwhelmed in too-long proportions.

Reese_Witherspoon_Brown_Leather_Jacket__36751_std

A just-right sleeve and jacket lengths maintain an overall balanced proportion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

proper sleeve length guide

Ideal sleeve length does not cover knuckles; does not expose wrist bone.

(Secret tip:  A sleeve can be shorted far easier than it can be lengthened.  Many jacket sleeves are made with minimal fabric left in the hem for lengthening, so if you’re tall or otherwise long armed, shop carefully so that you get the length you need.)

For every day smart style, plan to get new garments tailored for your body.  Build a relationship with a good tailor.  For a small investment, your tailor can make a $100 jacket look like a custom-fit $500+ jacket.

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.)

Want to learn more? Work with me.

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 Bloomfield 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! ic_fbk_36ic_twit_36

Posted in Business Professional Image, Dressing for Success, Personal Image, Professional Image, Uncategorized, Wardrobe Maintenance, Women's fashion, Women's Image | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

5 Ways to Wear Tweed this Fall

Tweed Away!

Marcia Brady's tweed skirt, circa 1972

Marcia Brady’s tweed skirt, circa 1972

Nothing says “fall” like a fabulous tweed.  School-girl plaid skirt?  Check.  Houndstooth cape?  Check.  Cozy tweed coat?  Check. All the stuff you remember is back this season.  That’s what happens in fashion.  It’s the number 1 principle my adored professor of retailing reinforced over and again, “Fashion always repeats itself.” Find it now: The high-waist pant, bow-tie blouse, A-line skirt with a wide-lapel jacket, and of course, the tweed-ed styles of the 70’s,….  Welcome back, Kotter. Here are 5 occasions to wear tweed right now:

Tweed to work

It’s cozy, versatile, and hard working.  Consider a tweed jumper with a silk blouse, tights, and pumps (more formal) or a turtle-neck sweater and boots (more relaxed). In a more traditional office environment, layer a jacket over your tweed dress for a buttoned-up professional look.  Swap your jacket and pumps for a statement necklace and boots and you’re ready for after-work cocktails.

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Theory jumper

j-crew-tweed-dress-E1568_WP4387

J. Crew metallic tweed dress

 

Tweed to Shop

lauren-tweed-jkt

Polo Ralph Lauren tweed jacket

Your favorite jeans and a tweed blazer or coat, temperature dictating, take you shopping in style — effortlessly and comfortably.  Make sure your shoes are comfy.  You’re more likely to make good shopping choices when you feel well physically.  More shopping “best practices” are in my e-book How to Shop Like a Stylist.

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Miu Miu houndstooth plaid/python-trim coat ($5,695)

modcloth.com-46c6b070cb17cbf5976902835e35f21c

ModCloth houndstooth plaid coat, minus the python ($99.99)

Tweed to Brunch

Stella & Dot Relic necklace

Stella & Dot Relic necklace

Talbots plaid skirt

Talbots plaid skirt

Nothing too stuffy:  a plaid tweed skirt and a sweater with boots is casual, yet put together.  Add a trendy necklace or jacket to finish it off and you’re good to go.  (Choose a necklace with weight and substance so it’ll hold up to the bulk of tweed & knits.)

Tweed to GNO

Boden tweed mini w/leather

Boden tweed mini w/leather

A variation on the classic tweed skirt is a mini version.  Pair it with a leather jacket for a bit of sass and you’ve got an outfit worthy of a night on the town with your BFF’s.  If the weather’s chilly or you’re not so fond of bare legs, add boots and/or tights for fashionable full coverage.

Tweed to P.M. Events

1389920833_161624368_michelle-obama-560croppedTweed for evening? You bet.  FLOTUS Michelle Obama did it beautifully in her dress for the 2013 State of the Union Address.  Note the metallic thread.  It’s the little detail that makes this tweed night-time appropriate.  (Oh, what a little sparkle can do,…) Alternatively, a tweed evening bag injects the fall trend more subtly.  (Style note:  opt for the tweed dress or bag, but not both.)

Metallic tweed evening bag

Metallic tweed evening bag   (Style note:  choose tweed in your dress or bag, but not both.)

If temperatures where you live haven’t yet stabilized to “fall chilly” and you don’t know which season it’ll be when you wake up in the morning, find tips in this post for early-fall transition dressing.

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 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!

Connect with me! ic_twit_36 ic_fbk_36

Posted in Business Professional Image, Dressing for Success, Personal Image, Professional Image, Shopping, Uncategorized, Wardrobe Planning & Auditing, Women, Women's fashion, Women's Image | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What to Wear: Entertaining Clients

What to wear when entertaining clients

At-the-Ready Professional Presence

If you’re in a client-interfacing role like sales or consulting, you’re probably accustomed to adapting your business clothing to the client’s environment. It’s relatively simple when visiting their office. Moving into less familiar spaces, however, generally calls for stretching your sartorial muscles. Here are tips to boost your work-style IQ in a few common scenarios.

Ball Game

Admit it, you’re tempted to don your favorite team’s jersey, aren’t you? You’re going to a ball game, for goodness sake. But wait. Are you?

If you’re taking a client to the game, it’s not a sporting event, it’s a business event.

Picture this: You’re in jeans and a baseball cap. The client you’re meeting had a board meeting that afternoon and no time to change out of their suit before heading to the stadium. (Awkward moment for the both of you.) Though you might feel foolishly underdressed, even worse is the client’s assessment that you didn’t consider their comfort, or appropriately prepare for the circumstances.

  • Be flexible. Wear something that allows you to adapt to multiple conditions. What to wear hosting client at a ball gameRemoving a necktie can quickly take things down a notch when your guest is dressed less formally than you are.
  • Look professional. Have a jacket on hand. A pair of well-pressed jeans topped with a blazer or sport jacket is casual enough for a sporting event, but still says “on duty.”
  • Mind your manners. Raised voices at ball games are normal and customary behavior. What you say while at volume matters. Avoid foul language. You’ll demonstrate that you practice good judgment in any environment.

 Cocktail Gala

I’ve seen event organizers get pretty creative with their invitation dress code descriptions. (“Urban Chic.” “Cowboy Vogue.” Really?) Clever or theme-oriented statements about party attire that leave guests confused, serve no benefit. Still, you may be asked to dress “City what to wear entertaining clients at benefit galaSwank” for your next benefit gala.

  • Don’t be shy. If the dress code is cryptic, call the organizer for clarification. It never hurts to ask. (Maybe if planners get enough calls, they’ll think twice before their next witty attire description.)
  • Do some sleuthing. A recent workshop attendee shared that whenever she’s invited to an “annual” event, she browses the Internet for photos of previous years’ party photos. It’s a sure way to see how others have dressed for the occasion.
  • Play it safe. If your best research efforts come up blank, err on the side of conservatism. Follow convention and dress as you would if attending an evening wedding reception (no tuxes or long gowns unless the invitation explicitly reads: “black tie”).

 Networking event

Perhaps you’re not bringing a client as your guest, but may instead be introduced to the what to wear at a networking eventperson who is to become your next client. Networking events can be ripe with opportunity for making an all-important first impression. They can be tricky, though, since they’re so diverse. Like the cocktail gala, you’ll want to do a bit of research. Be mindful that the potential range is broader.

  • Know the venue. An event at a local pub (i.e. a chamber of commerce mixer), might have a considerably different vibe than a gathering at a conference or exhibition hall. For example, a gathering at an animal shelter intended to raise awareness for pet adoption will likely call for more casual clothing — the sort to withstand holding animals with tiny teeth and claws.
  • Consider the crowd. Who’s likely to be in attendance? From what organizations/cultures? What level of authority in the company? Do your best to match their customary standard of dress. If the event is part of a golf outing, consider clothing suitable to the sport. Even if you’re not playing, casual attire will be appropriate.
  • Check the time. In most cases, if your event is during business hours, you won’t go wrong wearing a suit. You can always remove the jacket for a more-relaxed presentation.

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.)

Want to learn more? Work with me.

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 Bloomfield 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! ic_fbk_36ic_twit_36

Posted in Business Professional Image, Dressing for Success, Men's Image, Professional Image, Uncategorized, Women's Image | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What’s in a Makeover?

Hair & Makeup

Hair & Makeup: Finishing Touches for a Tip-to-Toe Transformation

Ever imagine yourself as one of those women featured in a magazine makeover or reality show?  You know the ones:  in a day, given a new look.  Whisked off to professional stylists for hair and makeup guidance and transformation.  New color; new cut; and new makeup techniques, resulting in an appearance “refresh” like no other.

Cassandra had just such a day earlier this month.  A busy professional, her lifestyle doesn’t generally support indulgent “beauty days,” but her husband surprised her with a gift of image services for her birthday.  The package began with a Personal Image Consultation in which Cassandra learned personal strategies for building the perfect wardrobe.  Armed with the knowledge of her best colors, garment shapes, fabrics, and patterns, she was ready for confident wardrobe shopping.  But, alas, clothing is but one part of the whole.  The best outfits in the world don’t stand alone.  They’re supported with accessories and grooming to construct a complete look.

Choosing a style

Choosing a style

Enter: the Facilitated Salon Day.  This service begins with a conversation between my client and I to identify a hair & makeup strategy that supports her goals & lifestyle.  We review images of hairstyles and discuss color, as well as morning timelines, to find a match to the right look and upkeep plan (for example, a high-maintenance ‘do wouldn’t cut it for a low-maintenance lifestyle).  After a few email exchanges to share visuals, we have a plan and we’re off and running!

Colorist & Stylist, Raji, at work.

Colorist & Stylist, Raji, at work.

Once a strategy is in place, our first stop is to see makeover partner, Raji, at Fiaz Salon.  Raji brings our vision to life with hair color, cut, and style.  He works with us to see that every element is in alignment with our goals for color harmony, flattering style, and daily care.  He coaches with product suggestions & practical styling tips to recreate the effect on a daily basis.  Below is a photo of Cassandra after Phase I of Salon Day.

Cassandra, hair "after"

Cassandra, hair “after”

But we’re not finished.  Next, we see Marla at About Face Beauty Spa.  Makeup artist Marla takes a client’s personal color palette into account, as she creates a look that is polished and professional.  The plan is to use carefully applied makeup for a natural, but finished, no-makeup look.

Makeup artist, Marla, tending to brows.

Makeup artist, Marla, tending to brows.

Research shows that women who wear makeup in the workplace outearn their counterparts who do not by up to 30%, so we strive for the “complete” effect that makeup lends.  The key is to appropriately apply products for a polished, appearance, not one that is dramatic or glamorous.  It’s all about subtlety, and this phase of salon day includes Marla’s teaching in technique so that a client can duplicate the effect on her own each morning as she prepares for her day.

Meet Sharon on her makeover day (right).  A business owner and mom of young children, Sharon-B&A2her goals were similar to Cassandra’s.  Sharon wanted a look that was smart and well put together, yet easy to maintain.  Maneuvering kids’ backpacks, school drop-offs, and client meetings left no time for high-maintenance grooming regimens.  Great, let’s design a makeup routine done in under 8 minutes. Done.

Detail of "natural" makeup application

Detail of “natural” makeup application

There’s nothing like the satisfying sensation that comes with knowing you’ve got your professional presentation pulled together down to the last detail.  Your personal appearance should support you, not enslave you.  A worry-free professional image leaves you free to confidently focus on the business at hand, doing what you do well.

Facilitated Salon Day

Facilitated Salon Day

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.)

Want to learn more? Work with me.

 

Patty Buccellato Image Coach

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 Bloomfield 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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Posted in Business Professional Image, Hair & Makeup, Personal Image, Professional Image, Uncategorized, Women's Image | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Wear Unflattering Colors

5 Ways to Make the Wrong Colors Right

123rf-©Nanette Grebe-21498138_sSometimes a girl just wants to wear what she wants to wear.  So what happens when it’s a color that doesn’t flatter?  Since personal color is a passion of mine, I’ve written lots about it.  My consistent recommendation is to choose the colors that light you up — the hues that bring your features to life, making your eyes sparkle, your teeth shine, and your skin glow. (Yeah, color really can do all that.)

But here’s a secret:  when I’m working with a client in her closet, I’m often telling her how to wear the colors that don’t flatter her.  It’s not that I’m trying to trick her.  It’s that, inevitably, after having a personal color analysis, she finds that her closet is filled with clothing that doesn’t really suit her features.  And c’mon, who’s going to go out and replace half their wardrobe in one day — or even one year, for that matter.  So, it becomes useful to know how to adjust for colors that aren’t “friendly” to their wearer in the meanwhile of being transitioned out of the wardrobe.

5 Tips on Wearing the Wrong Color:

1. Distance your face from the offending color.  I worked with a musician who, in her role Unflattering color solution - spaghetti strapplaying in a symphony orchestra, was required to wear black as a matter of protocol.  But that black left her looking tired and washed out.  Since “cocktail” and black-tie attire were appropriate for her on-stage work uniform, the perfect solution was spaghetti-strap and relatively low-cut gowns that left lots of skin showing around her face.  The black, an unflattering color for her, was further away from her features than if she wore a blouse or jacket.  She was left surrounded by what was natural for her — her skin!

unflattering color solution - scarves2. Create a barrier with accessories.  Sometimes a low-cut neckline just isn’t an option.  (Generally not the best choice for a business meeting.)  In that case, use an object to separate an unflattering color from your face.  Unflattering color solution - statement or bib necklaceScarves work wonders in this situation.  Alternatively, a bib necklace that takes up space with color can fill in a neckline area with a more-suitable hue.  This works really well with black which, despite its popularity, is unflattering to many.

3.  Wear a collar with your jacket.  If you wear suits and jackets in your professional life, you may find that some of them aren’t in colors that give the visual lift you’d like.  Similar to the strategy of creating a barrier with scarves and necklaces, choose a collared blouse in place of a shell.  The collar of a blouse, layered over a jacket’s less-than-ideally-colored lapel, surrounds your face with the blouse color, not that of the jacket.

4.  Isolate the color to your lower body.  When you decide you’re committed to weeding out some wrong-colored members of your wardrobe, and need somewhere to draw the line, do it where pants and skirts are concerned.  As long as you have coordinating items to wear on top that are flattering, let your bottom garments be where you compromise in color.

5.  Break the rules with shoes & bags.  If the season’s hottest fashion color isn’t Unflattering color solution - accessoriesanywhere near complimentary to you, and you really want to play in that space, then buy a bag, a fun watch, or a pair of shoes and go crazy!  And, no, your shoes and bags don’t have to — and shouldn’t — match.

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.)

Want to learn more? Work with me.

 

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 Bloomfield 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!  ic_fbk_36ic_twit_36

Posted in Accessories, Business Professional Image, Dressing for Success, Personal Color, Personal Image, Professional Image, Uncategorized, Wardrobe Planning & Auditing, Women's fashion, Women's Image | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Build a Seasonless Wardrobe with Style

Strategic Shopping for a Versatile Wardrobe

seasonless wardrobe shoppingIf you’re like many women, you shop with eyes wide open for clothing you can love.  Maybe a sweater screams your name when you least expect it.  Or, the entire outfit on a mannequin display makes you giddy.  If you’re like many women, three weeks after you buy these items, you may wonder why it seems you have nothing to wear.  It’s common, really, and it baffles women.  “How can I really have a closet full of clothes and feel this way?”

Buying beautiful clothing when you see it does not necessarily lead to a cohesive wardrobe.  Buying clothing with a plan — clothing items that will support multiple outfits — will lead to a versatile, functional wardrobe.  And if you plan for it, that wardrobe can be worn year-round, eliminating the old routine of exclusive and separate wardrobes — the ones made up of items you only wear 4-6 months out of the year.Seasonless wardrobe shopping - taupe

The Staples:  To avoid storing an entire wardrobe for half the year, aim to build a capsule wardrobe with  basic pieces in predominantly all-season fabrics.  Basics (major garment items like skirts, trousers, and jackets) are staples you’ll wear year ’round when strategically chosen.  Seasonless fabrics like lightweight wool, and medium-value colors such as light taupe or grey, work in both summer and winter.

seasonless wardrobe shopping - summer style

 

Seasonal Tweaking:  Make outfits seasonally-appropriate by simply swapping out the companion pieces.  For example, wear the same pant and jacket with a sleeveless shell in summertime; then a turtle neck sweater in winter.  Switching out jewelry and accessories, like shoes and handbags, lends an outfit a seasonal update in a budget-friendly way.  For more about transitioning seasons read this post.

Expansion Pieces:  Once you create a core of neutral, season-spanning basics, you can get creative with adding prints, patterns, and other multi-color garments.  Mindfully choose them with a linking color as the common thread (yellow with neutrals in the warm-weather example shown; red and black with neutrals in the cold-weather sample).  When you build a wardrobe with separate seasonless wardrobe shopping - winter stylepieces that coordinate, you’ll have limitless options for mixing and matching.  You won’t get bored or run out of ideas, and you’ll never have to think, “I’ve got nothing to wear.”

Final Word of Caution:  Be wary of buying that pulled-together outfit off the store display when the pieces that compose it relate to nothing else in your closet.  Those “wardrobe orphans” will make you wish you’d kept your wallet in your handbag on that shopping trip.

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 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 Bloomfield 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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Posted in Investment clothing, Personal Image, Professional Image, Shopping, Uncategorized, Wardrobe Planning & Auditing, Women, Women's fashion, Women's Image | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Spring 2015 Color Trends

What to Wear this Spring:  Color!

Every fashion season has its favorite colors.  Sometimes they’re consistent with your own favorites, other times you may wish you could have a chat with the Fashion Color Czar to set things right.  This season, featured colors are bright and cheery, or subdued and understated.  In other words, there’s something for everyone.  Here’s guidance on incorporating a few of this season’s color themes into your spring style choices.

Yellow

Spring fashion 2015 yellow

Sunny yellow; mellow yellow; canary; marigold; or amber.  You’ll find every variety of the hue this spring.  It’s a color to choose carefully if it’s in a top or jacket.  Whenever a color is close to your face, it’s best chosen in an undertone that matches your complexion, and yellow may test your color tolerance more than many hues.  (Read more about color’s impact on skin tone here.)  Since there are so many options this season, you shouldn’t have trouble finding a version that suits you.  If you prefer to play it safe, though, consider the color-pop strategy at the end of this post.

Cherry Red

spring 2015, cherry red

Via Spiga trench, Nordstrom.com

spring fashion 2015, cherry red

Adrianna Papell lace sheath dress, Nordstrom.com

This particular red has blue-based undertones, so it plays well with “cool” skin tones (more about personal color qualities).  You’ll see this color in both deep and light (rosier) finishes.  It mixes well with most any neutral, so it makes a versatile addition to your wardrobe.

spring 2015, cherry red

Givenchy bag, Barneys.com

White

spring fashion 2015 whiteNot just white, but all white is what makes the look fresh.  Wear it head-to-toe and layer on pieces in varying textures and shades.  Here’s another case where undertone matters.  If your skin has blue undertones, go ahead and wear a true, bright white up around your face.  If you’ve got yellow undertones in your skin, choose cream or ivory for an up-close-and-personal color choice.  You see it paired in the photo with blush, another of this season’s color trends.  (Tip:  when checking whites for personal color harmony, hold the color up to your face in front of a mirror and check your teeth.  Do they relate to the white, or does the version of white in the fabric cause your teeth to look dingy or yellow?)

Color Pop

spring fashion 2015: pop of color

For a “pop of color,” choose one or two (not all 3) accents against a neutral base.

Whether you’re looking for a way to wear a color that doesn’t necessarily flatter your skin tone, or you just want to infuse an outfit with the element of surprise, try a pop of color against an otherwise neutral outfit.  Here, turquoise wakes up a standard black-and-white combo.   This example illustrates three accessories that make for easy color-pop opportunities.  As you create your own outfit combinations, use just one or two striking color features for impact.

 

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 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!

Connect with me!  ic_fbk_36ic_twit_36

Posted in Personal Color, Personal Image, Uncategorized, Wardrobe Planning & Auditing, Women's fashion, Women's Image | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Learn To Shop Like A Stylist

12 Must-Do Strategies To Grow Your Wardrobe Like A Pro

Get my FREE eBook plus tips by email to look your non-stop best! Build your perfect wardrobe with these insider tricks, including how to:

  • Never again buy an item to hang, unworn, in your closet
  • Shop for a complete wardrobe -- instead of isolated outfits
  • Know which trends are worth your precious wardrobe dollars

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