What to Wear when 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!

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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!

Connect with me!  ic_fbk_36ic_twit_36

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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!

Connect with me!  ic_fbk_36ic_twit_36

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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

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How to Wear Spring Trends to Work

 4 Spring Trends Translated for the Office

Like a spring bouquet from your garden, it’s not necessarily what you pick that matters, but rather how you display your pickings.  Here are four top trends for Spring 2015 and how you can bring that runway style to your own desk or boardroom.

Sheer

Spring 2015 Trend: floral

Runway

bc_W124BL22_lg

Real Life (Sheer-sleeve blouse, WorthNewYork.com)

Clearly (no pun intended), there are garment parts that are best not worn “see-through” to the office.  For work, look for above-the-bra-line sheer insets in blouses and tops.  You’ll get peek-a-boo effect without inappropriate exposure. Sheer sleeves make the trend work worthy, as well.

Floral

Spring Trends 2015, floral pump

Real Life (Corso Como pump, Bloomingdales.com)

Runway

Runway

Spring Trends 2015 floral

Real Life (Print sheath, WhiteHouseBlackMarket.com)

Small floral prints make for a more office-appropriate choice,.  If the blossoms are large, look for those that are more subtle:  more subdued colors or a mix of fabric so the florals don’t cover the entire garment piece. Large, bright florals suggest a relaxed, “garden party” vibe. Okay if, well, you’re going to a garden party, — or outdoor summer wedding, bridal shower,…)  As an alternative to clothing, consider a low-key, floral print pump to spruce up a solid-color, office-worthy sheath dress.

Culottes

Spring 2015 Trend: culottes

Real Life (Ella Moss culotte pant, Bloomingdales.com)

Spring Trends 2015, culottes

Runway

Choose narrow, close-to-the-leg versions and pair with a tailored jacket and pumps to create a grown-up take on this pant/skirt hybrid.  Be careful if your office dress code says “no cropped pants.” If it appears, to someone else, more like a cropped pant than a skirt, it’s likely not your choice.  An alternative: a shorter, fuller version that looks more like a skirt than a pant.

Gingham

Opt for a subtle variation on the classic checked pattern. A gingham inset is less overwhelming than an all-over checked pattern. Choose a sheath dress topped with a tailored blazer for an understated professional message.

Spring 2015 Gingham

Runway

Spring 2015 Gingham

Real Life (Out of Office Dress, ModCloth.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 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 Business Professional Image, Personal Color, Personal Image, Professional Image, Uncategorized, Women's fashion, Women's Image | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blush-Pink Fashion

What Makes YOU Blush?

Blush pink - Academy Awards 2015

Blush pink gown on Jennifer Lopez. Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

This isn’t about embarrassment.  It’s not even about the blush you wear on your cheeks.  This is about spring’s hottest color trend.  It’s a variation on the “nude” trend of seasons past, with just a tinge of pink added to the hue.  This color has made it’s official move from runways and celebrities to your favorite boutique and department store, en masse.

Blush pink v. deep coral

In one color set (clue: right), the model needs no makeup color to lift her appearance. (The left-hand image, in the blush dress, requires a powerful lip color so the model’s face is not lost.)

Can it Work for You?

Sure it can.  It just depends where and how much.  It takes a particular skin tone to carry this hue to flattering effect when worn close to the face.  Here’s one way to tell if you have that skin tone:  If you held up a swatch of the color beside your face, could you see any resonance or harmony in the mirror?  Is there a relation to the natural blush that emerges from your cheeks, or the innate color of your lips?  If not, don’t worry.   Reason number one: many people don’t see these color relations until trained to.  (Take the color test to see if you’re one of them.)  And, reason number two: you don’t have to wear the color around your face to play in the color trend game.

Blush pink outfit idea

Blush outfit by Theory, Nordstrom

Say you’ve determined that your complexion lights up when surrounded by clear, bold colors, but you discover this outfit in head-to-toe blush that you just love.  Solution:  simply wear the trend with an element of surprise by adding a bib, or “statement,” necklace in your perfect pop of color.  By doing this, you’ve created some distance between your face and a not-necessarily-your-best color.

green accent to blush pink outfit

Kenneth Jay Lane statement necklace, Neiman Marcus

Outfit Styling

Other ways to inject your spring wardrobe with the blush trend?  An accessory piece like shoes or a bag are the perfect addition, especially when the trend color is as neutral as blush.

Wear them with a backdrop of an outfit in black, brown, coral, or navy.  Red?  Yep, that too. White?  Uh-huh.  Just about any solid color you can think of is a worthy companion.  (That’s why they call it a “neutral.”)

Blush shoes - blush handbag

Update current outfits with blush accessories. Stick to all neutrals in the outfit pieces if you’re hesitant about combining colors.

Blush pink shoe for spring

Snakeskin shoe in blush, Ann Taylor

Blush pink bag

Apt. 9 blush pink handbag, Kohls

 

A blush snakeskin shoe goes with nearly any outfit.  So does a handbag or bangle bracelet in blush pink.  Small pieces, like a scarf, mean a quick color update without breaking the bank.  You’re limited only by your creativity.

 

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 Accessories, Personal Color, Personal Image, Uncategorized, Women, Women's fashion, Women's Image | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Wear a Scarf

It’s a Scarf — Not a Puzzle

Keep it simple!

How to wear a scarf - 3 ways, Nicole Richie

Nicole Richie wears a scarf 3 ways

The most versatile fashion accessory: the neck scarf.  You see them looking fabulous — on the models in fashion magazines, in displays in your favorite boutique, or on the chic-looking woman you see on the street.  You envy the scarf-wearing skill it seems everyone has but you.  Guess what?  It’s not that hard. Really, it’s not! This valuable fashion tool need not elude you any more.  Here are do’s & don’ts to help you pull off your own scarf-savvy style in uber confident form.

Do:

  • How not to wear a scarf

    Scarf tying, ala 1983

    Use a scarf to complete an outfit.  Accessories add “finish” and suggest attention to detail and style savvy in a way an otherwise ordinary outfit won’t.  Scarves do this while injecting color, texture, and personality.

  • Avoid overly-fussy or complicated tying styles. Current fashion calls for a more-relaxed sophistication.  If it looks like it took ten minutes to tie the scarf, your  look runs the risk of appearing contrived.  Awesome style shouldn’t be hard.
  • Think of a scarf’s flexibility when shopping.  Look for one to wear around the neck, waist, inside a jacket, or as a shoulder wrap. (A size in the 28 x 80” range is a versatile option.)

    How to wear a scarf - Winter-weight fabrics

    Winter-weight fabric match (urbanoutfitters.com)

  • How to wear a scarf - Lightweight fabrics

    Lightweight fabric match (saksfifthavenue.com)

    Create visual harmony by matching the fabric of your scarf to your clothes.  Wear feather-weight and sheer scarves with lightweight clothing.  Heavier-weight and more- textured scarves pair well with bulkier clothes like winter tweeds and lofty sweaters.

Don’t

  • Shy away from patterns and prints. It’s fashionable now to mix patterns. When
    How to wear a scarf - mixing prints

    Eva Mendes mixing patterns (source: styleblazer.com)

    doing so, be sure your prints vary in scale and that one of your two fabrics are a subtle patterned print.

  • Store your scarves jumbled in a box or drawer. Instead, gently fold them over a padded hanger in your closet to keep “wear-ready.”  Read this post for more on how to keep your scarves in top form when storing.
  • Wear a neck scarf in a formal business environment. It’ll appear dated, reminiscent of 1970’s style. (Think: flight attendant uniform.)   An exception in a formal office setting might be an oblong scarf worn loosely wrapped, or untied around a jacket lapel. Good news, however, if you work in professional casual or “business casual” environment: lots of opportunity to accessorize, and scarves may be your new BFF (best fashion friend).  Find more here about maintaining your professional work image.
How to wear a scarf - scarf personalities

Scarf Personalities: My mom and I, May 2014

With the “where and when” logic in place, you’re ready to choose your favorite wrap or tying styles and run with them.  Keep in mind, you don’t need to learn every possible scarf-wrapping technique.  Choose two or three that express your own personality and stick with those for a simple style strategy.  (You’ll find countless articles and tutorials online to guide you, but here’s a good video to start with. It’s my fave — the most conclusive I’ve seen.) 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!

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

The Perfect Little Black Dress

Invest in Your LBD with Smarts

Perfect Little Black DressOne Dress; 5 Ways

By now you’ve likely learned the fashion rule that says, “every woman’s closet must contain an LBD (Little Black Dress).”  What fashion magazine hasn’t told you this?

Here’s the thing, though: wouldn’t you rather buy the LBD that’s an investment, rather than just a purchase?  The one that you can wear in multiple ways for multiple occasions in your life?  I’ve photographed just that kind of LBD.  It’s all in how you style it.  Check it out.

(Note:  The LBD below is a Little BROWN Dress because, for some of us, brown is more flattering.  Your LBD might be red, fuchsia, tangerine,… whatever the color, the concept is the same.)

little black dress - cocktail party1) Cocktail Dress. The most common place you’ll see the Little Black Dress is at cocktail parties.  Here’s one adorned with a beaded collar to take it from “basic” to “bling,” in just one step.  Add earrings, an evening bag, and patent pumps and you’re good to go.  ‘Ready for a cocktail reception, elegant dinner, or holiday party.

LBD adornment

Tasha sparkling web collar, Nordstrom.com

Tip:  Choose an LBD with a clean neckline for versatility in accessorizing.  Add a collar with bling temporarily, when you want the dress to do “party” without commitment.

 

 

2979210-p-MULTIVIEW

Hobo Forrest bag, Zappos.com

Little Black Dress - date night

2) Date Night Dress.  The animal-print makes it sassy; the flare keeps it feminine for just the right balance of tough-’n-tender.  A statement ring, cross-body bag, and boots complete the package.

Tip: Choose a dress in a fine knit fabric so it can go casual when you need it to.  Too elegant a fabric means it’s cocktail-appropriate only.

3) Workday Dress.  Little Black Dress - workdaySwap out animal for an understated tweed jacket and your LBD is now boardroom ready.  A long-strand beaded necklace and simple earrings keep in check for a tasteful and professional wardrobe choice.  (Read more about jackets that go to work here.)

Tip:  Invest in a dress with a to-the-knee hem.  Its office-worthy length will transition to work easily.

 

Little Black Dress - Sunday brunch

 

4)  Sunday Brunch Dress.  A full-coverage jacket and multi-strand pearls take the LBD to brunch (or afternoon tea, a grad party, or theater matinee).  The jacket’s flirty details keep the discreet outfit from appearing stuffy.

Tip:  A sleeveless version of the Little Black Dress allows layering of just about any jacket, cardigan, or shrug.

 

Little Black Dress - GNO

5) Girls Night Out Dress.  Whether a concert, club, or at-home party, this variation of your LBD has “fun” written all over it.  Belted and chain-draped, with a vegan leather jacket for finish, it’s ready for you to Rock.  All.  Night.

Little Black Dress - belted

Cheetah print belt, AnnTaylor.com

Tip: Whether sheath or fit-and-flare, choose a silhouette that’s plain through the middle so you can stamp it with your own signature styled belt.

How do you know if it’s the right dress to invest in?  Visit my blog post Clothes Worth Splurging On to know if it’ll earn it’s price.

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! 

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

Work Wardrobe Hacks Every Professional Needs to Know

5 Clothing Tools for a Tarnish-Free Work Image

work wardrobe - professional presentingA critical meeting is on your morning agenda.  It involves a presentation delivered by none other than… you.  It’s okay.  You’ve prepared well.  You know your material like the back of your hand.  But you look down and notice that at some point between leaving your apartment two hours ago, and this very moment, your trouser hem has come undone.

This presentation means a lot to your team and your firm’s newest client.  The last thing you want to be worrying about while in front of the group is a distracting wardrobe malfunction.

Here are 5 keep-at-your-desk solutions for work wardrobe emergencies:

lint shaver, ready for the job

The tool (clothes shaver)

1.  Clothes Shaver  (aka lint shaver, fabric shaver)  No matter how much you pay for a sweater, or how high quality it is, there are times those little fiber fuzzies called “pills” are going to show up.  Very seldom are they indication of a sweater beyond repair.  Often it just needs a little bit of grooming.  Enter: the clothes shaver.  Very much like a battery-operated shaver for the skin, this little device, when moved over the surface of your knit item, trims and sucks those pills right up!  (Use a light touch on delicate knits and test on an inside edge before tackling the outside of your sweater.)

Sweater, pills removed

Like new, after a good shave.

Sweater with pills

Sweater, before shaving

 

 

 

 

 

2.  Lint Brush  If you’ve got a cat or dog at home that sheds, you’re probably intimately familiar with this tool.  Even those of us who don’t use one on a daily basis can benefit from having a lint-remover on hand for the occasional “oh-my-gosh-what-did-I-lean-on?” moments.  A lint roller works well, too.  The roller offers the convenience of disposable, tear-off sticky sheets that pick up the loose “stuff” that doesn’t belong on your clothes (lint, hair, threads, etc.).  The lint brush does the same job in an environmentally-friendly form (no disposable elements), though it does require periodic cleaning to remove lint accumulations.

3.  Knit Picker  Despite its cutesy name, this tool does some serious fabric rehab.  Those long threads that pull away from your sweater after getting caught on a sharp object?  Call in the knit picker to salvage what might appear a total loss.  (Don’t let the step-by-step below intimidate you.  The whole process is done in less than 3 minutes.)

Knit picker how-to, before use

1. Pulled thread from a snag

knit picker how-to, step #1

2. Insert knit picker from back side of fabric close to base of the pulled thread

knit picker how-to - Close the hook with thread caught in loop

3. Close the hook with the thread caught inside the loop

 

 

 

 

 

 

knit picker how-to - pulling through to backside of fabric

4. Almost done: Pull knit picker back through to reverse side of fabric, taking thread along with it.

knit picker how-to - complete

Repair complete — in under 3 minutes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

work wardrobe care - hollywood tape

HollywoodFashionSecrets.com

4.  Hollywood Tape  Not just for celebrities, and not just for over-revealing clothing openings.  This double-sided tape is your quick fix for fallen hems, overgrown linings hanging from your jacket’s bottom edge, or cuffs that don’t lie smoothly in place.  In other words, it’s a temporary substitute for needle-and-thread. 

work wardrobe care - seam ripper

Dritz.com

5.  Seam Ripper  A seamstress will use one of these to rip seams open, just like the name implies.  For everyone else, it’s the perfect tool to gently remove a sewn-in garment label.  You know the one:  it’s at the neck of your new shirt that, 45-minutes into your workday, you realize is sewn in with thread as sharp as knife.  Don’t use regular scissors for a job like this — they’re likely to catch fabric right along with the tag’s irritating thread.  The seam ripper’s tiny point allows you to manage the matter with care.

With these items in your emergency tool kit, you’re ready for on-the-spot repairs that’ll return your professional attire to top form in no time.  You’ll find them at your local sewing supply store or sites like Joann.com.  (Consider adding to your kit a set of spare shoelaces for the unexpected break, and clear nail polish for hosiery repairs, and you’re prepared for nearly any wardrobe mishap.)

(To read more on caring for your work wardrobe, visit this post for 6 Quick Tips to Protect Your Wardrobe Investment.)

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!  

 

Posted in Dressing for Success, Professional Image, Uncategorized, Wardrobe Maintenance | 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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