How to Keep Clothes Out of Landfills

Earth Day: recycle clothingWhere Do Your Clothes Go When You Stop Loving Them?

You’re likely going to add 70 pounds of clothing and other textiles to a landfill this year according to the Environmental Protection Agency (81 lbs. if global thrift retailer, Savers, is more accurate).  You may not mean to.  You might not know who would want that old stuff.  You likely can’t have it hauled away in your curbside recycling bin, so the quickest thing to do is to toss it in the trash.

Why so much old clothing?

In an age of “fast fashion” and reduced availability of long-lasting, quality clothing, the average American is creating larger mountains of textile waste.  Thanks to the Great Recession,  many apparel companies that produced merchandise in the “better” or “bridge” categories ceased to exist.  These labels that weren’t quite “designer,” offered long-lasting, quality design and construction at relatively moderate prices.  Meanwhile, more and more apparel production was sent overseas in the name of cost reduction.  Many U.S. clothing manufacturers could not compete at a time when consumers were demanding lower prices.  The answer was cheap, short-cycle clothing that now saturates the marketplace.  We now dispose of more clothing at a faster rate than ever before.

Some hope for the environment

Your discards don’t have to contribute to the EPA’s reported 5% landfill makeup of textiles (clothing and other household materials, like bedding).  Right now, only 15% of unwanted clothing is recycled.  But with awareness, comes change.   Below are options for recycling or upcycling your old stuff, and some organizations are making it easy, with free shipping, clothing rebates, and convenient drop-off locations.

To the Rescue:

Earth Day: Recycle Blue Jeans

Cotton’s “Blue Jeans Go Green”

Cotton’s program keeps textile waste out of landfills by recycling denim into insulation (made from 80% post-consumer recycled denim.)
BlueJeansGoGreen

The Bra RecyclersEarth Day: Recycle Bras

The Bra Recyclers tell us the average woman owns six bras, but only wears 2.  They’re providing gently-used bras for women & girls escaping domestic violence, human trafficking, or surviving breast cancer without the necessary insurance.  If you don’t find a drop-off location near you, you can mail them directly.
The Bra Recyclers

Soles4Souls

Earth Day: Recycle ShoesThis organization, based in Nashville, TN, believes that everyone around the world deserves a good pair of shoes.  They’ve distributed over 35 millions pairs of shoes since 2006.  Donated new or gently-worn shoes provide footwear to people in need and help individuals start and sustain small businesses to lift themselves out of poverty.   There are drop off locations, retail partners (like Zappos and DSW), or you can mail your donations.
Soles4Souls

 

Nike

Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe program collects old, worn-out athletic shoes for recycling and transforms them into Nike Grind, a material used in creating athletic and playground surfaces as well as select Nike products. Visit the site for drop-off locations.
Nike Reuse-a-Shoe
Earth Day: Recycle Sneakers

 

Schoola

Fill a box with quality clothing, print a mailing label from the website and provide to your mail carrier. This online resale shop donates 40% of proceeds after shipping costs tEarth Day: Recycle clothing Malala Fundo Malala Fund to support girls’ education projects in vulnerable communities around the world.
Schoola for Malala Fund

A word about recycling collections

Collection boxes in neighborhoods and retail stores offering rebates in exchange for clothing donations are attractive options at first glance.  Unfortunately, the sorting process is costly, and the need for second-hand clothing in North America is small in relation to what is disposed of.  (More about that in this Newsweek article and this one in ScienceLine.)  As as result, many donations land in dumps, despite the intentions of the donor.  The best bet for sustainable disposal of your old clothing is to find a program that actually uses the clothing like those listed above.  Mindful actions make a difference!

Read here for advice in editing your closet of that no-longer-useful-to-you clothing.

What do you think of our recycling options?  Do you have favorite resources of your own?  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 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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How to Change Your Look Without Breaking the Bank

Shifting Lives; Shifting Styles

A member of the Refined Images community recently shared a goal to change her look.  Inspired toward a specific new style, she expressed a legitimate concern for financial output: “Any tips on changing your look completely without going bankrupt?”  You betcha!

Whether you’re aiming for a new style identity, you’re in size transition, or you’ve made a career change, if you’re overhauling your wardrobe, there are ways to do it without breaking the bank (and losing your sanity along with it).

5 Tips for Budget-Friendly Style Transition

1) Start small.  Rome wasn’t built in a day, and nor will your new wardrobe.  That’s a fact it will be helpful to make friends with straight away.  Are you wanting to infuse more femininity into your style choices?  More creativity?  More fun and whimsy?  The most direct way to inject your look with a new mood is with accessories.  May it be your jewelry selection, shoe choices, or scarf collection, your accessory repertoire is a tool for quick and inexpensive change.  (Consider how a bold statement necklace can express “artsy” the way a delicate chain will not.)

2) Ease in with OPS.  That’s Other People’s Stuff,… stuff that they don’t own any longer and have made available to YOU.  A resale shop or thrift store can provide some amazing finds.  When you’re eager to exhibit your new style, and haven’t yet found the perfect pieces in your price point, this can be a solution with an added benefit:  As you experiment with new preferences, you can make mistakes, corrections, and ditch ideas that didn’t work without the guilt of having spent loads of cash.

3) Visit the salon.  While not wardrobe feature, a visit to an expert stylist/colorist can provide an instant and often quite impactful change in the statement you make with your appearance.  Shifting from edgy to conservative, or youthful to sophisticated, can be accomplished in one afternoon.

4)  Color wisely. As you’re introducing new fashions into your closet, make a strategic choice in the base colors you build your new collection around.  You won’t have a one-dimensional color wardrobe unless you choose to, but picking foundational, “staple” garments (the larger, higher-priced items like trousers, jackets, skirts) in similar hues will mean that coordinating outfits becomes a snap.  Add in fresh color and variety with prints in your less-expensive items like blouses, sweaters and other tops.  Once you’ve got a good start, and you’re ready to spend a bit more, you might decide to add more foundational pieces in expanded patterns & textures for variety.  More about this strategy here.

5) Finance with Intention.  Think about alternative ways to expand your clothing budget.

  • An Amazon gift list (today’s version of a gift registry) can be used for any occasion. Your loved ones can purchase clothing according to your suggestions for birthday and other holiday gifts.
  • When you shop online, enter your store’s shopping site from a cash-back portal like Ebates.  You’ll be surprised how the savings add up.  (Transparent disclosure: I receive some pennies if you begin using the service via my posted affiliate link.)
  • Earmark bonus earnings from credit card rewards for your new style acquisitions.
  • Fund new items by selling your own no-longer-suits-me pieces on eBay or at a local resale shop.
  • Then, there’s good ole’ fashion dedicated savings accounts. Mark a separate account for your wardrobe makeover and you’ll be excited to make deposits.

Establishing a new wardrobe can be a fun and liberating experience.  What has been your experience?  Have you found additional or unique ways of funding your own transition?  Share in the comments! (I read them all.)

Want to explore 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 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, Hair & Makeup, Personal Image, Shopping, Uncategorized, Wardrobe Planning & Auditing, Women, Women's Image, Women's style & fashion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Winter Style Update

Give Your Style a Mid-Winter Refresh

Right around this time, many of us living in the cold-winter climes start sensing the lurking doldrums. Where I live, in Southeast Michigan, it’s been a relatively mild winter (The Polar Vortex of 2019, excepted). Still, we’re getting antsy for spring right about now. It’s hard to be certain if it’s the seemingly endless gray skies to blame, or the lack of celebrations with winter holidays well behind, and summer vacations still months up the road. Either way, if you’re feeling the need for a pick-me-up to relieve your own cabin fever, consider a style reboot to bring in some fresh energy.  Some strategies to get you started:

  • Color Infusion. What better to break up the monotony of winter’s gray/white/tan monotony than a burst of fresh color?  This year, the “hot” color announced by color forecasting company, Pantone, is Living Coral (stay tuned for more about the color of the year in an upcoming post).  If coral doesn’t float your boat, pick the hue that flatters you and brings you joy. It might be a passionate red, sunny yellow, or flamboyant fuchsia.   (Visit this post to help you choose.)  And, hey, if the color you crave doesn’t flatter your facial features, carry it in your hand. A great bag is a quick path to a new look, fitting room not required.
  • Sale surfing.  End-of-season sales are the fast track to updating your style. Not only do you benefit from the re-set of something new to wear immediately, but an added perk is the satisfaction of saving money in the process.  Caveat:  It’s easy to fall into the trap of buying for the sake of “the bargain.”  Make certain that you absolutely love the item before adding it to your wardrobe.
  • Lip Magic.   If your post-holiday budget says “no new clothes,” but your heart says different, remember how you felt the last time you indulged yourself with a new lip color.   Lipstick has a long history of budget-savvy update potential. Though Leonard Lauder of cosmetic giant Estee Lauder is known for coining  “Lipstick Index” as an economic indicator term, women have been using lipstick as the more-affordable treat since WWII. (A new nail color achieves the same result, by the way.)

    Alfani jacket at Macy’s

  • Future Focus.   A forward-looking update may be your personal version of winter escape. Take advantage of the resort wear retail season that steps in before stores have their full spring collections. You don’t

    Ramy Brook dress at Neiman Marcus

    have to take a cruise to get in on the resort wear action (or into the mindset.) Get the vibe of sunnier days with a new beach coverup or wear-to-work jacket in a spring-time hue.  Mind over matter!

 

Want help with your refresh? 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 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 Personal Color, Personal Image, Shopping, Uncategorized, Women, Women's Image, Women's style & fashion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Clearing Closet Clutter

Feeling Stuck?  It Might be Your Closet’s Fault

Clearing Closet Clutter

A more flattering and purposeful wardrobe can be yours, and the path to it begins with clearing the clutter from your closet.

Think about it, your bedroom closet is a space you visit each morning. It’s one of the first visuals you get on a daily basis, whether it’s one you love, or one that you loathe. Facing a jammed, cluttered mess is a disheartening way to set the tone for your day ahead.

Are there piles of unmended or waiting-to-be ironed clothing items, reminding you of unfinished to-do lists? Clothing that’s too snug, telling you that you’re not “good enough”?  Shoes or bags long past their prime? It’s tough to give yourself permission to buy new pieces when you’re facing mountains of old stuff with no room to spare.

If you want to improve your life immediately, clean out a closet.
Often it’s what we hold onto that holds us back.
~ Cheryl Richardson

Ask yourself if any of these apply to you:

  • Clinging to the past.  You think if you hold on to that size 8 skirt, you  may eventually lose the weight to fit into it again.  Think instead about how looking at the skirt (or any other does-not-fit item) makes you feel.  Unattractive that you’re no longer that size?  Guilty for not beginning the fitness plan you’ve been talking about?  If the feelings are not self affirming, release yourself of the negativity, and the skirt.
  • Avoiding the task.  You’re just not getting around to the pile of missing buttons and torn hems.  You mean to, but life just keeps getting in the way.  Truly, spending the day getting through that stack is not a priority when compared to spending that time with your loved ones.  Consider breaking the task down into small sessions.  Set aside a 20-minute window on a weekend morning to knock a few items off the list.  (Some clothing care tips to help your process, here.)  The satisfaction of making progress can ease the perceived overwhelm of what you’ve imagined lies ahead.   While you’re at it, move the rest of the pile to another area of your home where you’re not looking at it first thing every day.
  • Feeling ungrateful.  If you were gifted with a chartreuse-colored sweater five years ago, and you’re a teal-green kind of gal, give yourself the gift of permission to wear only what makes you feel beautiful/happy/energized/joyful/(insert your own word here).  You can appreciate a gift without keeping it.  Release the sweater to make space for something you’ll love (and say “thank you” as you do!).  A local women’s shelter or other organization that supports women in transition is a great place to give your unworn or gently-worn items a new home.
  • Procrastinating.  Are you delaying organizing your closet until you’re confident you’ll have the bandwidth do it “perfectly”?  Procrastination is often a sign of self doubt or feelings of inadequacy.  The very best remedy is to dive in and Clearing Closet Clutterexperience the exhilaration of productivity and the resulting positive effects of a well-organized closet.  You’ll be excited to enter it in the morning and admire your work well done!  All that tidiness and order frees up mental energy for good things to come.

A wardrobe that truly supports you includes only items you love and feel attractive in.  Aspire to a morning ritual of getting dressed surrounded by beauty, and move through your day feeling confident and energized.

 

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 individuals, 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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Over 50 Style: How to Dress a No-Waist Body

How to Dress When Your Waistline Leaves Without You

Okay, let’s face it: shift happens. And it doesn’t always happen where you might plan, given a choice, when it comes to body matter.

If you face the mirror one day muttering in bewilderment, “What the heck happened to my waistline?!” you’re not alone. According to the International Menopause Society (yes, there is such a thing), we women experience a shift in our “fat stores” after menopause. That rearrangement of stuff targets our midsection whether we gain weight, or not, say the folks at IMS.

So with physics being what it is, acceptance may be a beneficial response. Embracing a new figure variation, however, doesn’t automatically translate to a desire to highlight aforementioned body particular. If flaunting your recently-acquired middle isn’t your cup of tea, try on one or more of these strategies for a lower-key tummy presence.How to dress a no-waist-body - empire waist tops

  1. Empire-waistlines. Empire waistlines are actually not “waist” lines at all. They feature a horizontal seam just below a fitted bust and no actual waistline seam. The feature of empire waistlines that’s relevant here is that they accentuate the narrow part of your midsection –– that small-ish zone between tummy and bust.

A word of caution: If you have a very full tummy The wrong fit on one of these numbers can leave you looking like you’ve revisited your maternity days. If you fear this outcome, or have a full bust line you prefer not to amplify, skip to one of the following alternatives.

  1. Ruched or draped, surplice-front tops. Ruching’s great. Surplice fronts are How to dress a no-waist-body - ruched topflattering. The best of all worlds come together when you snag both in the same top. (If you’re asking “what on earth is ‘surplice’”? It’s that diagonal, faux-wrap neckline thing.) A little draping in the tummy zone can be a girl’s BFF.

A close fit in the hip area offsets the mid-zone fabric fullness and prevents a shapeless look.

  1. Layer a fitted jacket. Fit is the operative word on this one. If you’re struggling to button the jacket, or it hugs your middle, it’s too small.   Like #2, you accomplish shape, without emphasizing waistline How to dress a no-waist-body - layered jacketfullness.

One-button styles are less structured and add freedom of space when the button is placed above the waist. You can create a similar effect with an overblouse: Leave all but one strategically-placed button undone to emphasize a narrow-below-bust space and create a pseudo empire waistline.

  1. Side-panels or color blocking and graphics. How to dress a no-waist-body - side-panel dressIllusion dressing at its finest. Curvy side panels and designs that virtually “paint on” a waistline let you revel in Hourglass Heaven, while kicking waist-cinching shapewear to the curb.

While not necessary with many of these dress styles, shapewear lends an added boost if you opt for it.

  1. Peplums. Use the skirted bottom of a peplum to give your tummy room to breathe. The looser the waist-area fabric, the better.How to dress a no-waist-body - peplums

Many of these tops hug the midriff, so choose one that hugs above the fullest area of your torso. Net effect: the same advantage you gain from the empire waist in #1.

  1. Bypass the waist entirely. Instead of How to dress a no-waist-body - loose cardigansillusion-dressing tactics, you might prefer to ignore the waistline presence v. absence debate altogether. A loose and unshaped, open-front jacket keeps the condition of your waist your own little secret. It’s nobody’s damn business, anyway.

Have special techniques of your own? What’s up your sleeve?  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 Body-Type Dressing, Fit & Proporion, Over-50 Style, Personal Image, Women's Image, Women's style & fashion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to dress a pear-shaped body

full hips (pear-shape) dressingSo They Tell You You’re a Pear:  How to Dress It

If this is your body shape, you know just what the “pear” is — you’re fuller below the waist than you are in the upper body. You’ve probably read fashion mag’s that described your body type as the beautifully-curved fruit – the pear. Or maybe a “triangle” (personally, I prefer geometrics over fruit labels when it comes to my body), a “spoon,” “bell,” or perhaps the more scientific term “endormorph.” Either way, you’re in a shrinking minority group. (Oh, you thought this article was about the actual shape, shrinking? Sorry.)

A study by North Carolina State University examined 6,000 women’s bodies and found that just over 20% were the ever-popularly-named “pear” shape. That number is likely to grow smaller, though, as waistlines continue to expand (increasing the rectangle and “apple,” or oval, population), and bustlines continue to be surgically enhanced (increasing the inverted triangle camp).

Here’s the upside: no matter the size of the female demographic that sports the triangle shape, there’s no shortage of fashion options to play it up, or down, as your fancy dictates.

If you’re in the mood to de-emphasize your curvy parts these are for you:

  1. Peplums. This body-friendly design feature treats most figures well. Whether the skirted hemline is at the lower edge of a top, or added to a dress, it camouflages the width of the hips beneath it.full hips (pear-shape) dressing: dresses
  1. Halter style necklines. That throat-framing, shoulder-baring neckline style brings attention to the width of your shoulders, visually broadening them. The result is a perception of balance between the hips and shoulders, in essence, causing the hip/thigh area to appear smaller than it actually is.
  1. Diagonal design lines. They tend to confuse the eye by breaking up space, visually. So when the diagonal design is used around the hip and thigh area, it has this magical effect of making the zone appear slimmer
  1. Fit & Flare dresses. A torso-hugging number that unfurls below the waist is a no-fail method to highlight your small torso and conceal a fuller hip-and-thigh zone. It’s an on-trend style that can carry you from office-to-party, to an afternoon tea, or an “after five” engagement when chosen in an elegant or high-glam fabric.
  1. Full hips (pear-shape) dressing: neckline focus Elevated touches. Accents around the face keep attention up there, instead of at the lower body. A statement necklace does the trick. So does an eye-catching scarf around the neck, or interesting details at the neckline of a top or dress.
  2. Simple, clean bottoms. Pants, skirts, and shorts
    full hips (pear-shape) dressing: clean-line bottoms

    Avoid hip-level embellishments

    that are free of embellishments at the hip are your friends if the intent is to downplay bulk. Things to avoid: cargo pockets, horizontal zippers, pleats and draped fabric (i.e. harem pants).

  1. The alternative: Embrace your unique body particulars to full-on celebrate those natural curves. Here’s how to show ‘em off:

Full hips (pear-shape) dressing with emphasisWear form-fitting skinny jeans with close-to-the-ankle hems. The skinnier the bottom edge, the wider the hip zone appears. Contrasting opposites always command attention.

And in defiance of #6, above, choose hip-zone details that Full hips (pear-shape) dressing emphasizedamplify fullness. It goes against common advice, but if highlighting is your game, it helps to know the rules.

Body-type trivia: That widely-coveted hourglass figure you’ve been taught to covet? It’s only possessed by 8% of real-life women. There. Now you can relax and embrace the body nature gave YOU.

What do you think of the “pear” label?  Do you have special techniques of your own?  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 Body-Type Dressing, Fit & Proporion, Personal Image, Women, Women's Image, Women's style & fashion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Success Dressing for the Work-at-Home Professional


working at home in pj's
5 Good Reasons Not to Wear Your PJ’s to the Office

 

Did you start your workday at the computer in your snugglies this morning? Convenience is probably one of the reasons you started working at home in the first place. You can stumble from bed, to coffee maker or kids’ room, to your office in less time than it takes most workers to plan their morning commute. It goes to follow that comfy clothes are a regular workday temptation. But like many temptations, giving in is not always in your best interests.

Just as having a clear-cut workspace delineates the separation in mental focus from personal to business, “getting dressed for work” can shift you into a more purposeful mind space for the professional goals you’ve established.  A well-put-together personal appearance boosts results in tangible ways.

Consider the impact on these five success-boosting qualities:

  • Confidence. In a study of 100 women ranging in age from 21 to 64, a whopping ninety-six percent majority “believed that what they wear affects how confident they feel.” (Most of us are aware that we’re judged significantly by appearance. Whether you’ve been ignored at a store in favor of a better-dressed customer, or passed over for a promotion in the workplace, it’s likely you’ve had some direct run-in with the effects of appearance and dress.)

When you’re in clothes that make you want to hide from others, it’s going to come across in your interactions – phone calls, emails, even your work product. If you in any way feel inferior, your behavior will reflect it.  Let your brightest energy lead your workday choices by beginning each morning in top form.

  • Readiness. It’s 9 a.m. Your competition gets an invitation to pitch new business work at home styleat a prospective client’s office in an hour. It’s a client you’ve wanted to work with for months. Your competitor is out the door and enroute before you’ve figured out where you last stowed your mascara.

Starting your workday with a ready-for-anything appearance puts you in the power position. Own the role. Your client roster and bank account will thank you.

  • Consistency. Your business’s brand is more than your logo or glossy brochure. YOU are the living, breathing version of all that your company stands for. That impressive photo of you on your website is only valuable when it, and the “you” that shows up in real life, look like both might in fact be the same person. (In this arena, the word “consistency” can easily be swapped for “credibility,” which is quickly lost when you’re not diligent with your personal brand.)
  • Excellence. Casual is as casual does. A state of mind has a ripple effect. A body of study called “enclothed cognition” has documented as much. Dr. Adam Galinsky and his team at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University concluded, in their 2012 research that “clothes systematically influence wearers’ psychological processes.”If a high-quality, successful appearance can manifest successful thinking and results, why not take advantage of such an easy-to-mange tool?
  • Boldness. It’s how risks are taken and successes won. It’s elusive, though, whenwork at home you feel shame around how you look. You weren’t born yesterday; you know others draw conclusions based on appearance (and, now, science supports your instincts). Will you be proud and confident to tell the person behind you in line at the coffee shop what you do for a living? If you’re feeling less than stellar about the impression a stranger will get from you, you’re not as likely to put yourself out there and seize the opportunities when they present themselves.

Choose the gainful version of a guilty pleasure next time you’re tempted to don your old college sweats in the office. Go casual with a professional edge. Like switching from milk chocolate to dark, you get to indulge in the yummy, comforting treat, but with future-reaching rewards.

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, Professional Image, Women's Image | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Leap Year Style

You Won’t Have this Chance Again for 4 Years

It’s leap year and that means (thanks to Julius Caesar), we gain an extra day this month – February 29, to be precise. Without this added day, we’d lose six hours from our calendar each year, and the world would cease revolving around the sun. (‘Made that last part up.)

To commemorate the upcoming special day, here’s a gallery of Vogue fashion models leaping through time (1992-2011) and space (magazine covers, ads, articles, and more). Check them all out here.

My personal favorite:

Leap Year: Models Leaping

This photographer’s not asking anything of his model that he’s not willing to do himself. “Jump”!

What will you do with your bonus day? Call an old friend? Read a good book? Treat yourself to a new look?

You won’t get this chance again until 2020, so make the most of it — Happy Leap Year!

 

Want to learn how to find your best look? 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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Over-50 Style: What Not to Wear

Age-Appropriate StyleWhy Dressing Appropriately Has Nothing to do with Age

“At her age,… wearing THAT?”

Maybe it’s an under-the-breath muttering the child version of you heard from Great Aunt Betsy; perhaps it’s something you overheard behind your back last month; or possibly a phrase you caught going through your own mind. It’s a timeworn belief: women over a “certain age” are entitled to mature style or elegance, but leave current fashion to the youth.

Allow me to be the bearer of good news: your birth year may determine your Chinese zodiac sign, but it says nothing about what the contents of your closet may look like.

Here are 3 don’t-wear-this-after-a-certain-age dressing rules, DEBUNKED.  If you can say “yes” to each test question, the style is a green light for you. (Even two of three puts you on pretty solid ground).

Women over 50 should never wear….

Mini Skirts & Mini Dresses
(Leather, tweed, lace, whatever)

Test:
Checkmark your “yes” responses.

____ You’re proud of the shape your legs are in

____ You love your tights and opaque hosieryOver 50 style: Diane Keaton

____ You’ve got the long-over-short silhouette thing
down pat

Tip: Wear ‘em with a rear-end-covering tunic or long jacket for a grown-up version of “mini style.” Adding that third layer gives your outfit a finished look, anyway. (Suggestion: When going short, forego the micro mini in favor of a still-fashionable, but more sensible, mid-thigh length. Baby-doll length micro’s make it hard to take a woman over 35 seriously.)

 

Stilettos
(Optional: ankle straps, embellishments, peep-toes etc.)Over 50 Style: Stilettos

Test:
Checkmark your “yes” responses.

____ You walk in them without teetering

____ You manage to wear them and not end your day with an aching back or painful, scrunched toes

____ You drive a car, but don’t mind kicking your shoes off to do so

Over-50 Style: Stilettos

 

Tip: Choose a heel height in relation to your body dimensions. For example, 5-inch platform heels tend to look out of proportion on a 4’11” frame. (When 20% of your leg length is made up of heel, your natural leg tends to appear short, relatively speaking.)

Low-Rise Jeans

Test:
Checkmark your “yes” responses.

____ Your waist is in the same position that it was in your 20’s/30’s (this requires that you had a waist in your 20’s/30’s)

____ You never bought into the fashion rule that one should only wear a trend during one of its incarnations

____ You recognize the subtleties that separate the vintage variety and today’s off-the-rack version (hint: seams are frayed at time of purchase these days)

Tip: Show off a revived trend with finesse by wearing it differently than you did in Over-50 Style: Jeansprevious decades. Keep the bell-sleeved Pucci tunics in the storage chest for now. Opt for a lean turtle-neck sweater or crisp menswear shirt and a jacket – it’s adaptable whether your style is Chanel or biker-chick.

Mid-life women ask me all the time how they should dress to look age appropriate. They’re concerned about looking too young – appearing as if they’re trying too hard to defy their age. Appropriate style suits your body, psyche, and lifestyle, not a date on the calendar. The secret is in the attitude (as my 1983 design professor evangelized, “presentation counts.”). Call it hutzpah,… swagger,… moxie,… whatever you’re wearing, wear it with confidence. If you believe you belong in it, it’ll show.

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 Personal Image, Uncategorized, Women's Image, Women's style & fashion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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, Workplace Style | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Wardrobe Simplifier

5 Essential Pieces for Every Woman's Closet

The Wardrobe Simplifier eBook Get my FREE eBook plus tips by email to look your non-stop best! Build the foundation to your perfect wardrobe with these can't-lose staples including:

  • The one, must-have item that triples as belt, dress, and swim cover (plus, more!)
  • The all-purpose top that suits every body shape with style and grace
  • The universally-flattering skirt that comfortably flows over curvy bodies, yet magically lends balanced fullness to straight figures

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