After studying Human Resources and learning about the definition of sexual harassment, I realized that I had been harassed at almost every job I have ever had! Being young, when a male supervisor made off-color jokes, I didn’t realize that it could have been considered harassment. (Heck that could happen at any age.) But harassment is really defined as unwanted attention. How does a co-worker or supervisor know it is unwanted unless they take their shot and you tell them “no.”

handshakeOf course, there are times when the “shot” is way over the line and no reasonable person should ever take that lightly. If you are ever in that position, state your position clearly. If that doesn’t work, contact your Human Resources Department.

But yesterday, for the first time since I started my own business, I had a client proposition me. This client came right out and said, “I’ve been meaning to ask you if you’d be interested in a mutually satisfying engagement.” I simply told him no. His response was, “Well, I had to ask.” I wasn’t confrontational about it, wasn’t offended or defensive about it, I simple stated that I was not comfortable with his offer.  I then told him that now that he knew my position, if he asked again, he would have to find a new assistant.

Afterwards, I talked to my business coach about the situation. She suggested that I could have told the client that the reason I was not interested was because I was devoted to my husband. She suggested that sometimes when people know the reason for our actions, they may take the information better, especially when we are trying to maintain a future business relationship.

While I don’t believe I owe everyone an explanation for my decisions, I do think this suggestion would have worked better in this situation. It could have saved my client from feeling rejected.

Only time will tell if this situation will cause problems in our business relationship. From my side of the table, I feel that I stated my position and am ready to continue our business relationship.

Have you had similar situations? If so, how have you handled it? Any suggestions on how else I could have handled it?

Advertisements

holiday_party_2013

HOLIDAY PARTY

Holiday Fashions
Holiday Gift-Giving Ideas
Don’t Miss The Fun!

November 17, 2013
2:00 – 5:00 pm

Contact me
for details if you interested in attending.

No cost to attend, but space is limited.
Yummies Included!

Holiday Attire Encouraged!

Baby, it’s getting cold outside!

Time to start thinking about warming up and vests are a great way to do that. They aren’t as bulky as a coat because the sleeveless design gives you more freedom of movement. But all vests are not created equal.

taleofthreevests

These three vests are all from Coldwater Creek. They all cost about the same price (approx. $100 for regular women sizes). While they are not all made of the same material, just a visual look can tell you a lot of things.

The Diamond Quilted Vest on the left gives the illusion of length because the eye will see the length of the diamonds before seeing the width of the diamonds. The princess seams tell the observer that there is, in fact, a woman’s body underneath, and the shiny snaps create a vertical element, again giving the illusion of length.

The center Ponte Perfect Vest has less bulk. While the zipper is the same color as the vest, dressing this up a bit, the vertical element is slimming. The diagonal lines keep your eyes moving toward the center of the body, emphasizing the feminine shape. Again, this vest has the princess seaming to keep it feminine.

The Puffer Collar Print Vest also has princess seaming. However, the seaming isn’t as effective as the seaming on the other bests because there are other elements that add weight. Horizontal lines add weight because they cause the eye to stop. The extra bulk with the flap over the zipper adds even more weight. What about the collar? Actually that does help offset some of the weight of the rest of the vest, bringing the eyes up. If you have a long neck, this might work well. If you have a tiny head or a short neck, it will get lost in all this fabric.

Where could you wear these? I would keep the puffer style as a coat option. Brisk fall days will be more comfortable, especially with the puffy neckline to keep the wind out. Add a turtle neck sweater and you are good to go! The diamond quilted vest is a more casual look best suited for jeans or other casual pant. The ponte vest if worn in a casual office environment would work with just about any bottom: denim skirt, dress pants, or corduroy pants. Paired with t-shirts it is casual; paired with collared shirts or blouses will dress it up. Because it is thinner in material, it won’t look like a coat and can even be worn under a coat, which would probably be difficult for with the puffer vest!

May you always look great!

While it was almost 100 degrees outside, I received five fall catalogs in the last few days with pictures of cuddly sweaters, wool jackets, layered looks and leggings. Ugh! Who can think of fall when it is so hot!!

Makeup? I don’t know about you, but mine melts off before I even get out the door. And that is with the air conditioning on. This is where your bright lip colors come in handy. A stroke of powder on your lids, touch of mascara on your lashes and a tinted lip balm or plum lipstick. You are good to go!

Monday I wore a white pencil skirt (similar to this one from Old Navy) and a hot pink and white sleeveless top. I don’t go sleeveless often, but since I don’t work in an office and I am running in and out all day, a jacket isn’t practical. White, you say. Gasp! It’s after Labor Day. Everyone knows that you can’t wear white after Labor Day or before Memorial Day.

nordstrom_white_jeansWrong. Wear clothing that is appropriate for what you are doing and the weather. When there is three feet of snow on the ground, wearing white isn’t practical, unless you enjoy doing laundry. So grab those white shorts, white jeans and white skirts and get those final wears out of them this week. Before long the temperature will drop and you can cuddle up in wool.

Until then, enjoy leafing through the various catalogs. Chico’s catalog for September 2013 shows 23 items of clothing with animal print! Hmm, I wonder if animal print will be in vogue this season? Coldwater Creek (right next door at Coral Ridge) didn’t show any animal print. But they show a lot of skirts.

chadwicks_leather&jeansChadwicks is bringing JG Hook back into the fashion scene.  Their clothes tend to be traditional and work appropriate. But they aren’t afraid to take on red! They also have two-piece suiting, which is very helpful for top heavy or bottom heavy women. Only two animal prints in the entire catalog. But Chadwicks has a great leather blazer. I showcased this jacket at my Fall 2012 gathering. They carry it in five colors and besides regular Misses sizes, they also carry it in Petite, Tall and Women. It’s a $99.99 jacket, but there is a coupon for 20% off. Too bad you can’t get free shipping!

landsend_animal_shoesLand’s End comes in with four animal prints (three in shoes!). And, as usual, they carry great timeless sweaters sets, cable knit sweaters and the requisite down coats.

Overall, the one thing I am noticing about this fall’s catalog is color. This year they have gone beyond olive green and boring beige to bring vibrant pinks, purples, red, bright greens and blues. No falling asleep on the job!

AT_beige_suitMost people argue with me when I tell them should have at least one suit in their closet. I am not talking about the polyester suits you find at Younkers (although they have their purpose). I am talking about two-piece suits where you buy the jacket and pants separately (and in different sizes if you need to). Clients have expressed hesitation because a suit feels too structured, too stuffy or too boring. I can see where they get that feelings, especially when suits are presented in catalogs and in stores like the one pictured here from Ann Taylor.  You could fall asleep looking at this plain outfit. Thankfully the model is wearing a bright lip color.

But let’s take another look at this neutral suit. (Neutral colors are black, white, beige, navy, gray and brown.) It amazes me how many people coordinate their suit with only the top it came with or the one they bought at the same time. Stretch your imagination. Imagine how that suit will look with a simple change of top:

Clockwise from the upper left side we have:

suit_options

Ann Taylor Diamond Shibori Top. The lines create the hour-glass shape so will be very flattering.

Loft Shirred Top. This top has a lot of texture (see last post) so it will add interest to the “boring” suit.

Ann Taylor Crepe Shell. Simplicity at its finest. Nothing more need be said. Well, okay, I’d probably put a statement necklace with it!

Land’s End Ruffle Collar Blouse. If you like a bit of femininity to contrast the masculine pant suit, this is your ticket. Don’t both trying to get the ruffles to go over the suit lapels. Just let them lay down flat under the jacket. They will still look frilly.

Notice that all the tops have either bright colors, patterns or texturizing–anything to add interest.

Now that you’ve experimented a bit with different tops, think of all the possibilities you can do if you just use the jacket with a floral or denim skirt. Pair the jacket with a sundress and you will be comfortable in all the air conditioning. The pants will look great in the early fall with a gorgeous sweater or long-sleeve blouse. 

Go find your suit!

Most of us don’t think about texture in our wardrobe when it is 80 degrees at 7:30a. But texture adds interest to a wardrobe and can be used all year round. Lace is a good place to start since it also gives the impression of a light airy feel. I know, I know, I’ve said lace isn’t a good idea at work. I stand by that statement when it comes to your basic clothes. Lace dresses, tops or skirts say “see through” which implies something other than a “get down to work” attitude. But lace as an accent is another story altogether.

savannah-guthrie_lace_accessoriesThis basic white sheath dress is something that will never go out of style. There is nothing flashy about it. The neckline is appropriate and the length is appropriate. But without accessories, it can look so boring. Women don’t want to be boring. A black lace belt takes this from something simple to something fabulous. The lace adds texture without heaviness and the dark color emphasizes her waist. The neutral shoes keep the attention where she wants it. This can also be done with a dark dress and a bright bold lace belt in, say, hot pink!

There are other ways to add texture, as show in these outfit selections.

texture_for_summer

  1. Stitched Waist Dress adds simple stitching to give it some texture without bulk. While this doesn’t call as much attention to the waist, it adds interest to the outfit.
  2. Mesh Pullover. I normally don’t recommend mesh or anything sheer. However, if the top underneath the mesh is one that can be worn without the mesh, it would be acceptable.
  3. Side Ruched Dress adds texture throughout the bodice, calling attention to curves without being too tight, too short or too low.

Alas, while patterned tights add texture, they rarely add professionalism. Fishnet stockings, although airy enough for summer, are too tantalizing for the office!

Give it a try and let me know how it goes!

I was recently surfing through the Nordstrom on-line site and saw lots of beautiful summer dresses. Than I saw the prices! Sure those of you who are in the corner office can afford those, but the rest of the world doesn’t have to look dumpy just because they haven’t reached the corner office, yet. Or, maybe you are looking for something a little less structured for the company outing. So, I surfed over to Target.com and found a few summer dresses for that savvy shopper.

Target_Dresses

A = Mossimo Peplum Knit Dress let’s them know you are a woman–just make sure that the dress isn’t too tight. For $27.99 you can afford to give it a try in a variety of colors. Pair it with the Multi-Row Necklace to help balance out the fullness of the peplum.

B = Merona Boat Neck Side Ruched Dress for $29.99 in a choice of 5 colors. One of them is black in case you are looking for a LBD (little black dress). With the plain neckline, add this Irregular Silver Necklace for just the right amount of bling.

C = Merona Sateen Belted Dress, on sale for $20.99 and in a choice of 6 colors! I’m partial to the plum because this is a good color on most women. You will look fresh and bright while everyone else is melting from the heat. With the high neckline and the belt, don’t try to add jewelry, just a simple Ostrich Envelope Clutch will do.

D = Mossimo V-Neck Cap Sleeve Dress is a more tailored look. Pair it with a statement necklace like this 3 Row Stone Necklace and you are good to go! Because of the cut, you need to make sure it isn’t too short when you sit down, so practice in the dressing room before you lay down your money ($27.99). On average, a dress will ride up 2″ when you sit down.

It might be difficult to find these in the store in the right size. When that happens, I go to the on-line store and make sure I order enough to get free shipping. Target requires $50. No problem, try two of them or order one in two sizes. Target is so close to everyone that returns are fairly simple. Just make sure you have your receipt and return it according the the return policy.

Several months ago a friend asked me about jersey dresses. Jersey dresses can be great because most of them will glide over your body and hide many flaws. But this is not true of all jersey dresses. The first thing you need to do is make sure it isn’t too tight. If we can see the cellulite on your hips, your dress is too small. If we can see bulging lines across your back where your bra strap is, your dress is too small. If the hem hits your mid-calf, it is probably too long. If you like it long, remember to wear a neutral shoe to minimize the impact of the hemline hitting you at the widest part of your leg.

The reason this came up now was I was reading an on-line post about what to wear to work. The dress on the left as considered appropriate for the corner office. I have no idea who the designer is or where to buy it, but I have to disagree about it’s work appropriateness! While it is a jersey dress, the neckline is way to low for any office environment. I can see the swell of the breast. That’s beyond cleavage. Plus, a wrap dress is great while you are standing. But sit down and the wrap often gaps, showing more of the chest area than before–unless it is stitched down in that area. Even if this one were stitched, it is so low that it would gap no matter what. Showing cleavage in the workplace is not professional. Showing the swell of the breast in the work place is just wrong!

work_dresses

The dress on the right is also a jersey dress. This one is from Nordstrom’s. I bet you can already see how much more professional this dress is. Not only is the neckline much higher, but the color is a power color. This woman will be noticed the minute she walk in the room, but in a good way. The dress compliments her female shape without pushing it in your face. The rushing on the side helps when you have a bit of imperfections across your midsection (who doesn’t?).

I also need to mention that both of these dresses are just a bit too short for the work environment if you are striving for the corner office. I would have kept them at the knee–right across the center of the kneecap. Remember, when you sit down, the dress will likely ride up. What started out as two inches above the knee will end up to be four inches above the knee. Now we are talking bedroom rather than boardroom.

May you always look great!

Maxi dresses can sometimes be difficult to wear. The long column of fabric can certain hide a multitude of sins! While these images were taken from Lane Bryant, which specializes in plus size clothing, the concepts are really the same–whether you are a size 2 or a size 22.

Since most women tell me they don’t like their abdomen, I’ve chosen these dresses to discuss how to camouflage that area. View these dresses and see which one(s) you think are the most flattering:

maxi_dresses

 

  1. Flowered Maxi: Large patterns tend to make people look larger. Thus, it is difficult for me to understand why a designer would design something for large women that makes them look even larger! Not that large women shouldn’t be able to enjoy patterns–they certainly should. This patter would overwhelm just about anybody!
  2. Strapless Maxi: Notice how the pattern is much smaller and more subtle in the main body of this dress. This keeps the eye moving to the bold pattern on the bottom. The empire line of the dress calls attention to a small part of the female anatomy. Usually a change in the pattern would make the person look heavier. But the horizontal stripes below the knee help to offset the open shoulder area.
  3. Striped Maxi: Gray is rarely anyone’s best color, rounded necklines tend to add fullness and horizontal strips usually make us look much wider. The only person I could see getting away with this is someone with a very large chest who wanted to draw attention away from the chest (and I would definitely add a necklace). But no matter who is wearing this, it had better not get caught on a rounded rump, causing the stripes to “wave.” Not a good look!
  4. Tru To You Maxi: Bright colors, diagonal stripes and an asymmetrical hemline all make this dress stand out over the rest. Anytime you want to minimize an area, put a diagonal stripe over it. Even with the rounded neckline (they claim it’s a v-neck), the attention goes to the pattern and the result is more slenderizing. While I can’t be 100% sure, I think this model is the same as the first model. They look quite different!

Which one is your favorite?

When I teach classes at Kirkwood Community College, it is often difficult to find comparisons to show people the concept I am trying to portray. Skimming through the Chadwick’s catalog, I noticed this model wearing several different dresses. Since it is all the same model, it is easier to see how each dress impacts her overall look.

chadwsicks_dress_pattern_compare

 

A: Poplin Sheath Dress: This dress has an “overall small pattern.” This basically means that the eye doesn’t stop anywhere and keeps moving. This can be very helpful when trying to minimize a large stomach–as long as the dress is not pulling in that area. Office-appropriate rating: A- The neckline is great, the length is great, but the sleevelessness isn’t appropriate for all people and all work settings. If you put a structured jacket on on this it would be great for the office.

B: Lace Sheath Dress: This dress is a “tone on tone” meaning that the lace and the undergarment are the same color scheme so it is more subtle. Notice how the pattern on the lace dress is larger. The larger the pattern, the heavier the person looks. Office-appropriate rating: C+ The neckline is good but the length is a bit questionable. Your dress will ride up a bit when you sit down so this is pushing it. The jacket adds a bit of professionalism, but lace is generally not considered office professional as it implies a sexy nature.

C: Tank Top Dress: The neckline is acceptable but the shoes definitely have to go. This is more of a sundress because, although you can’t see it, the back is crochet material, thus others would be able to see your bra.  Now let’s compare the overall look. The tiers are not aligned so the pattern stops every time there is another tier. Tiers create horizontal lines and thus make this model’s middle section appear larger than in the sheath dresses. Office-appropriate rating: C- If you wore it with a jacket–and didn’t take your jacket off–it might work, but you have to wear better shoes!

D: Ombre Maxi Dress: We again have tiers which create bulk; the ruffles also add bulk. The changing colors are a fun and casual look. There is a pattern within the ombre effect and even though it is an “all over” pattern, it isn’t small. Thus, the model looks heavier in this outfit. Office-appropriate rating: D The neck is too low, the length is too long and flip flops are never appropriate for the office.

Compare the dresses. Which do you think look more slimming?

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 244 other followers

Archives