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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!

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Apparently JC Penney and I have different ideas on what is appropriate for wearing to work. These three items appeared in their latest mailer. Some I agree with, others I definitely don’t.

The outfit on the left is completely inappropriate for an office setting. I don’t care if you never see the client, you see your co-workers and an off-the-shoulder top says sex. Ditto with the chandelier earrings. This woman looks like she is more interested in looking sexy than successful.

The center outfit is certainly much better. However, sometimes lace can be tricky. Because it is worn with a nigher neckline top, it tones down the “sexy” black lace look. The outfit would be better if the skirt was below the knee.

The outfit on the right is the best one JC Penney was showing in this spread. While I wouldn’t recommend this to the woman striving for the corner office in a conservative business, it is fun and trendy and still appropriate. I do not have a problem with the length of this skirt. While it is even a bit shorter the the center skirt, it is toned down by the tights. The booties say modern without being over the top. While I like the necklace, I think it is hanging a bit too low on her torso, drawing the eye down rather than bringing the attention up to her face.

Which outfit do you think works best at your place of employment? Why?

My Everyday Image’s Fall Fashion Event was held on September 23, and I had a houseful of women looking forward to seeing stay professional and stylish while staying on budget.

Front and center was the timeless black suit from Vonmaur. The material is very important and needs to drape properly, causing the suit to be more flexible—separating the pants from the jacket and using them in different outfits. The pants with a jean jacket, the jacket with a patterned skirt, etc.

Many jackets have flap pockets, these were slits. Flap pockets add bulk at the waist, abdomen or hip area. Few women like to add weight there! The pockets on most suits are sewn together when purchased and should stay that way. Don’t get into the habit of stuffing your pockets with keys, tissues or cash cards. It stretches out the material, thus adding bulk!

Using cool bright colors in your top (these are from Sears) softens the black, making it more friendly. Adding lapel pins with a bit of whimsy can also minimize the harshness of the black suit.

The hit of the afternoon was, of course, the stylish casual outfit consisting of a red leather jacket, simple white blouse and boot cut jeans. If “I can wear jeans to work” is your favorite saying, this is what your outfit (Chadwicks.com) should look like if you want to maintain your professionalism.

A long-sleeve single breasted white blouse is the most versatile item in your wardrobe.  Over a shell as a jacket or under a sweater, vest, or blazer. Add jeans, pants, skirt, or jumper, the possibilities just keep going.

Dark wash jeans in a simple boot cut with a bit of stretch in the material will never go out of style. Jeans are eternal when they fit properly. The dark wash adds an air of elegance to any outfit. Don’t ever give up your image for comfort.

Single-breasted red leather jacket is timeless and edgy at the same time. The lines of the jacket follow the natural curve of a woman’s body. This scrumptious jacket comes in a variety of colors and the $99 price tag was very reasonable. The leather was soft and supple, which you don’t often find, even at the pricier stores. One woman tried it on and would have seriously considered it, but alas, it was not long enough for her body style.

There was a variety of jewelry on displayed picked up from Kohl’s. One person bought two pieces right there at the event. I don’t normally sell items, but it was one less thing for me to have to return to the store!

Keep your eyes open for the next free event.

Is organization important when it comes to your image? Think about the areas that profit from organization:

  1. Clothing: Having an organized plan means you learn what is the most complimentary to your personal style. Then you sorting through what you have and weeding out what doesn’t present the image you want to make. This makes shopping for clothing easier because you don’t become distracted by all the “stuff” in the fashion magazines. Knowing what looks good on you and keeping those things readily available in your closet means you will be dressed in a flash.
  2. Office: Does that have any impact on your image? When I used to work in a law office, the secretaries had a rule: if you couldn’t put your hands on it in 30 seconds, then you needed a new organizing system! Think about how you feel when your boss comes into your office area and asks for a document you were working on last week, last month or last year. I think the boss would be willing to wait for 30 seconds while you put your hands on it, but if they need to stand around while you are searching, it makes you look less competent. Sure, you could tell the boss that you will get it to them later, but in today’s world later isn’t always soon enough. Develop a system of organization and stick to it. It will keep your career going in the right direction.
  3. Communication: Do you even think about organization when you are communicating? You should. Communications should be concise in order to keep the person’s attention—whether it’s communicating verbally or in writing. Start with the main objective. If the individual wants more information, give them more information as needed. People who have to tell the entire story before they get to the purpose of the story don’t progress up the corporate ladder very quickly. If you tell the story in bullet points, much like this post is written, people will be able to quickly see what you are trying to say.  Written communication should be done in a similar manner. Again, like this post, if there is an area you want to review, you can quickly go there because I have highlighted the areas.

Keeping information concise keeps the reader engaged. If they want more information, they will ask for it. Is there anything listed above that you want more information about? Just ask!

Sometimes men have it so easy. All they need to do for a power suit is to wear a dark suit, white shirt and a patterned red or maroon tie and, POW, they look powerful. (Brooks Brothers)

That is why I found it so very sad when I did a search for “women power suit” and one of the first pictures that popped up was this:

If you stood these two people side by side, there would be no question as to who is the more powerful. When I look at this woman, I want to fall asleep. There is absolutely no color in her entire outfit. This translates to me that she is an unimaginative person. Yes, she might get the job done, but that is all you will get. Now, compare it to another image I found (Lord & Taylor).

What a difference (and I don’t even like brown)! But this professional went with some color in her blouse, even used a pattern and then topped it all off with a feminine ruffle. She doesn’t look like some frilly girl. She looks like she is alive, awake, energized and ready to work.

Let’s bump it up a notch and look at Indra K. Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo:

This woman exudes power without being threatening. The dark suit says authority. The structure of the suit (set-in sleeves, straight lines) tells us she means business and the red scarf and bright lip color tells us she is engaged, energized and ready to take on whatever business hurtle she might face next without leaving dead bodies in her wake.

Indra, you are my go-to person for what image I want to project. Who do you want to emulate?

“Joe” received one of those mass e-mails at work from a friend about how Company A’s logo really represented the devil and all the supporting documentation about that suspicion. “Joe,” being like many of us, hit “forward” and sent it on to his list of family and friends.

Here’s the kicker: As the e-mail was forwarded from friend to friend, no one bothered to delete the long list of senders. Of course, it ended up on the desk of one of Company A’s executives. Company A was a client of Company B where “Joe” worked. Company A was now looking at an insulting e-mail from one of their clients! Needless to say, Company A was not happy and contacted executives at Company B to complain. “Joe” almost lost his job because it caused great embarrassment to Company B.

How could this have been avoided? The best answer would be to NEVER forward mass e-mails. But I’m fairly confident that won’t happen because we all get them and some of them are pretty funny.

Failing that, consider these:

  1. If you receive mass e-mails from family and friends at a work e-mail account and want to send it to your family and friends, send it to your personal e-mail account first.
  2. Before forwarding any e-mail, make sure you delete the previous senders’ names and the names of the other people who were included in the e-mail chain.
  3. When you send it to your family and friends, hide their names using the “BCC” feature of your e-mail program. This keeps their e-mail address out of everyone else’s hands.

Any other e-mail horror stories you’ve run into? What was your “kicker?”

 

WONDERING MAN: I usually wear black shoes with black pants and brown shoes with brown pants, and I match the socks to their respective pants. But I have some navy pants and I don’t have any navy shoes. What shoes and socks do I wear with those? –Steve U.

ANSWER: This question is pertinent whether you are a man or a woman. The basic rule of thumb is that you match your socks to your shoes. I recently read an article that insisted you match the socks to the pants because when you take your shoes off it matches better. Well, I don’t know many career people walking around the office without their shoes on! And I’ve seen some high-level executives wear socks that don’t follow this rule. But, hey, when you are the CEO, you can wear whatever you want.

The reason for the rule is that pant shoes tend to be rather clunky. To keep the shoe unobtrusive the socks should match the shoe. Black pants, black sock, black shoes. Brown pants, brown socks, brown shoes. Now we hit the navy wall. There are plenty of navy pants and plenty of navy sock, but navy shoes are quite a different matter. What to do? Revert to the black shoes and the black socks. Do not wear navy socks with the black shoes because it leaves the shoe “hanging” there and obvious.

As long as we are on the subject of socks with pants, please be sure to wear tall socks that cover your calves. When you cross your legs, if a patch of skin separates your socks from your pants, you have just caused a distraction!

May you always look great!

Pat Roland, Certified Total Image Consultant
319-981-7289
MyEverydayImage.com
Pat@MyEverydayImage.com

WONDERING WOMAN: I have been working in my current position for several years and I get rave reviews from my superiors and co-workers. Yet, time and time again, I have expressed my interest in a higher-level position, but nothing has happened. Do I stay in this job or jump ship? –Mary Kay M.

ANSWER: I’ve actually had this happen to me–several times. I was so good at making my boss look good that he didn’t want to promote me to a different position. The curse of being too good at what you do! After several experiences, I gathered my courage, tucked away my “entitlement” feelings and asked my superior exactly what I needed to do to move up to the position I wanted. When he gave me the answer, I did exactly what was requested of me–additional education, talked with those who currently held the position I wanted, dressed for the job I wanted and kept my attitude positive. I ultimately did get the position, but there are many people who do exactly what they are told to do and nothing happens. This is the time to take your skills (even the new ones you gained while trying to qualify for that desired position) and start knocking on some new doors. There is no such thing as wasted time, because every day you learned a bit more about who you were, what it took to get the job done and working in a professional environment.

May you always look great!

Pat Roland, Certified Total Image Consultant
319-981-7289
MyEverydayImage.com
Pat@MyEverydayImage.com

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