Authentic Leadership

Earlier this week we had the pleasure of spending 24 hours in Omaha for the ICAN 2018 Women's Leadership Conference. The theme was all about the importance of being an authentic leader. At ICAN, they believe that “to understand leadership, you must first understand people, and to understand people, you must first understand yourself. Research on Authentic Leadership stresses the importance of understanding yourself and your core values, and having the ability to disclose that self-knowledge in the most effective way, using insight into the people you lead. Successful leaders have a stable, rooted foundation with an open mind and heart for new ideas and perspectives.”

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This thought process is very much aligned with our core beliefs at FirstSeven.  We guide professionals to enhance their image, and strengthen their executive presence. When we talk about enhancing image, its about making sure the outside - what you project to others - matches what’s on the inside.  In other words, bringing out your authentic self.

 Personal Branding for Career Success 'pop-up' presentation.

Personal Branding for Career Success 'pop-up' presentation.

Over 3,000 women leaders attended this year's conference.  While we couldn’t possibly chat with all of them, we did meet many amazing women and had meaningful conversations about the effects that image can have on career potential. It's always validating when your message resonates and you feel like you’re making a difference! Thank you for having us, ICAN!

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Celebrate Mom!

This weekend we celebrate all the mothers in our lives.  At FirstSeven we work with a lot of professional moms and the companies that support them.  Working moms are unique and so inspiring. They also have their own set of challenges.

A working mom with young kids can’t even remember what it was like to only be responsible for herself in the morning.  Long gone are the days of a semi-leisurely shower and the luxury of time to decide what to wear for that important meeting. They’re often struggling to get multiple people looking presentable and out the door, and end up sprinting to catch the train.  Somehow they make it work!

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We recognize these challenges and know that for working moms, a simple, flattering and functional wardrobe is key to easing the morning routine.  When a woman knows that everything in her closet fits properly (and she looks and feels great in it), is appropriate and works together - getting ready in the morning becomes so much less stressful.

We can’t promise to take away all the stress, but we can promise to make it a whole lot better.

Still looking for the perfect Mother’s Day gift?  Check out our Private Coaching Packages, the mom in your life will definitely appreciate it!

If you work for a company that values working moms, we also have Corporate Training sessions geared specifically to them.

Become a Print Mix Master

In April, our instagram (@firstsevenconsulting) was all about mixing prints. Our followers thought the images were beautiful and inspiring, but also kind of intimidating.

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For some people mixing prints comes naturally, they have an innate sense of what works and what doesn't, and they can put together effortlessly amazing looks on autopilot.  However, the vast majority of us need some guidance, or a least a few ‘rules’ to get started. So, if you want to be a print mix master, look no further! These basic guidelines will have you mixing prints like a pro in no time! As with anything new, start small and get more adventurous as your confidence grows.

Size Matters:

Size and scale are really important when mixing prints.  A safe bet is to choose one larger print to be the primary print, then a smaller print to compliment. You don’t want the prints to be competing with each other. You can also choose the same print in different sizes for a chic put together look.

 @oliviapalmero

@oliviapalmero

Color Play

Color is key to creating a cohesive, but mixed, look. Make sure there is at least one color in common across all prints. If you’re just dipping your toe into the world of prints, start by picking one color scheme:  black, white and gray is always a safe choice. You can choose two different prints in this color scheme for an instant update. Or, if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous and working with two or more prints, make sure there is at least one color in common across the pieces.

 @obsessions_now

@obsessions_now

Know your Neutrals:

A neutral can ground two prints or provide the link between multiple patterns. Also, are you ready for this?  In the world of print mixing, you can actually consider stripes and leopard print neutrals!

 @valerie_dittner

@valerie_dittner

The best thing about prints is that you can have fun with them. While we did provide some ‘rules’, don’t overthink it. If you think it works...go for it.   

Make sure to follow us on Instagram.  This month we’re celebrating May Flowers with gorgeous pics of our favorite prints, and we'll be sharing our tips on how to wear them.

Shop this lookbook for some amazing printed pieces you can wear now!

 

Personal Branding for Career Success

We had a great time in Chicago last weekend - weather aside! As I mentioned in last week’s post, we were very excited (and a little nervous) for an upcoming event. This event was exactly what we envisioned when we founded FirstSeven! We were hired by a leading global law firm to conduct a session around Personal Branding. The session was part of a three weekend-long offsite (at the chic Soho House in Chicago) and was attended by about 35 six-year associates, a pretty equal mix of men and women.

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We knew our content was good and relevant, but we were anxious to see how it would be received by this room full of extremely successful professionals. Well, we’re happy to report it was received very enthusiastically.

We kicked off the session by talking about the role personal branding plays in executive presence, and the power of a first impression. We showcased some compelling statistics and research studies that support our premise that image can play a role in professional success. Then, we split into gender-specific breakout sessions (the men headed downstairs to the cinema room, or ‘man cave’ as we affectionately referred to it). In these break out sessions, we moved beyond the ‘why’ and into the ‘how’.  Here we walked through how to build a functional and flattering professional wardrobe. Both the men and women engaged in some interactive exercises and a robust Q&A session.

 The Man Cave.

The Man Cave.

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It's always a good day when you’re able to do something you love, with people you like, in a cool space, where you feel you’re really making an impact!

 Night before prep!

Night before prep!

 We offered samples from  The Laundress , a female founded company that creates eco friendly detergent, fabric care and home cleaning products.  

We offered samples from The Laundress, a female founded company that creates eco friendly detergent, fabric care and home cleaning products.  

During lunch, after the breakout sessions, we overhead a man talking to group of other men (all who had participated in the session) saying ‘I mean, wearing a suit that doesn't fit, that’s career suicide!”. That statement may be a bit dramatic, but we were thrilled our content resonated!

Please contact us to discuss how we can create and deliver custom training content to meet your company’s needs!  We can participate in company off-sites, provide one-hour ‘lunch and learn’ sessions or even facilitate a happy hour or team event.

The Missing Piece in Many Corporate Training Programs

Each of us has probably experienced a moment when a leader enters a room and she instantly attracts the attention of everyone present. Heads turn, conversations halt and everyone just gravitates toward her. Perhaps you can recall a time listening to a CEO address the company or simply chatting with a successful team leader at a holiday party - you just want to listen and engage. You feel motivated and inspired, and led. These people have what some might call a wow factor, and in business it's usually referred to as Executive Presence. There’s quite a bit of research that’s been done on executive presence, and most of them come back to some version of what’s laid out below:

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Most people will agree that to be successful in many career paths, certainly those that involve high-level leadership and management, a certain level of executive presence is crucial.

Most people would also agree that companies should provide training to their employees to help guide them along in their career development and provide growth opportunities. In fact, 68% of workers said that training and development is the most important workplace policy for them. It’s particularly important to millennials, 87% say professional development opportunities are very important. (per a State of the Industry Report from ClearCompany).

According to the Association for Talent Development (ATD), “companies that offer comprehensive training programs have 218% higher income per employee than companies without formalized training. These companies also enjoy a 24% higher profit margin than those who spend less on training. It would seem that continuing to invest in training and development, even when there are economic downturns, is the smart play.”

So what does all this have to do with executive presence, you might ask?  Well, we’ve seen our share of really robust training programs and we’ve talked to many professionals who have been on the receiving end of these programs.  Between the three of us, we've spent decades at companies where they have truly invested in their learning & development programs; offering Presentation Skills, Conflict Management, Leadership Training, Writing & Business Communication Workshops, Negotiation Skills and Effective Brainstorming, just to name a few.  These courses are phenomenal. They help develop character, form behavior and they ensure there is substance and clear communication.  That said, we’ve yet to see any courses that focus specifically on those other key elements of executive presence - style and appearance.

That’s one of the reasons we founded FirstSeven!

According to a study done by LinkedIn, 27 percent of North American businesses are going to spend more on internal learning programs in 2018. Hopefully, some of this increased investment will fund programs to allow employees to explore the power that image has on improving their executive presence and enhancing their career!

Today we’re busy putting some final touches on a program for a top global law firm that has recognized the value of personal branding and executive presence.  We’re so excited to share it with a room full of very successful professionals. Check in next week and we'll tell you all about it!

The Best Spring Jackets for Work & Play!

From where we’re sitting, there are still a few random piles of snow on the ground, but we’re confident that spring will eventually make an appearance. I don’t know about you, but we are SO ready to pack up the puffers and the long wool coats and opt for something lighter. This time of year the temps and the weather are unpredictable, so it's nice to have a variety of coats and jackets from which to choose.  Here is a round-up of our top five spring jacket styles:

  • The Denim Jacket.  While this is definitely the most casual option on the list (maybe save it for a casual Friday) it’s such a classic, we had to include it. It's versatile and easy to wear. The traditional silhouette will never go out of style, but if you want a more modern look, invest in a trendy oversized style.

  • The Raincoat.  We all know April showers bring May flowers...so there’s no reason to be unprepared. A cute raincoat will make all the difference on those gray rainy mornings. Have fun with colors and prints, or keep it classic.  If you’re looking for a trendier update, clear raincoats were all over the spring/summer runways. We love this look because you get to show off your fabulous outfit too!
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  • The Trench.  Speaking of runways, the trench made several appearances at the shows.  Again, you can’t go wrong with a classic version, but there are some fun modern styles as well. In 2018, you’ll see fringe, corset details, exaggerated sleeves and extra length. For a conservative office, a classic trench is a smart investment. Wear it over your favorite sheath dress or pant suit.
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  • The Bomber.  The bomber jacket is still going strong. This spring opt for one in satin or silk and choose a pretty pastel or versatile olive green.
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  • The Leather Jacket.  After a few months of wearing our black leather jackets, they’re starting to feel a bit stale (but don't worry, we'll crave them again come fall!).  Our shopping list definitely includes a chic moto style in a pale blue, blush, light gray or white. This is the perfect topper for a flowy summer dress or printed skirt.
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Shop our favorites here!

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Vacation: Take it, don't lose it!

As a culture, Americans take pride in working hard, getting things done and basically being ‘on’ 24/7, via technology and the ability to work remotely. Americans are very good at a lot of things, but taking vacations is not one of them! Consider these facts:

  • Nearly 54% of Americans do not take all the vacation days they’ve earned

  • 662 million (yes, million) earned vacation days went unused in 2017

  • By forfeiting vacation days, Americans are leaving $66.4B worth of benefits on the table

  • An astounding 42% of Americans report they don’t take any vacation time at all.  Never use your vacation days? This is why you should  Maurie Backman, USA Today)

Studies show that taking vacations benefit both the employee and the employer. Without taking some time away from work, individuals can lose the capability to relax. When this happens, stress becomes a constant and productivity (not to mention health) can suffer. All employers want their employees to be dedicated hard workers, but they also want them to be energized and able to focus. In order to be at our best, we must step away and recharge!

Have we convinced you to plan your getaway yet? We hope so!

Do you know one of our favorite things about vacation? You guessed it, shopping for a few new pieces that make you smile, and get you in the vacation mood. A new sundress, sandals or beach hat will usually do the trick for a warm-weather destination. For all you spring skiers, a cozy sweater or après ski boot are smart purchases to make right now.

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Shop some of our favorites, and enjoy your vacation!

The Ultimate Date Night

We spend most of our time here on the blog and at FirstSeven HQ thinking about image and personal branding as it relates to the professional environment and how it can impact your career. While that is truly our passion, we don’t want you to think we’re all work and no play!

We were thrilled to be tapped by Harrison & Shriftman (a public relations, special events and marketing firm) to work with Booking.com on a very cool experiential promotion. They created the ultimate date night - an evening in a private suite in the Empire State Building. There was even a five star dinner for the lucky couple (complete with champagne and chocolates) on the observation deck. Obviously, this calls for some serious style . . . and that’s where we came in.

We were on hand to help the couple (April & Shawn) choose their date night looks. We pulled several classic, but glamorous dresses and jumpsuits for April and suave ‘Bond-like’ pieces for Shawn, including a velvet sport coat and an array of pocket squares.

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It was so much fun watching them browse the pieces we had chosen for them and guiding them through shoes and accessories. They looked fabulous and were ready for a night on the town! We hope they enjoyed the experience as much as we did.

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'Made to Measure March'

At FirstSeven, we made it through the dreary month of February by focusing on color. Honestly, it was really fun! Making an effort to try new colors and move away from head-to-toe black definitely energized us. We’d love to hear how you played around with color this month. How did it make you feel?  Did you find a new favorite color?  Did you notice you were receiving more compliments than usual?  

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Now that we’re moving into March, we’re going to focus on fit. We’re calling it ‘Made to Measure March’ (isn’t that cute?!). We’re so passionate about fit and how important it is to find the right fit that we will bring this to life for you on our Instagram (@firstsevenconsulting.com) feed.

Follow along with us this month to learn all about the perfect fit and the effect it can have on you!

About 80% of our clients wear the wrong size.  The majority of them are actually wearing pieces that are TOO BIG!

Did Someone Say Sample Sale?

At FirstSeven we love partnering with brands and companies that share a common vision. We especially love working with and supporting other woman founded/run businesses. That’s why we recently jumped at the chance to collaborate with ShopDrop.  

ShopDrop is an app that takes the guesswork out of Sample Saling (yes, we turned sample sales into a verb!). Sample sales were originally held by brands and designers to sell pieces that were literally used as, well, samples. However, the term has become more general and now samples sales typically feature extra inventory that the company needs to liquidate. This means that you can often walk away with fabulous designer pieces at a fraction of the original retail price.

Samples sales...either you love them or you hate them. If you love them, or are just interested in checking out a few of them, definitely download the ShopDrop app. The app announces all the sales happening in the city, as well as the hours and location. There can be hundreds of sales happening each week and the app makes sure you’re in the know.

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FirstSeven partnered with ShopDrop at an event they recently held at a NYC WeWork. Instead of going to several brand specific sample sales, ShopDrop brought the sample sale to the busy professional WeWork members. Who wouldn’t want to snatch up a ½ price Catherine Maladrino blouse during your lunch hour? FirstSeven was on hand to help the attendees navigate the available merchandise (sample sales can be a bit overwhelming sometimes) and choose pieces to help them elevate their professional style. We were available to answer any styling or fit questions that members had as they shopped the sale.

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Don’t forget to download the app. If you had it you’d know about these upcoming sales...La Perla ,Tracy Reese, Cynthia Steffe, Vince Camuto, J. Mendel and Schutz, just to name a few!

How to Wear Red to the Office

Last week we talked about the power of color and some of the messages different colors can send, and the emotions they can elicit. Since this week is Valentine’s Day, we decided to focus on the color red and talk about how you can wear this powerful color to the office.

Red is beautiful, bold and there truly is a shade that will compliment every skin tone. But, it’s also a complicated color. It has both positive and negative connotations. Red is the color of energy and power, it signifies strength, passion and love. On the other hand, red is also strongly associated with danger, anger and stress. Some people can be intimidated by red, and we get it...but we also encourage you to give it a try, especially in your work wardrobe. Here are a few tips to get you you started:

  • Start small:  If you don’t currently wear red, and you are one of the many who are a bit intimidated by it, no problem, just start small. Ladies, consider a red shoe or bag. A red shoe is eye catching but not overwhelming. A red bag will add a pop of color to a neutral look. Gentlemen, consider a red sock or pocket square.

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  • Perhaps a print?  Another way to incorporate some red into your look is through print. A print that features red is definitely a chic approach. There are so many beautiful prints out there and they really add interest and depth to an outfit.  Ladies, choose a gorgeous blouse, skirt or dress.  Guys, how about a tie or button down?
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  • Be bold!  If you really want to make a strong impression, be bold. If you choose to go bold with the color (and we hope you do) stay conservative with the silhouette and other design details. A red sheath dress is a perfect choice for a big meeting when you want to command the room.

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Shop some of our favorite office worthy finds, and start incorporating this power color into your work wardrobe today!

The Power of Color

Color is powerful. It can elicit a range of emotions, messages and feelings. If used correctly color can help to reinforce a message you’re trying to convey or it can simply give you an added confidence boost. The power of color has long been harnessed by brands establishing their identity, and by interior designers to create the mood of a room. Have you thought about what color might do for your image?

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There are two ways to think about color as it relates to your wardrobe:

  • Individual coloring & preference:  Everyone has their unique coloring. Your coloring can be altered to some degree, via make-up, hair dyes, even colored contacts, sun/self tanners. Your skin tone, hair color and eye color will all play a role in what colors look best on you.

It could be that green is a fabulous color for you. It makes your hair shine, your eyes pop and your skin glow...one problem though, you just don't like green. If this is the case, don’t wear it, or explore different shades and find one you do love. The point is, individual preference is as important as anything when it comes to deciding what to wear. We always talk about the role confidence plays in executive presence and If you’re not wearing something you love (no matter how great you may look in it), then you won’t be confident. Always choose something you love!

If you struggle with what colors are most flattering on you, definitely reach out to a professional (like your stylists at FirstSeven). We’re trained to help you identify what set of colors will best enhance, and work with, your current coloring.

  • Emotions/Meaning behind color:  Color evokes emotions and sends messages.  These emotions and messages can vary by culture and geography (so keep that in mind if you’re traveling globally on business).

For example, in Western culture:

Red is associated with energy, strength, power, passion and love.  It can actually raise your blood pressure and enhance metabolism. Think about incorporating red in your wardrobe if you want to command the room, need to be high energy or desire to be seen as passionate.

Yellow also evokes energy and is associated with happiness and joy. It can create a feeling of spontaneity and instability though. While yellow is a beautiful color, it may not be the best choice when you want to be taken seriously in an important board meeting, but it could be a great option for the company picnic!

On the other hand, blue is often associated with stability, loyalty, trust and wisdom.  Blue is a fabulous, low risk, color to incorporate into your professional wardrobe.  If you’re currently stuck in an all-black rut, consider swapping out a black blazer for a blue one, or reaching for a blue shift dress for that important client meeting.

Now that you know a little bit more about the power of color, join us in our February Style Challenge (#firstsevenstylechallenge) and make sure to follow us on Instagram. @FirstSevenConsulting

Style Challenge

We’re just finishing up our first ever Style Challenge. For the month of January, we challenged you (and ourselves) to incorporate a piece of statement jewelry (or some sort of statement accessory) into your look.  January can be a tough month style wise. We’re a little burnt out from the holidays, most of the country is in a deep freeze and our jeans may not be fitting the same way they were a couple months ago. That’s why we thought focusing on statement accessories would be such a great challenge! It's an easy and fun way to add some interest and depth to a basic look. Here are a couple of our favorite images from this style challenge!

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So what’s up for February? In some ways February can be an even tougher month to get through than January. We’re in the heart of winter and there’s still a good month or so before we can even start thinking about spring. So, let’s keep it upbeat and try to fight the winter doldrums by incorporating some color into to our February looks. You can start small - a colorful scarf, shoe or a brighter manicure or lip color. You can go all out with a statement coat in a rich hue or a beautiful sheath dress or cashmere sweater. Whatever works for you! Use #firstsevenstylechallege to show us how you’re going to wear color this February and follow us on Instagram @firstsevenconsulting to see how we make it though this month, colorfully!

To get you started, we pulled some gorgeous piese for you to shop!

You Got the Interview, Now What Do You Wear?

Getting an interview is a huge step in the process when you’re looking for a new job. In order to get the interview, you must have already impressed some people with your experience and accomplishments laid out in your resume. They’re interested and want to meet you. Congratulations!

To prep for the interview we recommend you do your homework. Conduct tons of research on the company and the position you're interviewing for and try to learn about the people who will be conducting the interviews. If you know anyone who’s worked (or is working) for the company, take them out for coffee and pick their brains. The better prepared you are, the more confident and comfortable you’ll be...and that goes for your clothing too.

You need to take time and prepare your interview outfit. Don’t let it be an afterthought, give it the thoughtful consideration it deserves. If you’ve done your research on the company, then you should have a good idea of the company culture. If you live in the same city as the company you’re interviewing with, go to the office and observe employees. What are they wearing?  

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If you’re interviewing at a tech startup your interview outfit will be different from something you’d wear if you were interviewing at an established financial firm. If you were interviewing in the fashion industry, you’d definitely choose something very different from, let's say, a person interviewing in pharmaceutical sales. So, there’s clearly no one ‘interview outfit’ that works for everyone in every situation.

That said, there are some basic guidelines everyone should consider when deciding what to wear.

Research:  We said it earlier. Know the company, know the industry, know the city.  This knowledge will steer you in the right direction.

Err on the side of ‘formal’:  If you think something might be too casual for the interview, chances are it is. Don’t risk it. Go with the more formal/conservative choice.

Pay attention to details:  Make sure there are no stains, rips, pulls or scuffs. You may not think anyone will notice a small detail like these, but believe us, they will. Stains, rips, pulls and scuffs send the message that you don’t care that much, that you might let things slip through the cracks. Make sure everything is polished.

Comfort is important:  If you’re not comfortable in what you’re wearing it will show. You don’t want to be pulling or adjusting your clothing during the interview, it's distracting. The more comfortable you are, the more confident you will be.

Play it safe: We love to take risks, especially in fashion, but an interview is not the time to do it. After you land the job and become comfortable in your new role, feel free to experiment and branch out a bit.  During the interview you want the interviewer to be focusing on you, not your outfit.

Choose something that you know is very appropriate, in impeccable shape, modern and flattering and you’ll have all the confidence you need to impress. Remember, if you’re ever in doubt, ask a professional (it's what we do!).

Shop some amazing interview friendly pieces here and ask about our private coaching!

 

Put Some Finesse into Your Fitness

Last week we talked about resolutions and the importance of focusing on how you present yourself. Spending some time and energy on your professional appearance can pay dividends in your career.

Staying with the theme of resolutions, another popular one this time of year is a focus on health and fitness.  Getting healthy and fit will give you confidence and energy - two things that will only help your career.  So, for all you readers who have resolved to start a new fitness routine, we’ve pulled some of our favorite workout gear for you to shop. There’s nothing like a new legging, sports bra or sneaker to get you motivated to hit them gym. There are so many flattering and fun options out there. Treat yourself to a couple new pieces and you’ll be extra inspired to work hard and achieve your goals (and you’ll look great doing it!).

Make 2018 The Year of Your Career!

Over 60 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. It’s no surprise that eating better and exercising more are the most common resolutions, followed by fiscal responsibility. Getting more sleep is the fourth most popular resolution in our sleep deprived society, according to a recent YouGov online survey.  These are all admirable resolutions and we wholeheartedly support them!

At FirstSeven, we’d also like to encourage you to use this time of year to think about your career and professional goals. It's a great opportunity to celebrate successes from 2017 and set the bar even higher for 2018. Make 2018 The Year of Your Career!  

Think about where you want to be at this time next year. What are the successes you hope to be celebrating. Are you ready for that promotion? Is there an important project you want to lead? Are you considering a new job? (14 percent of respondents to the YouGov are). Do you want to be taken more seriously at work? Are you considering changing industries or going back to school? Do you want to garner more respect from your colleagues and clients? Maybe you want to become a more confident and inspiring presenter or public speaker? Whatever your professional goals are, start by defining them, then break down the steps you need to take to achieve them.

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An important element to professional success is appearance - and please don’t misinterpret this, or take it the wrong way. Obviously skill, experience, intelligence, commitment, work ethic and even kindness are key to professional success, we’re not undervaluing these at all. When we say appearance, we’re not equating that with beauty or attractiveness. Your professional appearance is how confident, modern and put together you appear to others. If you’ve put in the effort on the outside, that can speak volumes to what’s on the inside. If you’ve been neglecting your professional appearance now is the time to start giving it some thought.

Look at how others in your company and industry present themselves. You can even look to the media for inspiration (you’d be surprised at how many clients have told us they want to dress like Olivia Pope from Scandal!). Use this month to save up for that new bag or structured blazer that will take every work look up a notch. Working with a professional is always a good idea - we can help you identify your professional style and guide you through the process towards achieving it. Ask us about our private coaching packages.

Speaking of starting small, a couple of us at FirstSeven are leading a fun styling challenge and we invite you to join us, or at least follow along on Instagram (@firstsevenconsulting). Admittedly, January can get gray and cold and it is a bit depressing taking down all the holiday decorations. So, we’ve decided to do something small and simple that could have a positive impact on our style and mood. We’re going to challenge ourselves (and you!) to incorporate some statement jewelry into your work and weekend looks.  Statement jewelry can be an inexpensive way (hello, fiscal responsibility!) to add interest and polish to an otherwise basic look.  

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Give it a try and share your looks with us (#firstsevenstylechallenge). Incorporate some of the pieces you already own or treat yourself to a new piece or two, shop some of our favorites below.

Happy New Year!  Here’s to a stylish and successful 2018!

Happy Holidays!

We love this time of year so much. From the sparkling lights and beautiful trees all over town, to the sound of holiday music and smells of yummy cookies, what’s not to love? It's also a time of the year when we get to unwind and spend quality time with family and friends. We hope that most of you can take some time away from the office and just enjoy the season. We are!

In the new year we will be sharing seven top secret stylist tips to nail your professional style. If you want to be one of the first to get your hands on this free e-book, sign up below. 

See you next year!

Fabulous Gift Ideas for Everyone at the Office!

This is the perfect time of year to thank those people who make going to work each day a bit more fun and productive; that co-worker who always has your back, and never passes on happy hour, your amazing assistant (how does he do it?) and your favorite IT professional who fixes all tech issues (and does it with a smile...at least once a day). Let’s face it, many of us spend more time with our work family than our actual family, so you don’t want to forget about those special people when making your shopping lists.

 

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We’ve rounded up of some of our favorite office appropriate gifts at a range of price points. There’s something for every personality on your list.

Happy gifting everyone!

Baby It's (getting to be) Cold Outside! 3 Must Have Toppers That are Warm AND Chic!

We’ve been a bit spoiled, temperature wise. We’re coming off of one of the warmest Novembers in history. In fact, several cities across the country set record highs this past month. Don’t let these above average temperatures lull you into a false sense of security...winter will come (for most of us), and when it does, make sure you’re prepared!

Let’s face it, most of us don’t love freezing cold weather, especially when we're forced to commute in it. That said, a great coat will help you weather the storm (pun intended). We’ve rounded up a few of our favorite winter coat styles that will have you looking great and feeling toasty. Don’t forget to shop the blog for these styles, and more. We’ve even added some great winter accessories, (they make fabulous gifts).

The Puffer

Could there be a less flattering name for a coat? The puffer has come along way in the past years. They went from being...well, pretty much how they sound, super bulky and Michelin man-esque. They weren't cute, but they were warm. Now, you don’t have to sacrifice one for other, you can can find cozy styles that are flattering. Choose one that has some sort of waist defining detail, like a belt or some gathering at the waist line. This will keep the coat from overwhelming your shape. We also recommend choosing one with a fur or faux fur lined hood - this comes in handy if you choose to wear your hair in a bun, top knot or pony. We also recommend going with a slightly longer length that will work well over skirts and dresses.

 Source: Popsugar

Source: Popsugar

The Trench

A classic wool trench will never go out of style, and it's a perfect choice for the office as it works well with dresses, skirts and suits. Since this is such a classic style, consider purchasing one in a color. There’s really nothing like a bold winter coat to brighten your mood. If you really want to be on trend, consider one in a plaid or check print.

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Faux Fur

So soft, so cozy, it's like wearing a blanket, but much more elegant!  There’s no limit to the choices out there for faux fur coats. While we love a bomber style, those are best kept for the weekend. For the office a longer and looser fit works best. It's great for a desk-to-dinner kind of day!

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A winter coat is an investment piece. It's a coat you’ll wear day after day for several years, so buy the highest quality you can afford - you’ll be glad you did. Stay warm out there!

What to Wear to Your Company's Holiday Party?

Thanksgiving...done.  Black Friday & Cyber Monday...check.  Giving Tuesday...yes! Now we have officially entered party season. One party that can conjure up a myriad of feelings - from excitement, to anxiety to dread - is the annual company party. At FirstSeven, we love a good office party. It’s a chance to relax and to spend some time with colleagues. Regardless of how you feel about your company party, it is really important to attend, network and who knows, you might even have fun!

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We have many clients who come to us unsure of what to wear to this type of event. Office parties can be tricky, even for clients who have mastered their 9-5 style. Here are a few things to consider when planning this year's look.

  • When & Where?

Is the event happening in the office, during regular office hours? If yes, then start with what you would normally wear to work, then dial it up a notch. Incorporate a festive color and add a piece of statement jewelry. Swing by the ladies room on the way and add a bold lip color, an extra coat of mascara and you’re good to go.

If the event is at a special venue in the evening, then you have the opportunity to be more festive.  You also have a choice here - you can incorporate some simple switches to your day look or you may decide to change into a completely different look. This is entirely up to you and really depends on the feasibility of doing a complete outfit change (do you have time to go home before the event? Can you easily bring a change of clothes to the office?).

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  • What makes you comfortable?

If you’re always cold, choose a long sleeve dress or layer an interesting jacket or cardigan. You don’t want to stand around freezing all night. When you’re cold, you tend to fold inward and hunch over, that doesn’t project a very welcoming or open vibe.

If you think you’ll be dancing or standing for most of the night, take that into consideration when choosing your footwear. We adore heels and statement shoes, but your company’s party isn’t the time to be nursing your blisters. There are a ton of cute and festive flats out there (sparkle, glitter, ties ups), but a stacked/thicker heeled option is also a great choice.

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  • What is your office environment?

If you work at a traditional company, keep that in mind. Your party attire can still be festive, but lean towards more conservative choices (maybe save the glittery booties for another night). In this environment you can’t go wrong with a classic dark cocktail dress. It doesn't have to be boring, choose interesting design details that appeal to you (statement sleeves, lace, flattering necklines) and add accessories to complete your look and give it personality.

If your company tends to have a more casual, anything goes vibe, then you have a lot more liberty on what to wear to your party. We say, go all out! Bring on the sparkle and shine, amp up the fun factor.  

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Enjoy yourself, but remember these people will still be your co-workers, teammates and bosses come tomorrow, so don’t enjoy yourself too much.