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.  

What We're Thankful For This Year...

For those of us at FirstSeven, 2017 has been of year of change, both professionally and personally. We lost the stability of working for a company we loved, doing what we loved (bringing the power of personal styling to clients all over the country). This wasn’t easy, trust us! But, instead of taking the safer and easier road, the three of us came together and conceptualized and launched our own company, FirstSeven.  As a company, we’re thankful we have this opportunity and for the support we’ve received.

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We asked each co-founder what they’re thankful for, read their answers below:

Faith Rim

“This year, in particular, has been filled with a lot of big changes for me and my family. Through the ups and downs I think I’ve learned to be grateful for all seasons. Seasons of loss, gain, disappointment and hope have all had their place this year. I’m grateful for perspective; to understand that there’s a lesson and a reason for every situation that we face in life. I’m blessed to experience it all with an amazingly supportive husband and three little jewels who love me unconditionally. Life is not always easy but living it with a grateful heart has certainly made it more beautiful!”

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Lili Morton

“This year I'm most thankful for my relationships. In good times and bad, over and over again, I'm shown how blessed I am to be surrounded by kind, supportive and amazing people. In addition to those I've known for years, this year introduced me generous, thoughtful, smart and good, quality people who have enriched my life.”

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Stacy Gatto
“I know this is so cliche, but every single day I’m thankful for my family, they’re everything to me.  I’m thankful that I have the privilege to walk my daughter school every morning and be the one to pick her up most days.  Not a lot of working moms get to do that, and I don’t take it for granted. Last, but not least, I’m thankful for the opportunity to pursue a career/business that I’m so passionate about. I wouldn’t have this opportunity without the support of my family.”

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What's Your Thanksgiving Style?

Thanksgiving, and the official kick off of the holiday season, is right around the corner. That begs the question...what are you going to wear? Thanksgiving style is very personal and very dependent on your destination, and how you're planning on celebrating the big day. Your style could range from super comfortable (maybe just a step of from PJs), if you’re staying home with your immediate family, or you could get dressed up if you're heading to a gathering with extended family who you only see once a year. Your destination and mode of transportation could play a deciding factor between choosing your OTK boots or glittery fashion sneakers. Maybe your family likes to head outside after the big meal and play a game of touch football or maybe the party continues inside with an extended cocktail hour. Whatever your destination and family traditions are, we’ve got you covered. 

Take this quiz to determine your perfect Thanksgiving style! And don’t forget to shop all the amazing pieces - there’s still time for delivery before the big day.

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Maybe you’re Classic & Traditional. You always look elegant, but simple. Your holiday table embodies this style too, with fine china and traditional dishes that are served every year. A beautiful neutral dress, straight leg trouser and a silk blouse or a soft cashmere twin set and pearls are your go-to pieces for this holiday.

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On the other end of the spectrum, you could be Trendy & Fashion Forward. You’re always the most stylish one at the party and you want to make sure all your cousins notice your outfit. In fact, you know all your friends and family look forward to seeing what you’ll be wearing!  This year you might be debating between a ruffle sleeve dress, a velvet jumpsuit and a deconstructed top. Are those glitter booties too much? Never!

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You’re looking forward to catching up with good friends and family. You want to be able to get down on the floor and play with your nieces and nephews, but you also want to look nice for the family photo! You’ll be Casual, but Refined. Denim and a cashmere sweater or booties and a midi dress is what you’ll be dining in this year.

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You’re spending the holiday with people you see pretty much every day, no need to dress to impress.  Today is all about staying comfortable and relaxed. Your style is definitely Comfortable & Casual; think cozy cardigans, sweatshirts and leggings.

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Whatever style you choose, be comfortable, be happy and most importantly take a minute and just be Thankful.

We're in the Mood to Give!

The holiday season is just around the corner and we’re in the mood to give! We’re excited to offer a special content module and an amazing contest to our loyal readers and clients.   

First, let us explain the contest. We’re offering a complimentary one-hour styling session for one lucky winner and up to 30 of their co-workers. To enter, all you have to do is comment on this blog post or any of our social media posts. Sharing and/or tagging others where mentioned will earn you an additional entry. The winner (randomly selected) is sure to be the most popular person in their office. After the session, you and your co-workers will leave knowing more about the importance of dressing for success, and more importantly, feeling confident and empowered in your wardrobe choices. On top of that, every attendee will be offered discounts on individual styling services.  

Our sessions are informative, engaging, interactive and fun!

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Here's what one happy client had to say after one of our sessions:

The event attendees were a diverse group of professional women, and the team did a fantastic job of addressing the audience across age and stage of career, while also keeping the crowd engaged at all times. Lili, Stacy, and Faith delivered helpful tips on getting the most out of our wardrobe with effervescent energy and serious level of expertise. The event has received overwhelming accord amongst attendees, and many colleagues came to work the following day having executed some of the key points and looking flawless and confident. We would highly recommend their services and insights, and are going to look for ways to bring them back in other contexts.
— Robin, Managing Director

We’re also very excited to offer some shorter/lighter content for your company's holiday party or gathering. We’ve create a special 20-minute session that can be delivered in a festive setting (it pairs perfectly with champagne!). We’ll showcase our favorite holiday trends as well as some unique and beautiful gifting ideas. As with all of our content, this will be interactive and offer a fun backdrop for socializing with colleagues and celebrating the season.

Both of these opportunities will have you and your colleagues ending the year in style. We looking forward to celebrating the season with you!

5 Must-Have Dresses to Get You Through the Season

We love dresses, especially for the office. There is simply no easier way to look professional and put together than by throwing on a fabulous, office appropriate dress. We’ve scoured this season's racks and sites to bring you a list of our top five dresses. These five types of dresses will ensure you make it to spring in style and comfort. Remember, you can shop all of our picks!

  • Ruffle details:  A dress with a ruffle detail will instantly update your wardrobe. This feminine design will be everywhere this season and can take a dress from simple, to statement-making. In a creative environment, really go for it and choose a dress with dramatic ruffle detail. In a more conservative environment, it's best to tone it down a bit.  A ruffle at the hemline or sleeve is a sophisticated way to incorporate this trend.

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  • Color:  On a dreary January day, a dress in a rich or vibrant color may be all you need to lift your spirits and beat the winter doldrums. We love a classic black dress, but try to have at least one color option that makes you smile. We guarantee you’ll feel more energized and you’ll be sure to garner compliments from your co-workers. Last month we wrote about the power of red, which we still love, but choose a color that works best for you and you can’t go wrong.

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  • Knit:  There is nothing cozier than a knit dress.  We love a chunky oversize knit with a slouch boot, ankle bootie or over the knee boot. Keep this one neutral - black, gray, navy, even cream, are all great choices.   

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  • Day-to-Night:  The holidays are right around the corner.  That means lots of parties, happy hours and events. Many of these events are likely to take place after work and most of us won’t have time (or energy!) to go home and change.  With a great day-to-night dress, a simple change of shoes, earrings and handbag are all you need to transform your look from office to party.  Oh, and a fabulous red lip.
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  • Wrap:  Speaking of the holidays…. with all the parties and festivities might come a couple extra pounds. When we’ve been a bit too indulgent, we reach for our wrap dresses. They fit so comfortably, no matter what the scale says! Plus, the waist defining wrap detail really flatters.

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Stock up on these dress and you’ll be ready for whatever the next few months have in store!

Meet FirstSeven's Co-Founder and #MondayMuse, Lili Morton

In last week’s post we introduced the concept behind #MondayMuse. To refresh your memory, a Monday Muse is a woman who inspires us to tackle the work week with energy, focus and creativity. She’s smart, she’s successful, she’s driven, and of course, she has her own enviable personal style. Last week we talked about Jenna Lyons and Amal Clooney. Yes, they’re undeniably amazing women who have achieved so much - they definitely qualify as a #MondayMuse. That said, a Monday Muse isn’t always a household name or on a most powerful list; sometimes she’s the woman sitting in the cubicle next to you who’s always upbeat and ready to help, or the new grad who isn’t afraid to speak up in a meeting, or maybe she’s a co-founder of FirstSeven!

FirstSeven is a woman founded and run company, and all three of our co-founders are Monday Muses. We’ll highlight them all over the next few months, but today we’re getting up close and personal with Lili Morton.

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  • Lili, let’s get to know you a little bit.  Tell us about yourself and your career path.  My career path has been a winding one, that’s for sure. I studied marketing and fashion merchandising at Michigan State University before moving to NYC where I worked for MTV Networks and Diane von Furstenberg. After a few years I moved back to my hometown where I worked for Make-A-Wish and then in sales & marketing for a couple small, local businesses. Thankfully, I stumbled upon Keaton Row (an e-commerce styling platform), which brought me back to NYC and helped me identify the path I wanted to be on and led me to my co-founders.

  • Did you always know you wanted to work in fashion & styling? Yes and no. I’ve always been more creative (studying ballet, performing in musical theater and styling), but also enjoyed business. Taking a creative concept and then building it into something real, that works. I jumped around a lot in my early 20s and had "the grass is always greener syndrome," until I realized (or someone told me), the grass is green where you water it. My path always led me back to the fashion industry, so I stayed, worked hard and am really happy with all of the lessons and opportunities it has afforded me.

  • Who’s your #MondayMuse? Why? According to the quiz, mine is Jessica Alba, and I would have to agree! I love her effortless, cool-girl style. Jeans and a tee, polished off with a blazer or leather jacket is what I’m most comfortable and confident in. Like me, she is a creative who transitioned into business and built something really amazing.

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  • Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Ah, this is a real interview, huh?! Definitely still living in New York or splitting my time between the east and west coasts. And, running a successful styling firm. I like to have an idea of where I want to go, but not plan too far out, you never know where life will take you.

  • What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received? I have been fortunate to have received a lot of great advice over the years. I can’t pinpoint one piece of advice, but I have learned a lot from my own mistakes (and successes). Through the process, I’ve learned to trust and enjoy my own path and not compare it to others who may seem to be “further along” than I am. I guess this seconds as life advice. Comparing yourself to other individuals, or other businesses is a recipe for disaster.

  • Describe your style in 3 words? Classic, effortless and edgy.

  • What’s one piece every career woman should have in her wardrobe? Smythe Duchess blazer. It’s a game-changer.

  • FirstSeven in a new company that you co-founded. What has the experience been like?  It’s been exciting and challenging. For years I’ve helped women navigate the challenges of wardrobe selection and now I’m in uncharted territory, navigating a new business. I always knew I wanted to work for myself and FirstSeven is the perfect combination of fashion and business.

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Introducing #MondayMuse!

What’s a Monday Muse you might ask? #MondayMuse is a term we use to refer to all the successful, accomplished women we look up to. They are the women who inspire us to get out of bed every Monday and start the week full of energy and optimism. Some of our Monday Muses have overcome enormous set backs, but came out the other side stronger than ever. And, because we’re stylists at heart, all of our Muses are polished, professional and exude their very own enviable, personal style.

Today we’re going to highlight a couple of our favorite Monday Muses. The best part is, you can shop their style right from the blog! Another fun twist is our #MondayMuse quiz. Take the quiz below and find out which Monday Muse you’re most like (and of course, shop her style).

Jenna Lyons

While Jenna might not be a household name, she should be. Jenna’s story is a modern day fairy tale, with a real life heroine. If you’re not familiar with Jenna, she was (until very recently) the president and creative director of J.Crew, where she became the face of the brand. She spent her entire career at J.Crew, moving up the ranks after starting as an assistant designer straight out of Parsons School of Design.

She has been pretty open in various interviews about her tough childhood. She suffered from a genetic disorder which affected her skin, caused her hair to fall out in patches and impacted the look and functionality of her teeth. A disorder like this is hard on anyone, but it must have been particularly heartbreaking for a little girl. She reports being bullied and as a result, became shy and introverted. Her childhood experiences led her to fashion. She told Sarah Harris from The Guardian, "it was the reason I loved fashion, because it can change who you are and how you feel, and that can be magical." 

At J.Crew, Jenna was a key player in turning the company around in the early 2000s. From 2003-2011, J.Crew tripled its revenues from under $700MM to almost $2B. Now that’s impressive!  

Jenna is also known for her personal style, which has been described as geek-chic. It’s a playful mix of high and low. She loves a great print or two (or three), and her signature red lip and black frame glasses typically complete her look

Jenna left J.Crew earlier this year, and we can’t wait to see what she does next!

 

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Amal Clooney

Amal Clooney is another notable Monday Muse. And no, it has nothing to do with the fact that she married one of the world’s most eligible bachelors. It has everything to do with how accomplished she is in both her professional and personal life; and her style is simply swoon worthy.

She’s a practicing international law and human rights lawyer. She’s an active philanthropist; acting as president and co-founder of the Clooney Foundation for Justice and partnering with the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative to award the Amal Clooney Scholarship each year. She’s also an activist, author, and new mother.

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We’d love to hear from you?  Who are some of your #MondayMuses?

Don’t forget to take the quiz and share your results on your social.

4 Things to Consider When Investing in a New Work Bag

You’ll notice the word ‘investing’ in the title of this post. . . that’s not by accident. A great work bag is an investment. We’re not saying you have to spend thousands of dollars, but this is an item where we encourage you to choose the highest quality you can afford. You’ll be glad you did!

If you’ve decided you’re in the market for a new work bag, here are the four key things you should consider before you take the plunge:

Size:

Think about what you need your work bag to hold. Do you commute via public transportation or do you drive? Do you carry your laptop back and forth? What about your lunch and gym clothes? Answers to these questions will help you decide how big to go. We'll always recommend to size up. One large bag will always look more put together than carrying multiple small bags. Ever hear of the term bag lady? It's not a compliment!

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Organization/Functionality:  

After you’ve determined what you’ll carry in your work bag, think about how you like it organized. Do you like to have a pocket for everything, or do you feel more organized when you have items separated into a few groups? We had a client who was hyper organized and wanted to invest in a new work bag that had a specific space designated for basically everything she would ever carry. We found her a fabulous bag with more pockets (both interior and exterior) than we had ever imagined. She loved it and started using it right away. After about a week she called and said the bag just wasn’t working for her because there were too many pockets. She kept forgetting where she put things and the result was she couldn’t find anything. So, think this through and decide what would work best for you!

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Carrying Options:  

Think about what kind of straps and carrying options you want or need. Do you like to wear your bags crossbody? This is a good option if you have a walking commute and tend to carry a lot - it distributes the weight making it more comfortable to carry. Or maybe you you prefer to carry it in your hand or over your forearm? These are all great options, but we recommend looking for a bag that allows you to carry it different ways. Look for a bag with convertible handles and straps for increased versatility (and comfort!), your chiropractor will thank you!  

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  • Color:

If you’re investing a significant amount of money into what will be your primary work bag, we recommend going with a neutral color. A good place to start is by taking a look at your current work wardrobe, including shoes and outerwear. Do you find you wear mostly black or do you gravitate more towards tans and beiges? This should determine the direction you go. If you already have a great black or tan work bag, choose one in a fabulous color, such as plum, bright red or a deep navy.

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Your work bag says a lot about you. It will also help keep you organized and functional. There are so many gorgeous options out there.  We can’t wait to see what you choose!

4 Office Friendly Fall Trends

A couple weeks ago we were going crazy over wearing the color red this fall. We’re still excited about this trend, but realize most people will have to incorporate it sparingly. So, we decided to scour the runways and bring you a few more amazing trends that are totally wearable, in most offices (you won’t see a write up of head-to-toe feathers - were looking at you Balenciaga - in this post!).

Before we get into our favorites, just a thought about how to approach your fall wardrobe updates. Read through these highlights, look at the photos and identify a couple that really excite you. Take a look at your wardrobe and determine your missing pieces, then start shopping! Approach this strategically and you’ll end up with modern pieces that work seamlessly with your existing wardrobe.  

Florals

Florals are in again for fall (are they ever out?). This season's florals have a vintage vibe, they're darker and bit moodier. A light-weight, even sheer, floral blouse would look great this time of year with a cami and pencil skirt for the office (or a pleated leather or faux leather skirt). Wear it later with the same pencil skirt, but with a blazer layered on top.  

We’re also loving floral dresses for the office. Again, choose a darker floral in a classic silhouette. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with an all-over florally number, put a sweater or jacket on top to tone it down a bit.

We love this trend so much we couldn't limit it to just one photo. Reminder to shop the blog for a great selection of all these trends.

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Plaids

This summer, gingham made its mark. This playful, preppy print was everywhere. Now it’s officially time to give your gingham a rest and pick up some plaid. This season's versions of plaid work for literally everybody. Choose a blazer or a whole suit in a conservative, but modern gray plaid. Or, if you like to push the envelope a bit, have fun with a bold color scheme.  

We’re really excited about the plaid suits were seeing everywhere. We have clients who don’t own a suit, and don’t really need one for their office, but they’ve expressed interest in owning one. We’re steering them toward a plaid suit in a modern, flattering cut.  

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Boxier Silhouettes

The wide-leg pant you've been wearing all summer will transition nicely into fall. Keep them around, and maybe pick up another pair to add to your rotation. A jacket in a boxier cut is also a smart investment for fall. Wear it now over a sundress (with booties) and wear it later over, well, pretty much everything!

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Slouchy Boot

The slouchy boot was ubiquitous on fall runways. It's an easy-to-wear, versatile style. Wear it now with a skirt or floral dress (and bare legs), then in cooler temps with a skirt and tights or slim pants and a blazer. It's perfect this time of year for a casual, weekend brunch when paired with leggings and a cozy knit.

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Picking up a few of these fabulous pieces will go along way in getting your wardrobe ready for the change of seasons. The good news is, you don't have to wait for the first frost to bust out these new purchases. Feel free to start wearing them ASAP!

What’s on your Fall shopping list?

Tips to Help You Master Business Travel

Business travel...some people embrace it; a  new city every week, people to meet and restaurants to try, not to mention having someone to make your bed every day.  Other people prefer to put their kids to bed and eat home cooked meals. Most of the clients we work with have some amount travel that’s required as part of their job. Whichever camp you fall into, simplifying your packing list should make for a more enjoyable experience!

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The number one thing that every seasoned business traveler will tell you is to only pack a carry on - never check a bag.  The reasons for this are twofold, first retrieving your checked luggage takes valuable time, which could leave you rushing to make it to that important meeting. Secondly, any time you check a bag, there’s a chance it may not make it to it's intended destination.  We’ve all been there. There’s nothing worse than having your power suit and heels end up in LA when you’re in London.  Sticking to a carry on is the way to go.  

When packing give some thought to each piece you choose; think about versatility (can I wear it more than once? Does it fill different roles?), bulk (how much space will it take up?) and feel (how does it make you feel?).

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  • Versatility: Try to avoid bringing too many items that only serve one purpose.  For example, a black wrap dress in jersey, not only travels well but can work well during the day when worn with a cami underneath and opaque tights.  Wear that same dress at night without a cami, bare legs and a statement necklace.   

Similarly, for men, a suit jacket can do double duty as a sport coat with denim for a more casual meeting.  

A fashion sneaker that you may wear to commute could also serve you in the hotel gym (assuming you’re going for a lighter workout, not 20 miles on the treadmill!).

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  • Bulk:  If you need to bring some bulkier, hard to pack items like a winter coat or a tall boot, incorporate those pieces into the outfit you wear on the plane, so you don’t have to struggle to stuff them into your carry on.  If you need a blazer or a suit jacket for your meeting, wear it on the plane and have the flight attendants hang it for you. That way you avoid packing it and it stays fresh and wrinkle free!
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  • Feel:  Business travel is not the time to experiment and try out new pieces.  We recommend choosing appropriate, modern outfits that you know make you feel comfortable and confident. It doesn’t matter if you’ve worn that outfit 3 times this season already, chances are people you’re traveling to meet with haven’t seen you in it yet!  

Also think about comfort.  Make sure you do have a comfortable pair of shoes that are easy to slip on and off at security.  A cozy cashmere wrap is also a great piece to have handy in your carry on.

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These tips should make traveling for business a bit easier!  So, pack up, get out there and kill it at your meetings.  Oh, one other tip...definitely reward yourself with a post meeting/pre-flight drink in the airport bar, you’ve earned it!

What are some of your favorite tips for business travel?

You'll Definitely Be Seeing Red (and liking it) This Season! 3 Ways to Wear Fall's Hottest Color

As avid fashion followers, we love seeing all the looks and trends that come down the runways each season. It’s always so exciting and inspiring. That said, we’re also real women with real bodies and pretty typical lives, so it’s not always easy to translate what’s shown on the runways into our everyday wardrobes, not to mention our professional wardrobes. An easy exception to this is when an ‘it’ color seems to magically appear across so many collections.

This season we’re so excited to start incorporating everything red. Red is a fabulous hue for a professional - this goes for all you guys out there too. It's such a powerful and passionate color that is sure to get you noticed (in a good way). It's nearly impossible to not be bursting with confidence when you’re wearing red!

There are so many ways to wear red this season. We loved some of the monochromatic, head-to-toe looks many designers sent down the runway.  It's fresh and wearable, even for die-hard New Yorkers, who typically favor head-to-toe black.

Getty

Getty

If head-to-toe red is a bit much for you, scroll down for three more subtle, but stylish ways to incorporate this season's color into your work wardrobe.

  • Accessories:  If you like the idea of red, but want to take it slowly, you can’t go wrong with a few red accessories. We love a red shoe. There’s something about a fabulous red pump that just puts an extra spring in your step. A red tote or satchel is a great investment that will go along way in updating your fall wardrobe as well.

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  • Outerwear:  There’s nothing more depressing than a monotonous sea of black coats swimming slowly down the sidewalk on a gray winter's day.  Stand out from the crowd and choose a vibrant red coat (or even a hat and scarf).  We guarantee you’ll get tons of compliments, and you’ll smile every time you catch your reflection in a store window.
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  • Pant or Skirt: Many women are intimidated by the thought of wearing red near the face. If you fall into this group, don’t despair, you can still wear this trend in the form of a pant or a skirt. We’re loving a wide-leg pant or even a slim velvet pant in a rich shade of red. If you choose a skirt, we recommend keeping the silhouette simple and classic, especially for the office.  
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Guys, you can (and should) wear red too - and there are lots of options for you. Similar to the ladies, you can’t go wrong with a red accessory like a pocket square, tie or sock. We also love a plaid suit or sport coat with hints of the hue. Very chic!

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Now, after all this, many of you may be thinking, but red looks awful on me, I can’t wear red. We beg to differ! Everyone can wear red- it’s just a matter of finding the right shade and tone that will be most flattering on you. ‘Red’ incorporates a wide range of colors, everything from a true red, to a rich scarlet and burgundy, to a soft reddish pink.

When determining what colors will be most flattering on you, undertone, is what matters. Your undertone will either be cool, warm or neutral and figuring this out is simple. First, flip your hand over, palm up and take a look at your veins. If they appear to be blue or purple, you’re most likely cool and if they look green or yellow, you’re probably warm. If you are having a difficult time seeing either color, you would be a neutral.  Another, less scientific, way to determine your undertone would be to think about your jewelry.  Are you typically drawn to silver, gold or both? If you answer silver, you’re more likely to have cool undertones, where people with warm undertones seem to be more naturally drawn to gold. 

If you’ve determined that you have a warm undertone, you look best in everything from a true red, to warm reds like peach, coral, amber and goldish red.  

If your skin hosts a cool undertone, that does not mean you can’t rock red this season. You’ll want to avoid a true, Coca-Cola red, but any cool shade will work. Cool-reds would be a pink or rosy red and rich maroon or ruby colors.

If you looked at your wrist and thought, huh? As a neutral, you pretty much have your pick of the color wheel - warm and cool colors will look good on you. When it comes to red, go all out! This is a color that will look amazing on you.

Now that you know your perfect shade of red, how are you going to wear it this season?

Summer Favorites You Should Keep Wearing This Fall (and how to style them)

It happens every year, but it always takes us by surprise. One day in mid-September we walk out the door into a muggy, summer-like haze (like today in NYC!).  The next day it’s completely different. You walk out the door and all of a sudden it just feels like fall.  The air is crisp, leaves crunch under your feet as you walk down the sidewalk and you find yourself reaching for a jacket, and everything pumpkin spice.


Dressing for these transition periods can be tough.  We’re not at the point where we want to start pulling out our chunky knits and puffy jackets. In fact, we’re actually hoping to get a couple more wears out of our favorite summer dresses.  The good news is, you CAN keep wearing many of your summer favorites well into autumn and beyond.  Some simple styling shifts can help ease you through to winter.  

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Here are some of our favorite summer pieces and how we plan to keep wearing them for months to come:

  • Floral dresses:  Florals seem to be big every season (we think that’s a good thing!), and this fall is no exception. Keep those floral dresses in rotation - especially ones in a darker print. Pair them with a bootie and a denim or leather jacket and you’re good to go. Speaking of leather jackets, colored leather is really modern. If you already have a black leather jacket consider a burgundy or a rich plum.  One of these hues will add depth to your wardrobe and pair perfectly with your floral dresses. Add tights or go bare, it's all about personal preference and comfort.

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  • Off the shoulder / cold shoulder tops and dresses:  If you went pretty deep in this trend over the past few season, it would be a shame to pack them up come fall.  A chic way to extend the life of these piece is to layer a paper thin turtleneck or long sleeve tee under the top or dress.  Make sure the color you choose for the layering piece makes sense.  Trust us, this works!
Image Source:  Getty / Christian Vierig

Image Source:  Getty / Christian Vierig

  • Cropped wide leg pants looked great this summer when paired with everything from a fashion sneaker to a sandal.  No need to retire them just yet.  Wear them now with a bootie (purposefully showing some skin between the top of the boot and the bottom of the pant) or a tall boot.  The key to pulling off this look is to think about the fabrication of the pant.  If your pant is sear sucker or a light linen, this wouldn’t work.
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  • If you’re like us, you’ve been wearing your white jeans all summer long.  We don’t subscribe to the antiquated ‘no white after Labor Day’ rule.  We love winter white and believe it can be worn all year long.  In the Fall, pair your white denim with a textured blazer, thin knit or a lightweight trench.
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While we love a good shopping spree to celebrate the change of seasons, it’s really not necessary.  A few smart purchases and these styling tips should leave you with plenty of options to get you through the fall, and beyond.

What’s your favorite summer piece that you’d love to keep wearing?

First Day At a New Job? Make sure you dress to impress

This week we've seen our fill of social media posts showcasing kids in their adorable first day of shcool outfits.  All this talk about the first day of school got us thinking about the  first day at a new job - the importance of that first day outfit doesn’t lessen as you get older! Day one of a new job is critical for so many reasons. You're going to be meeting colleagues and clients for the first time and the impression you make on them will last, so you better make sure it's a good one. What you wear and how you present yourself are key components of that first impression.

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If you've been through a couple rounds of interviews at your new company, you have a distinct advantage because you've been exposed to the company and their culture. You've also observed what other people have been wearing. Take this knowledge and let it influence your wardrobe choice. If your interview has been virtual, then you should do a bit of research and see if you can get a sense of what would be appropriate.  

These general tips are relevant for all office environments, from super casual to business formal:

  1. Make sure you're physically comfortable and confident in whatever you choose. If you're uncomfortable with your outfit choice, for whatever reason, that will show. If you're not confident in what you're wearing, that will come across too, and you won't be presenting your best self.

  2. It should go without saying that each piece must be in impeccable shape (no pulls, scuffs, stains, etc) and that everything must fit properly.  

  3. Keep your day one outfit relatively simple. You'll have time to push the envelope and showcase more of your personal style later.  

In a business casual office, lean more towards the 'business' end of the spectrum than the 'causal' end, for day one. Avoid denim and anything overly trendy (again, there's time for that later). For women, you can't go wrong with a well fitting sheath dress in a solid neutral (gray, navy, black) and a classic heel. If you're not a dress person, opt for a straight leg trouser and a well fitting blazer. Gentleman, a sport coat and button down is always a good choice (just pay attention to  rule #2, especially fit!)

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If your office is casual, then denim is probably OK. Avoid distressed styles, and again, you can't go wrong with a great blazer and heel.

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In all cases, avoid anything distracting; jangling jewelry and anything that's ill-fitting. You want your new colleagues to focus on and remember you, not your outfit.  

A new job is a great excuse to go shopping, but do it purposefully. Assess what you already have in your wardrobe, and eliminate any pieces that are dated, in poor shape, or just don’t make you happy. Start with a clean slate and build up from there. Think about the company you're joining, the image you want to project, and your personal brand. Ask about our Private Coaching services to help you with all of this!

Day one is the first of many to come. The interactions you have and the impressions you make on this first day will set the stage for what's to come. Dress purposefully, appropriately and knock 'em dead!

 

Back to School Shopping, It's Not Just for the Kids!

Ahh, the excitement and anticipation of the back to school season... We absolutely love summer and all the fabulous dresses and breezy fabrics, not to mention the plethora of gorgeous sandals to be had, but there's no denying this time of year always feels like an opportunity for a fresh start. It's that back to school feeling. It's real, and it's not just for the kids!  

There is something about the change of season, especially the summer/fall transition, that triggers the desire for a  visit to the hair salon, a new outfit and a never-been-written-in notebook. Celebrate your fresh start by treating yourself to an investment piece (or two) that you’ll love all season long, and beyond.

 

Bag

All the kids are getting new backpacks, don’t you deserve a new work bag too? We think the answer is a definite yes. A bag is such an important part of any professional look. It must be functional, meaning large enough to comfortably carry your laptop, a couple folders and maybe even a change of shoes and your lunch. Function is key, but the look is also important. A fabulous work bag is something that you’ll use pretty much every day, so invest in the highest quality you can afford. For women, we love a classic tote or a large satchel. For men, depending on how formal the rest of your look is, you can choose a sleek backpack, a canvas messenger bag or a leather briefcase.

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Outerwear

While it's not quite time to start thinking about winter coats (thankfully!), it is a great time to consider a lightweight topper, one that’s perfect for the shoulder seasons. Before we know it, the mornings are going to start to feel crisp, and having a new trench coat, soft leather jacket, or tailored blazer (or sportcoat for you gentlemen out there) to reach for will make the season change something to look forward to.

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Shoes

Do you remember going shopping for new ‘school shoes’ every year? We do, and it’s one of our favorite childhood traditions! In our opinion, any time is a great time to buy new shoes. Why not relive those back to school shopping memories and refresh your shoe wardrobe for the upcoming season? Ladies, now is the perfect time to think about a new pair of boots or booties - we love a chunkier heel version in suede. A classic pump or flat will always come in handy too. Men, start thinking about a chelsea boot, wingtip brogue or simple plain-toe derby.

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Don’t let the kids have all the fun, make sure you do your back to school shopping too, and get ready to enjoy your fresh start!

Real Life Client Stories: Emily

In earlier posts we’ve talked a bit about why we do what do. We’ve shared statistics and studies and discussed the importance of helping professionals improve their image and performance in the workplace, and why that is so important. We thought it might be a good idea to bring these concepts to life and share some true stories, and outcomes, from real clients we've worked with throughout our careers.   

Let’s start with Emily. Emily was a young professional, straight out of an ivy league school. She worked in a fairly creative, business casual work place in New York City. Emily was smart and ambitious and stylish. She started working the summer after graduation and didn’t give too much thought to building a work wardrobe. She attended some workshops at her university's career center. They touched on what new employees should wear to work, but she didn’t feel it was geared towards her (she was never going to wear a navy pant suit). She had a couple rounds of interviews at her new company so she was pretty confident she had a good grasp of the office culture.

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She told us that the first week she wore denim and flats and a button down pretty much every day. She felt fine, but kind of boring. As she got more comfortable in the office, her clothes became much more casual and trendy. In fact, she even told us that if she had a big date or happy hour scheduled for after work, she would plan her outfit around that event, rather than what was going on at the office. She admitted, that after a couple of months on the job, there was really no distinction between what she was wearing to work and what she would wear out at night or on the weekends.

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One particularly hot summer day, she decided to wear a pair of shorts and a crop top. She didn’t think twice about it, until she walked past her boss’s office and was called in. Emily told us her boss took one look at her and sent her home to change. She told her it was completely inappropriate and unacceptable. She mentioned she had been meaning to talk to her for awhile about how she was dressing for work, but never felt completely comfortable doing it - but this outfit was the straw that broke the camel's back.

Emily told us that at first she was angry, then embarrassed, then slowly she accepted that her boss was right and she needed some help. That was when she reached out to us, and we’re so glad she did!


Emily gave us the full rundown of the situation and we asked lots of questions to get a better idea of who she was and what elements of her personal style should come through in her work style. We researched the company to learn what would be appropriate. We put together several custom looks for her, and she was thrilled. We knew she was on a budget so we pulled fairly inexpensive pieces that were really versatile, but we also showed her some investment items that she could save up for, or request as gifts (she told us she had a birthday coming up).

She ending up purchasing much of what we recommended. We checked back a couple weeks later and Emily was ecstatic. She told us that her boss and colleagues had noticed a change in her, but more importantly she had noticed a change in herself. Emily said she was more focused at work. She was confident and more likely to speak up in meetings. She called us a week later and said her boss had actually invited her to a client meeting.  That typically didn’t happen for employees at her level.  She said she knew for a fact if she was dressed like ‘the old Emily’, her boss never would have considered it.

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We kept in touch and she requested new looks and pieces from time to time. About six months after we started working with her she was excited to report that she’d been promoted. Years later she's very successful (and still stylish) working in the digital department of a major fashion brand.

Now, we don’t want to take all the credit for her success. Clearly Emily had everything it took to succeed; she was smart, dedicated, passionate and driven. That said, even Emily will agree that how she originally dressed definitely would have held her back.  Her ‘revised’ work style gave her the confidence to speak up and get noticed (in all the right ways) and it absolutely opened doors for her!

We have several stories like this one, and they all spoke to us and stuck with us. We love guiding and training people on an individual level, but what if we could do it on a larger scale? What if we could work with companies and be the outside expert that helps guide employees in this really important (and often overlooked) area?  So that’s what we did, and we’re so happy we did it!  More real life client stores to come in future posts!