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.  

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?