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.

Screen Shot 2017-11-15 at 10.16.00 AM.png

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.

Screen Shot 2017-11-15 at 10.29.01 AM.png

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!

Screen Shot 2017-11-15 at 10.25.44 AM.png

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.

Screen Shot 2017-11-15 at 10.22.16 AM.png

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.

Screen Shot 2017-11-15 at 10.31.00 AM.png

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!

unnamed.jpg

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.

Ruffles-and-Frills-Romantic-Street-Style-Inspiration-19.jpg
  • 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.

54bc23fe0eafb_-_hbz-poncho-12-mfw-ss2015-street-style-day1-06-lg.jpg
  • 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.   

fd93c781d71d7d22b898f6b1576dbc13--sweater-dress-outfit-sweater-dresses.jpg
  • 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.
paris-fashion-week-street-style-elle-white-lace-dress-belted-blazer-evening-to-day-dressing-night-to-day-dressing-style-hack-black-and-white-navy-and-black-640x426.jpg
  • 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.

5ac5861e4e019d9ca334c5ccd880036f--wrap-dress-outfit-wrap-dresses.jpg

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.

unnamed-3.jpg
  • 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.

unnamed-4.jpg
  • 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.

unnamed-1.jpg

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!

 

jupon-en-tulle-jenna-lyons-best-style-jcrew.jpg

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.

Amal-Clooney-looks-stunning-in-a-yellow-Bottega-Veneta-coat-and-dress-as-she-heads-to-the-United-Nat.jpg

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!

Screen Shot 2017-10-10 at 10.43.20 AM.png

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!

Screen Shot 2017-10-10 at 10.44.33 AM.png

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!  

Screen Shot 2017-10-10 at 10.46.26 AM.png
  • 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.

Screen Shot 2017-10-10 at 10.47.45 AM.png

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.

Screen Shot 2017-10-03 at 11.44.53 AM.png
Screen Shot 2017-10-03 at 11.49.16 AM.png
Screen Shot 2017-10-03 at 11.59.07 AM.png

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.  

Screen Shot 2017-10-03 at 12.01.51 PM.png

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!

Screen Shot 2017-10-03 at 12.07.20 PM.png
Screen Shot 2017-10-03 at 12.08.46 PM.png

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.

Screen Shot 2017-10-03 at 12.11.19 PM.png

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!

Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 9.07.43 AM.png

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?).

Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 9.10.36 AM.png
  • 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!).

Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 9.13.49 AM.png
  • 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!
Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 9.16.27 AM.png
  • 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.

Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 9.18.19 AM.png

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.

Screen Shot 2017-09-19 at 10.29.35 AM.png
  • 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.
Screen Shot 2017-09-19 at 10.32.13 AM.png
  • 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.  
Screen Shot 2017-09-19 at 10.34.28 AM.png

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!

Screen Shot 2017-09-19 at 10.38.34 AM.png

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.  

Screen Shot 2017-09-14 at 8.22.45 AM.png

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.

Screen Shot 2017-09-14 at 8.25.44 AM.png
  • 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.
Screen Shot 2017-09-14 at 8.42.53 AM.png

 

  • 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.
Screen Shot 2017-09-14 at 8.48.55 AM.png

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.

Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 2.32.52 PM.png

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!)

Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 2.39.15 PM.png

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.

Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 2.42.12 PM.png

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.

Screen Shot 2017-08-28 at 3.10.48 PM.png

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.

Screen Shot 2017-08-28 at 3.13.46 PM.png

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.

Screen Shot 2017-08-28 at 3.16.01 PM.png

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.

Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 1.53.48 PM.png

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.

Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 1.55.58 PM.png

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.

Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 2.00.00 PM.png

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!

Working From Home...Sweats or Suits?

As technology and connectivity continue to advance, working from home is is growing more and more popular. A recent Gallup Poll indicates 43 percent of employed Americans said they spent at least some time working remotely, that’s up 4% points since 2012.

Flexible schedules provide tons of benefits for both employees and companies. Employees report feeling more engaged, energized and productive. Companies that allow flexibility and support employees working from home (at least some of the time) have better retention rates and higher morale

One of the major benefits employees experience is more TIME.  Time that was once spent commuting can now be used towards more productive tasks (finishing up that big project, walking the kids to school, laundry, yoga).  On top of not having to commute, one can also save on time spent getting ready for work.  No need to spend an hour creating the perfect blowout and flawless makeup...bonus!

Now, that brings us to the million dollar question. What should you wear when you’re working from home? This is a tricky one. You can definitely be more casual (I mean, that’s part of what makes it such an attractive option), but you don’t want to go too casual.

GETTY/THINKSTOCK

GETTY/THINKSTOCK

I’m going to speak from personal experience here and I can tell you that I’ve struggled a bit in this area. I spent years working full-time in corporate offices in Manhattan.  I was always buttoned up and polished. A great sheath dress and fabulous heels were my signature. When I switched careers, I was offered the life changing flexibility of working from home 2-3 days a week.

One problem, the sheath dresses and heels from my old life no longer made sense. I’ll admit that there were times early on when I stayed in yoga pants or leggings all day.  Looking back, I can clearly see how dressing (or not dressing!) this way affected my productivity.  I didn’t feel my best and definitely didn’t feel professional. Slowly, I started to upgrade my work at home style and I found what works best for me.

I’m most comfortable in dresses, so I moved my sheaths to the back of my closet and stocked up on a great selection of easy-to-wear day dresses - knit and sweater dresses for the fall/winter and cute floral or striped maxi and shift dresses for the nicer weather.  My cashmere made way for chambray and denim definitely played a big role in this transition. I still love my fabulous heels, and I’ll wear them at home (sometimes), especially if I have an important call. A great shoe will always give me that extra boost of confidence!

Your work-from-home-wardrobe is all about balance.  Find that right balance of comfort and polish and you’ll be all set!

The Stylish Man: 4 Ways to Enhance Your Office Style and Common Mistakes to Avoid

At FirstSeven, we’re equal opportunity stylists and trainers, and it’s come to our attention that we’ve been focusing all our efforts (at least here on the blog), on women.  We definitely want to be inclusive, so this week, it’s all about the guys. Appearance in the workplace matters for everyone, regardless of gender. We’ve talked at length about the science behind dressing for success, and all of that is relevant for men too. In fact, many of the studies we reference featured male participants.

We’re going to start by addressing five common mistakes men tend to make. These mistakes are easily fixed and by simply eliminating them (starting today!), you'll make huge strides in your office wardrobe game.

  1. Wrinkles:  This is simple, don’t wear anything that’s wrinkled. If you show up to the office in a wrinkled shirt, you’re basically saying you don’t care. You’ll looked frazzled and definitely won’t project an air of confidence. We don’t like to iron, so we opt for a great steamer. It works wonderfully and there’s actually something cathartic about watching the wrinkles fall out of a garment…but I digress...

  2. Short sleeve shirts & a tie:  We know it can get hot out there, and we feel for all you guys in long sleeves on the subway platform (especially when we’re in a sleeveless dress), but trust us, don’t go there. Simply choose a long sleeve shirt and roll up the sleeves. There are tons of great tutorials on YouTube that will show you the polished way to get those sleeves off your forearms, if that’s your goal.

  3. Ties that are too short:  Speaking of ties, make sure they’re the right length.  It should hit right at, or above the belt.

  4. Exposed undershirts:  If you’re going 'tie-less' and plan on unbuttoning your shirt, don’t let your undershirt peak out. Choose a v-neck option and keep the neckline clean.

  5. Ill-fitting items:  We saved this one for last, but it's probably the MOST common mistake we see (women often make this mistake too!). We’ll go into a bit more detail below, but fit is everything, and a great tailor can be your best friend.

Eliminate these mistakes from your wardrobe and you’ll be well on your way to achieving a polished, professional look. If you want to take it a step further and up your style game, start to think about a few of these areas:

Fit Comes First:

We’ll do a post focusing on fit in the next month or so, it's that’s important. Most men who fall into the trap of wearing ill-fitting garments choose pieces that are too large. Not many men can buy off-the-rack and have it fit perfectly, but that’s where a good tailor comes in handy. Also, many retailers offer complimentary on-site alterations - definitely take them up on it.

Once you put on a suit that fits you like a glove, you’ll never want to wear anything else. In a casual office, a great fitting pair of denim will be an instant upgrade. Try a slim fitted button down and you’ll wonder why you ever chose those baggy ones. A sport coat that lies flat at the shoulders, buttons perfectly and shows just the right amount of cuff will make a world of difference. You’ll stand up a little straighter, speak with more confidence and your colleagues and clients will be sure to take notice too.

Screen Shot 2017-08-07 at 4.12.11 PM.png

Think in Color

With mens workwear, many guys tend to err on the side of safe. We get it, it’s easier to be safe. But let's face it, it’s also boring. Safe has turned into its own uniform; white or blue dress shirt (or polo or tee in a casual office) and black, navy or tan dress pants (or khakis or jeans in a casual office). If this ‘uniform’ sounds familiar to you, we urge you to incorporate some color and maybe step outside your comfort zone just a bit. Pink (soft, not sweet) is a great color on men, specifically in professional wear. Trade in your blue dress shirt for a pink one and see how you feel. Yellows, reds, purples and greens are also great additions. 

Screen Shot 2017-08-07 at 4.18.02 PM.png

Play With Prints:

Once you’ve mastered fit and color, it’s time to move on to prints. It can seem daunting to some, to mix prints, but it’s actually pretty easy. Once you’ve got it down, it opens up a whole new world of styling options.   

There are 2 main things to think about when you start mixing prints; scale & color. With scale, opposites attract. If one print is a large scale, choose a smaller sale for your second print. When thinking about color, there should be some commonality across the prints, something that ties them together.

The Devil is in the Details

The details of an outfit are what will really set it apart and establish you as the style guy in your office. We talked about ties a bit, they’re a great place to start if you wear ties to the office. We also love a pocket square. A pocket square for a guy is equivalent to statement jewelry for a woman. It has the power to elevate an otherwise basic look. It can also be the cherry on top of a really stylish ensemble. Socks are another thing to think about. If you play it safe, you probably match your socks to your pants and your shoes. There’s nothing wrong with that, per say, but a colorful, even whimsical sock (we know a guy who rocks pink flamingos) can go along way in showcasing your personality and injecting some life into your work look.  

Experiment, have fun and follow us for more specific styling tips for men in the months to come!

The Denim Days of Summer

If your office embraces denim, the summer is a great time to make sure you have a few undated pieces to put into rotation. Even in offices where denim is generally frowned upon, you may find a couple ways to incorporate this highly comfortable and functional fabric into your work wardrobe. Here is a summary of our favorite denim trends that can be very office appropriate.

The Cropped Jean:

The cropped jean looks fresh and modern. We like them flared and paired with a great ankle strap sandal or pump. If your office is more on the creative side, opt for a pair with a frayed or decorated hem.

The High Waisted, Straight or Flare Jean:  

This is also known as the mom jean, but don’t let that that scare you off. This modern mom jean is so flattering and easy to wear. The high waist should hit above your natural waistline, closer to your lower ribs. This does great things for the body, it smooths out any ‘muffin top’ and creates a really tiny waist. It also elongates the leg line. What’s not to love?  Wear these with a blouse that can be tucked in and a gorgeous heel. We also like wearing this style with a bodysuit (so sleek) and a blazer.

The Denim Dress:  

Take a traditional work appropriate dress silhouette that you know is flattering on you and find it in denim!  A softer chambray is great for a wrap style dress, but choose a slightly stiffer fabrication for a structured shirt dress or even a sheath style.  

The Pencil Skirt:   

We've seen so many chic denim pencils skirts lately.  Totally loving them for summer (and beyond) with a great heel and a crisp button down.  Its simple, classic and so flattering.

White Denim:  

While white denim isn’t really a trend, it is a summer must have.  It's light and fresh and you can wear it with anything. Stylist tip:  Don’t be afraid of staining your white denim. We love The Laundress Stain Solution, it seriously gets out every stain!  

The key to wearing all of these denim pieces to the office is to make sure the rest of the look is elevated and professional. Think blazers, cardigans, crisp button downs, heels and gorgeous work totes to complete the looks.

5 Simple Summer Swaps

In our last post we mentioned some easy ‘Summer Swaps’.  These are simple changes that you could make right now to immediately update your wardrobe for what’s left of summer.
 

Swap #1: Black Blazer for a White Blazer

99% of you probably have a black blazer in your closet that you love. You wear it to work layered over a dress and you wear it on the weekend with a tee and denim. That’s great, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a classic black blazer. We love them. However, for summer, why not lighten it up and choose a white blazer instead? It's crisp and fresh and just as versatile.

Swap #2: Sheath for a Shift

The terms sheath and shift are often used interchangeably, although they actually refer to two distinct styles and silhouettes.

A sheath dress is one that fits closer to the body. It’s not necessarily tight, but it does very closely follow the lines and form of the body. It has a very streamlined silhouette and typically hits at, or slightly above, the knee.

A shift dress hangs from the shoulders with a column effect that skims the body offering more room through the bust, waist and hips.

These are both flattering and work appropriate. I personally love a sheath dress, they're usually my ‘go to’ silhouette for the office. However, when the temps and humidity rise, I find myself swapping out some of my sheaths for a looser fitting shift that allows for more air circulation around the body. It also feels slightly more relaxed, aligning with a summer vibe.

Swap #3:  Skinny Pant for a Wide Leg Pant

For many of the same reasons why we recommend swapping your sheath for a shift, we recommend putting your skinny pant aside, and reaching for a wider leg silhouette. A skinny pant is a classic, it’s flattering, easy to wear and versatile.  The wide leg pant is breezy and flowy and has a modern feel to it.  

Swap #4:  White Button Down for a Chambray Button Down

Most people have a least one trusty white button down that they reach for pretty frequently. That’s smart, you should have one or two, however, consider switching it up this summer and  swapping your white button down for a soft chambray. A chambray comes in many different shades (light wash to very dark washes) and styles (clean lines, buttons, snaps). Find one that matches your office culture and personality. We love this swap because the chambray offers just as much versatility as the button-down classic. You can still wear it under blazers with your favorite skirt or with denim.

Swap #5:  Fashion Sneaker for a Mule or Slide

If you’re like most women, you’ve definitely embraced the fashion sneaker. It's a great option for a commuting shoe - comfortable and modern and there are so many different styles and colors to choose from. Definitely keep your fashion sneakers around, you'll want to pull them back out this fall. However, you might think about taking a break from them this summer.

A flat slide or mule is a great alternative - both styles seem to be having a moment. A slide is a backless shoe that is open toe. A mule is similar, but typically closed toe. These are functional - easy to take on and off - and comfortable. They’re perfect for all your summer commuting.

Make one or all of these swaps and you’ll be one step closer to updating your work wardrobe for the rest of the summer (it’s not over yet!).  We’d love to hear some of your favorite summer swaps!

An Evening of Style in Brooklyn Heights

Last week we were invited to speak at a women’s networking event for the fabulous ladies at Bernstein Partners. The event was held in a beautiful garden that’s juts up against the promenade in Brooklyn Heights, offering amazing downtown NYC views. The weather was hot and steamy, but at least the rain held off!

This event was slightly different from our usual corporate training sessions. It was held after hours and the rosé was flowing! We customized our content and delivery to the audience (a diverse group of professional women) and environment (no powerpoint slides here!).  

promenade.jpg

The ladies at this Wall Street firm must dress professionally, but they’re also a stylish bunch. We worked with the event organizer and developed a presentation specifically for this group. We started by talking about five, easy ‘Summer Swaps’ that can instantly update your work wardrobe for the season. We made this interactive and relevant to everyone by incorporating a ‘splurge’ vs ‘steal’ element to the presentation. For each of our recommendations, we showcased an item that was a higher price point and one at a more budget friendly price, and had the attendees guess which was which. The group had a lot of fun and they often surprised us with their answers!

We then moved on to a discussion around trends. We highlighted some our favorites and discussed how to wear these them to work and then again on the weekend. This was great because it opened up dialogue around what individuals felt comfortable wearing in their specific office and role.

Please put one of the last 2 pics that Robyn sent (just not the one with the ugly background)

When the presentation was over, we were able to engage in one-on-one and smaller group conversations with these women.  We had a blast! Most of them came up to check out our rack of items and even try some on some pieces.  We introduced them to new brands and new ways to put things together. We actually heard that a day or two after the event one attendee showed up to work looking confident and professional in a crisp white blazer and silk joggers.

We wanted to write about this event a) because it was really fun b) it was a bit outside the box and c) to give you some more insight into what we do!

Results in a post-event survey indicated that all the respondents felt they learned something new and that the content was interesting, informative and relevant to them.  They also noted that it was delivered in a fun and engaging way.  We were thrilled with this type of feedback.  It's exactly what we strive to do with every presentation.  We want employees to leaving feeling empowered in their ability to create a professional, polished and stylish work wardrobe, just like these women did! 

It got us thinking of other venues and opportunities to deliver this content that we’re so passionate about. Going into companies and educating professionals is still at the forefront of what we do, but it's also nice to get out of the office, sip a glass of wine and talk styling in a less formal setting - and while we’re at it, let’s play some fashion games too!

All About Moms: More Style and Less Stress!

More style and less stress..that sounds pretty good, right? And if you’re a busy working mom it may sound almost impossible, but trust us, it isn’t.

At FirstSeven, we’ve developed training content specifically for professional moms.  Two-thirds of the company's co-founders are Moms. Faith has three adorable kiddos and I have a pretty cute (if I do say so myself) four year old.  

Faith with her 3 cutie pies (in coordinating looks, of course)

Faith with her 3 cutie pies (in coordinating looks, of course)

My daughter, she's all about sparkles and pink!

My daughter, she's all about sparkles and pink!

I clearly remember the day I went back to work, after being fortunate enough to stay home with my baby for four months. Yes, I remember the emotions that every new mom feels the day she finally has to (gets to?) walk out the door and leave for a whole day: guilt, sadness, excitement.  But even more that, I remember what I wore and the preparation that went into my first day back.  I also remember the stress that accompanied that morning, and pretty much every morning since.

Me and my daughter on my first day back at work after maternity leave.

Me and my daughter on my first day back at work after maternity leave.

I was still nursing, so I had to think about the functionality of my outfit.  I was also struggling to find something that fit the same way it used to! As the years go on and my daughter continues to grow and change, my morning routine also changes and evolves - but the one consistent piece is that I will never again have my mornings to myself (not complaining at all - I wouldn't have it any other way, I’m just stating a fact!).  My morning routine now centers around my daughter which means I have less time to focus on myself.  My mornings need to be streamlined.  My closet has to work for me.  I have to know that everything fits and is flattering (on my body as it is now, not how I hope it will be eventually).  

And I'm not alone:

Everyone performs better when they’re feeling confident - and moms are no exception. With this in mind, we have a few recommendations for professional moms that will get them out the door every morning stress free, and have them walking into the office full of confidence.

Streamline your closet:

Sometimes less really is more. We recommend doing a very thorough closet edit. You can do it yourself, invite a good friend over to help, or hire a professional.  FirstSeven offers Closet Edits as part of our Private Coaching.  A good closet edit leaves you feeling lighter & cleansed. It results in a closet consisting of pieces that are modern, flattering and that fit you really well. It also helps you identify any gaps, that when filled, result in a really functional wardrobe.  This means that you can literally go in your closet and grab pretty much anything and know it will work.  How’s that for stress free living?

Maximize Accessories:

Take an audit of your shoes and bags and make sure they’re all in good condition.  A bag or shoe is always something we recommend investing in, if you can. The cost per wear will always be good, and there’s something about a fabulous shoe or a great new bag that will put a spring in your step.

You can also use accessories like jewelry and scarves as a more budget friendly way to update your look and maximize the wearability of your staples. A neutral sheath would look classic and professional with a nude heel and delicate layered necklace. It would take on a very different (but still chic) look with a pointed toe flat and a statement necklace.

Another key benefit to accessories is (drumroll please…) they always fit!  Also necklaces, earrings and shoes can be used to draw the eye up, or down, and away from any problem areas.

Build a Capsule Wardrobe:

Start by identifying the dress silhouettes that work best for your body type, then start building your dress wardrobe.  Dresses are ‘insta outfits’ and we love them! Throw one on in seconds, add a shoe and accessory and you’re good to go.  Make sure you have a few dresses that you love and reach for them on your busiest mornings.

Next, think about your separates; start with blouses, trousers and skirts. Customize by going deeper in one category and lighter in another based on your personal preferences. That said, a good rule of thumb is five blouses/tops, three trousers and two skirts. If you chose these items strategically so that everything can be mixed and matched, you’ll have 25+ easy work outfits. Add on a couple blazers and denim (if your office allows denim) and your options will grow even more.

With all of these categories, focus on classic pieces, but always include at least one trendier piece to keep your look modern.

Moms are such a valuable part of the workforce.  Anything we can do to help support them is a win for everyone. The team at FirstSeven was so excited when we learned of ‘re-launch’ and ‘re-entry’ programs.  Many of these program support all people who have had to leave the workforce for an extended length of time, but many of them focus on moms who are coming back to paid work after taking time to raise their family.  It's wonderful that so many companies are recognizing and fostering the development of this segment!

I may be starting to sound like a broken record, but what you wear matters. Moms in particular may be struggling with their confidence, especially if they’re re-entering. We believe these strategies will go far in helping to ease their transition and building their confidence.

Please reach out to us if your company has a re-entry program, we’d love to talk about how our training could enhance the program.

I’d also love to hear from all you amazing working moms out there. What are your go-to strategies for getting out the door looking and feeling great?

Because we didn't want Lili to be left out..Lili and my daughter clearly making important phone calls.

Because we didn't want Lili to be left out..Lili and my daughter clearly making important phone calls.

Keeping it Casual: A Few 'Dos' and 'Don'ts' for Mastering Your Style in a Casual Work Environment

Business casual is a very common term, but when you think about it, it's actually a bit of an oxymoron, right? It can be a challenge for many people to master a polished and professional look in a work environment that leans more to the casual end of the spectrum. While it's fantastic that people are allowed more freedom these days in choosing what they want to wear, sometimes this freedom can be overwhelming and a bit daunting.  

What started out as a movement a decade or so ago, with the ever popular Casual Friday has really grown and evolved. Today whole industries and geographies are (ie Silicon Valley) becoming very casual, every day. Even typically conservative industries like finance and law are slowly loosening up their dress codes, and there’s a whole range in between. This can make it tough for anyone to figure out what to wear on a daily basis.   

Consider this interesting data from Euromonitor. In the last 10 years, the US market for women’s suits shrank by about 77%, while the market for leggings more than quadrupled. That’s a dramatic shift,  and pretty telling about trends and formality.

While every company has its own unique culture and vibe, there are a few universal dos and don'ts that will help you navigate the confusing world of business casual.  Don’t forget you can shop our favorite pieces related to each of these tips on our ‘Shop the Blog’ page.

Trends:

Trends are fun and fresh. Who doesn’t love trends? Our advice on trends is to go for it. Pick one or two each season that excite you and incorporate them into your work wardrobe, in small doses. A couple of our favorite trends this summer, ruffles and wider leg pants, can be great in the office. That said, don’t over do it. Avoid going head to toe trend, make sure to feature a couple classic pieces as well. 

Do incorporate a couple of your favorite season trends.

Don’t wear trend pieces head to toe.

 

Dresses:

A dress is a great option for a casual work environment, when done right. Some of our favorite casual dress styles are absolutely office appropriate: a shirt dress, wrap, chambray.  However, some casual dresses can cross that line and be too casual. Here’s a good rule of thumb, if you’d wear it to the beach or a pool, save it for the weekend. 

Do wear dresses to the office.

Don’t mistake a cover up for a dress.

Denim:

We love denim for a casual office. What’s not to love? It's easy to wear and care for and so comfy, not to mention there are so many amazing denim styles to choose from. When choosing denim for the office, remember darker denim is always a bit less casual than a lighter wash. Not to say you can’t wear a lighter wash, but just putting it in perspective. With denim at work, fit is key. Make sure your denim doesn’t have a low rise or gaps at the waist. A skinny style is fine, but too tight isn’t. We’d also avoid overly distressed denim at work. If you want to incorporate a trendier denim this season a high rise wide leg is a fabulous option!

Do wear denim to the office. Focus on fit and style.

Don’t wear ill fitting or overly distressed styles.

Accessories:

Accessories can be really fun and they’re a great way to show off your personal style, at work and on the weekend. In the office you can definitely go bold with statement jewelry, if that’s your thing. One piece of advice though is to avoid any jewelry that can be distracting to you or your colleagues; think jangly bracelets or necklaces that bounce when you walk.

Do use accessories to showcase your personal style.

Don’t let them be a distraction.

 

Shoes:

In a casual workplace, your shoe options are practically limitless, especially in the summer months. Anything from a fashion sneaker to a great pair of sandals can be appropriate. That said, one of our biggest no-nos are flip flops. Not only are they distracting - who wants to hear FLIP FLOP, FLIP FLOP all day long as you’re walking around the office? - they’re also one of the worst choices for foot health.  If you must wear a flip flop, please save them for the beach!

Do wear fashion sneakers and fun sandals that show off your summer pedi.

Don’t sport a flip flop (because a flip is always a flop).

Enjoy the freedom that comes with a casual workplace. Show off your personal style and have fun dressing each and every day. Be creative, be comfortable but never compromise your professionalism!