personal styling

An Investment in Your Career

Have you ever been in the city and needed a comfortable place to work?  Have you ever had to meet with a client or colleague, but didn’t want to do it in your office or at a coffee shop?  What if there was a place you where you could meet, connect and do so much more? What if you could take a barre class and shower, grab healthy meal, host an event, have real conversations and be inspired by other professional women?  Well, a place like this will soon exist, and it's called Luminary. Oh, and there will be wine on tap…

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We had the opportunity to meet with Cate Luzio, the founder of Luminary (talk about an inspirational woman!) a few weeks ago.  She told us her story and we shared our stories and the mission behind FirstSeven. It was one of those meetings that just felt right, and there are such natural synergies with FristSeven and Luminary, that we couldn’t help but get excited.

One of Luminary’s main points of differentiation is around the programing and content that Luminary will offer its members, while cultivating a sense of community, empowerment and inclusivity.

Based in Nomad, Luminary has over 15,000 square feet of carefully designed communal work and social space with an emphasis on investing in self-development, wellness, flexibility and giving back. It’s a sanctuary of productivity, offering women flexible memberships that meet their economic and lifestyle needs. Combining innovative and accessible workspaces with tailored learning experiences, content and programming, Luminary seeks to enhance the greatest strengths of its members.
— https://ifundwomen.com/projects/luminary

Last week we celebrated the pre-launch of Luminary.  It was a fabulous party and we can’t wait for the launch.  Check it out, there are special pre launch memberships available for a limited time.  Maybe we’ll see you there!

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Work Your Whites!

While we don’t follow the old fashioned rule of no white before Memorial Day, we definitely suggest wearing white more often, as the temperatures climb. There’s something about a pure crisp white that makes you look fresh and full of energy.  It’s easy to throw on a pair of white shorts or a cute sundress on the weekends, but have you wondered how to wear more white at the office? Well, as always, we’re here to help!

The Blazer:  There’s nothing like a great white blazer to update your summer wardrobe.  You can go with a fitted blazer that nips in at the waist, or go for a more relaxed boyfriend fit.  Layer these over sleeveless dresses and blouses for an instantly put together and office appropriate look.

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The Trouser:  Give your black work pants a break for a few months and choose some white trousers instead.  If you work in a casual office, a pair of white denim is a smart investment. We’re also loving a great pair of wide leg linen blend pants.  Linen is such a great fabric for the hot weather, the only problem is wrinkling. That's why we recommend a blend that’s more wrinkle resistant.  We love these pants paired with a bright top, printed blouse or more casually, a graphic tee.

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The Shirt Dress:  A white dress can easily come off as too ‘vacationy’, (I’m not sure that’s a word, but you know what we mean!).  If you’re worried about this, a great option is a belted shirt dress. It’s a classic silhouette and there’s really nothing more professional than a traditional button down. Avoid anything too flowy, and chose a more structured style.

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The White Button Down:  Speaking of a traditional button down….keep wearing yours all summer long. If you work in a more casual or creative environment, roll up the sleeve (or choose a short sleeve style) and tie a front knot (just make sure you’re not showing any skin).

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The Pencil Skirt:  A tailored pencil skirt in white is a brilliant choice.  Pair it with a matching blazer for the perfect summer suit.

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The Pump:  We love a white pump.  If you’re wearing a white trouser or denim, pairing it with a white pump will elongate your leg line, and who doesn’t want that? 

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Wearing white can be tricky, especially at the office.  Before you head out the door, do a full body check to:

  • Make sure your whites are impeccable.  No stains, no yellowing or dinginess. Throw a Tide Stick in your bag for unexpected accidents and use The Whites Detergent from our friends at The Laundress to keep your whites looking pristine!

  • Ensure nothing is see-through!  Stand in sunlight to make sure you won’t be giving your co-workers a show!

Shop our favorite whites here! 

Personal Branding for Career Success

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

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

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

The Man Cave.

The Man Cave.

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

Night before prep!

Night before prep!

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

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

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

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

The Missing Piece in Many Corporate Training Programs

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

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

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

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

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

That’s one of the reasons we founded FirstSeven!

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

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

Vacation: Take it, don't lose it!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Shop some of our favorites, and enjoy your vacation!

The Ultimate Date Night

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

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

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

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

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'Made to Measure March'

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

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

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

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

Did Someone Say Sample Sale?

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

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

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

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

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

How to Wear Red to the Office

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

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

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

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

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

The Power of Color

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

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

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

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

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

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

For example, in Western culture:

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

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

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

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

Style Challenge

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

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

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

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!).

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!

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!

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!

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?

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

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


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

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

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

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

Image Source:  Getty / Christian Vierig

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Real Life Client Stories: Emily

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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!