professional

Fabulous Gift Ideas for Everyone at the Office!

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

 

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

Happy gifting everyone!

Introducing #MondayMuse!

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

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

Jenna Lyons

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Amal Clooney

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

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

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

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

4 Office Friendly Fall Trends

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

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

Florals

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

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

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

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Plaids

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

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

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Boxier Silhouettes

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

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Slouchy Boot

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

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

What’s on your Fall shopping list?

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!

Introducing FIRST|SEVEN, because every second counts!

Did you know that employees who dress well are viewed as more reliable, successful and driven by their colleagues, clients and business partners?  It’s true, and there’s plenty of scientific research to back that up. We’ll delve into some of these fascinating studies in future posts, but first we want to introduce ourselves. 

FirstSeven is a Corporate Training firm that works directly with companies, typically through their Learning & Development departments. We create content and deliver training seminars to educate professionals on how to improve their performance, by upgrading their image.

FirstSeven was founded by three fashion industry veterans who have worked for years styling thousands of clients across the country.  Do you know what the biggest ‘need state’ was for these clients?  Yes, you guessed it...there was a huge demand for assistance with workwear.  Women reached out when they were headed back to work after taking time to raise their family, when they changed careers or when their company’s dress code went from business formal to business casual

Working with these clients was so rewarding! After incorporating our styling suggestions we’d hear how they felt more confident, which helped them to nail a big presentation.  They told us that they started to feel more professional, they stood a little taller, spoke up a little clearer, and this translated directly to their productivity.  We heard stories of how they felt they were getting more respect and were being taken more seriously by their clients and business partners.  Since there was such a need for this type of education, we decided to evolve from working only one on one, to reaching more people through informative, interactive and fun group training sessions.

We’ve created content on a wide range of topics, all of which are relevant to the workplace. I’ll touch on a few of our favorites, to give you an idea of what we’re about:

Keeping it Casual:  So many companies and industries are moving to be more casual.  While this is a welcome evolution for many employees, it can be challenging to navigate. From an employer perspective, it can be awkward and difficult to enforce a more casual dress code, especially in a more creative environment.  In this session we will teach employees how they can continue to showcase their personal style while still being professional and client ready.

All About Moms:  This is a module we created specifically to assist moms.  Women make up 57% of the workforce and 70% of moms with kids 18 or younger are working outside the home.  Working moms face their own unique challenges, especially those who are reentering the workplace. This time can be a big adjustment for many women, whether they’ve been home with a newborn for a few short months, or if they stayed home for an extended time to raise their family.  In our All About Moms training session, we’ll help women look and feel confident by sharing tips and tactics to ease their morning routine while ensuring they’re looking and feeling their best.  We were so excited to learn about ‘Re-Entry’ programs in which many companies are investing, this module would be a great complement to those, it also works wonderfully as a stand alone session. 

Fit Matters:  Fit is one of the most important aspects of style. It doesn't matter how expensive your shirt was or who designed your blazer, if the fit is bad, it will look bad. With the right fit, you'll look and feel secure, confident and happy. But, in order to achieve the proper fit, you need to know your body type and how to dress for it. We will show you various styling techniques to flatter your figure while educating on fit.

These are just a few of the sessions we’ve developed.  There are several more, and we also welcome the opportunity to customize content specific to your company and its unique challenges.   

If you’re involved in Learning & Development,  HR or simply want to learn more about FirstSeven, please connect with us, go to our website and/or comment on this post and we’ll reach out to you!

If you’re a professional woman (established, or just starting out) please follow us for proven tips on how to build a great work wardrobe on a budget and some strategies to get you from desk to dinner, flawlessly (among other topics). We’ll post at least once a week in the beginning, and we’ll ramp up from there.  In addition to styling tips and suggestions, we’ll share more about each of the co-founders, as well as some inspirational client stories, and scientific research that validates the importance of focusing some of your attention on your outward appearance.  

Please let us know if there are any specific challenges you’re facing in regards to your work wardrobe and we’ll make sure to address them!