Style Matters

Business, Work Wear

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“It all seems so vain and selfish”, is what an acquaintance of mine said regarding my position on impression management.  To tell the truth, I thought the same way early in my career, and it showed.  However, what we wear speaks volumes in just a few seconds. Social psychology tells us this as well as a boatload of facts and data, but if it’s hard to wrap your hands around the vanity of choosing style, let me arm you with my own personal style journey.

I was 26 when I really started to take note. Why was it that the ladies that dressed “well” garnered more business than I did and they weren’t a bit more talented? After my first large bonus check, I decided to make an investment in my clothing. At the time, it was less of a style choice, because I hadn’t developed that yet, and more of a uniform. My uniform consisted of three pants, two skirts, three blazers, five collared shirts, and one pair of polished jeans. Everything came from Banana Republic outside of the shirts which wear from Brooks Brothers.

Normally, I would confine myself to my cubicle and seldom make in-person meetings. At the time I would excuse my cubicle dwelling as needing to build my business. After the investment with appropriate attire, which was somewhere in the total ballpark of $2000 (seemed to be a lot at the time), I found an excuse or two a month to be meeting clients in person.

In-person meetings can have an amazing impact on your business especially if it’s not something that you are used to doing. The more I was in front of clients, the more successful I was, the more confident I became and the more style notes I took.

As I became more confident, I realized that I did not like certain things, like pants. After minding my style for three years in a male-dominated industry, I made the big leap to dresses and skirts. This may really seem like an endeavor in frivolity but there is something immensely powerful surrounding a woman’s ability to feel confident, dressed as a woman with a peer group almost made entirely of men. I can recall one specific meeting when a photographer stepped in for a photo and it was 9 men in suits and one woman in a pink mandarin collared dress. Guess who billed the most that year?

I get that making an investment on the outside may seem vain – remember it’s not the what’s on the outside that counts, right? However, the data surrounding how others form their opinion of you is indisputable, and it does matter. If that’s not enough for you, then give it a try like I did. See how an investment in how you show up can impact your confidence and bank account. I promise you – style matters.

 

 

 

The Right Way to do (P)Leather

Work Wear

Fall is a great time to start getting out the sweaters, boots and heavy coats. It’s also a great time to start incorporating other fabrics into your wardrobe. Leather (or pleather if you prefer) can be a tricky one, especially in the context of office wear.

During our shopping trip to Ann Taylor, we found two pieces that incorporate “pleather” in this case, without being over the top or trashy looking. The first piece is a shift dress with a wide block of pleather across the neckline, creating flared sleeves on either side. The rest of the dress is a flat black. This is a great mix of both fabrics without being too loud or in your face. (P)Leather is best when it’s not clinging to your skin, rather, a little looser and free moving.

The singular color leaves a lot of room for a patterned heel or earring, but be sure to keep it toned down and “calm” for the office.

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If this much (p)leather is too much for you, try incorporating it as an accent fabric. Below, this Ann Taylor grey 3/4 sleeve shift dress uses leather around the neckline and pockets. This is a great way to add some flare to an otherwise pretty basic shift dress. A pair of black (p)leather pumps finish off the look and tie in the trim on the dress perfectly; making for a simple to put together look for fall.

Dressing it for Casual Friday

Work Wear

As we’ve mentioned before, Casual Friday doesn’t have to mean jeans. This week, we are falling into cooler weather with a dress, blazer/ bootie combo that can take you from the office right into the weekend.

If you’re not good a mixing and matching patterns and vibrant colors, neutrals and earth tones can be your best friend. Check out Theo’s neutral toned look. While this could typically be considered a summer dress, when it’s paired with a gray/tan blazer and suede, closed toe booties, the outfit translates into the cooler season seamlessly.

Trading in the basket weave purse for a leather tote large enough to store your laptop really finishes off this office ready look.

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When in doubt: Blazer and Blouse

Work Wear

It can be confusing with all the new styles, guidelines and hemlines. With all the new cuts and trends, it’s now easy to stand out by sporting a classic office look; A tailored blazer with a crisp, white button down shirt and tailored slacks. Below is a great every day look from Ann Taylor that can’t go wrong in the office. Notice how the blazer cuts in at the waist and the pants are close, but not skin tight, to the leg, avoiding that boxy look that is easy to happen upon with slacks and jackets. Pair with a neutral heel, belt and simple necklace to bring the whole look together. Enjoy!

Staple Pieces are Essential

Work Wear

TheOProtocol stopped in to LOFT to check out their new fall line. What we found were classic pieces that are versatile and worth the investment.

Last week we featured Rent the Runway as a great option for selecting unique pieces that can be changed out week to week or month to month. For some, the $169 Unlimited Subscription fee can be a little more than the budget allows. This is where wardrobe staples gain their value.

While we love a good Casual Friday look, today we are going to feature the LOFT Pocket Shift Skirt in the “dark brown sugar” shade. This camel color is a great, warm fall shade that can still constitute as a “neutral” making it a great mix-and-match piece. The shift style cut is classic, sophisticated and can carry a broad range of tops; from sweaters to button downs and even a wrap. Pair with tights on cooler days or wear as-is when the weather is a bit warmer.  With the versatility this skirt offers, this skirt becomes a sensible purchase for those of us on a tighter budget, without sacrificing style.

This week (10/12/18) most of these items are part of their 50% off sale! Check them out!

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Loft Pocket Shift Skirt paired with the Plaid Tab Sleeve Blouse

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Paired with the Dot Stripe Wrap Top

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Paired with a navy flutter sleeve top.