First, Invest in Yourself

46837216_10156656661028672_3218406169567559680_o
Valerie has an impeccable personal style and knows a boutique when she meets it. She’s styled by Sabrina Davis at Range Boutique from head to toe.

“It takes me 10 minutes extra to really feel confident all day long”, said my best childhood friend, Valerie (Wampler) Inglesby, as she leaned into the gym mirror applying her eye makeup. “I see these moms looking and feeling tired all day but for me, it’s a 10-minute fix”. This was 9 years ago, and I was home from Germany for a week. I went to visit her and her young family for a day, which always means a stop at the gym for a quick workout and a shower. I didn’t have kids at the time, but that moment has always stuck with me. I have always marveled at how Valerie, at every stage, projects confidence even when she may not feel confident.

Valerie and I grew up together and met through the 6th-grade orchestra. We also IMG_2212pursued the middle school cheerleading squad because we thought it would be funny for a couple of “Orch Dorks” to show up at try-outs. We didn’t really anticipate getting on the squad, but we made it, and it cemented our friendship. We’ve been finishing each other’s sentences ever since.

 

Currently, Valerie serves as the Chief Operating Officer for Crescent Investment Group, a major commercial player in the real estate office arena. She is married with three kids, one of which is still a toddler and the other two are in middle school (playing multiple instruments).

Valerie has never had any issue investing in herself first in order to take care of her investment business better. Here are a few tips for Valerie’s ROI.

  1. You’re never too far away from being your best self

It doesn’t matter how old you are or how far you must go. Every day is an opportunity to work towards being your best self.

  1. Find your joy in exercise

Exercise is a necessary part of being successful in business and in life. If you don’t find a way to enjoy exercise, even if that means watching your favorite show while you exercise, then you will always fall short. Valerie says she is a different person walking out of the gym than she is walking into the gym. And speaking of Val’s exercise habits, you can tell that she has worked hard for her physique.

  1. Invest in yourself even if it feels exorbitant

If there are things or issues you have with your clothing, mental health, physical appearance or whatever else there is that tends to take up too much space in your brain or keeps you in negative self-talk mode, fix it. The cost of dwelling on an issue is a larger investment than fixing it and moving on with your life.

 

Valerie is one of those rare exceptional people that truly does have it together, and it’s wrapped up in this perfect package of health and wellness. So much so, that she’s about to pursue her passion and help others in a professional coaching business. I’d encourage all of you to follow her advice as she is a model of success. She will be our very first guest blogger on The O Protocol next week as well!

Staple Pieces are Essential

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!

20181012_121305.jpg
Loft Pocket Shift Skirt paired with the Plaid Tab Sleeve Blouse
20181012_121319.jpg
Paired with the Dot Stripe Wrap Top
20181012_121332.jpg
Paired with a navy flutter sleeve top.

Rent the Runway Rookie Edition: Casual Friday. The good, the bad and the wrinkled.

Lesson of the day: Consider fabrics that have a little more structure when placing your order. A wrinkle in your garment can be a wrinkle in your style.

Rent the Runway has been quite an experience this week. There is certainly a learning curve but by the end, I think I have developed a wealth of knowledge for my next order. Friday’s selection, a Trina Turk Alexsia Chambray Blazer , also came with it’s set of lessons. While I love the look of a blazer dressed down, one must take into consideration that acquiring clothing through an online medium means that these items are going to be packaged up, and sent on a several day journey through the mail. When theses items arrive, you may want to be ready with an iron or a steamer.  (You will see in the photos below how difficult chambray can be a tricky, maintenance-heavy fabric to work with)

If you’re like most working women, your day is busy enough managing a family (or even just your personal life), your professional life and all the things that fill the minutes in between. The purpose of RTR for professional women is to have ready-to-wear outfits that arrive at your door, with no extra work included. 99% of my RTR experience fell into that sequence. While I made sure to read reviews, check sizing and plan around my chambray blazer order, I failed to recognize that chambray wrinkles easily and is difficult to bring back to life at a moments notice. Casual Friday is a time to dress down, but having crisp, clean and ironed clothing is still an office protocol must.  Nevertheless, it can make a great addition to your Casual Friday look by giving a basic shift dress, similar to the one pictured below, some dimension and added color. Since both the dress and the blazer are solid colors, I brought Monday’s leopard print shoes back to life with a Causal Friday twist.

20181005_112321

While we here at TheOProtocol don’t mind sporting a casual dress and some heels on Friday’s, many enjoy the luxury of throwing on a pair of jeans before heading into the office. Below are some other ways to leave the dress on the hanger and finish out the work week with the coveted pair of jeans.

20181005_111253.jpg

20181005_111500.jpg

Rent the Runway: Rookie Edition Part I

Having witnessed Theo’s Rent the Runway pieces over the last few years, I decided it was finally time to take the plunge. I went into this rookie experience with a certain criteria set up for what I would be looking for. Today I will share my “Monday-Thursday” dress. I am pretty self conscious about my upper arms so I selected a piece with over-sized sleeves that would mask/give the illusion that my arms were thinner than they are.

The C/Meo Collective Black Divergent Dress was a perfect fit for what I was looking for. As suggested by Theo, I paid close attention to the sizing suggestions and sized my selection accordingly. This particular dress fit true to size. What I love about this dress is the high, conservative neckline (great for the office), A-symmetrical skirt and the bell sleeves. This cut had both a relaxed and polished look, great for any weekday at the office.

As the mother of a toddler, jewelry has faded from my day to day wardrobe for obvious reasons. With that, I added interest to this look with a mid-height, leopard, closed toe heel; a great way to wear animal print without being too “in your face” or club-looking.

So far so good!

20180930_182358

20180930_203935.jpg

Rent the Runway: Part II

As I noted in my previous RTR post, I am a veteran of the Rent the Runway Unlimited program. It saves me time and money by rotating my work wear throughout the week.  By combining some of my wardrobe staples with the Rent the Runway shipments, I am sure to have a presentation worthy look multiple days a week.

Not every office can support the occasional pop of color in the wardrobe but ours certainly does. And while this TANYA TAYLOR COLORBLOCK SAMRA SKIRT does have a sense of flair to it, I paired it with a conservative top in a Banana Republic High Low Curved Hem top and the classic white “Prefect Shirt”  button down from Ann Taylor.

19038

20180926_095044

Below is the Adelyn Rae Black Windowpane Dress from the Unlimited service tied together with a classic cut blazer from Ann Taylor Loft Herringbone Modern Blazer. What drew me to this particular blazer was the darkened elbow patches, which give this look a little something extra.

20180926_084607

Pictured last but certainly not least, is what I believe Rent the Runway does best – the work dress.  These two dresses don’t require any complimentary wardrobe pieces. First is the DONNA MORGAN NAVY SQUARE DRESS which has figure forgiving features and is office ready.

201809263014282915071517871

Second is the LK Bennett Blue Dress which is perfect for those who aren’t afraid to wear a little pattern. When done correctly, adding texture through pattern can add a level of sophistication to a look while also camouflaging areas we may no be so crazy about.

20180926_094846

To purchase the pieces from this post would cost a retail price tag of over $1600. Rent the Runway in this case is a bargain not to be missed.