You are very welcome! All success to you and thanks for checking out my tumblr blog.
Hi! Thanks for your question. I’m happy to give you a few tips.
- Would somebody please strike the phrase “Dress for Success” from the English language? (As always, no disrespect to the non-profit intended.) I think you should have some sort of campaign at your school to come up with a better phrase. Let me know how that goes. ;>)
- Start with the question, “What’s my personal brand?” What are your 3 greatest attributes that you want to make sure people recognize about you in the workplace? And how are you going to reflect that in what you’re wearing? For example, if you have a vibrant and outgoing personality, wearing all gray all the time is not going to represent. You need color!
- Professional dress doesn’t mean boring. If you’re artistic/creative, incorporate mixed patterns and interesting shapes/proportions.
- Business attires does not necessarily mean suits. 80% of businesses are business casual. The trick is to understand business casual.
- Elegant Business Casual is dress pants, a shirt (not a t-shirt), and a jacket/blazer. Standard Business Casual is dress pants or khakis and a shirt (not a t-shirt). Weekend wear includes jeans, t-shirts, flip-flops, sundresses with straps - generally, these items are not business casual. (Business formal is a suit.)
- Corporate professionals dress modestly. I love a sexy secretary look but keep the shirt buttoned so cleavage doesn’t show, the skirt not so tight that it’s awkward to sit down or walk and not so short that you have to worry about exposing too much thigh (3 inches above knee or less), and the heels no more than 3 inches. Be known for your intelligence, determination, talent and ability. Not your boobs.
- Consider a dress and a sweater with kitten heels. Or a pencil skirt, shirt, scarf and flats. Black dress pants always work - pair them with a button-down shirt and a blazer. I think all of these looks would be appropriate.
I hope this was helpful.
Color Characteristics at Work Series: Warm
I so lied. When I posted my last article on color characteristics at work (cool) in June, I promised the next in the series the next week. Oh, such a liar I am. But I never give up and better late than never, I say! Thus, the final post in this series.
Remember, there are six predominant color characteristics: Warm (as you see above); cool; soft; bright; deep; and light (I haven’t done “light” or “deep” sets yet but I will and add it to the Polyvore collection.
Why does this matter and what does it have to do with work? Well, depending on how you think: nothing or quite a bit. If you like to look amazing and represent your authentic self, wearing colors with the characteristics that best relate to your your skin, eyes, hair, and personality, and personal brand makes complete sense. If you don’t care, enough said (or typed). Stop reading. Now.
Let’s talk about warm colors. The orange-reds, peaches and oranges, golds and bronzes, beiges, tans and off-whites shown above look dynamic on the people who have:
- A yellow, golden, peachy, olive undertone to their skin. Note: Sometimes people who look great in warm tones have freckles.
- Hair may be sandy, brown, strawberry blonde, auburn, bright red, rusty red.
- Eyes can be any color but often brown, hazel, green.
- "High contrast" coloring: dark hair with fairer skin; or "low contrast" coloring: golden or strawberry blonde hair and fair skin or dark hair and dark skin. If you’re high contrast you may be referred to as a Fall or Autumn; if you’re low contrast, you may be a Spring (you could be bright or light). Or maybe you’re just warm and you don’t need a label at all. ;>)
- Warm toned people look great in toasted colors (brown in the hue). These colors are more earthy, spicy and rich.
- A bright orange might look great on someone with warm and glowing skin, bright eyes; rust orange might look great on someone with fair skin & freckles and sandy or red hair.
- If lime green looks great on you - lucky you! You might be a warm skin toned person, low contrast (skin and hair close to the same shade).
Celebrity examples of warm color characteristics include Julianne Moore (above), Nicole Kidman (think of her in Moulin Rouge in those orange-reds - she glowed), Penelope Cruz, Amy Adams, Janelle Monae, Cameron Diaz.
If you’d really like to know what colors work best for you, I recommend you work with an image consultant. There are thousands of them all around the world. You can find an accredited image consultant at www.aici.org. You can find me there too.
How to wear off white at work - even if it looks terrible on you
When I was 24, I saw a winter white cashmere long coat in a catalog that I HAD TO have. My wonderful and cute baby-of-a-husband bought it for me for Christmas. I was so excited. I wore it out a couple times: Once to work, once out and about. And then I never wore it again. For years, Dan would say, “Why don’t you ever wear that coat?” and I could only counter, “I don’t know. I’d like to but I just don’t feel good in it.”
Now I know and you should too: If you have a cool skin tone, winter white and beige are going to wash you out. yellowed-white colors make you look like death warmed over. Remember, cool skin tones (pink/blue undertone) often look best in white, not off white.
But what if you just LOVE winter white. As soon as I saw this Michael by Michael Kors dress I wanted it (don’t worry, I won’t buy it). If you feel the same way, that this dress or anything in off-white or light beige is a must-have, consider the following:
Buy the dress! The trick to look and feel great is to wear a color near your face that is a cool color. The examples I’m using in the picture above are a raspberry colored scarf and a pink signature necklace. Switch from the gold belt to a black belt and shoes. Wear silver jewelry. The look on the far left would work great for a warm skin toned person - cream-colored dress, gold accessories.
Pantone & Fall Colors at Work
Pantone doesn’t rule the world - but they do have a tremendous amount of influence on the clothes we buy and wear.
Pantone is a standardized color matching system (Pantone Matching System or PMS). The company, headquartered in New Jersey, is seen as the authority in color. Pantone assigns a number for each of the 1,667 colors in their palette (they added 336 new colors in 2012) allowing for interior, fashion, and publishing designers to communicate more easily with printers and other vendors about exact color choices. Anyone can buy their very useful formula guides.
According to a 2001 NPR article, Pantone and designers work hand in hand to determine trend colors for any given year. “One of the most influential committees is a group of 10 people whose names are a secret. They meet in Europe twice a year — May and November — at the invitation of Pantone…” And there they determine the trend colors for each fall and spring, and the color of the year, such as 2014s Radiant Orchid. Interesting, yes?
The clothes we see on the runways right now during New York Fashion Week showcase the color trends, and designs, of course, for Spring 2015. (Not that I’m attending NYFW - are you? Some day.)
All this is to say, the colors you see as you flip through racks at Anthropologie, Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, J Crew, H & M, etc. we’re determined, in part, by committee months and months ago, chosen by designers, and implemented by brands high and low. (I feel like I should insert the famous quote by The Devil Wears Prada’s Miranda Priestly here.)
Just because Pantone, its committee, designers and companies determine trend colors doesn’t mean we should wear them if they don’t work for us. Always wear colors that make you look and feel great.
This fall’s colors are Radiant Orchid, Royal Blue, Aluminum, Aurora Red, Misted Yellow, Sangria, Mauve Mist, Cognac, Bright Cobalt, and Cypress.
If you love a certain color, say Royal Blue, and it doesn’t work for you, wear it on the bottom with a color that does work for you near your face. Wear it as an accessory. Buy a scarf in that color for a friend.
What do you think about Pantone, trends and what we see in the stores each season?
I am such an ENFP.
Have you ever done the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator? If you work for a corporation, you’ve probably done some sort of personality/communication style assessment. What have you done? And do you feel like these assessments are helpful to you? Come to my Professionality Facebook page and let me know your thoughts.
So this should be helpful :}
Lateral Career Moves
Whether you call it moving sideways or a fresh perspective, lateral career moves can help you to grow as a professional, meet new people, increase salary, and position you for promotion. What’s not to like?
In a recent Forbes article on lateral moves, the author cited the US Bureau of Labor Statistics: the average number of years that workers have been with their current employer is 4.6 - only 2.3 years of you’re 20 - 34. While multiple career moves were once seen unsteady, they are now seen as ambitious and smart, as long as bridges aren’t burned, skills are gained, and enough time (at least a year) is spent in each position.
I’ve seen lateral moves work for dozens of colleagues and friends. For me too.
I was in fundraising for 13 years. Fundraising is basically marketing and sales (in the most positive way) for a non-profit organization. I was at a point where I was burned out from the never ending cycles of campaigns, asks, and events. My 50-plus hour work-week wasn’t matching my family needs. I wanted something that met my skill set but that I could do more part time for a while and hopefully grow later. I moved into a part-time public relations and sales position at The Emily Post Institute which increased to more responsibility, more hours, the opportunity to train at The London Image Institute, and eventually positioned me to start Professionality Consulting and work with Ovation Communication. I couldn’t be happier.
If you feel stifled, don’t admire your colleagues or want the opportunity for more financial gain, consider other departments within your company or research other corporations. Here are 5 tips to help you make a successful lateral career move:
- What are your strengths? If you are not aware of what your greatest assets are, you may not be able to best navigate a new path. Do self-assessments like Myers-Briggs, emotional intelligence and 360Reach (free for 15 days) and get a better perspective on yourself. Or find a qualified coach/mentor to lead you through an assessment process (I do this but so do hundreds of other professionals). When you can articulate your attributes, you then can have a better sense of what lateral moves make sense.
- Think strategically. Does the new company have a position you would ultimately aspire to? Does the company invest in its employees? Is the company or department viable? Would the new position require a move? Do you want to move? How do you think you’ll feel about the position/move in a year? These aren’t necessarily barriers - they are hoops to jump through for an informed decision.
- Research. Don’t jump out of the frying pan and into the fire. Talk to current employees: Do they feel respected, useful, passionate, content? How does the manager/supervisor treat her employees? Troll the internet looking for reviews of the company.
- Lateral moves are most successfully done when you can demonstrate that you were critical in your previous roll. If you’re running away from a floundering position, you’re changing jobs not making a strategic lateral move. Might as well be honest with yourself.
- Consider what you’re passionate about. If you’re selling widgets and you don’t admire the company or feel any interest in your day-to-day tasks, but you’re pretty amazing at closing sales, it could just be that you’re not passionate about widget usage. What DO you admire? Consider your passions and research companies that excite you: environmental, tech, non-profit. The world is your oyster.
Feel free to ask me any questions about lateral moves. I’m more than happy to help.
This isn’t fast-breaking news: People with high Emotional Intelligence (EI) have stronger professional relationships, better management skills, and more engaged employees. (And they get the biggest piece of cake at office birthday parties. No, really.) Not as evident are the tangible actions you can take to raise your EI or EQ (if you prefer). There are steps you can take – starting today – to experience greater work success.
Of the seven skills areas of emotional intelligence – self-awareness, awareness of others, expression, reasoning, self-management, management of others, self-control – what area should you tackle first?
Want to increase your emotional self-awareness?
1. Make time for introspection. This can be hard to do if you are on the hamster wheel of a packed work schedule and complicated home life compounded by travel and community commitments. We know. Oh, we know.
2. Journal, meditate or just commit to 3 minutes of quiet thought when you first wake up, right before bed or during downtime between meetings.
3. Keep trying to do #2: it will get easier.
4. Get active. When you engage in solitary exercise or activity (Ride your motorcycle! Weed the garden!), you allow your mind to roam and make connections. As you start your activity, think about a personal/professional concern and see where your mind goes.
5. Think before you act. Asked to take on a project? If possible, consider whether or not that project matches your expertise and ability. If it doesn’t, and you’re able, suggest someone else for the project or ask if you can take on certain components and have someone else do another portion. People like to work with people who understand their strengths and limitations.
Want to increase your emotional awareness of others?
Like Tom Hank’s character in A League of Their Own, (“There’s no crying in baseball!”), some of us dislike the display of “feelings” by others at work. However, those feelings play a significant role in everything we do. In order to better understand how others feel:
6. Practice listening. The next time you catch yourself planning on what you are going to say in response to someone you are having a conversation with…stop. You know those people who always seem like they are “in the moment” and 100% there for everyone. They listen. And people respond well to that.
7. Learn more about and pay attention to body language. Most of us know that crossed arms can mean that the person we are speaking to isn’t agreeing with or is uncomfortable with what we are saying. But did you know that if you are sitting talking to someone and his or her legs are turned away from you he or she may be unintentionally signaling discomfort? If she keeps looking away that she may be distancing herself? If he touches his face, hair or neck that he is feeling insecure?
Actors are naturals at emotional expression – but they work at it too. It’s about being able to express the right emotions in the right way at the right time. Want to increase your emotional expression?
8. Ask a family member, friend or close colleague to give you some honest feedback on how you appear to others.
9. Study presentation skills. Many of us like to think we are naturally great at leading meetings, facilitating discussions and presenting in front of groups small and large. Our perceptions don’t always meet the realities. Outstanding presentation skills – that are authentic and engaging – allow us to be aware of how we are expressing ourselves – and to be comfortable with changing what we need to change.
10. Back to tip #6: Use open body language. When you use open-handed gestures and open posture – head up, shoulders back, facing the person or audience in a neutral position, people perceive you as confident and comfortable.
The entrepreneur Richard Branson is a perfect example of someone with high emotional reasoning. Want to increase your emotional reasoning?
11. Ask for input, even if you’re concerned you won’t like what you hear. People with high reasoning skills are curious, listen to new information and either adjust their sails or reason out why they want to keep with the same tack.
12. Work to enhance communication skills so that you can deliver hard information and navigate difficult situations in a way that people can respect and hear what you’re saying.
13. Trust others when they make reasoned decisions. Individuals with high reasoning skills take all stakeholders into account and recognize that others can make decisions and manage consequences.
Want to enhance your emotional self-management?
14. Engage in activities that make you feel positive at work. If many of your personal satisfaction needs aren’t met through your regular workload (and hopefully this isn’t the case), volunteer to help a co-worker with a project in your expertise area, join a work committee.
15. Create routine for yourself that works for you and stick to it. For example, some people feel overwhelmed by e-mail. Establish a policy for yourself that you won’t check email until 10:00 am. Or check email immediately and only tackle the “musts” – leave the rest until 4:00 pm. Stick with what works for you.
16. Even the most successful corporate leaders work with mentors, coaches and counselors: why shouldn’t you? Experts can help you identify your trigger points – anger, feeling undervalued or disrespected, over-worked – to increase your ability to manage them.
Are you a leader? Then you may want to work on your emotional management of others skills:
17. Role model the behaviors you want to see in others. This is the first rule every parent needs to learn and it’s just as applicable to managers in any workplace.
18. Create an “open door” policy or create times that you are available for anyone to approach you for a discussion.
19. Don’t shy away from hard conversations. Make the effort to be upfront and honest even when the news isn’t positive.
Tend to fly off the handle or break down in tears? Then you need to work on your emotional self-control skills:
20. Recognize that home stress, over-commitment, health and wellness issues are difficult to hold at bay. Daniel Goleman, EI expert and author, writes, “To the body, there is not division between home and work; stress builds on stress, no matter the source.” Know when you need to take a day off to take care of your personal business.
21. Be aware of what makes you lose your cool or focus. Is it when you feel that you’re not being listened too? Or is it when people don’t meet deadlines? If you can identify what makes you lose your self-control, you can be proactive in your communication; for example, “I need to stress that we have to meet our deadline of Tuesday. Let’s build out a schedule right now together to ensure we do.”
22. Go running before work. Take an actual lunch away from the office or in a quiet spot. Practice deep breathing before that meeting.
Don’t be overwhelmed! Just focus on one or two at a time. Whatever works for you. Let me know how it goes.
NOTE: This article was originally written for Ovation Communication’s blog. If you enjoy professional development tips - communication, relationship building and presentation skills - follow their blog! Goodness knows, I do.