Crossing the Line: Casual at Work

Most companies just want to maintain a professional and comfortable work environment for their employees. Some traditional offices still dress business formal every day and there are some startups who wouldn’t care if their employees came to work in their pajamas and slippers.

How far is too far when it comes to the business casual dress code for the office. Which really isn’t business casual because they have eliminated the word “business” and only dress casual. Pajamas, slippers, flip flops, etc… yes that is crossing the line.

Some people say If people would just exercise some common sense, there wouldn’t be problems. I disagree. Learning how to dress appropriately is a learned skill and it must be taught. I see this time and time again working with the younger generations. They want to know what to do but no one is showing them how or sharing the benefits for them! Besides not every one has common sense.

So here are some helpful tips if the office you work in is casual. This is NOT business casual this is for a casual office.   Business casual is wearing nice pants with nice shirt/blouse with nice shoes. So for the casual environment.

WEAR CLEAN  NICE JEANS if jeans are allowed choose a pair of quality dark jeans. Only wear these jeans to work and not on the weekends.

AVOID SWEATS & WORKOUT CLOTHES. Please, please, please no yoga pants, exercise outfits, sweats tops or bottoms. Those clothes are meant for work out sessions.

LEAVE THE FLIP FLOPS AT HOME. Just as workout clothes are for workouts flip flops are meant for the beach. Same goes for sandals they are a summer shoe meant for weekend gatherings or events.

NO REVEALING CLOTHES because too much skin is distracting and robs a woman of respect. The one thing she works so hard for. So no sleeveless, spaghetti straps, no belly showing, no behind showing when you bend over due to pants fitting inappropriately.

DON’T IGNORE GROOMING. Casual dress doesn’t mean casual grooming. It’s not your day off, so shave, shampoo, style hair, deodorant, teeth brushed, & put on natural looking make up.

REMEMBER YOU ARE AT WORK you still need to create a professional impression. You will not only look nicer you will feel better and your career will benefit as well.



Dress Code Discussions

Company dress codes are a never-ending discussion in the work arena.

Discussion # 1: Employees misinterpret the dress code or they don’t abide by it. This is due to most dress codes stating what not to do instead of what to do. Companies who provide professional image training and then present the dress code have a higher success rate of employees abiding because now they know why it is important and how they can present a professional image specifically for them.

Discussion # 2: Companies have a code in place but don’t enforce it. Unfortunately this is the majority of companies.

Discussion # 3: Companies don’t have a dress code but they still reprimand employees for wearing certain attire.

Discussion # 4: There’s constant objection from certain industries along the lines of, “Why do I have to look nice at work if I don’t see anybody?”

We get energies from our clothes. IF dressed too casual we act too casual. Also, if one is looking for a promotion it does matter. survey, 41 percent of employers said that people who dress better or more professionally tend to be promoted more often than others in their organization.


Tips to Buying a Man’s Suit

Here are some tips to buying a man’s suit. IT is important to become educated since so many men’s stores don’t have an educated sales person to help you buy the perfect suit. After all your suits are an investment in You!!

The most important thing when choosing s suit is the fabric. Guys choose wool.  The higher the number the finer and more expensive the fabric. Best to choose a wool made from 100 or 120 wool.

STYLE                                                                                                                               There are three common styles. American (standard cut). It is a good choice for most regular body types. For the tall slender man the European cut suit is an excellent choice.The Athletic cut for the guy who works out.

Single breasted -meaning that there is no overlapping of the suit’s sides. Weather you choose a one, two, three, or four button jacket is a personal choice. How many buttons depends on your body type and height. Regardless of what you choose always leave the lowest button open!

Double breasted suits are for the small boned man who is six feet or taller. Don’t let a clerk tell you every man can wear a double breasted suit – not true!!

TAILORING                                                                                                                        Finally, any suit will need alteration to ensure a perfect fit on your shoulders, sleeves, and your trouser length.Tailoring is very important especially since we are born with one arm/leg longer than the other.



Helping Employees Project Right Image

A positive image can result in new business and referrals as well as help a company maintain existing business. The visual package is a reflection of the individual and the type of service provided. As owners, managers, directors or adminsitrators, and human resource professionals you deal with employess who are not representing the image of your organization.

It is important for today’s leaders to understand that the majority of people fail to project their best professional image. WHY? There are no courses in our educational systems. Image is a learned skill and must be taught. That is why successful companies are hiring skilled image consultants who are also speakers or trainers to bring this education to their staff. This way employees are not let go or criticized because they failed to reach goals they were never trained for.

Too often when management is trying to communicate to an employee why he or she should present a professional image they say things like: “You can’t wear that, it’s not professional…” “That outfit is inappropriate, don’t wear it again…”"You are not representing the image of the company…”

Employees don’t usually listen to statements like these. They come up with excuses why they can’t dress professional: time, money, can’t find clothes to fit, …

There is a solution for each person and each employee needs to understand the HOW and the WHY. When I walk in the door to train the audience is my program! WHY? Because it is different for each person sitting there. This is how my programs are tailored not only to the organization’s image goals but also the individuals. Providing solutions for everyone! Once they know the how and why NOW they can go out and make the necessary changes to improve their image. The company see results and the employees feel good about themselves!



Respectability Robbers

A positive professional appearance package creates impact and respect. We never want anything to rob us of that respect we have worked so hard to achieve. Here a few ways to utilize your appearance as a business tool to gain respect, promotion and increase your income. When we do not achieve these items they become respectability robbers to our careers.

Work attire needs to be seventy percent of the closet if you work full time. Work is where we are the majority of the day. These are clothes only worn to work not on the weekends.
Benefit: By keeping this wardrobe separate you will look professional and save money.
Shoes are the most important accessory. Most people pay little attention to their shoes.

When someone approaches us we see their shoes first. When someone walks away we see their shoes last. Make sure the shoes are clean, not worn and are a professional type of shoe. Shoes need to be the same color or a darker color than the hemline of the pants, dress or skirt.
Benefit: People will remember you and not your shoes. Shoes are a fine detail sending the
message you care about details.

Tailored clothes. We all have one leg and arm longer than the other. For that reason and that no one is built exactly the same, it is very important to have your clothes tailored. An appropriate business length for a woman’s dress or skirt is middle of the knee, one to two inches below or just above the mid-knee. The front of a man’s pant leg should slightly rest on the top of the shoe with a slight crease. No crease means pants are too short and too much material draping means pants are too long. Make sure the tailor measures both arms and legs. Wear the shoes you will be wearing with the outfit when getting tailored.
Benefit: Tailored clothes look professional and you will feel more comfortable.

Dress for your industry, position and clients. Think about whom you will be seeing that day and dress accordingly. Determine if the day dictates power professional, professional or business casual attire. If you are meeting with a president or upper level manager, your dress may dictate a business suit. The next client may be casual. Remove your jacket to create a more relaxed message. A woman can change to a professional flat from a pump.
Benefit: You will never wish you had worn something else.

Business Casual, choose it wisely. Just because a client is casual or the company is having a casual day does not mean it will work to your advantage. It is important for others to recognize you as the professional. Keep your business casual wardrobe separate form your weekend casual clothes.                                                                                        Benefit: You will save money and always look and feel professional.

Dressing professional never works against you. Dressing unprofessional does. Employers pay more and companies hire individuals with fewer skills if they dress professional. Why? Companies will teach you the technical skills most do not want to teach you how to dress. It is not their expertise.

Your professional image can gain you respect and bring great success to your career.


The Power of Color

Color is a very powerful business tool. Few people think about color as a communication tool. Color subconsciously affects how we interact with each other. Watch how people interact with you on a day you wear dark colored clothes. Observe how people interact with you when you wear light or bright colored attire. You will find people to be less friendly when you wear dark colors. On days you wear light or bright colors people will be more approachable. Dark colors create authority, intimidation or power. Power professional colors are black, charcoal, navy blue, burgundy, plum dark forest green and dark
brown. If you are unsure of what dark colors to wear choose the color navy blue. Light or bright colors are approachable, fun and more casual. Wearing a light shade of gray or tan will create approachability compared to a dark charcoal or dark brown.

Think about:
• The message you desire to send. How do you desire to be perceived?
• What your industry and position level is with the company.
• Your clients industry and position levels you interact with.

For example: As a national speaker I am in front of many different professional people. Before each program I think about my audience. Am I presenting to bankers, insurance, finance, accountants or lawyers? If so, I choose a dark color suit. Reason: I want to crate a very power professional message. Am I presenting to college students, advertising, or healthcare? If this is my audience. I choose a bright colored outfit to create an approachable professional message. If I walked into a hospital training session for a group of operating room staff wearing a dark navy blue suit they would not be as open to listening as they would be when I am wearing a teal, royal blue or magenta suit.
These professionals are saving lives and brightness in their day is a plus.

It is very important to go through a personal color consultation. Learn what colors work best for you and why. Our skin undertone harmonizes with the eye and natural eye color. The great thing is we are born with either a blue or yellow undertone and it never changes.

Color is the reason WHY
• You love and wear certain clothes while others hang in the closet not to be worn
• You look healthy in certain outfits while other pieces make you look like you don’t feel well
• People remember YOU and not what you worn
You fall into one of six color categories. Once you understand your best colors you will
• Save time shopping
• Ease of coordinating outfits
• No longer waste monies on things you don’t wear

Utilize your best colors as a powerful business tool.


Authenticity Being Your Professional Best!

Ninety two percent of communication is through our visual presence. Fact: humans communicate visually. We are communicating more and more through the visual medium. A visual image is presented through our attire, grooming, and accessories.
Some may say, It’s not fair or not right.” It has nothing to do with right or wrong. It is how we choose to communicate. It is not about making judgments rather it is about making observations. Let me share this story.

One summer day I was flying down south to speak to three hundred fifty teachers. It was my husband’s day off and he said, “Let’s pick up Adam (our 3 year old grandson) take him to the airport (he loves airplanes) to see you off. I said, “Great idea.” So off we went to pick him up.

As I was tying Adam’s shoes, he says, “Grandma come closer.” I responded, “Adam, What do you want?” “Grandma, come closer I want to whisper something in your ear.” he replies. As I leaned over, my ear next to his little mouth, he whispers, “Grandma, you look so pretty today.” Ah, my heart was a glow. My husband surprisingly looked at me and said, “I can’t believe he said that to you—I was going to tell him to tell you that.”
I watch my grandson one day a week so he sees me in very casual clothes because we are climbing on the playground or playing in the creek. For the first time Adam was seeing Grandma dressed in a professional outfit. Adam had never seen me in attire other than casual clothes. As I boarded the airplane I thought, wow, how powerful that a three year old can already see the difference of the message our attire sends. Many adults stop giving thought to just what am I communicating to others when I get dressed for my job. Yet we notice if others are presenting themselves professional or not.

Everyday, seriously look at yourself in a full-length mirror. Ask yourself this question. Am I dressed my professional best from head to toe? Give thought to how do you want others to perceive you. Be careful, often times what our intentions are and what we really do, are not the same. Ask someone who will be honest with you this question. What two words would you use to describe me based on how I dress? If your intention is to be perceived at a high level of professionalism and they respond casual then revisit your reflection in the mirror.

Image is perception and perception is reality. If your intention is professional and they respond professional now you have made that perception a reality. Even if you feel you send the message of professional try this exercise anyway. It can be quite a learning experience.

Once we connect our intentions with reality, we present our authentic self professionally.


Are You Underestimating the Power of Your Appearance?

How we present ourselves through our choice of attire is a very powerful tool that affects our income. Yet, most people just dress for their job with little thought to their choice of attire or accessories. Too many professionals are trying to dress the same as their coworkers or clients Stop!

True story
I work in a hospital of a major city. For sixteen years I have been passed up for promotion. I never gave any thought that my attire could be a tool to help me achieve my career goals until I sat in a presentation by Dawn Waldrop. I went home, read her book: Best Impressions How to Gain Professionalism, Promotion and Profit. I cleaned out my closet, had some clothes tailored and purchased a few new outfits. My budget would only allow for a few. What was different this time when I shopped was I gave thought to how I wanted to be perceived as a professional and my goal was a promotion. Well it paid off big for me! For the first time I was offered the responsibility to support two senior vice presidents of the hospital. Along with that promotion came a huge increase in my income. I now have made it my goal to invest in my professional clothes.

Evaluating your attire to meet your career goals is quite an eye-opener. All of a sudden you become aware that your clothes may not be communicating your goals. Be aware that the manner in which you present yourself can negatively affect your career. It is therefore important to take the necessary steps to develop that awareness, judgment and a system that leads you to consistently present yourself to achieve the results you desire.
Experience a consultative approach that customizes your personal and professional objectives in a way that makes your life simple and highlights value to your career. The key to this one-on-one coaching is you learn how to make wardrobe decisions tailored to who you are and your career.

Successful professionals optimize every aspect of their effectiveness. They recognize that presentation matters and that improving their image makes a strong business statement. To support your aspiring career goals, it is important to dress more professional and appropriately, while maintaining your authenticity and individuality. The individual who presents a professional presence accelerates their own success as well as the organization’s success. These are the individuals who are looking to brand themselves for success and advancement no matter the dress code or lack of a dress
code. They know dressing professional sends the message as more conscientious and therefore less expendable.

These individuals are re-framing the rules of dress, shifting back to dressing more professional (from too casual) to support their success.
Appearance is a significant component in how they are perceived,
how successful they are and will continue to be.


Is Your Image Impressive Enough to Influence?

Your image is a representation of who you and are and how you wish others to see you. Your overall appearance creates an impression.

What impression do you send visually? Is it inspiring, striking, notable or extraordinary? Successful professionals have mastered the skill to influence through their presence. From the moment they walk in the door you can feel their power to influence. Research has shown these individuals receive more help frequently, are better liked, more persuasive and

are seen as possessing more desirable personality traits and greater intellectual capacities.
Here are the three components to creating an image impressive enough to influence.
• Choice of attire
• Fine details
• A well put together look

Step into your closet and inventory each article of clothing you wear in your job. Make sure each piece sends a professional message and creates the impression you desire. When others meet you they can tell who you are. A healthcare professional not the patient, a teacher not the student, a sales representative not the client, a manager not a support person, a support person not the janitor, the president of the company not a staff person.

When you shop give serious consideration to each piece of attire and accessory you purchase to make sure it visually speaks professional. An image that says you are a specialized expert, skilled, trained and qualified.

Next look at your accessories and condition of your attire. Is everything impeccably clean and neatly pressed at all times? Choose good quality accessories for work. Take the time to shine your shoes everyday. Make sure the outfit is tailored to your unique body structure. Have you gained or lost weight? If so, have those items tailored. Those professionals who have the power to influence are consistent in their image.

Do a closet inventory twice a year to purge those items you no longer wear and replace with pieces that are tailored and fit your career goals. A closet inventory will also keep you current in your look because the clothes manufacturers change the materials. A material that was in five years ago will appear outdated today.

Influential individuals have learned how to create a well-put together look. The color and style of the outfit enhances their personal coloring and body structure. As well as their choice of material and pattern expresses their personality. These individuals have invested in image experts to help them fine-tune their image. You know what looks best on you. It is important to understand the why. Once you are taught why, you no longer will purchase an outfit that does not compliment you in color, fit or personality. This educational process gives you more versatility in your wardrobe, creates ease of dressing saving you time and money.

When you master these components you create a power. Your image sets the tone for how receptive a potential client or co-worker will be to you every time they see you.
This power to influence moves people in positive directions.


BE Your Own Person & BE Your Professional BEST

So often in our careers we try to be what we think others want us to be. Success today is about being authentic. Authentic in our words and our dress. You can be your own person, feel comfortable and be your professional best.
Key into your personality. Meaning your preference in textures, patterns and accessories.

Most people will be a combination of two personalities: Natural, Classic, Romantic or Dramatic. You many be classic on the job and natural when you go home. You may be classic in your choice of outfits but romantic in your choice of jewelry.

Natural men and women prefer a wash n wear hairstyle. No pattern. If they choose a pattern it may be a check, plaid, small dot or stripe. They like textures like tweed or corduroy. They prefer a thicker soled shoe. They wear little to no jewelry. Many don’t even wear a watch and if they do it has a leather band. No metal for them. The woman wears little make-up. The natural man or woman will move to classic for on the job.

Classic style works in any profession. When in doubt go classic which is a tailored conservative look. The classic prefers no pattern or a subtle all over repeat pattern in a small print or paisley. They love silk, neat materials. The hair is a controlled style and the jewelry is curved and kept simple. A medium to thinner sole shoe is their preference. This woman wears fresh, natural looking make-up.

Romantic man or woman may need to tone down their look on the job. The romantic prefers a longer hairstyle. They love soft materials with soft prints. The woman loves ruffles or bows. They love to shop and want to know the latest trends. They love intricate and many pieces of delicate jewelry. The woman likes baby doll shoes or open-toe sling back high heel shoes. This is where the woman will need to tone down on the job to a two inch closed pump with an ornament like a bow. The woman loves to wear make-up. It is important she goes for a day look and not an evening look. They prefer a thinner soled shoe.

Dramatic loves bold prints and bright colors. Geometric patterns or animal prints. Larger
accessories. Even the watch will make a statement. Their shoes may be pointed, have texture and color. The hairstyle is an angular or blunt cut. The double breasted suit is a favorite—beware very few men and women can wear a double breasted suit. The dramatic like the romantic may have to tone down the look for on the job and save the total dramatic look for off the job. The same for the dramatic woman with her make up it is important she has a day look and not an evening look on the job.

If fashion dictates a personality you are NOT “do not buy it”. People will not remember if you were in fashion. They will remember if you are updated and professional.