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Monthly Archives: November 2014

first impression tips


By | Psychology, Work Style | 2 Comments

In a world where when can buy our groceries by simply raising our phones, and pay our bills by snapping a picture of our cheques, it’s hard to step away from high expectations and try to find the genuinity in things and people. When it comes to first meeting people, how do you know you’ll get along, or what kind of person they are?

Let’s face it: first impressions are a big deal! You can only make them once and it can be very difficult to change them, so it’s important to you get it right. The good news is anyone can pull off a great first impressions by using impression management techniques. Now don’t get intimidated, I know the term sounds very corporate but the truth is it works just as well if you are the new mum getting to know other mums at your kids new school or looking for a life mate just as well as it does for the corporate high flyer.

I know we’ve been taught not to judge a book by it’s cover, but in reality – it’s just a ideal, and we continue to look at a book’s front and back cover before deciding if it’s worth flicking through some inner pages.  So to, you are judged by what others initially see. This doesn’t refer to just how you look, but also how you behave and carry yourself when interacting with others. 

I use the following four words developed in the 1930’s by Professor Dale Leathers to help assure a great impression. All four areas are important, but their order of important changes depending on the actual situation. When your image is in sync with these words events will often proceed smoothly and you’ll be afforded the time for people to get to know you better; you’ll be invited into the fray and your period of social or business proof will have begun.

The words are:

  • Credibility
  • Likeability
  • Confidence 
  • Attractiveness


In essence this is being believable/genuine/truthful–are you who you say are? Do you act on things when you say you will? Can you be trusted? It’s a perceived quality that is assigned to you based on a known reputation and/or a mix of visual and behavioral clues. When credibility is attained so is trust.

No one wants to come off as “fake” or bogus, because no one wants to be around people they perceive as phony. Think of the infamous tween movie scene of Mean Girls when the cruel Regina George compliments a girl’s “vintage” skirt, then turns around to frenemy Cady Heron and mocks the very same skirt she complimented minutes ago.

In the interview context credibility means, the interviewees have dressed and groomed themselves to look the part, are on time, seem calm and waiting patiently in the reception area. Even if you’re nervous on the inside, you should always keep a cool demeanor.

Action Point: When you are next attending an interview, seeing a bank manager, putting your hand-up to be on a committee, attending an association meeting or social gathering, or going on a first date think through what credibility will look and act like to those you will be before. You want to appear calm, cool, and collected even if you feel like you’re falling apart on the inside.

Credibility rates highest in business and corporate situations and third on the list in many social situations.  Learn more about credibility.


This comprises of two areas:

How much a person sees you as ‘like them’ / ‘similar to them’.

It’s human nature to like people who like us, and we also like people who are like us. Think about it for a minute, we are constantly seeking points of similarity, and as a result are attracted to people who are like us in terms of values, social status, ethnicity, body profile, age, interests and experiences. Shared traits make us feel safe, appreciated and part of a tribe.

One way to achieve likeability is by dressing in a similar manner to those you wish to work or socialize with.  Another is behaving in a similar way.  Each helps connect you with the group and leads to a feeling of warmth and open-ous toward you.

How friendly, agreeable and easy you are to get along with.

Unless you want to spend an entire party sipping on wine by yourself in a corner, it’s important that you look friendly and approachable. 

Most people want to live in harmony making the traits of friendliness, caring, openness, and empathy cherished values. When you are open and welcoming, people are instantly drawn to you. Nice people like other nice people, there’s no need for hard science to back that fact up.

Would you want to spend time around someone who appears to be self-important, chilly or rude? Think about it. I’d rather be apart of the group laughing over casual conversation.

Action Point: The next time you have a meeting with a group who are important to you, think about all the way you can subtly demonstrate similarity with them through your dress, conversation and knowledge. I don’t mean find out what someone is wearing and copy the look down pat. But if you’re meeting at a fancy restaurant in celebration of something, look just as nice as everyone else.

Think about your body language as well as, the way you’ll greet and treat people.

Likeability rates second in business and corporate situations and first for many social situations. Learn more about likeability.

Be freindly



No one is saying you should strut down the street and go on and on about the reasons why you think you’re better than others. However, if you display a lack of confidence you’ll be in trouble from the get-go. It’s hard to make any kind of connection with others if you appear to be shy, meek or some one who prefers to observe from the back. It’s a recipe for never get noticed and the strong and confident always rule the weak.

A lack of confidence shown through body language, dress or grooming, or speech will instantly give rise to questions in the minds of others. Why is she acting like that? Isn’t she prepared? Is she lying? Is this her first time? These questions will give rise to discomfort that in turn will have you being left alone to stare at everyone else.

Holding an upright and relaxed posture, walking with purpose, looking people in the eyes and smiling genuinely when they speak to you, being the first to offer your hand and give a firm hand shake while introducing yourself and others in a friendly and assertive way are just a few examples of confidence.

Action Point: Think about how you enter a room or approach a new group of people. Are you hunched, or trying to make yourself smaller? If it’s meek or shy, you’re doing yourself a complete disservice. Practice greeting people and introducing yourself, notice how you stand when you are in a new situation and what signals you may be unconsciously sending to others. Even ask for feedback from a few friends. Like eating an elephant, take it one bite at a time.
One thing I can tell you, is like an actor who needs a dress rehearsal to truly get into character, you too will experience a rise in confidence when you know you are dressed and groomed well–think of it like your personal coat of armor. Investing in an outfit that makes you feel the part is well worth the price paid, and confident people know they are worth it. 

Confidence rates equal second in business and corporate situations and second for many social situations. Learn more about confidence.



Now this is the elephant in the room! It’s such a taboo subject but I’m going to give it to you straight and clear–your appearance matters! I don’t mean you have to look like Angelina Jolie or you immediately fail at life. However, your face and over all appearance is the first thing people see, and it sets the scene for everything that will follow. Fact: everyone stereotypes whether they want to admit it or not.

I’ve worked for many corporations to teach others impression management, and the bottom line is that they expect you to bring assets to the organisation 4- 5 times what they pay you. They also expect you to be a good representative of the attitudes and culture of the company. When it comes to your grooming and dress the expectation is for you to do the best with what you’ve got.

No one expects you to wear high price tag, designer clothes–truthfully, few can’t tell them apart from everyday brands. Clothes that suit your shape and age, are appropriately respectful for your place of work and their clients, and are clean while being nicely coordinated is all that is expected of you.

Make no mistake that men and women lose jobs because of their dress or grooming, but will rarely these days be given this as the reason for being passed over. A too-high of a heel hear, or a higher hem there can be an easy deal breaker.

Outside of the corporate workplace, personal attractiveness is also something to be taken seriously. Dressing in an authentic manner while making the most of your shape shows you value yourself and have a good self-esteem as well as self-confidence.

Action Point: If you think that your appearance may be the thing that’s holding you back then I suggest you see an image consultant (not a stylist!) to help you get on the right track. From simple dress and grooming consultations to personal shopping and in-home wardrobe sessions, they can quickly get you smiling at your reflection and appreciating the compliments that will come your way. Image Consultant Directory. Online Style Program.

Attractiveness rates equal second in business and corporate situations and second for many social situations.  Learn more about the importance of Attractiveness.


how to wear floral prints


By | Coordination, How To..., Work Style | 6 Comments


Have you thought of wearing florals to work then backed off because you feared they may look too girly or unprofessional? 


 Florals like all prints and patterns have a set of characteristics subliminally linked to them that when worn transfers to the wearer. Floral prints are normally linked with femininity, passiveness, frivolity and non-serious endeavors and as a result have often been avoided for business wear – especially for more serious professions such as finance and law.

However, contrary to conventional wisdom, you can wear floral prints in a business casual environment and not suffer the stereotypical afflictions or sacrifice your take-charge image at work. The secret lies with selecting the right floral prints and/or implementing some smart styling.

There are three potential outcomes to avoid when wearing floral prints to work.

These are looking:

  • Too feminine: the outfit is overall too pretty or too light colored.
    If you desire is to be seen as serious business or professional woman use the power of color psychology and stereotypes to get your intent across. Dark colors are perceived as more powerful than light colors and curved shapes and floral designs take a backseat to diagonal, horizontal and vertical lines. Also keep avoid adding other girly elements when wearing florals i.e, ruffles, bows. frills and lace etc  
  • Too overwhelming or distracting: the outfit is all floral, the print is too large or too colorful.
    The larger and/or more colorful the floral the less seriously you risk being taken.  Traditionally the patterns worn for business by men have been dark and small and this has leaked over into the world of women’s professional wear. With the acceptance of business casual wear these boundaries have been expanded but stray to far and you do run the risk of being seen as a lightweight.
  • Too informal: not enough skin is covered or there is insufficient tailoring / structure to the garment.
    In the workplace, the less skin exposed, the more seriously you will be taken. A female exposing an excess of skin runs the risk of being seen as using her sexuality to gain an advantage.
    If you wear florals and an unstructured garment you’ve immediately altered the tone of your look to casual and feminine. 

The following tips will assist in overcoming these issues.

Forgo Realism for Stylistic or Abstract Prints

Too feminine will definitely be the result if the print is too realistic looking (especially if in a watercolor print). Instead opt for an abstract, stylistic, graphic or digital style. The angularity and modernity of these type of floral prints will give your overall look an impression of progressiveness and creativity – think edgy instead of girly.  You may even want to consider pop art/mod prints since the 60′s are such a hot trendy decade at the moment. 

Look for floral prints with angles to give extra edge to the print.  

Graphic prints

 Source: Image 1, Image 2,  Image 3.


Like the Reiss top?  Check PretaStyler to see if it suits you. Place Reiss in the search box.  Price $170

Embrace The Dark Side

Dark colors are seen as more serious than light colors. As a result floral prints set against a dark background have more gravitas than those on a light background.

Dark florals are especially suitable for the colder months. For maximum impact and visual presence, wear your dark florals with moody colors like plum, burgundy and midnight blue as accents.

Dark Backgrounds

Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 4 (PretaStyer)

Go Minimal

Adding a dash of floral to your work ensemble will endow it an unmistakable feminine edge and can be just the thing to soften an otherwise severe look. You can use anything from a peep of floral emerging from a sweater, to a scarf or maybe even your handbag. A floral top is one of the easiest items to pull off as part of a professional outfit. You can pair it a blazer, vest or cardigan.


Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3

Opt For The No Fail Floral Combo

Black and white is a color pairing that you cannot really go wrong with. You can trust this classic combo to hold you in good stead at the workplace, most especially when you select a floral print done in black and white.  A floral print in monochrome will definitely be just as commanding as your standard pinstripe for the office. Being done in black and white, the femininity of the floral is toned down a bit and its inherent design sensibility and modern look is played up even further. 

Black and WhiteSource: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3.

Blush on a Solid Canvas

Work is not the time to experiment with fashion or show your creative side. Wear one floral item at a time and anchor it with a strong, solid color. Tradition business colors of charcoal, black, white and navy are always a great choice and will provide a stark contrast to the floral. An added bonus to this is that the floral print pops even more against a solid canvas of color. For the summer, all white is your route to looking both fresh and polished at the same time. A white pant-suit is the ideal setting in which to showcase your floral print of the day. 

A Solid Base

Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3.

Add a Structured Topper

When in doubt, opt for a statement topper with a lot of structure. This is a no-fail way to dress up anything including floral prints. Whether it’s a cropped boxy jacket with strong shoulders or heather gray cape, the hardness of the form and silhouette of outerwear balances the softness of floral print impeccably.

Get SeriousSource 

Statement TopperSource: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3

Pair with ‘Man-Style’ Pieces

Pull your florals into line by pairing them with man-style pieces. A tailored dress shirt, jacket or pants will instantly elevate your look and have you set to take on the day.

Also pay close attention to how your clothes fit; you may even want to consider having your pants and blazers altered to fit your body. That being said, you can pretty much get away with wearing any type of floral print (within reason, of course) if you wear it layered under an excellently tailored ensemble. 

Manstyle PiecesSource: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3

Think Conservative, Think Polished

Floral dresses in the workplace call for a sleek and conservative silhouette that is paired with a dark modern floral print. You can both tone down a bright floral dress and give some edge to a dull print solid colored, neutral jacket or blazer.  Keep lengths appropriate and accessories understated.

Floral Dresses

Mastering Monochromatic Styling


By | Colour, How To..., Trend Tutorial, Trends | 8 Comments


Containing or using only one color Monochromatic outfits are created by wearing colors based from a single base hue and extended shades, tones and tints 

Have you ever considered wearing a monochromatic outfit but shied away unsure how to pull it off?  

If you have you’re not alone; many women fear they may end up looking bland or boring but with a little a little fashion aplomb you can look fantastic.

Monochromatic outfits have a lot going for them: they’re always in fashion, they can be worn at any time of the day or year and any occasion, they’re chic and can always be counted on to convey a polished and modern elegance. Plus they have the added bonus of being slimming when not comprised of bulky items.

The aim is to create visual interest.  This week we tackle how to wear outfits based on multiple hues of the one color and in a few weeks I’ll follow with how to wear outfits of one color and depth. 

Texture Play

A surefire way to update your monochromatic look is to experiment with various textures and how they visually work together. Consider the surface quality of your clothing, or maybe even vintage finishes, and fabrics with some sheen when shopping for pieces to pull together your monochromatic look. Knit with corduroy, dark denim with leather, faux fur with animal skin, satin and shantung; these texture duos add depth and dimension to these one-color ensembles.


Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4.

The Bling Ring

There’s nothing some sparkle and glitter can’t fix. Upgrade your monochromatic look with choice embellishments on one of the main components of your outfit. Some sparkles on your sweater neckline gives a head to toe hunter green look a little pop and a lot more chicness. An embellished mini skirt, on the other hand, gives your autumn sweater and one color look glittery glamour, just like how layering a bejeweled boxy top breaks up an all white outfit with some glitz.


Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4.

Belt It Out

Use one of this season’s hottest accessories, the statement belt, to give your monochromatic ensemble a trendy flourish. This is also a great way to personalize this trend as you can pick a belt that reflects your own style. If you love a bit of glamour, opt for belt with gold hardware. You can also use your belt as a subtle yet effective way to integrate a color splash into your look. For maximum impact and high street style fab quotient, an oversized belt in an interesting shape is the way to go.

Monochromatic_Statement BeltSource: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4.

Full Spectrum

Harness the full visual impact of monochromatic by creating an outfit using a single color in a variety of its hues and shades to make encompass the current fashion trend. Using colors like gray and pink will increase the elegance of your look, and display your fashion forward smarts at its best. Don’t be afraid to experiment when trying your hand at the monochrome trend. You can integrate different extremes of color depth in a single outfit, i.e., you can wear dark purple and plum or mix together pale pinks with bright bubblegum pink or the extremes of dark to light with black and white combinations – see image above..


Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4.

Read the Fine Print

Give some complexity to your monochromatic fashion by incorporating a subtle print into it. Pinstripes, snakeskin, and checks are muted prints that subtly add some visual richness to the singular color of your look. Understated sophistication should be your watchwords as you select patterns that are more fine and subdued to complement the color you choose to don that day.

Monochromatic_ComplexSource – Top Line: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4.

Source – Bottom Line: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4.