was successfully added to your cart.

Category Archives: Work Style

10 TRAITS THAT ATTRACT OPPORTUNITIES & PEOPLE, Style Clinic, Ann Reinten, Image Innovators, Image Consultant Training, Image Consultant tools and resources.


By | Personal Style, Psychology, Work Style | No Comments

I’ve been asked many times ‘How much does my appearance really matter?’  

And I’ve always answered, a lot, when the occasion is important and if we are unknown because it’s the visual basis from which others will decide if they are going to interact with us or not.

BUT…Our clothes are only a clue to who we are inside.

Most of us want to be thought of as a person of merit, someone who leaves a positive mark on their family, friends, and community.

We all know the people of merit; those who stand apart from others and are the ones we can trust and count no matter what. They make us each feel important and bring security and value to our lives and to the lives of others. While they care for their appearance they are not vain, instead, their clothes reflect their inner qualities   

They are a far cry from those who style themselves only for show while exhibiting little regard for other people, their feelings or occasions.

This time around I thought I’d touch on the traits that set a person apart, making them a person of value to all they come in contact with? The traits are in no particular order as each is equally important in my eyes.

10 TRAITS THAT ATTRACT OPPORTUNITIES & PEOPLE, Honesty, Style Clinic, Ann Reinten, Image Innovators, Image Consultant Training, Image Consultant tools and resources.


Honesty is so much more than the act of being truthful. The best way to think about it is to define what dishonesty is – “any act or omission that causes or allows another to be misled“. Suddenly honesty is much more than not telling lies. Honesty is not engaging in word games, subtle distinctions, misdirection, concealment or omissions.

Honesty is about being real with yourself and others about who you are, what you want and what you need to live your most authentic life. Honesty promotes openness, empowers us and enables us to develop consistency in how we present the facts. Honesty sharpens our perception and allows us to observe everything around us with clarity.

Honesty does not give you license to hurt people with the truth by legitimizing what you’ve just said with “I’m just being honest!” Whether in your personal life or your professional one, honest opinions shouldn’t be used to destroy a person’s confidence or diminish their potential.

10 TRAITS THAT ATTRACT OPPORTUNITIES & PEOPLE, Caring, Style Clinic, Ann Reinten, Image Innovators, Image Consultant Training, Image Consultant tools and resources.



This is an incredibly important trait. The person who cares about others, their wants, needs, and feelings are seen as a tower of strength and believe me there will be times when we all need someone to care for or about us.  

Some people make it a practice not to care about all manner of things for fear of appearing weak or being hurt but that only leads to a confined life. Caring for and about others does not guarantee we won’t be hurt or abused but it does allow us to grow and develop into a well-rounded person.

Emotional connections with others make us more fulfilled and help us lead more complete lives and our acts of caring and empathy are not only noticed by others but they shape us into happier beings. If we shut people out for fear of being hurt we also deduce the possibility of finding another person who may make us happy.

10 TRAITS THAT ATTRACT OPPORTUNITIES & PEOPLE, Trustworthy, Style Clinic, Ann Reinten, Image Innovators, Image Consultant Training, Image Consultant tools and resources.


Trust is earned one deed at a time. It’s proving to people that you are a person of your word and can be relied upon to do what you have promised.

Being consistently a person of your word you’ll be rewarded with the support and loyalty of others resulting in strong relationships and leadership opportunities. In fact, without trust, there will be no relationship built or doors opened.

Trustworthy is also being a person who does not share things said to them in private, nor spreads gossip. 

10 TRAITS THAT ATTRACT OPPORTUNITIES & PEOPLE, Respectful, Respect, Style Clinic, Ann Reinten, Image Innovators, Image Consultant Training, Image Consultant tools and resources.


I could go on forever with this one…it seems to be a quality that is slipping further and further away each day as people put themselves before and above others.

Respect is a right of everyone and up until a person breaks that respect you should always show it. In fact, you can tell a lot about a person by the way they treat others, particularly those they have nothing to gain from.

Respect builds bridges and brings people to a place of trust and shows them they have value. From the homeless person, we pass on the street to those in power, everyone deserves our respect until they do something to lose it. 

10 TRAITS THAT ATTRACT OPPORTUNITIES & PEOPLE, Humility, Style Clinic, Ann Reinten, Image Innovators, Image Consultant Training, Image Consultant tools and resources.


This is a trait that you can’t prove but one that people can quickly see when you display the opposite trait i.e. pridefulness, snobbery, arrogance and vain.

To have humility is to demonstrate that every person you encounter is equally valuable and you are no better or more important than anyone else.

The person who is humble is grateful for what they have, listens to other people’s views, accepts we are all fallible, asks for help when they need it (Oops, I fail at that one), is modest about their achievements and seeks feedback from others on a regular basis. 

10 TRAITS THAT ATTRACT OPPORTUNITIES & PEOPLE, Friendly, Style Clinic, Ann Reinten, Image Innovators, Image Consultant Training, Image Consultant tools and resources.


Most of us are attracted to people who are outgoing, welcoming, fun-loving and enthusiastic. Likewise, those who see the positive, lighter side of life and are kind.

Friendly people make our lives richer because they are inclusive, which includes looking people in the eye, smiling and acknowledging them to inviting others to join them be it sitting next to them or going out socially. Being friendly is a state of mind that affects not only the recipient but also the giver as it improves mental and physical well-being.

10 TRAITS THAT ATTRACT OPPORTUNITIES & PEOPLE, Confident, Style Clinic, Ann Reinten, Image Innovators, Image Consultant Training, Image Consultant tools and resources.


Confidence is a trait that attracts people immediately. It’s not arrogant or aggressive but rather assertive; it’s knowing you are worthy of speaking freely to express your ideas, opinions, and values. Confident people speak with assurance, are not afraid to take the lead or to show their enthusiasm for ideas and projects. They are consistent in their behavior and beliefs and portray an image of strength, be it physical, mental or both. 

10 TRAITS THAT ATTRACT OPPORTUNITIES & PEOPLE, Generous, Style Clinic, Ann Reinten, Image Innovators, Image Consultant Training, Image Consultant tools and resources.



There are many forms that generosity can take from freely giving of one’s time, money or energy and each act is one with no expectation of return.

Generosity like confidence is a trait that when practiced improves the givers mental well-being as much as it does the receivers circumstances. To give without expectation of return is an act that improves the givers life because it causes us to focus on what we are giving rather than on what we are receiving. It creates a more outward orientation toward the world, which shifts our focus away from ourselves.

The world will be a better place for everyone if we practiced more of these thing each day. It’s not hard, it just takes a little mindfulness and practice.







If you enjoyed this week’s feature
please like it on Facebook or Instagram
or leave a comment/question below.
Thank you.
Ann Reinten AICI CIP

Style Clinic, Image Innovators, Work Style, Ann Reinten, Image Consultant training

APPEARANCE: The Resume that Matters – Pt 3

By | Colour, Coordination, How To..., Personal Style, What to Wear, Work Style | 6 Comments

Welcome to part 3, the final instalment of my Appearance series on how to create a positive visual impression at work.

This time I’m primarily concentrating on color and accessories.

Color Up for Authority

Solid colors are the best choice for your foundation work pieces i.e., skirts, dresses, pants and jackets. Subtle patterns are best left for your next tier of work wear. 
Never underestimate the power of color depth – the darker the color the more authority it will bestow on you. If you suffer from dandruff or flaky skin conditions opt for medium colors and seek help for your condition.
Image Innovators, Style Clinic, Ann Reinten, Image Consultant Training, Work Style

Color-Up for Impact

  • Clear colors are crisp, clean colors which show no signs of grayness/dullness. They create an image of mental clarity, vitality and action.(A)
  • Grayish/dull colors (especially those which are cool) can create a perception of mental dullness, passivity, low energy and mature age.(B)
  • Warm clear colors are seen as friendly, happy, energetic, youthful and playful. (C)  Wear sparingly to work.
  • Cool colors (the darker the better) are generally perceived as trustworthy, reliable and professional. (D)
  • Feminine colors such as pinks, lilac, yellow can diminish authority (E), while colors traditionally associated with men generally provide authority e.g., black, charcoal, navy.(A,D)  Avoid mid greys if you are over 50 as they tend to make you appear older.
  • Warm dull colors are emotionally reassuring however, they can also be perceived as low energy or passive. (F)
  • Bright, vivid or intense colors raise energy and enthusiasm and/or increase tensions depending on the color and situation. (G)
For more psychology of color insights click here.
Image Innovators, Ann Reinten, Style Clinic, Image Consultant Training, Work Style
Image Innovators, Ann Reinten, Style Clinic, Image Consultant Training, Work Style

Color Hierarchy

Being savvy about what colors to wear to work will help ensure you create the impression you’re after.

Traditional Business Attire: White has long been considered the most professional color for business shirts.  Next in line are the light/icy shades of blue, lilac and pink which are the most recognizable formal business colors (stars in Tradition business row).  Wear solid white when you wish to create the most serious/formal impression.

Business Casual colors are led by mid to dark blues and purples (stars in Business Casual row) and followed by mid shades of pink, orange, yellow and green. Bright, unusual colors not commonly associated with seriousness are best left for after work hours.

Prints and Patterns: For stripes and checks the background color should be considered first for its level of authority followed by the color of the stripes. Also, the narrower and closer together the stripes the more business like your image will be.


Contrast for Attention 

Another important aspect of color is its ability to subtly solicit attention.  The contrast level of an outfit is created between the colors you are wearing and will be in either a high, medium or low.  In the case of you wearing one color i.e., a beige dress, it will be between the dress and your skin (low contrast if you have light to medium Caucasian coloring). The higher the contrast the more the brain will be stimulated to take notice. Knowing how to manage this secret weapon can give you a real advantage.

  • High contrast is created by strong light/dark or bright color combinations; the kind that make you want to say WOW.  Depending on the colors this contrast can have you being perceived as authoritative (think 80′s power dressing) or eccentric.  It will definitely wake the brain and have you being noticed, but is so loud/strong that it can tend to make others stand back rather and observe rather than to interact with you. 
  • Medium contrast is created when the color contrast comes from colors that are lighter and darker than each other while being easy on the eye.  This level of contrast is professional and people friendly, think navy and white.  This contrast will have you noticed, listened to, taken seriously while remaining approachable.
  • Low contrast is created when different colors of the same or similar depth are combined.  This soft look tends to be perceived as elegant and sophisticated when rich or dark colors are combined and passive, casual, aging or bland when light colors are coordinated together.  If the colors are also close to the depth and of your skin the effect is multiplied. Imagine a dark skinned woman in the navy and black outfit. Low contrast is so quiet it can place you into visual incognito, as such it’s brilliant for observing and letting others take the lead, but when you want to take the reins or be noticed, listened to or taken seriously it’s not the way to dress.

It’s also important to mention that wearing colors that suit your personal coloring is also something to take seriously. The right colors will enhance your skin, hair and eyes, invigorate youthfulness and seriously increase your attractiveness. Image Innovators have many consultants who can help you discover your best colors.

Image Innovators, Ann Reinten, Style Clinic, Image Consultant Training, Work Style

A Touch of Spice is Nice

Every outfit we wear is accompanied by at least one accessory: shoes, belt, earrings and/or handbag etc.  While it’s easy to just throw them on without a thought, considering them only ‘finisher items’, they are in fact, much more important than just ‘finishers’.
For relatively small cost you can own a minimal wardrobe of basic items and have multitudes of different outfits that will be ready to take you anywhere, anytime when you fully employ the power of accessories.  In other words, accessories can expand your wardrobe by giving your outfits multiple looks, moods and a current look. If you’ve never truly explored your wardrobe’s mix and match possibilities, take a day and pull out all your tried and true outfits. Go through all your accessories to find at least several new outfits. Explore ways to dress each up and down using earrings, necklaces, scarves, hosiery, shoes and bags etc. When it comes to career dressing, understanding what style of accessory and how many to employ at any one time is the key to ensuring a professional presentation. The aim is to create visual interest to your outfits whilst maintaining a professional image and ensuring the attention is firmly focused above your bust line.
Key points
  • By the best quality you can afford. Quality over quantity – your accessories should support your image.
  • Your face is your fortune. If you add several accessories ensure the one near your face is the most dominant.
  • Ask yourself, ‘does this accessory say polished professional?’  If it doesn’t or you’re in doubt, take it off.
  • Limit yourself to 3 visual focal points. More than this and you’ll be in danger of looking too ‘busy’ for businesses.
  • Learn how to accessorize – there are lots of great blog, books and YouTube videos to learn from.
  • Hand carry as few things as possible to avoid looking clumsy or disorganised.  Avoid backpacks.
  • Handbags: The more structured and polished the bag the more professional you’ll appear.
  • Earrings: understated, classic and no larger than medium-large.
  • Shoes: the most professional are – at least medium height, leather with a closed, tapered to pointy toe.
  • Belts: medium to narrow, classic style, understated buckle and leather.
  • Watch: classic style, non-bulky, leather or chain strap.

Be Current, Be Clever

An up-to-date appearance is essential. It says I’m aware of what’s going today in the world around me.  A current appearance puts others at ease and builds credibility and trust.  Wearing clothes, eyewear, hairstyles or makeup that is a decade or more old will give you a look that advertises that you are clearly out of sync with the world about you and if you look out-of-date, maybe so are your skills and knowledge. Remember; we trust that what we see is a reflection of your character and abilities. I’m not saying you need to wear the latest fashion, but you do need to wear clothes and accessories that are recognizable with specific trends that are no more than five years old.  This is especially important for anything that is close to, or on your face/head as these are the areas noticed most.
There’s also no understating the personal confidence and pleasure an up-to-date and impressive image will give you.  When YOU like what you see in the mirror it’s incredibly empowering.

Say What?

To be heard takes more than putting a great idea/point across at the right time, to the right people.
Your words can dissolve mid-air if you are wearing something, or acting in a way that attracts more attention than what you are saying.  Distractions have the power to totally sabotage what you are trying to say or do. Not only do they cause others to focus on ‘it’ rather than what you are trying to get across, they create an internal dialogue about the item and you or, the item and them.  Whatever you were saying becomes white noise and depending on what the distraction was it may also damage your credibility.Image Innovators, Ann Reinten, Style Clinic, Image Consultant Training, Work Style
Examples of distractions:
  • strong perfume
  • ornate/large earrings and rings
  • jangling bracelets
  • low cut necklines
  • very short hemlines
  • visible tattoos
  • dark lingerie under light colored clothes
  • food stuck in teeth
  • weird/inappropriate makeup or hair
  • wardrobe malfunctions eg., fallen hems, bra straps, buttons missing, clothes straining or gaping
  • inappropriate clothes i.e., for weight, age, occasion, people present etc
  • anything out of the ordinary e.g., an earring missing from one ear
  • Before any important meeting where you need to be seen and heard take a last minute full-length look at yourself to check everything is as it should be.

Turn Offs

Similar to distractions, though potentially much more costlier to an individual’s career, is the creation of the perception that a person lacks a degree of self-awareness and/or sensitivity for others. This conclusion having been made from an individual’s experience of the way they dressed, looked or behaved in a given situation. While most of us live in countries where we are blessed with the right to dress and behave as we please (within the limits of the law).  This privilege will backfire if the person is considered to be a maverick that cannot be totally trusted to dress or behave within social norms at important times. We may love them as friends or peers but their ‘loose-canon’ personality will cause us to exclude them from participating in important events.

 That ends this series, I hope you enjoyed it and have been able to adopt some of it into your wardrobe.
I’d love to hear your comments, stories or questions in the comment area below.


If you enjoyed this week’s feature
please like it on Facebook or Instagram
or leave a comment/question below.
Thank you.
Ann Reinten AICI CIP

Christmas work Party. Christmas Glamour, Ann Reinten, My Private Stylist, Image innovators, Image Consultant Training, AICI

FROM CUBICLE TO COCKTAILS: how to go from work to the office party

By | How To..., Work Style | No Comments

As Christmas approaches office parties are in full swing and many minds are on what to wear for the most fun event of the office year.

It will take more than just a cute dress to impress this crowd; it’s all about looking chic without losing sight of the fact that the people you’re about to party and drink with are still your colleagues and those who hold your future in their hands may be among that crowd. How you dress and conduct yourself at events like this are seen as glimpses of the ‘real’ you and indiscretions at this time of year can follow you well into next year.  


  • Dress and behave like your boss is in the room. An office party can get crazy, you may or may not see your boss but you should always be prepared for that scenario.
  • Amp up your beauty look. If you don’t have the time to for a complete party makeover, the least you can do is to turn up the volume with your hair and makeup. A swipe of bold colored lipstick and a good blow dry is all you need sometimes. If you’re feeling like you need more glam than that, add in a smoky eye, winged eyeliner, and bouncy curls courtesy of the curling iron you packed.

Office Party, Christmas Office Party, Christmas Glamour, Image Innovators, Image Consultant Training, Ann ReintenSource: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3.

  • Leave your huge work tote in your cubicle. Put some essentials into a chic patterned clutch or a gilded minaudiere. This simple purse swap can dramatically transform your look.
  • Red is the go-to color for holiday party dressing. Embrace this tradition and marry it with current trends, since this season tomato red is such a prominent hue for the runways and in the street style blogosphere as well. 

Christmas work Party. Christmas Glamour, Ann Reinten, My Private Stylist, Image innovators, Image Consultant Training, AICI

Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3.

  • Switch your sensible work pumps for more fun party heels, again within the bounds of elegant taste of course. Opt for jewel toned pumps with embellishments, or heeled sandals in a vibrant color. Steer clear of large platform pumps as they have a tendency to look cheap.

Christmas work Party. Christmas Glamour, Ann Reinten, My Private Stylist, Image innovators, Image Consultant Training, AICI

Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3

  • Liven up your suit. You can do this by adding a belt with metallic hardware or an oversized belt in a fun print or, switch out your office blouse with something more festive. Try a silk camisole, or a printed sheer blouse.
  • Exchange your work jewelry and replace it with attention grabbing accessories. This is an area you can really be playful in, and you can be more daring with your choice of statement bling. Just be careful not to over accessorize, remember that you still have to look classy and polished.

Christmas work Party. Christmas Glamour, Ann Reinten, My Private Stylist, Image innovators, Image Consultant Training, AICI

Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3

  • Exchange nude colored office hosiery for sheer black stockings, fine fishnets or something with a muted or small pattern like a small polka dots.
  • Add some fake lashes and to darken your eyebrows a little bit more. You shouldn’t select lashes that are too long though, you still want to look sophisticated. You are just looking for a bit more pop. Also, only do this if you are absolutely comfortable wearing falsies the whole night.
  • Don a statement jacket. Take off that prim office blazer and put on a topper that will go with your work style for the day. Try a leather jacket, embellished boxy jacket, or a cropped printed bomber jacket. The jacket options are endless.
  • Consider a more colorful ensemble – this is the time to have fun, just remember ‘appropriateness’ is still the order of the day.

Christmas work Party. Christmas Glamour, Ann Reinten, My Private Stylist, Image innovators, Image Consultant Training, AICI
Source: Image 1Image 2Image 3


  • Don’t get drunk at the office party. Have a few drinks socially and know when to say no.
  • Don’t wear anything too revealing. Only choose to bare skin either on your décolletage or your hemlines. Never do two at the same time, and always keeps elegance top of mind.
  • Don’t go over the top with garish jewelry or kooky accessories.
  • Don’t go home with raccoon smudged eyes at the end of the night. When applying a smoky eye, put a primer and set it properly.
  • Wear proper underwear. Visible bra straps and panty lines are poor form. Invest in shape wear if needed – the only things giggling should be the ice cubes in your drink.
  • Don’t wear anything too tight. You want to feel comfortable throughout the night.
  • Don’t do anything with colleagues you wouldn’t be OK seen doing during office hours. 

Christmas work Party. Christmas Glamour, Ann Reinten, My Private Stylist, Image innovators, Image Consultant Training, AICI


Want More? Nine Ways to Survive the Christmas Party.

Image Innovators, Image Consultant Training, Professional dress, Professional Appearance, Women, Females, Ann Reinten, Style Clinic

APPEARANCE: The Resume that Matters – Pt 2

By | Work Style | No Comments

We live in a world of instant judgements where our appearance, clothes, grooming and body language create the visual clues from which others make judgements about our character, personality, status and ability.

Creating a good visual impression is essential in order to pass the ‘all important’ first impression and encourage others to ‘go beyond’ your packaging and pay attention to what you have to offer. 

In a nutshell; if you present yourself as a capable, confident, reliable person, others will respond to you accordingly and give you time to prove it.

A word of warning though: 


As mentioned in the first feature, you do not need to spend thousands of dollars to create a professional presentation however, it’s good practice to buy the best quality you can afford especially for the workhorse items such as pants and skirts.  If you are at the beginning of your career, start out with a minimal mix and match wardrobe and build on it, one good quality piece at a time.

Shape Up 

Shaped garments are more formal than those that are loose.  Semi-fitted is by far the most appropriate and work for all occasions, while boxy garments tend to be perceived as more casual and very-fitted, short garments have the potential to undermine your professional efforts with a high-fashion or sexual overtone.  Your aim at work should be to demonstrate professionalism with all appearance indicators demonstrating that your full attention is on your work.

Image Innovators, Image Consultant Training, Professional dress, Professional Appearance, Women, Females, Ann Reinten, Style ClinicGet Tailored

Tailored garments are: fitted garments that have clean, simple lines, are minimally embellished, smart looking and fit well. They also commonly have vertical design aspects and hallmarks of a men’s suiting such as collars and sleeve cuffs etc.  Tailored garments can be relied on to give you an image of authority especially when also in trustworthy or authoritarian colors such as medium to dark blues and greys, black and burgundy.  


Cover Up

FACT: The more bare flesh you expose the less formal/professional you will be seen to be.

Taken to its full extent this would be: covered arms, high neck tops, hems at or below the knee, hosiery and closed toe shoes. When combined with a jacket this level is only the most formal of business settings. But don’t be fooled, covering up is still an effective tool when you need to impress with professionalism.  Bare arms and legs are often accepted in workplaces, but the fact remains, when you add a sweater, a sleeved top, lower your hem, swap open toe shoes for a closed pump and/or add hosiery you will be seen as more professional and, treated accordingly. 

Image Innovators, Image Consultant Training, Professional dress, Professional Appearance, Women, Females, Ann Reinten, Style Clinic

Jackets Trump Cardigans

Straight from men’s wear a jacket instantly adds credibility and a level of professionalism that no other garment can match. For all occasions when you need to put your best foot forward or ensure you are seen as someone higher up the chain of command add a jacket. 

Image Innovators, Image Consultant Training, Professional dress, Professional Appearance, Women, Females, Ann Reinten, Style Clinic


If you enjoyed this week’s feature
please like it on Facebook or Instagram
or leave a comment/question below.
Thank you.
Ann Reinten AICI CIP

Visual Resume, Professional image, Image Innovators, Ann Reinten, My Private Stylist, Image Innovators, Professional dress


By | Work Style | 9 Comments

It’s true, most of us are blessed to live in a country where we are free to wear whatever we choose.  But with that freedom comes the responsibility of knowing what’s appropriate for the job, our role and the events we need to attend.  To disregard any written, implied or silent cultural appearance codes and you may find yourself considering self-employment.

Now, don’t misunderstand me, I’m the first person to tell you that the way you dress is not the most important aspect of your professional image.  Equally important is your:

  • self-esteem and confidence
  • Attitude and integrity
  • respect for others
  • ability to perform the job well
  • communication skills
  • body language and
  • reputation

However, the way you visually present yourself can and will at times, outweigh all of the above.

Why? Because people believe what we see.

We take the outer appearance of a person to be a reflection of their values, attitudes, status and abilities.  In fact, regardless of how glowing a person’s reputation, documented successes, experiences, testimonies or how enthusiastic and intelligent their conversation, if their visual presentation is below the expected level, everything they have been informed about the person will be viewed as embellished at best, or a lie at worst.

Simply put, your appearance (clothes and grooming) is your ‘visual resume’. It will either create and support your reputation as a trustworthy, capable professional or undermining it.  When one does not support the other, people will always believe the evidence before their eyes.

Professional image, Image Innovators, Ann Reinten, My Private Stylist, Image Innovators, Professional dress

When I speak within organisations, I ask ‘how many have ever interviewed candidates for a position?’ To those who and ‘I have’, I ask, have you ever walked into the reception area to get the next candidate only to be confronted by someone who visually did not cut it and then found yourself thinking – “dam! this is going to be another waste of 30 mins!”.  Instantly, and often without realizing it, the candidate has substantially reduced their chances of getting the position purely through their presentation. Somehow, in their tiny window of opportunity they are going to have to produce something outstanding if they are to turn things around.  

Likewise, the opposite is true.  An interviewer can glance upon the next hopeful and instantly feel positive about the possible outcome of the next interview given their polished and confident appearance.  Their mind slips into “I like this person, this one may just the one” mode.   

Psychologists have a term for this process, it’s called the ‘horns and halo effect’. Once an initial judgement has been made the tendency is to lock onto what we believe and lock out anything to the contrary.

In a nutshell your appearance is important, and when it is less than expected the results can cost you dearly in:

  • employment opportunities
  • potential income
  • promotions and job opportunities
  • respect and authority
  • personal branding

Here’s a professional makeover – I think you’ll agree that after the makeover it’s easier to believe the candidate’s potential, ability, people skills, executive income level and leadership capabilities.

Professional image, Image Innovators, Ann Reinten, My Private Stylist, Image Innovators, Professional dress

So, how far should this be taken?  Designer clothes, latest fashions, having to be perfectly groomed?

Nope, the truth is it’s far easier and achievable than you may expect.

What’s Most Important 

To most employers THE most important thing to them is the value/revenue you bring to the business from the work you do.  Many consider this to be three times what they pay you.  The second most important thing is your ability to get along with others and act as a valuable and contributing team member. The third is that you are able to be relied upon to consistently represent their organization in a professional and positive manner during all contact you have with clients, customers and the general public.

YOU are after all, the human face of the organization you represent. Multitudes of thousands of dollars are spent creating and maintaining a company’s brand.  From their mission statement to their logo, website, building facade, foyer and advertising.  You, as their representative are their human interface and as such it is important that you are an asset in doing so.  This DOES NOT mean designer clothes, the latest fashion or high salon styling.  What an employer expects is for you to do the best with what you’ve got.  No more, no less. This means figure flattering, current clothes, well-coordinated and in colors that tell the world you’re a professional with your mind on the job at hand. 

Great Grooming = Confidence

Often, even more important than your clothes is your grooming. It reveals to the world how you feel about yourself and your mood. Those with a good level of self-esteem take the time to care for their appearance through: 

  • Clean well-styled hair
  • Nails and teeth clean and cared for
  • Well applied classic make-up  
  • Clean clothes in good repair
  • Well maintained accessories and shoes

Professional image, Image Innovators, Ann Reinten, My Private Stylist, Image Innovators, Professional dress, Professional Grooming Source

Appropriate and Polished = Professional Awareness

Like grooming the clothes, you chose to wear, and the way they are coordinated will set the tone for how you will be perceived and treated.

To gain the best perception your clothes should be:

  • Current: in-tune with today.  Your suit may be a classic style and ten years old but your accessories and/or the color of your blouse is in vogue this season.
  • Tailored: consisting of simple shapes and fitted lines.
  • Well-coordinated: easy on the eye and keeping the focus on you rather than what you are wearing.
  • Appropriate: for your age, figure, job and position.

Visual Attitude = Likeabilty

As the saying goes, “you’re never fully dressed without a smile“.  After everything is said and done, no matter what your clothes look like ultimately, it’s your face that connects most with people.  Eye contact, a genuine smile and even a nod of acknowledgement will open others up to you and create instant rapport.

Professional image, Image Innovators, Ann Reinten, My Private Stylist, Image Innovators, Professional dress

Some Absolute No Nos

  • Too short: more than 5cms /2″ above the knee
  • Too plunging: showing bust cleavage
  • Too tight: any garment
  • See through: any garment
  • Dirty: hair, nails teeth
  • Soiled/ stained/ torn: clothes
  • Make-up: too much
  • Hair: weird colors or styles
  • Inappropriate clothes: for weight or age

Even on a Budget

All of the above can be accomplished even by university leavers on a tiny budget or those returning to work after years of unemployment.  Grooming is a simple matter and takes just a few minutes a day.

Great clothes can be purchased inexpensively through many retail stores as well as second hand and consignment stores.  Organisations like Fitted for Work or Dressed for Success help women for interviews and work by providing them with free outfits. 

A smile and friendly nod of acknowledgement costs nothing but the willingness and awareness to do so.

Need a Little Help?      

My Private Stylist is a perfect program to set you on the right track in regards to what suits you.  It’s a web-based, personal style program that allows you to input details about your body shape, height, weight and age.  Based on your unique physical profile, a custom style program is created covering every aspect of what does and doesn’t suit you and why. It includes styling for everyday and professional wear.

Image innovators supports image consultants around the globe who can help you get to where you need to be.

All you need to do is take the first step.


If you enjoyed this week’s feature
please like it on Facebook or Instagram
or leave a comment/question below.
Thank you.
Ann Reinten AICI CIP

Cubical banner Main

CUBICAL CHIC: How to choose and style dresses for work

By | Work Style | 8 Comments
Women have worn dresses to work from the very moment they stepped into the workplace. A dress is quick to dress in, easy to wear and the perfect garment to wear when you wish to portray both femininity and professionalism.

After what dress styles suit me, the next fashion conundrum most women face is what styles will best meet the standards of my workplace and afford me the best level of professionalism. This is especially so given we’ve strayed so far from formal business attire and business casual is still a confusing state of dress for many.

So without further adieu:   

Seek out tailored details like pleating, collars and lapels.

Pronounced pleating or box pleating are details that both add to the structured feel of a typical dress. Collar and lapel features echo traditional menswear suiting details and add to the professionalism of your ensemble. These tailored details allude to suiting, which is go-to work attire, while still keeping the feminine dress silhouette.
Tailored Group

Shirt, sheath, and wrap dresses are your best bet. 

Sheath dresses are form-fitting dresses that hug the figure. This type of dress is usually simple and plain, which is not to say it’s boring.
Sheath dresses are a great option to always have at hand since there are so many ways to style them. You can opt to wear it on its own at the office or layer more structured or tailored pieces over it. Bold colors like red are great for making a statement for those all-important presentations or meetings, but you can’t beat neutral colored sheath dresses for sheer versatility.
Shirtdresses are another viable option for your go-to work dress. The A-line of shirtdresses are universally flattering, plus the button down feature and collar shows that you’re keeping work appropriateness top of mind.
Best Dress Style group

Keep patterns reined in for a professional feel. 

Don’t limit yourself when dressing up for the office. If you have an affinity for prints and textures, you can certainly bring this love to your work style. Professionalism should always be your priority, but it can be balanced by trendy prints and textures.


Keep your print colors to those that associated with trust, strength or professionalism such as black, navy, white, red etc. Clean, clear colors often work better than muted/dull/dusty colors.


Steer clear of oversized or loud prints and colors associated with childhood or fun which tend to look out of place in a work environment and diminish your credibility. 
Print Group

To Bare Arms or Not

Covering up has long been seen as most appropriate for serious business attire. And even fairly recent studies have shown that the more covered you are the more formal/professional you’ll be viewed.   

If you are unsure or want to raise your image err on the side of wearing sleeves and hosiery.

PicMonkey Collage

Keep necklines high, hemlines moderate and dresses semi-fitted

At work you want the attention centered on the job at hand and your intellectual contribution, nothing else. Exposing cleavage, wearing minis, thigh-high slits or a skin tight dress may attract attention but not the type that advances your career. Not only is it distracting it can cause bad blood in an office if you are perceived to be using your sexuality to gain attention or favor. 

Source: Image 1, Image 2

Give your work dress some structure with jackets and crisp shirts

Wearing a blazer over a dress instantly increases the professionalism of your look. It also adds an extra bonus of giving your look more structure which gives the visual illusion of a trimmer waist and broader shoulders.

Wearing a crisp shirt underneath a dress also affords the dress a hint of tailored detailing.

Jacket group
Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3

Choose your accessories wisely

Structured boxy envelope bags and satchels maintain the modern elegance and sophistication of your office ensemble. Avoid open-toed footwear in favor of pumps in basic neutrals. Extending the formal feel to your accessories is key to giving your office look style harmony, and finishing it off with extra polish.

When it comes to jewelry, understated is the call of the day. If you want to up the ante and add a statement necklace keep your other items refined.

Cinching your waist with a belt has the added benefit of giving you a waist, but even more than that, a belt upgrades your work dress by making the total outfit look more put together.

Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3

Multi-task your dress

One of the best things about a well-considered work dress is that it will be versatile. With a change of footwear and the addition of statement accessories, your work dress can go from night to day, from office to a chic restaurant. Don’t shy away from collar necklaces with shiny and bold baubles. Embrace your love for bright and beautiful heels. These things will help you a lot in taking your look from everyday work wear to evening glamor.

Evening dress group
Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3

Add tights/hose for a more polished feel

Don’t underestimate the addition of black tights. This classic outfit add-on will give your work dress the extra push it needs to achieve a whole new level of chic.

Tights Group
Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3



If you enjoyed this week’s feature
please like it on Facebook or Instagram
or leave a comment/question below.
Thank you.
Ann Reinten AICI CIP

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

fashion accessories for work


By | Accessorizing, Work Style | No Comments

Dressing for the office can be a tricky situation to navigate; you want your work style to look confident and chic while maintaining an air of professionalism and adhering to dress codes.

Far from being something that only younger women need to concern themselves with, the more mature woman should also strive to always look polished, professional and in sync with fashion. After all she is the one most threatened with being seen as ‘past her professional prime’.

The great news is looking professionally chic is something every woman can easily excel in and it will reap rewards both personally and professionally, while also empowering you to seize the day and conquer all challenges.

The easiest and quickest way to upgrade your standard work wear is to accessorize.

Make a Statement

Working while wearing chunky bracelets, earrings or over-sized cocktail rings can be cumbersome, your best bet in displaying some bling at the office is sporting a statement necklace. This type of jewelry instantly adds glam and edgy flavor to your work style attire.

When wearing a necklace that is very intricate or detailed, keep your makeup dewy and fresh. Let the statement necklace take center stage, it is a guaranteed way to show more of your personality when going to work.

Workwear_Statement necklace

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

 Scarf Savvy

Whether it’s for the cold A.C. in the office or to battle the chilly winds outside, scarves do double duty as they serve both as a chic outfit add-on and a piece to keep your warm and cozy. Scarves are also one of the best ways to add a splash of print or pop of color to your ensemble or to unite two solid colored garments into a unified outfit. You can even opt for a fur scarf during the winter, and let it give your look some luxe texture and glamor.

 Workwear_ScarvesSource:    Image 1,   Image 2,   Image 3,   Image 4

In the Bag

Far from being just your carry-all, you can add personality, punch or power with the right work style bag.

If you need some professional kudos stick with structured silhouettes. Traditional colors such as black, navy, and tan will always be safe but that will not stop many business women from being able to sport bags with a little flare from embellishments, prints, and metal hardware.

Veer away from shapes and materials that are too casual, such as canvas or slouchy hobo bags. A vintage leather briefcase, animal print satchel, and black totes with gold hardware are all excellent options for increasing the elegance and sophistication of your look.

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

Footwear Frenzy

Don’t let your staple black and nude pumps limit your office look. In all but the most conservative professional environments you can show some personality and flare when choosing your footwear.To jazz up your monochromatic and neutral outfits. Red pumps and animal print pumps are no-brainer alternatives that give your look a bit more oomph. If you’re feeling a bit more sartorially brave and fashion forward, select loafers to go with your pantsuit for a menswear-inspired tailored vibe. Now if you’re the type that just prefers the classic quality of vibe, you can opt for more daring shapes like a lace-up heels or even sleek ankle boots.

When on doubt opt for closed toed styles.


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

Belt It Out

Never underestimate the impact of creating an hourglass silhouette. Accentuate your curves and cinch your waist with a figure-flattering accessory that creates a streamline shape and look, a belt. Done up in gold metal hardware or just with simple yet elegant leather, the simple addition of a belt works wonders in making you look more pulled together. Go the offbeat path and wear it over your blazer, or you can tuck your shirt in to show off more of the belt’s details.


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

Layers of Style

A layered office look already stands out from the pant-suit and neutral wearing crowd, since it makes use of different finishes and prints to make the ensemble look more interesting and multidimensional.

Layer a sweater over a striped button-down or a military jacket over a crisp tailored shirt, there are endless ways to do unexpected pairings that make one’s work style look more dashing and smart.

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

appearance important or not


By | Personal Style, Psychology, Work Style | 9 Comments

Every day each of us unconsciously decide who and what we bring into our lives; from products we buy to the individuals we chose to be our friends, or do business with. We make rapid gut decisions based on the visual clues we observe, which we then associate with known stereotypes and assume are a reflection of the inner qualities we believe them to reflect. Based on our decisions we either engage or ignore. 

In theory we know that there is a great deal more to a person than what meets the eye, but like a website, unless we can quickly gain someone’s attention by providing a visual experience that is similar to what they are looking for, or at the very least find engaging, we will be quickly ignored and passed over. Through the power of the visual media and a fast moving often unsafe world this is how we have become conditioned and it’s not going to change anytime soon. If we can’t attract attention by having a pleasing appearance then we will not be granted any additional time so they can get to know us better.

Apart from the effect our appearance has on others, we too are affected.  At least several times a day we see our reflection, and every time we do we are affected by what we see.  If we are pleased we tend to walk taller, smile more often, act more confidently and be more friendly.  When we dislike what we see we tend to shrink both into ourselves and away from others.

Is Your Appearance Really That Important?

So, the answer to the question, is appearance really that important? is an absolute YES.  Appearance is the make or break factor that opens doors, minds and opportunities.

But is it all that matters? Absolutely not, there’s a lot more to cultivating a great image than our appearance BUT, appearance is a vital part in achieving whatever success you are seeking as it is the one thing that most often opens the door.  


From the Playground to the Boardroom 

Look in any workplace or examine any social group and you’ll find that some stand apart as the leaders. They are the ones the others look to as the main voice; when they speak they are listened to and when they act everyone generally follows.

But what is it that set them apart?  

It’s certainly not just a pleasing or impressive appearance, we’ve all met well-dressed pains in the …..!  It’s a combination of several areas of image all working congruently together. 

The Circle of Success. 

Some years ago I developed ‘The Circle of Success; as an image management concept that would assist my clients to understand and work on various aspects of their image that needed improvement. This concept works for any person, living any lifestyle, who wishes to gain success in any endeavor.   

As you’ll see inner image is central and of most importance to you ability to manage the areas in the outer ring.  The areas in the outer ring are all affected by each other and each needs to be reasonably managed to ensure a excellent long term image.  

Total Image Management

Inner Image: the heart of the matter

This is the sum and substance of who you are, it is the real ‘you’ that others can’t see and it is the bedrock on which every act of your life is played out. It comprises of qualities such as your: self esteem, confidence, honesty, ethics, integrity, motivation and ability. Which have been formed as a result of your gender, experiences, opportunities, cultural and social background, education, spiritual foundation, values, goals and personality.  These elements combine to determine your outlook, attitudes, motivation and actions.  They determine what and how you think, and how you’ll behave and react in every situation.  They form your reality and govern what you want and expect out of life, and they set the limitations from which you live and behave.

The health and quality of inner image is central to a person’s ultimate success.  Anyone can be groomed to walk into a room and make a smashing initial impression, but it is the substance behind the performance that will ultimately sustain the impression. Any component of inner image that is lacking or in need of attention i.e. poor self esteem, low confidence, a damaging attitude, or a debilitating experience has the power to diminish or override any positives in the other four image areas and should be attended to as your first step.

Action Point: Could there be an inner image area holding you back?  If there is seek help to overcome it; it may be difficult at first to do, but once overcome it will improve your future.

Assumed Image: meeting expectations

This is what others know and/or expect of a person and it encompasses appearance, behavior and perceived ability. It’s knowing how to turn up to an event or meeting and as soon as those present see you they are put at ease.   It’s important that we meet the assumed expectations of those we socialize or work with and once a person is known, their assumed image becomes their reputation.

Reputation often precedes a person, either smoothing the way or impeding their path with avalanches of misconceived ideas and prejudices. Reputation is one of the most valuable commodities a person owns and it needs to be carefully created, maintained and zealously protected.  Think about those in your close circle of friends; there is likely to be one you know can’t be trusted to keep a secret, one who always turns up late, one who always has a better story than everyone else, one who is always there when you are in need and one you know can be always be relied on.  They have gained their reputation over time and it can be very hard (though not impossible) to change.  In short, your reputation has the power to open doors or keep them sealed.  

Action Point: Take the time to think about your reputation.  Could you be the one who’s always late or can’t be relied on?  It only takes a moment to make the decision to change and if you keep to the change you will change how you are thought of.

Visual Image: you are what you wear

The saying goes, ‘Seeing is Believing’. Therefore this area is most powerful when meeting someone for the first time. Research has shown that visual presentation (dress, grooming, facial expressions and posture) accounts for more than half of the impression made on others. When a person dresses and acts in the manner expected of a successful person, it will usually be assumed that they possess the talent, personality and characteristics that accompany the image. If they present a poor first impression, they may find themselves struggling to reclaim lost ground.  

When meeting any person or group for the first time it’s a smart move to dress in manner that will give you the greatest chance of being recognized as someone who possesses qualities that will fit-in and be an assets if included.

Action Point: Take a little time to think about how you visually present yourself.  PretaStyler is the perfect program if you need some help discovering what clothes work best for your figure. To learn about what clothing, make-up or hair colors suit you best visit an image consultant.    

Experienced Image: do unto others

This is the behavioral aspect of a person consisting of courtesy, respect, communication and people skills along with body language. If you can impress others with your interpersonal skills you’ll have a high chance of initiating positive and lasting relationships. It is always wise to strive to leave those you meet with a positive experience of you.  This includes: turning up on time, having a friendly, respectful and inclusive personality, a willingness to participate for the good of the group as well as delivering on what you say you’ll do, and being flexible and open to the ideas of all. 

Action Point: An image consultant can also assist you with your experience image.  A great book on the subject is Put Your Best Foot Forward by Jo-Ellan Dimitrius  (Author), Mark Mazzarella 

Proven Image: congruent and consistent

This is the final image area and is comprised of the tangible results of all the other areas as proven over time. As an example, you may have hired someone to speak to your group because you heard that they were entertaining, informative and an excellent speaker (Assumed Image/Reputation), on the night they looked great (Visual image) and behaved fine but did not provide the expected experience (Experienced image).  That in turn damaged their reputation as you spoke to others about your disappointment (Proven Image). 

To have a strong image you need to consistently live up to the expectation of others and the promises you have made.

Action Point: Think about your total image – do you live up to what people expect from you or do you too often disappoint. Everyday is a new day and a new opportunity to start afresh.  It may take some time for your image to change but if your consistent and persistent it will change.  As the saying goes. ‘it won’t happen overnight, but it will happen‘.

I hope now you can answer the question, is appearance really that important? And can see how anyone can create an image that will impress yourself and those around you if you employ an image management strategy.