Category Archives: Professional business attire

3 Reasons to Wear Accessories – By Kimberly Law, AICI CIP

When dressing for a classic look, the old saying ‘less is more’, is generally true. However, when it comes to accessories, ‘none’ is boring. Like the icing on the cake, accessories add personality, visual interest and pizzazz to any outfit.

  • A change of accessories can instantly change the mood of an outfit. The correct accessory can change your look from casual to dressy; daytime to evening; or serious to fun.
  • Adding a new accessory can update an old outfit, giving it a new life, giving your clothing longer wearability over time.
  • Accessories can create the illusion of a slimmer, taller, shorter or more balanced body shape. They act as a focal point and when strategically placed they can distract the eye away from any figure challenge.

Accessories are the finishing touch and come in many forms. Some examples of accessories include: shoes, handbags, jewellery, belts, scarves/ neckties, glasses, pocket squares, glasses and hosiery. Grooming such as make-up for women, stylish hair and well-groomed nails, accessorize and finish the look.

Choose your accessories carefully and make any outfit look fabulous.

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How to Choose the Wrong Underwear for the Workplace – By Kimberly Law, AICI CIP

Today I want to talk about something that has plagued the workforce for many years… the wrong underwear. It makes employers uncomfortable, co-workers uncomfortable, clients uncomfortable and if you fall victim to this, it can not only make you uncomfortable, but in the end it may be the cause of you being victimized and likely end up embarrassing you and those around you.

Over the years, many companies have invited me to speak to their employees about the importance of professional attire. And as strange as it may seem, in almost every situation the employer brings up the topic of underwear as a big concern. Behind closed doors they tell me of their horror stories about those embarrassing days when an employee comes into work, with the bra straps showing; the thong panty straps showing;  or a bra or panties worn too tight, non-supportive or even worse –  obviously non-existent.   Appropriate underwear is part of your professional attire. So let’s talk about underwear openly.

Lingerie has a very long history and over the years has been designed for many different functions – from hygiene & modesty to changing the shape of female figure & enhancing sexuality.

However, even though historically, lingerie may have served many purposes, (on the scene and behind the scene) in the board room underwear should never get top billing. At work, the purpose of underwear is to provide structure and comfort to your professional attire. As a foundation piece in a professional setting, it should always stay behind the scene in a supporting role rather than standing out as the main attraction.

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How to Dress to Appear More Feminine – By Kimberly Law, AICI CIP

I recently worked with two clients who said that they felt they were perceived as being too masculine. One said that she had actually been mistaken for a man. She said that she felt ‘very embarrassed’, and as a woman, I can understand how she may have felt that way.

Right or wrong, as human beings we have inherently come to identify the female gender as being softer, more nurturing and more delicate than the male gender.  Our human perception of fashion also follows these archetypes.

When you meet someone initially your appearance can be your most powerful communicator. Deviating from those archetypical traits can lead to misinterpretation and the wrong first impression.

Here are some things that you can do to appear more feminine.

Cover the body, but don’t try to conceal the female shape. The female form is generally curvier than the male form. For a more feminine look, garments should emphasize the female shape and should flow over natural curves of the female figure without being clingy. Construction details like darts, princess seams and sheering shape the garment. Choose fabrics that are lighter in weight, refined, soft and drape well.

Lower contrast colour palettes in colours that are light to medium in value, softened or muted and analogous colour schemes increase the appearance of softness.

Details that are smaller or perceived as more delicate such as floral prints, heirloom jewelry, ruffles or lace will automatically appear more feminine.

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Why Wear Navy this Spring?

This Spring Navy is overtaking Black as a neutral Colour to wear for casual, dressy and business activities.  Here are 4 great reasons to wear Navy:

  1. Navy is an easy colour to wear. Most people look great in at least one version of Navy.
  2. Navy say’s, “success” – making it one of the best colours for business. Why?? Psychologically blue is trustworthy colour. When darkened to Navy it inspires confidence and commands attention.
  3. Navy brings out most eye colours. Navy harmonizes with blue in your eyes, making you appear approachable and friendly. It also draws attention to most eye colours either as a contrasting or harmonizing colour.
  4. It’s here! It’s there! It’s everywhere! Making it modern for every occasion.

Professional Dress to Party Dress – By Kimberly Law, AICI CIP Image Expert

Board room clothing, is serious clothing with simple designs and uncomplicated details. They draw attention to you not your clothing. Staples such as black dress pants, a black pencil skirt or a simple black dress work well for a business wardrobe, and also transition well from the ‘board room’ to the ‘party room’.

Change your ‘board room’ look, to a ‘party room’ look, by changing your top, jacket, shoes and accessories. Nothing say’s “party” like a little sparkle. And this year we are seeing sparkle on everything!

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Perfume, Eau de Toilette, Cologne What’s the Difference?

Many of my clients ask me what the difference is between the many forms of fragrance we see in the stores today.

Fragrance terminology can be confusing. The main difference is the amount of essential oils in the product. The more essential oils – the less fragrance you will need to apply; the longer the scent will linger on your skin; and the more expensive the product generally is. The following charts clarify fragrance terminology.

Women

Form Concentration Reapply Quality
Perfume Most concentrated Apply pulse-points 4 – 5 hours 20 – 25% essential oils
Eau de Perfume Concentrated       Apply pulse-points 3 – 4 hours Up to 15% essential oils
Eau de Toilette Medium concentration Apply throat or pulse-points 2 – 3 hours Up to 12% essential oils
Cologne Weaker concentration Apply throat or pulse-points 1 – 2 hours Up to 8% essential oils
Splash or Soft Cologne Weak  concentration Apply throat or pulse-points Often Less than 5% essential oils
Body lotion / cream Weak concentration Apply on body As needed Varies
Shower gel Weak concentration  Use like soap When bathing Varies

Men

Form Use Reapply
Eau de Toilette Most concentrated              Apply throat and pulse-points 3 – 4 hours
Cologne Concentrated                                  Apply throat or pulse-points 2 – 3 hours
Aftershave Acts as astringent and antiseptic after shaving After shaving as needed
Aftershave Balm Protects and sooths sensitive & dry skin after shaving After shaving as needed
Shower gel Weak concentration                       Use like soap When bathing

When applying Perfumes, Eau de Toilettes and Colognes use them sparingly and remember… a little goes a long way.

Find out more about fragrance and other grooming how-to`s in my eBook Personal Care from Feet to Hair.

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How to Get the Most from Your Fragrance

Accessory Fad or Accessory Fashion

Match the Scale of You to the Scale of Your Attire

Kimberly sig pic

How to Get the Most from Your Fragrance by Kimberly Law, President, Association of Image Consultants International (AICI)

This past summer I had the opportunity to vacation in Italy. Upon our arrival, one of the first things my friend said to me was, “smell the flowers.” I remember, at that moment breathing in the wonderful scent of Jasmine. Those of you who have been to southern Italy know what I am talking about.

It has been suggested that the sense of smell is the most powerful of all five human senses. It affects every aspect of our lives. Fragrance has been used throughout history as a way to influence the mind and the body. Although the use of fragrance is considered more acceptable in some countries and regions than others, over time it has become an important ingredient in our grooming products and many other consumer products that we use every day.

However, is it too much of a good thing? Wearing perfume, fragranced body lotion, fragranced hair styling products and fragranced deodorant, all at the same time, compete with each other and can be overwhelming to others. In in an effort to combat allergies and the overwhelming effect of too much fragrance, many public places in Canada, US and other countries of the world are becoming ‘Scent Free’.

When you wear fragrance, one way to be considerate of others is to appreciate that a little goes a long way. One way to tell if you have applied too much is by how much you notice it on yourself over time. Because you become immune to its odour, if you can smell it on yourself 30 minutes after application, you’ve applied too much. For more sparing application, try the following:

  • Apply on pulse points only
  • Spray fragrance into the air, then walk through it
  • Use body splashes or lotions that are less concentrated
  • Apply less – more often

Using less fragrance will save you money by making the bottle last longer. Another way to get the most out of your expensive eau de toilette is by exchanging some of your fragranced grooming products for fragrance-free grooming products.

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How to Make Your Feet Look Slimmer or Wider by Kimberly Law, Certified Image Consultant

The shoes you wear can have a major effect on how slim or wide your feet look. The trick is the simpler the shoe and the more front to back details like a long opening or (vamp),  the slimmer your feet will look. To widen your feet  add extra colours, details, texture and horizontal lines like a square toe.

Kimberly sig pic

How To Make Airplane Odors More Bearable

Unless you are traveling first class, the term personal space unfortunately does not apply on an airplane. Being in close contact with others over a long period of time can be unbearable, especially when unsatisfactory odors accompany them.  Here are three odors to consider before boarding an airplane:

  • With many airlines opting out of providing a meal for their passengers many of us bring food onto the plane to eat during our flight. When deciding what to bring consider your neighbours. While strong smelling foods may be appealing to you, they may not be appealing to the person sitting next to you. Whenever possible, choose food items with more subtle odors or odors that don’t linger.
  • Body odor is not only social killer; it can make the person sitting next to you on the airplane feel ill. Although it can be caused by lack of hygiene or dental care it is often as result of diet, health issues, smoking, or just too many hours cooped up on an airplane. Before leaving for the airport, take the time to take a shower. Brush your teeth before boarding the airplane and don’t forget to floss and gargle.
  • It may be your favourite fragrance, but it doesn’t mean those around you will appreciate it like you do. Many people are allergic to fragrance; many people are sensitive to fragrance; and many people just don’t like the smell of additional fragrance. Before you leave for the airport consider those who will be near you and apply your fragrance subtly or not at all.  Check out my blog post on Travel Packing Made Easy for more tips.

How to Look Older and More Serious at Work

I remember when I was in my 20’s and 30’s all I could think about was how to look older. It seemed that my friends and colleagues who looked older were taken more seriously… especially at work. If this is a challenge for you I would suggest the following:

Wear darker colours – Darker colours come across more mature and authoritative. By wearing them you might not look older but you will come across more experienced and will look like you know what you are talking about.

Wear make-up tastefully – For those of us women who look young, we tend to look even younger when we don’t wear make-up. Make-up will not only make you look older, but is the finishing touch in the wardrobe package. When worn tastefully, it draws attention to your face and will increase your look of authority.

Tame the mane – Big hair or long distracting hair will make you look less mature, less serious and less polished. To focus attention on your abilities rather than your hair, keep it neat and away from your face. This can be done by cutting or tying it back.

Don’t be a walking bill-board – Although we do want our clothing and accessories to appear up-to-date and current at work; we don’t want to be a walking bill-board for all of the latest in fashion styles and accessories. When choosing accessories for the workplace… less is better – less quantity; fewer details and smaller scale.