Tag Archives: certified image consultant

Meet the In-Laws: How to Enhance Your Success

Happy Easter!

Let’s face it – meeting the in-laws for the first time can be a daunting experience. Whether you are hoping to be welcomed into the family, or your role is to welcome someone into the family, the first gathering can feel like going for a job interview. The knowledge that you will be judged, evaluated, and compared to or potentially competed with by everyone that came before you can leave even the most confident person feeling nervous about that first meeting.Even though I think most would agree that a couple’s happiness should be the most important consideration in a relationship, those of us who have gone through the process of meeting the in-laws or future in-laws would also agree that, as a couple, knowing you have won the family’s acceptance and respect can be essential for the future success of any relationship. Uncertainty of how the in-laws will respond over time, and possibly impact your relationship with your partner or family member can leave anyone feeling insecure.

Having been through this three times – first with parents-in-law; second with a parent of mine entering into a relationship; and most recently with adult children, his and mine; I can say I have seen all sides. I can also honestly say that experience has not made me an expert on winning over family members. However, eliminating additional barriers can increase your odds for success. When meeting your new or future family – prepare ahead of time, be on your best behaviour and dress appropriately.

The success of the gathering weighs heavily on the partner or spouse bringing the families together. If that’s you, take the lead. Help reduce unnerving surprises by providing a heads-up about what to expect. Prepare both sides by disclosing likes, dislikes and personality quirks before the gathering.

• Even though you may be a new family member or want to feel that way, making yourself at home in the home of your host can be perceived as offensive unless invited to do so. Some hosts want their guests to act at home right away and others find guests’ feet on the coffee table, helping ones-self to the fridge, or casually lighting up a cigarette in the house, among other things, enraging. Learn your host’s expectations ahead of time. Then follow their lead.

• If you are one of the in-laws, never bring up the past relationships of your affiliated family member. i.e. “Oh, by the way I saw _____, last week. She said to say, hello. She is such a nice girl.” Fondly bringing up old relationships can bring up new wounds in new relationships. Don’t say or do anything that might hurt or embarrass your new or future family member.

• Don’t leave your child or parent’s date sitting in the living room alone, while you and other family members are in the kitchen. Include your guest by treating everyone equally and with respect. Don’t let your guest feel like an outsider.

• Brush up on your dining skills. Some families dine formally and others are very casual. However, knowing how to navigate the table and what not to do will help you feel more confident and leave a good impression in any situation.

• Find out ahead of time what is considered appropriate dress. Some families dress up for family gatherings and others don’t. Either way leave faded jeans and t-shirts at home. Slacks and a collared shirt, blouse or a lightweight sweater would likely be a better option for casual dress. It will show respect to the host and it will show that you care.

The road to family acknowledgment, acceptance and support can be a long and bumpy one to travel. However, knowing ahead of time what will be appreciated and what will be considered appalling may help ease the tension and make the journey a little smoother.

©Kimberly Law, AICI CIP 2014

 

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.

You may also be interested in:

Investment Dressing for Business: Save Money with Better Quality

Fashion Cycles – But Do We?

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.

Body Balancing Holiday Party Dresses By Kimberly Law, AICI CIP Image Expert

These dresses can help to balance shoulders and hips. The right shoulder details and neckline details can make the shoulders appear wider. This will help balance a women’s pear shaped figure, slimming the waistline and making the hips look smaller. For those women who want their shoulders to appear narrower or their hips to appear wider skirt details that add fullness will help. To illustrate this, here is a comparison. Try one of these body balancing dress styles for your New Year’s Eve Party!

You may also be interested in:

Waist Slimming Party Dresses

Subtract Inches and Add Curves with These Party Dresses

Professional Dress to Party Dress

Waist Slimming Party Dresses By Kimberly Law, AICI CIP Image Expert

This morning I was going through my closet and found some party dresses that I hadn’t worn for a while. Remembering them fondly, I pulled them out and tried them on. “Ugh! What happened? Did they change or did I? They are still beautiful dresses. I still weigh roughly the same. But the fit?!” With a deep sigh, I hung them back up in the closet. “I guess that means more sit-ups…grr.” Ah yes, midlife. No matter how well we take care of ourselves our waistlines do get bigger.  If you are like me and want to make your waistline look smaller this comparison may help.


You may also be interested in:

How to Look Slimmer in Your Warm Colour Palette

Heavy or Slim…Not as Simple as Black or White!

The Most Slimming Colour Combination

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!

You may also be interested in:

Is the Way You Dress for Work Up to Par?

How to Use a Finger Bowl by Kimberly Law, AICI CIP, Certified Etiquette Expert

Although disposable finger towels are practical and often used in informal environments to cleanse the hands after eating messy food, in a formal environment you may be presented with a finger bowl as part of a dessert service or alone, even if your hands appear clean.

In a traditional European dining environment the custom is for the fingerbowl is used after the dessert is eaten. If it has been presented to you as part of the dessert service, with both hands move the finger bowl and the doily together with both hands and place them in front of you after you have finished your dessert and your dessert plate has been removed. Dip the fingers of one hand into the water, and then dry them before dipping the fingers of the other hand into the water. After you are finished, place your napkin in loose folds to the left of your place setting.

For more on this topic buy eBook ‘Formal Dining for Informal People’

You may also be interested in:

Cutlery Etiquette How to Make a Great Impression

Dining Canadian Style

Dining Traditions vs. Casual Lifestyle

How to Be the Perfect Dinner Party Guest!

6 Top Dining Don’ts

Kimberly sig pic

What is a Dessert Service? By Kimberly Law, AICI CIP, Certified Etiquette Expert

In Canada dessert is generally served and brought in from the kitchen, or served at the table by the host. However at a very formal meal, served traditionally you may be presented with a dessert service.

A dessert service consists of a dessert plate. On the plate, there will be a finger bowl placed on a doily in the centre of the plate, with a dessert fork to the left and a dessert spoon placed to the right of the finger bowl.

The guest sets the fork on the table to the left of the plate and the spoon to the right of the plate. Then picks up the doily and the fingerbowl, and places them on the table at the upper left of the dessert plate.  The server then places the dessert on the plate.

When dessert has been served onto your plate, the spoon is held in the right hand. The fork is held in the left hand. Cut the dessert using the spoon. The dessert is pushed onto the spoon with the fork and eaten with the spoon. This is the traditional way in England and many other European Countries. However, in some European regions, the spoon is used for cutting and pushing the dessert onto the fork. The dessert is then eaten from the fork. Because there are many customs for the use of these dining utensils, it is best to familiarize yourself with regional customs before you arrive.

When in doubt, always follow the lead of your host.

For more on this topic buy the eBook ‘Formal Dining for Informal People

You may also be interested in:

Dining Traditions vs. Casual Lifestyle

How to Be the Perfect Dinner Party Guest!

6 Top Dining Don’ts

Kimberly sig pic

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.

You may also like…

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.

You may also like…

Accessories Add Personality

Permanent Make up to Do or Not to Do

Kimberly sig pic