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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 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’

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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

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Kimberly sig pic

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.

What Not to Do at the Company Picnic

A while back I wrote an article called ‘What Not to Wear to the Company Picnic’. I received lots of great feedback on the article. However it is not just how you look at the company picnic that is important. How you behave at the company picnic counts just as much. Since picnic and barbeque season has finally arrived, here are a few tips:

  • RSVP in a timely fashion and in the specified timeframe – Just because it is a casual gathering it doesn’t mean ‘just show up’.
  • Confirm who is invited – Family and friend aren’t always on the guest list.
  • Don’t barge in – Wait your turn in the food line-up
  • Serving utensils are there for a reason – Use the serving utensils not your fingers
  • No double dipping – veggies and dip; chips and dip; Veggies & dip-dip?? NEVER
  • Leave some for the rest – take one burger not two. Go back for seconds only after everyone has been served.
  • Play the game but play fair – this is no place for competitiveness
  • Clean up after yourself – Don’t leave litter for others to clean up after you.
  • Help the host – Hosting a picnic is a lot of work. Make it more enjoyable for your host by offering to help.

These are just a few tips to make your summer corporate activities more enjoyable for all. Click here for Additional Etiquette Tips on – How to be the Perfect Guest.

Is it Really a Bargain?

If you’re like me and most women I know, it is really hard to resist a sale. But how many times have you purchased a garment or accessory on sale thinking you got a great deal; brought it home; hung it in your closet; and realized a year later that it was still in your closet, on the same hanger, with the tags still attached and never worn? Sound familiar?

As a certified image consultant for more than 12 years, I see this time-and-time again.

My message to you today is… if you don’t wear it, it is actually costing you money, not saving you money. And that’s money you could have used to purchase something you love and would wear.

In other words – it’s only a bargain if you wear it and love it. Don’t be seduced by the price-tag.

Why Use Shiny or Frosted Make-up Finishes?

Shiny and frosted cosmetics have a similar affect to light coloured make-up. They enhance or bring out the area on which they are applied. To maximize this effect, combine the two qualities – light and shine. Light make-up colours that are frosted or shiny will make an area appear even more pronounced.  The facial feature where it is applied will appear larger and visually push out more than when applying a light matte cosmetic colour. This maximum effect will also cause the area around it to appear flat or sunken in comparison. This can work wonders to enhance the lips, cheek bones, eye lids or brow bones.

Use Colour to Harmonize or Dramatize

When applying make-up, colour can be combined in various ways to create different results. Color can create a harmonizing effect by enhancing an individual’s natural colouring. It can also create drama.

  • Similar colours harmonize
  • Contrasting colours next to each other emphasize one another and add dramatize
  • Applying a colour on top of its complementary colour (opposite colours on the colour wheel) will neutralize both colours.
  • Light and dark colour worn side by side will dramatize the facial features making them appear more pronounced.