This week MPs have stated that the government must enforce a law to ban sexist dress rules at work that discriminate against women. Here at colour me beautiful, we are delighted to hear about this, surely to have a rule for one person, but not another because of their gender is both unfair and sexist?
What interests us as image consultants though, is how different people will ultimately interpret dress codes in different ways. It’s all down to our style personality you see; so whilst one woman may be horrified at the thought of having to wear 2-4 inch heels on a daily basis, another wouldn’t dream of stepping out in anything less. The key thing is that we should all have a choice as to what we wear in the workplace.
In our mind it is all about being dressed appropriately for the environment you’re working in; so you are well groomed and comfortable but still given the freedom to express your unique sense of style too. After all, its takes seven seconds to make a first impression, so for an employer the goal must be to have employees who are appropriately dressed and also comfortable in what they are wearing. An employee who feels comfortable and confident will certainly perform better in their role and represent their employer in the best possible light.
In a smart-casual office environment for example, a dramatic style personality would most certainly be donning her 4 inch heels on a daily basis, she simply couldn’t concentrate in flats (as a famous dramatic once said). These heels may also be in a vivid colour and you can be sure that her footwear will compliment her on-trend office outfit. Her natural style personality colleague on the other hand, will look at those glorious heels and cringe. They’re just not for her. Instead she slips on a comfortable pair of flats worn with trousers and fixes her hair in a simple, no-fuss style to ensure it doesn’t bother her throughout the day. Both are dressed appropriately for the work environment that they’re in, just in very different ways.
Next take our romantic style personality, she may opt for some elegant Chanel-inspired court shoes with a mid-height heel. Her office look will be more detailed, perhaps a floral printed blouse or some delicate jewellery to off-set her smart work look. A classic style personality will opt for a more understated, slightly traditional look – a jacket and dress, skirt or trousers, comfortable yet smart shoes. Her whole outfit will be co-ordinated beautifully in tonal colours and with very little make-up or jewellery.
Ultimately, what you wear at work should be appropriate for the industry you work in, and for your role within the organisation. The key to dress codes is flexibility. Trust your employees to dress in an appropriate way, to present a well-groomed, professional exterior in their workplace and allow them to show some of the personal qualities that make the world the diverse and colourful place that it is!
As you know from previous blogs I am a great fan of the sleeve. How many of us feel their arms need to be slimmed down or have bingo wings? How many of us have gone to a dinner dance during the winter and have frozen or had to invest in a pashmina to cover our arms and keep us warm? I can see you all putting your hands up, me too.
In the past there have been campaigns by well known magazines, asking manufacturers to put sleeves in garments – and are they? No they are not. I was out personal shopping with a client recently and I could only find one evening dress with sleeves.
So, this season is no exception and it is not only relevant to dresses and tops, we see the return of the Gilet in the fashion stakes and the sleeveless coat! (It reminds me of a recent genius piece of marketing I saw in a sandwich chain – the breadless sandwich – isn’t that a salad I thought to myself? They were selling like hot cakes!)
Both are an anomaly to me. Jackets and coats should have sleeves just by their very nature – right?
The Gilet is often seen as a garment worn to give extra warmth to the core of your body leaving your arms free for practical tasks. Forget practical, this is now to be a core fashion item in your wardrobe.
This season you can choose denim style or be a biker babe. The dedicated denim lovers can ‘rock’ their jean jackets without sleeves. They can be thrown over anything and worn with white shirts to sequinned pencil skirts. The biker babes are wearing theirs to toughen up summer frocks or layering with winter knits. The best bit though is you can DIY the look and cut off the sleeves of an old worn jacket.
OK, I’ve been won over on the Gilet front!
So what about the long sleeveless jacket? Long lines, fluid tailoring and premium fabrics are essential for a chic sleeveless jacket. Style with a super-slim polo top and skinnies to keep it current and casual. Top tip: if you buy one in neutral colours you can mix and match for work to achieve a tailored, sophisticated look.
Sleeveless jackets and coats may not deliver in terms of warmth but they are certainly this Autumn/Winter’s hottest trend!
Written by Shan Williams, Personal Stylist.
To find out about the best style coats for you, contact one of our consultants to book a style consultation. Click here www.colourmebeautiful.co.uk/consultant/search/ and just pop in your postcode to find out who is nearest you and send them an email. We are a friendly and knowledgeable team!
Check out our Pinterest board for some more inspiration https://uk.pinterest.com/colourmebeautuk/to-sleeve-or-not-to-sleeve-that-is-the-question/
Image courtesy of Pinterest.
What to wear for a smart casual dress code
We thought we would share this article, which has been featured on the Total Jobs website, with you as we feel sure you will find it an interesting read.
If you have recently made the switch from a corporate office where your work uniform was a tailored suit to a more creative industry with an informal dress code you may be struggling with what to wear.
Anna De Vere Director of Corporate Training and Development at CMB Image explains what is and is not appropriate for an informal office environment.
In a work environment what you choose to wear will reflect on your attitudes to work and form part of your personal branding. Work colleagues, particularly new ones will make instant assumptions about you based on what you are wearing. This might seem scary but, you really only have 30 seconds to make a lasting impression and if it’s your first day in a new office you want it to be the right one!
Don’t forget also that you’ll also be judged on your body language, the way you use your voice and lastly the words that you use!
So, what should you wear to work?
Many people who work in a corporate environment like the comfort that wearing a suit provides. It limits choice and all you need to do is make sure that the colour is appropriate for your skin tone and that the shape complements your figure. The shirts and tops worn with your outfit are the only areas where you’ll really be able to express your personality and even then you are likely to keep to a palate of safe colours, after all you don’t want to stand out too much from your colleagues. But what about a more informal environment which claims to have a ‘smart casual’ dress code?
The first step
Your starting point should be to understand your body shape and what makes you look and feel good. Clothing is either constructed along straight lines, which gives a garment a more rigid, structured form, or along curved lines, which gives the more fluid shape that tends to follow the curves of the body.
Secondly, gain an understanding of your own colouring and what colours make you look professional and approachable. This is determined by hair and eye colour along with skin tone, and everyone falls in to one of six different palettes. It’s really important to make sure that the colours of your work clothes match with your skin tone and hair colour. If they are too strong then they will drain the colour from your face, too pale and they can make you look sallow.
Colour also plays a key part in how others perceive you, medium shades from your colour palate will help you to appear approachable, something to consider if you’re in a team leader role. If you are in a customer facing role and need to appear friendly then less formal attire will work well, dressed in this way is also like to make you feel comfortable and confident and help you engage with clients.
Finally you need to remember that you are dressing for work and that will you need to appear both professional and approachable. Avoid jeans at all costs, just because the dress code is smart casual it is not an excuse to wear your jeans no matter how smart they might be. Swap your suits for tailored trousers, skirts and dresses, and formal shirts for shaped or wrap around tops. If you want to add a jacket then a waterfall jacket or piece of knitwear in this style would work well.
If you are a chap then chinos or smart slacks will strike the perfect note. Swap your formal shirt and ties for shirts with button down collars. A blazer or sports jacket is a great wardrobe staple, worn with slacks its strikes just the balance when you need to appear smart but don’t want to revert to a suit
Our CMB Image division of the business works with teams and managers within the private and public sector on improving Personal Branding which will contribute to the overall success of any organisation. Please visit CMB Image for further details.
Images courtesy of Pinterest
Is he a clothes casualty?
With Father’s Day fast approaching this gave me the idea to write a blog on men and the way they dress.
Does your husband/partner need help with choosing which clothes to wear each morning? Well if so, he’s not alone.
The men in our life often rely on us to help or even do their shopping for them. If men leave their choice of clothes to others, bear in mind that this intervention may reflect how those close to them, see them and wish to influence them, rather than how they want to be perceived by the rest of the world.
For all of us, managing our appearance is an important part of who we are. It makes a visual statement about our personality and our lifestyle, as well as indicating our abilities and confidence. In today’s world, image really does matter.
As a personal stylist, I use a very different approach when working with men to women. With ladies I need to use a consultative approach with what clothes I am advising and discussing with them style wise, with men they just want to know the rules – what to do and what to avoid doing. They like structure and logic generally.
Especially today in the ‘smart casual’ world of business, men need to look authoritative without wearing a suit. One of my clients – an interim management consultant and non-exec director who came to see me recently said.
“Well you have started something! My visit to you has made me feel much more confident about clothes and I am amazed about the impact. I have been culling inappropriate clothes (charity shops doing ok). The new concept in blue suit / shirts / sweaters etc., to suit my colouring and build are now in the wardrobe and also tailored shirts etc. Thanks for your help and I had a great time. Bit of a revolution really – new man! “
Top ten common mistakes men make when dressing:
- The wrong shoes – casual shoes with a suit rather than Oxfords, brown shoes with grey or black suit
- Light coloured suits – keep them for visits to Europe where they are fashionable, its not a good look for the UK
- Short sleeve shirts – even in summer men should wear a long sleeve shirt and roll back the cuffs
- Socks and ties – avoid mismatched socks or socks and ties with cartoons
- If he works in a more casual environment, don’t think that because everyone looks scruffy, he needs to join the pack – encourage him to be a cut above the rest – he will be noticed for it
- If your man travels a lot, choose non-crease fabrics such as wool. Do the scrunch test for three seconds with your fist. If the fabric creases in that time, imagine how it will look after a long train or car journey when he arrives at that all important client meeting
- Frayed collars – shirts do not last forever!
- Scuffed or dirty shoes – people notice!
- Out of date suit – it’s worth investing in a new one for that all job interview, don’t wear the one in the cupboard bought for his last interview in 2008
- Ensure the fit is right, for example, trousers that are too long or too short can decrease the impact made. It looks like he couldn’t be bothered.
A final thought –
“A man should look as though he has chosen his clothes with intelligence, put them on with care and then forgotten all about them.”
Written by Shan Williams, Personal Stylist.
Many of our consultants are qualified in men’s image, why not book the man in your life a men’s image gift experience? www.colourmebeautifulshop.co.uk/product/gift-experiences/colour-for-men-gift-package or visit www.colourmebeautiful.co.uk/consultant/search/ and just pop in your postcode to find out who is nearest consultant to you who offer men’s image services and send them an email? We have the expertise and I am sure you will find us approachable and friendly.
Lots more to look at on www.pinterest.com/colourmebeautuk/dapper-dads/
(Image courtesy of Pinterest – Ricky Martin with his gorgeous boys!)
Watching Mr Selfridge has made me fall in love with retail all over again. One of the reasons for this is seeing the dedicated care and attention given by the staff to their customers. There is great satisfaction in seeing a customer’s excitement over a purchase they have made which you have helped them carefully choose. Plus, a happy customer is likely to be a repeat customer.
Shoppers are much more informed than they were a century ago because there is so much information available to them now, but general advice only works up to a point. In terms of fashion, what the customer wants and needs to know is “does this particular item look good on me?” and “is this a good purchase for me?”. Moreover, they want the truth, not a hard sell. Some instinctively know what suits them, but they may not understand why and they won’t always make the right choices.
Most of today’s shoppers go to the high street (or online) with a good idea of what they like and what they want but they still need guidance; useful guidance. Not only do staff need to know the product range and what is special about it, they need to understand what is special about each individual client too. Customers come to your staff for advice and you want to build their trust in you. Staff who are trained in the key concept of styling and who have the tools to identify the most flattering colours and styles for your customers will show dividends at the end of the day. You want to allow your staff to be proactive and knowledgeable to increase sales and generate repeat business.
Clients’ lifestyles and personalities also need to be considered when putting clothes together for your customers. You will have clients who want to find the right garment and go, whilst others will be happy to wander around, try it on and chat. Staff need to be able to “eyeball” the customer to figure out what type of client she/he is and to be able to present her/him with what she/he will like and what will suit her/him. In effect, each member of your sales team becomes a personal stylist and is able to help the customer put together the best possible outfit from the range you sell.
From the staff perspective, this also creates more job satisfaction as they will take great pleasure in knowing they can help their clients make a well-informed choice. It adds enormous value to the customer experience and builds trust and loyalty between consumer and retailer.
You can see
Anna De Vere – Director of Training and Development, Colour Me Beautiful
Seminars at Pure London Show 10th & 11th February
Full details here
Over the years there has been the occasional controversy over the staff uniform but in an age where image, whether personal or brand, counts more than ever, it is surprising to find a major brand issuing what their employees consider “cheap, nasty and see-through” clothing.
Female staff at Virgin feel that the shirts they have been issued are see-through and skimpy. So, let’s take a look at the staple work shirt. Read more…
Why? Here is a definition of ‘rebranding’ from the Cambridge Dictionaries to give you an idea : “If a company rebrands itself or a product or service that it provides, it creates a new name or image for it, often to try to change the way that people think about it”.
Before you even think about updating your wardrobe, you need to update your mindset. In her article in The Times last October, Carolyn Asome wrote: “Funny, isn’t it, given that we spend more than a third of our lives at the office, that we often succumb to any old “meh” outfit to wear to work? And yet too often we’re happy to have a blow-out on a party dress that, when you consider its cost-per-wear ratio, makes no sense at all”.
Let’s face it, it is more exciting to shop for a party dress than a work skirt, but the investment in a good work wardrobe does pay off. Read more…