Amp Up Your Career Style

womanstrongmakeupI was recently asked by Polish Dallas, an organization that connects young professional women to discuss career and faith, to write a blog post.  Since my subscribers may not have seen it, I wanted to share the post with you here on my blog.  Enjoy!

It has probably happened to you on countless mornings. You drag yourself to your closet, and you stare blankly into the abyss of clothes, uninspired and uncertain what to wear. Chances are when you started your career, you purchased the basic work wardrobe required for your job. The trouble is, that basic wardrobe does nothing to excite you, and it most certainly does not communicate your personal style.

There is hope!  Here are my top 5 tips for adding pizzazz to your hum-drum work look.

(1) Start with color. Admit it, your wardrobe is a sea of black, brown, navy and gray, isn’t it? Make a concerted effort to look for colorful tops to wear under jackets. A raspberry heel, a cobalt blue handbag or a turquoise necklace would also do the trick. Wearing something colorful to work brings a smile to your face and it makes those around you happy, as well.

(2 Look for pattern. This one goes hand-in-hand with color. An outfit that lacks pattern is a real snooze. Stop playing it safe by purchasing only solid colored pieces for your closet. Patterned tops and shells look outstanding under basic work jackets and cardigans.

(3) Add eye-catching “third” pieces. A third piece is my word for blazers, jackets and cardigans. No work look is complete without one. You may not wear it all day, but at least you have it on hand for meetings, luncheons and events where you wish to look smart and credible. When buying a blazer, steer clear of the banker look. Look for shapely cuts, an intriguing texture or creative details.

(4) Seek out interesting shapes and details. In other words, look for classic pieces that go beyond the classic formula: pick a leopard pump over a basic black pump, try a printed sheath dress if all of your work dresses are solid colors, or experiment with a-line skirts if you principally own pencil shapes.

(5) Let your accessories do the talking. Accessories are the “soul” of your outfit, and they tell your story. This is where your creativity and personal style is best expressed at work. Even if your closet is full of wardrobe basics, your image takes on new life with fabulous shoes, handbags and jewelry. So even if you would rather play it safe with your clothing selections, you can still look like a woman with a strong sense of her own style with the right accessories.

So, get out there and start sprucing up your wardrobe.  If you need help, call me. I would love to assist you!

Cake & Icing

A well-balanced wardrobe includes what I call cake and icing. Sounds delicious, doesn’t it? The cake of your wardrobe are the wardrobe classics. These are the pieces that are available in some version year after year. They include a white cotton shirt, a blazer, a cardigan, quality t-shirts, a pencil or a-line skirt, jeans, a leather handbag, a pair of pumps and a pair of flats or loafers. The design and fabric of these pieces change a bit over the years, but you will always be able to walk into a store and find them.

The collage below, which I created in Polyvore, shows you two types of dresses, one is a wrap style, which is fitted through the waist, and the other is a shift style, which flows over the waistline. Every woman regardless of her age and her lifestyle should have one dress that fits her well and makes her feel like a million bucks.  Not to be overlooked in our list of classics, one should own either an overcoat or a trench coat.  The coat in this collage is something of a cross between a classic wool overcoat and a trench coat.

CoatDress

While wardrobe classics are great, they often lack flair.  This is where the icing comes in.  The “icing” in the collage below (created in Polyvore) may not be your flavor, but the point is,  the icing includes the pieces that show others who you are.  The icing most accurately communicates your personal flair and style. These pieces mixed with classics create interesting outfits.

WardrobeSpice

Some of us are cake girls, and some of us are icing girls.  And some of us like both!  Guilty!  We may find ourselves with too much cake and not enough icing or vice versa.  Assess your wardrobe for cake and icing.  If you are lacking basics and classics, it is difficult to create outfits, as an outfit often begins with basics.  On the other hand, not having the icing to give your look its flair will leave you feeling like your outfits are boring.

If you identify an imbalance, make a wish list and start shopping.  The spring and summer deals are heating up.  If you need help assessing your wardrobe, call me.  We’ll determine your best pieces and make a shopping list together.  A well-balanced wardrobe is a must!

There’s Something About a Guy in a Bow Tie

Originally posted on Bethany Siggins Image Consulting:

FloralBowTies You have no doubt noticed oodles of bow ties if you have wandered through the men’s department of your local department stores recently.  It’s a big trend in menswear for spring, and you are not at a loss for selection: all manner of colors and patterns are available.  I spotted these cool floral bow ties by Cinabre , a French luxury accessories line, in the April 2014 Neiman Marcus the book .

Imagine my surprise when a local small business owner, Kat Armstrong, recently found me on Instagram and decided my 3-1/2 year old son Nathan was the perfect candidate for a baby bow tie.  Kat’s business, baby bow tie, was born out of inspiration when she opened a bow tie gift at a baby shower when she was expecting her son.  In that moment, she realized she was not just having a baby boy, she was about to…

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There’s Something About a Guy in a Bow Tie

FloralBowTiesYou have no doubt noticed oodles of bow ties if you have wandered through the men’s department of your local department stores recently.  It’s a big trend in menswear for spring, and you are not at a loss for selection: all manner of colors and patterns are available.  I spotted these cool floral bow ties by Cinabre, a French luxury accessories line, in the April 2014 Neiman Marcus the book.

Imagine my surprise when a local small business owner, Kat Armstrong, recently found me on Instagram and decided my 3-1/2 year old son Nathan was the perfect candidate for a baby bow tie.  Kat’s business, baby bow tie, was born out of inspiration when she opened a bow tie gift at a baby shower when she was expecting her son.  In that moment, she realized she was not just having a baby boy, she was about to raise her own “little gentleman.”

IMG_2858I am tickled pink to show you my sweet Nathan in his baby bow tie, which is available online through the baby bow tie website as well as at Neiman Marcus online.  I know I am partial, but I cannot imagine a more handsome little gentleman as this precious guy.  So, gentleman readers, what do you think?  Would you sport a bow tie?  I realize it is not for everyone, but if you are one to take fashion risks and you are looking for something fun to do with your image, try it.  If you are lucky, you will look almost as handsome as my son!

For the moms of little guys out there or friends of gals with little boys, consider giving a gift of a baby bow tie.  It is a unique gift that will be long remembered!

Alternative to Shorts

Some of you face a dilemma this time of year.   The temps are creeping up, but you are not a “shorts” person. What is a gal to do?  Allow me to suggest an alternative, which is universally flattering.  Enter the circle skirt.  This skirt has ease around the hips because of its slight a-line shape.  This is great for the gal with more down below who needs a bit of room for comfort, and this is also great for the gal who lacks shape to give her the appearance of curves.

The ideal length is to the knee (either just above or just below).  I realize the midi skirt is very popular right now, which goes to mid-calf.  However, this length is extremely difficult to pull off if you are not particular tall or thin as stops in an odd place at mid-calf (much like the Capri pant), creating a shorter leg line and visually widening the wearer.  The last time I checked, no woman has ever told me she wishes she looked shorter and wider!

I created the following set in Polyvore to provide you with a couple of ideas for wearing this skirt.  I paired both skirts with a button front shirt, which looks a bit more dressed up than a simple t-shirt is able to accomplish.

ButtonFrontSkirt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two pieces of advice on the top: roll the sleeves and make sure the hem of the top ends around your hip bones.  If you do not tuck your tops, and the top is too long, ask your tailor or dry cleaner to cut it, a very simple alteration.  Rolling the sleeves is heightening, and it certainly makes sense now that the mercury is rising.  Finish the outfit with your favorite sandals, bag and jewelry, and you are done.

So easy, right?  Hop to it!  Happy Friday and thanks for reading!

Camouflage as Neutral?

It has long been said that animal print is a neutral.  Put your animal print pieces with anything and forget about it.  I definitely enjoy surprising people by wearing my animal print skinny belt over a printed top.  With that in mind, I thought I’d test drive camo as neutral.  We have been seeing camouflage-printed pieces for a while on a wide variety of items from jackets to shirts to athletic shoes.  I like what I did here with the camo field jacket paired with the flame-colored sleeveless sweater and royal blue pants.  I created this set on Polyvore.

OrangeBlue

I’ve always loved orange and blue together, so that is an easy pairing to me.  So, if you have recently invested in something camo and you are wondering how to incorporate it into your rotation, treat it as you would any other neutral piece and throw it on with anything.  Notice how I kept the shoes, bag and earrings neutral to avoid overwhelming the eye.  Thanks for reading!  Have a great weekend!

Bad Combos? Pink & Green and Orange & Black

One of my wonderful readers said he dislikes pink and green in combination and orange and black. I agree, those are difficult color pairings which are best avoided in most cases. However, since I’m not one to say “never” in most cases, I set out to create two Polyvore sets with these colors together. What do you think? Are they a hit or a miss?

GrayGreenPurpleOrangeBlack

To be fair, I think the pink & green he was referring to was petal pink with apple green. That does sort of take me back to being five again.  In this outfit, the pink is just about purple and the green is sea foam.  It is quite a lovely color pairing to my eyes.  What about yours?  The orange and black outfit works because the jeans are charcoal rather than jet black, and the orange of the blouse is sheer and it is broken up by a plethora of white polka dots.

Throw another forbidden color combo at me, and I’ll see if I can crack it.  Thanks for reading, and thank you for your comments and shares!  Have a happy Wednesday!