Style Chat • Leslie Friedman Image Consulting
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How to dress in your 20’s

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How to dress in your 20's

“Ahhh, to be in my 20’s again.”

 

I know you’ve heard people say it. Come to think of it, I think I’ve said it before!

 

But being in your 20’s isn’t easy for a multitude of reasons- not the least of which being fashion related.

 

You’re in this weird transition point in your life between college and ‘real life’ (aka: working). You have the body to dress however you want, but you need to look respectable at some point (like…when you’re going to work). Striking that balance isn’t easy. Oh, and bonus points: you probably have no money.

 

Given all that, how do you dress in your 20’s? How do you look professional without looking frumpy? How do you buy career clothes? How tight is too tight?

 

No worries 20-somethings! I have you covered. Here are the top 3 things you should focus on when it comes to clothes in your 20’s.

 

1. Focus on the basics

Think about what you wore in college. Sweatpants and baggy t-shirts to class? Skin tight dresses to clubs? Those clothes might have been comfy and convenient, but were they really you, or just what everyone else was wearing? Did they actually look good on you, or was it just the current trend? I can’t even tell you how many outfits I wore that were ‘the cool thing to wear’ which looked absolutely horrible on me.

 

It’s time to start thinking about what actually looks good on you, works for your lifestyle, and sends the message you want to send (see #3). Depending on the job you have after college, you may feel like your wardrobe is starting over from scratch. That’s okay. This is the perfect time for you to get back to the basics.

 

Here’s how to start upgrading your basics without spending an arm and a leg:

1. Think of your current lifestyle (your job or future job, daily activities, etc.) As you go through your closet, put everything that works with your lifestyle in one area. Put everything else to the side. (Example: Let’s say you are an entry level employee at an ad agency. The clothes you would wear for work are the ones that ‘work with your lifestyle’. The clothes you never really wear anymore are the ones that get put aside.)

2. Go through the clothes that work for your lifestyle/job. What pieces do you dislike? Does that button down shirt pull at the chest? Do your dress pants fit horribly (because you needed something for the interview…TODAY!)? Do your jeans all have holes in them? Make a list of the items that are in the ‘okay for my lifestyle’ pile, but that you aren’t really wild about.

3. Reorder your list so the items you wear most often are at the top. When you have extra money, only shop for things on your list, from top to bottom! This allows you to efficiently upgrade your basics and start building a foundation for an amazing wardrobe (not just a weird mish-mash of all the trends from the last 4 years).

 

Not sure what basics you need? This e-book has the top 20 basics everyone needs (and it even tells you what styles will look best for you body type) no matter what sort of ‘lifestyle’ you find yourself in!

 

2. Play up your youth!

You may be dipping your toes into the professional world, or spending your 9 to 5 acting like you’re older than you are…but don’t forget your youth! You’re still in your 20’s which means you can get away with a lot more than other age groups. The key is knowing how far to go, and WHEN. You can still wear those skin tight dresses out to clubs, but be sure to put them away before heading to the office. You can wear the newest leopard trend to work, but choose a leopard button down shirt under a black suit for a refined look. (Want to see all the new Fall 2018 trends plus great outfit ideas?? Click here)

 

You don’t want to look back at your 20’s and think: “Man, I looked like I was a stripper at work” OR (equally as bad, IMO) “Man, I looked like a 60 year old at work. I wish I had been a little more adventurous with my style.”

 

If you’re a little unsure about what items in your closet are appropriate in what situation, see the handy chart below:

Can I wear this (in my 20's)

 

3. What message are you sending?

For many of you, your 20’s are the first decade of your life that you get to make all your decisions about who you are. During high school and college you probably tried different lifestyles, trends, and even jobs, but as you get older, you start getting more comfortable with who you are as a person. You start understanding what you like regardless of what those around you like.

 

AND, here’s the biggie: you start thinking about how you want the world to perceive you.

 

Do you want people to think you’re professional? What about fun, intelligent, or carefree?

 

In our 20’s we start thinking about our reputation beyond the walls of our hometown or our college campus. What do we want our boss to think about us? What about our customers? What about future friends? What message do you want to send to these people?

 

You know how you only get 30 characters or something to write a description on your Instagram profile? That’s pretty much what it’s like getting dressed every day in your 20’s. You have a message about yourself, a description, that you want to tell the world. How you do your hair, makeup, the clothes you choose, and even your body language act as that 30 character description. It’s the first thing people see and it’s how they decide what kind of person you are…before they even look through your Instagram page.

 

So, when you go shopping or get dressed, think about what message you are sending. Is it the message you really want to be sending?

 

I know that’s a lot to think about, but don’t worry- you’re young and have plenty of time to mull this one over.

 

Like this post? Pin it!

 

TLDR: Start building a wardrobe of clothes that look great on your body type and send the message you want to send! Oh yeah, and don’t forget to have some fun. Smile

 

Cheers,

Leslie 

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How to wear Summer clothes in Fall

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summer to autumn outfits

It happened this week. Did you see it?

 

In an eager move to make as much money as possible from white girls, Starbucks started offering pumpkin spice lattes- before Summer can even think about being over. Do I sound bitter? I’m not bitter. [insert eye roll here]

 

As someone who appreciates marketing, I can respect Starbucks’ decision. As someone who loves Summer and hates every other season, I am less than thrilled.

 

That’s why today I’m talking all about styling your Summer clothes to work for Fall.

 

When you wear Summer clothes into Fall you…

1. Save money and get the most out of your clothing

2. Look seasonably appropriate

3. Get to hold on to every last bit of summer possible

 

Sounds like pretty much a win-win situation. Are you ready? Here are my top 3 tips (with pics, of course!) on how to transition your Summer clothes into the Autumn season.

summer to fall outfits

Tip #1: Layers

Our first layering instinct is usually to put a jacket or cardigan on OVER our shirt. That’s works great, but I want to remind you of other places you can layer…specifically, UNDER your shirts and dresses.

summer to fall outfit ideas

Here, I’ve kept everything the same, except for adding a fitted sweater under the dress. I could easily switch the tennis shoes out for boots and tights if I wanted to go for a more dressed up (and cold weather) look. Tennis shoes are going to be big again this Fall. To see the other top trends of Fall 2018, click here

 

 

A long sleeve blouse under a dress is an unexpected, yet very chic, way to dress for fall. Bonus: If it gets too hot during the day, you can always remove said shirt.

summer to fall outfit ideasThis is a simple dress that I added a button-down shirt to. I also changed out the shoes to warmer, calf-hair pumps. Adding tights or other hosiery is a good option if your legs get cold easily (or the temps drop low). 

 

The examples above show dresses, but you can easily layer sweaters and blouses under regular shirts. One of my favorite things to do is add a fitted sweater under a loose t-shirt. It has a sort of urban casual look and it keeps me warm!

 

Another great way to layer is to put a sweater on OVER a dress. You’ll see an example of this in the next tip.

 

Hint: When you have great basics in your closet- layering is super easy. Click here to find out what 20 basics every woman needs in her closet.

 

 

Tip #2: Shoes

One of the easiest ways to make an outfit look appropriate for fall is to switch up the shoes. Trade in sandals for closed toe shoes or boots and you’ll already look more Fall-ish.

summer to fall outfitsHere, I’ve switched out the summery wedges for boots and added a sweater and scarf over the dress. Fun fact: this is actually my wedding dress. I got married 7 years ago, and I’ve had so much fun experimenting with different ways to style it. 

summer to fall outfitsIn this outfit change, I traded my sandals in for boots and added a blazer. I love white jeans and I literally wear them for as long as possible into the Fall (and *ahem* Winter). 

 

The two examples above showcase riding boots. I absolutely love riding boots. They are not only comfortable, but they are so versatile- pairing with jeans or dresses equally as well. If you have one pair of boots, I recommend a neutral color (black or brown) riding boot. They are pretty much a fashion staple every Fall, so any shoe store should carry them. (My black pair are from DSW and the brown pair were from a thrift store!)

 

Tip #3: Scarves

Scarves were made for Fall and Winter. Adding a scarf to an outfit is an inexpensive and easy way to celebrate Autumn while still holding onto your summer clothes. They are also a great way to incorporate new trends without spending a lot of money! To see the new trends for Fall 2018 (plus, many more scarf outfits!) click here.

This thick, wool scarf is enough to make the outfit Fall appropriate, but I added a few more items to make the outfit more interesting. A felt hat (also very Fall), light jacket, and cowboy boots round out the ensemble and I look like I’m ready to go pumpkin picking. Another fun fact: Each Scottish clan has a unique plaid and this scarf is ‘Buchanan’ plaid, which is my maiden name and ancestry. 

summer to fall outfitsThis is a very classic *me* outfit. There’s nothing I love more than some black and grey. I’ve kept everything the same and literally just added a blanket scarf, showing you how easy it is to look great in cold weather quickly! I actually keep a scarf like this in my car at all times in case I get cold in a restaurant or the weather changes suddenly.

 

Lastly, I want to leave you with my biggest tip for layering EVER. It sounds really simple, but it’s very important.

 

Here it is: Anytime you are layering (or even putting an outfit together) add only one piece at a time. After each piece is added, asses whether you like it with the rest of the outfit. 

 

For example: Put on pants. Do you like the pants? If yes, then add a shirt. Decide if you like those two items together. If you do, add another item (jewelry, scarf, shoe, etc.) and if you don’t, replace the item you don’t like until you find one you do.

 

So many people get overwhelmed when dressing because they feel like they need the whole outfit mapped out in their head before they even get dressed. Well, that IS overwhelming! If you go garment by garment, it’s much less stressful and you’ll actually enjoy getting dressed. Like I said, it sounds simple, but I encourage you to give it a go- you won’t be let down.

 

Cheers!

Leslie 

 

Ps. I am so super excited because I’ve just completed the Fall 2018 Outfits + Trends Style E-book (picture below!!!) Click here to see the e-book and get your copy today. 

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How to get out of a fashion rut

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Raise your hand if you’ve been wearing the same shirt for the past week straight and the graphic below hits a little too close to home.

 

style rut graphic

 

Rest assured, you’re not the only one; I fall into fashion ruts and I’m a stylist!

 

In light of this issue that we all face, I want to share my top 6 tips for pulling yourself out of a style rut. First, though, it’s important to know HOW we got into the hole of monotonous fashion before we figure out how to get out of said hole.

 

How did we end up here?

 

Humans are creatures of habit. Just mess with someone’s daily routine and you’ll receive a backlash that is reflective of a person’s desire to avoid change. Our instincts tell us that change is bad, although, our minds know otherwise. Combine our dislike of change with our addiction to dopamine and you’ve got a style rut waiting to happen.

 

Here’s how it plays out:

 

You put together a new outfit. You like the way it looks and the way it feels. People tell you how good you look and this makes you happy (i.e. your brain is secreting dopamine- the happy drug).

 

You continue to wear your new go-to outfit because 1) your brain likes dopamine and getting compliments and 2) you like the outfit.

 

Once you have several of these go-to outfits that you like, you stop creating new outfits. Your brain tells you that change is bad and you have enough good options already. And, if you’re me, you’re too busy/lazy to put together more outfits. You end up wearing the same five outfits until you die (or buy something new and start the process over again).

 

 

How to get out of a style rut:

 

Now that you know how you got into the rut (more or less), here are my top tips for getting OUT.

 

1. Use the hanger trick

The hanger trick is something I use on clients to help them clean out their closets. It is also a great way to force you to wear every item in your closet and not just your go-to items. Here’s how it works: Every time you wear a garment, return it to your closet on a backwards hanger. Try to wear all your clothes on correctly facing hangers before re-wearing backwards hung clothes, if you can. At the end of each season, I remove any forward facing hung clothes (aka: the ones that haven’t been worn) and donate/sell them and start the process over again.

 

2. Give yourself extra time

One of the reasons I end up wearing the same outfits is because I know what works and I don’t have time to put together something new. I’ve found that giving myself even an extra 15 or 20 minutes in the morning allows me time to play around in my closet and try on a new outfit without feeling rushed.

 

3. Know what works for you

We tend to wear clothing that looks good on us and fits well while avoiding the clothes in our closet that are ill-fitting. One of the best things you can do for yourself is to find out what looks good on your body shape. When you have even the most basic clothes in silhouettes that flatter you, you have more options of outfits. This is because you actually like more garments in your closet and thus are more likely to wear more garments- resulting in more outfit options. To see the 20 basics I think every closet needs (and what silhouettes are best for each body type), click here.

 

4. Keep clothing and accessories visible

It sounds obvious, but the easier it is to see something, the more likely you are to wear it. Is it easier to put outfits together in Goodwill or a fancy boutique? The answer is: a fancy boutique. When items are displayed well, it’s easier to pull them from the rack and put them on (which is why boutiques look the way they do). Consider re-organizing your closet to make every item more accessible.

 

5. Get inspired

Inspiration can come in all forms, but two platforms I love are Instagram and Pinterest. I recommend finding someone (celebrity or instagrammer) who has a similar body shape/lifestyle/style to you. Watch what they wear and how they put outfits together. You never know what you’ll learn and what you might want to try! Instagram accounts I like are: @fashion_unfolded_by_mandy (40+ style), @sustainable_consumption (20’s/30’s urban professional), @round2it (plus size), @stylishprofessor (40+ and tall styles). There are also lots of boards on Pinterest focused on things like: Petite, Plus, Specific Body Shapes, and Work outfits.

 

6. Get a second opinion

Remember playing dress up as a kid? Who says that stops when you become an adult? If anything, you should play more often because you actually have things to dress up for! One of the easiest, and most fun, ways to get out of a fashion rut is to host a fashion party and invite a couple of close friends over. Uncork some wine, turn up some tunes, and have your friends play dress up in your closet. See what new and fun outfits they come up with! A casual get-together like this is the perfect incubator for creative outfit ideas.

 

 

What gets you out of a style rut? Who do you follow for fashion inspiration?

Share in the comments below!

 

Cheers,

Leslie

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Modest Dressing: Stay cool without baring all

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Many women choose to dress more modestly, whether it’s for religious reasons or simply personal preference. Motives aside, most modest dressers face the same fashion issues. That is why I’m so excited to bring to you a series of blog posts all about dressing conservatively…starting with this one!

 

Since it’s still hot in many parts of the country, I want to give you my top 5 tips to staying cool- without baring it all.

Tip #1: Choose fabrics wisely

 

Searching a garment of clothing for a fabric content tag isn’t something we necessarily do when buying clothing- but it should be if you’re trying to stay cool.

 

Generally, natural fabrics like cotton, linen, flax, bamboo (usually in the form of rayon), etc. tend to breathe more than synthetic (or man-made) fabrics. The exception to this being performance fabrics that are specially made for exercise (spandex and lycra) and wool (which is natural but very warm!).

 

So, what exactly do I mean by breathe more? It means that natural fabrics allow air to pass through the weave of the fabric, thus allowing the sweat to evaporate and cool your body. Materials like polyester, acetate, and acrylic (synthetics) don’t allow for air flow, leaving the sweat to pool on your skin under the fabric (ugh).

 

Choosing garments with the right fabric is one of the most important parts of regulating your temperature! All of your essential wardrobe basics (click here to read more about choosing the best basics!) should be chosen in the appropriate fabrics for the climate where you live.

 

Here’s a little cheat sheet on fabrics and which work best for hot weather!

Did you know? Legally in the US, garments must have a tag identifying their fabric source. The tag is required to be in the back neck or left side seam of all garments. 

 

Tip #2: Lighten up

 

Darker colors absorb light while lighter colors reflect light. This means that a black shirt is going to absorb the sun’s heat and a white shirt is going to reflect most of the sun’s heat.

 

This is why you always see the same types of colors pop up every spring/summer and fall/winter! A light pink will be cooler in the summer while a burgundy red will be warmer in the winter- if you’re exposed to the sun.

 

This seems really obvious, but you wouldn’t believe how many people chose to wear black in the summer and don’t understand why it’s making them hot!

 

Tip #3: Less isn’t always more (cooling)

 

Most people’s first reaction to hot weather is to take off as much clothing as possible. If you prefer to dress in a modest way, stripping down isn’t an option for you. AND- you’ll be happy to hear- it isn’t always the best option.

 

The sun’s rays are extremely powerful and can be very damaging to the skin. Keeping your skin covered is a great way to decrease the chance of skin cancers and other negative dermatological sun affects. Even walking from your parking spot to your work may result in sun damage- so it’s a good thing to cover up!

 

Lightweight fabrics are good options because they, not only help prevent sun damage*, but efficiently transfer sweat off your body and into the air, thus creating a cooling effect. Lightweight fabrics also dry faster, so you won’t be walking around with a soaking wet shirt all day.

 

The main point? Keep fabrics lightweight and make sure you have air flow (see tip #4)

 

*Clothing is usually not 100% effective at blocking all the sun’s harmful rays. Make sure you always wear sunscreen (even under your clothing!) when you are exposed to the sun.

Tip #4: Airflow is key

 

I’ve already said this a couple times, but it’s really important, so I’ll say it again. This is how sweat works: Your body senses that it’s hot and starts sweating. The sweat then evaporates into the air and the process of evaporation cools the body.

 

Obviously, this means that the less air exposure, the less evaporated sweat (making you hot and wet) while the more air, the more evaporated sweat (leaving you dry and cool).

 

Long story short: airflow is good AND the more airflow the better.

 

When you are putting together outfits, make sure there is plenty of air flow, and specifically, as much air as possible in between your skin and any garment. This is why loose tunics, skirts, and wide leg pants are all great options.

 

If you live in an area of the world that is hot most of the time, take potential airflow into consideration whenever you’re shopping for anything- but most importantly- those basics that make up your wardrobe (see more about the 20 essential basics here).

 

Hint: Want to tuck in a shirt or belt it? Choose a shirt with wider sleeve holes or a more open neckline. This ensures that air can still come enter through some other access point than the bottom of the shirt.

 

Tip #5: Add excitement with jewelry

 

For a lot of us, adding a scarf or creative layering clothes can be a great way to add interest to an outfit. However, in the heat of the summer, a scarf seems out of place (unless it’s a hijab) and layered clothes are too hot.

 

So, how do you keep your outfits from being too blasé? Let jewelry have its moment!

 

Long necklaces easily replace scarves and spice up outfits without trapping any heat. The also visually act the same as scarves as they tend to elongate the body making you look more slim and tall.

 

Earrings, bracelets, and rings are a great way to add in the dark colors you love- but maybe don’t want to swath yourself in this time of year.

 

Bonus: summer jewelry is an inexpensive and easy way to experiment with new colors and trends with minimal commitment.

 

LASTLY, here are just a few outfits to give you a little warm weather inspiration!

 

modest outfits for warm weather

What is your favorite outfit to wear when the weather gets hot? Share in the comments below!

 

Cheers,

Leslie

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The Best Clothes for Teachers

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It’s that time of year again! Can’t you just *smell* the crayons??

 

I remember back to school as one of my favorite times of the year- not because of the school part- but because I could get new clothes for the upcoming year. While I’m sure it’s just as fun for a lot of other kids, now that I’m an adult, I see a whole different side of back to school. Specifically speaking…the teacher’s side.

 

I’m going to be honest. I didn’t really understand how tough it was to dress as a teacher until I started having teacher clients and my friends became teachers. All of a sudden I understood the delicate balance that is teacher clothing: stylish but not (anywhere near) sexy, functional but not frumpy, easy to wear but not sloppy….and the list goes on.

 

To help you make that balancing act easy, I’ve written out the three most important steps to choosing a wardrobe that will work for your career as a teacher.

 

Step 1: Choose the right basics

Putting together outfits (no matter what job you have!) is going to be difficult if you don’t have the right basics.

 

The basics are foundational pieces of your wardrobe (think: black pants and white tees) that are the building blocks for all your outfits.

 

The two key attributes about foundational basics of any wardrobe are that:

1) they work for your body shape and

2) they work for your lifestyle.

 

To see my suggestion for 20 basics every wardrobe should have (and what styles are best for your body shape!) click here.

 

It seems pretty obvious, but it’s very important that your basic pieces look great on you and cater to your lifestyle because they are the key players in every outfit you put together. Just like a house, if the foundation is off, then the rest of the building (or in our case- outfit) won’t work.

 

 

Step 2: Embrace the capsule collection

Maybe you’ve heard of capsule collections. They are essentially a small number of clothing items that can all be interchanged with each other to create as many different outfits as possible.

 

There are several benefits to a capsule collection that make it appealing to teachers:

  1. Getting dressed is easy. With a capsule collection, every top works with every other bottom. Getting dressed in the morning is as easy as pulling a top and a bottom out of your closet and putting them together to create an outfit.
  2. Capsule collections save you money. These types of wardrobes are perfect for people on budgets because you are getting the most possible outfit combinations out of the least amount of clothing. That translates to more bang for your buck.
  3. You’ll always look appropriate. Teachers are people too and they *gasp* have lives outside of work. Because of this, not everything in your wardrobe may be appropriate to wear in a school setting. When you have a capsule collection of items for work, then you already know that everything in that collection is approved for work. You won’t have to stand in front of the mirror in the morning wondering if that one shirt is just a little too low.

 

Creating a capsule collection can be daunting. That’s why I wrote a style e-book (shown below) just for teachers! The book includes: an entire capsule collection of 20 items, 12 weeks of outfit ideas from that collection, helpful dressing for your body shape hints, and a practical step by step guide to creating your own teacher wardrobe. Click here to check out the book and learn more.

Step 3: Have fun with your accessories

Capsule collections tend to be more on the neutral side (although they don’t have to!). If you’re looking to spice up your outfits, try experimenting with different accessories.

 

Not only are accessories like jewelry, scarves, and bags fun, but they are also much cheaper than buying a whole new outfit. Bonus: scarves can be a great way to hide that coffee you just spilled down the front of your shirt.

 

Here are a few accessories that I love (with a price that anyone would love!):

 

Matte Bead Layered Necklace, RED, hi-resLina Splatter Tassel Oblong Scarf, , hi-res

Matte bead necklace $18 (left), Tassel scarf $15 (middle), Palm tree brooch $19.97 on sale (right)

Twig & Arrow Embroidered Parrot ClutchOpen Work with Faceted Stone Ring Set 3ct - Universal Thread™ Gold

Parrot clutch $12.97 on sale (left), Stackable rings $9.99 (middle), Floral neckerchief $9.99 (right),

 

Wishing all the teachers out there a wonderful school year!!

 

Cheers,

Leslie

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What to wear to work in the summer

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Ah, summertime.

 

Love it or hate it, you still have to go to work and look like a decent human being no matter how hot and/or humid is it outside.

 

Although I am definitely in the #lovesummerhateeverthingelse camp with Leandra Medine, I realize that looking professional in the hot hot heat isn’t always the easiest accomplishment. That’s why I’ve decided to come up with a couple simple steps to getting dressed for work in the summer.

 

 

summer work 2

 

Step 1: Choose the right fabrics

Did you know that some fabrics can make you hotter than others? It’s true! Here’s a breakdown of what materials you should be wearing (and which you shouldn’t)

 

WEAR THIS:
  • Cotton, bamboo, and linen natural fibers. Natural fibers are ‘breathable’ meaning that they let air pass easily through them. The more air passing through the fibers, the more your body is cooled down (not to mention all the hot air isn’t stuck right next to your body). BONUS: they also dry fairly well.
  • Performance fabrics. These are specific fabrics that are designed to wick (aka: pull) water away from your skin and transfer it through the fabric letting it evaporate into the air. Think: your fabric yoga outfit. The tricky part is to make what is essentially work out clothes work appropriate (no fear though, I’ll show you some examples below!)

 

NOT THAT:
  • Wool. Wool’s specialty is trapping body heat which is why it’s so effective at keeping you warm in the winter. Even if you are opting for a summer sweater, be sure to choose cotton.
  • Anything plastic (that isn’t a performance fabric). Plastic fabrics are the worst in hot weather. Not only do they allow NO air flow, but they also take forever to dry out…meaning that you’ll sweat a lot and everyone will know. I use the term ‘plastic’ to describe these fabrics because they are literally made out of plastic (fun fact!). The most popular plastic fabrics are: polyester, acetate, and nylon. (IMPORTANT! Technically, performance fabrics are made from some of these same materials. The difference is that PF have been specially modified for athletes. A button down shirt from your local department store made from polyester IS NOT a performance fabric).

 

Step 2: Work around your classic wardrobe

Just because it’s summer, doesn’t mean you have to neglect your entire wardrobe. The first step to putting together a great summer work outfit is to have the right basics. (Not sure what the basics are? Click here to learn more about the 20 basics every woman needs in her closet.)

Once you have the right basics, you can build off of them for summer. Here’s an easy formula to doing just that:

1. Start with a skirt or pants (or tailored shorts if your work allows)

2. Add an undershirt (this soaks up most of the sweat, if you’re a sweater)

3. Choose a blouse that is sleeveless or short sleeve (you can stop here if you aren’t required to cover your shoulders)

4. If your dress code requires you to cover your shoulders, wear a light cardigan instead of a blazer

5. Top with fun accessories. Since you aren’t wearing as many layers, use accessories to make your outfits more interesting.

 

Keep reading to see outfit ideas using this formula!summer work 1

 

Step 3: Know the tricks of the trade

 

When you live in a hot place, you develop ways to work around the heat (and still look professional).

 

Here are my favorite tips:

 

1. Wear an undershirt.

I know I already said this, but it really does work! There’s a relatively new company that makes ‘sweat proof’ undershirts. I have never tried them, so I can’t vouch for whether they work, but if you have tried NUMI, leave a comment below and let us know!

 

2. Keep things as loose as possible.

A-lines skirts > pencil skirts. Swing dress > sheath dress. Loose blouse > fitted blouse. I think you get the idea. The more air flow you have, the better things will be. To achieve a more tailored and less bohemian look, tuck in shirts, belt tops and dresses, and add fitted clothing once you get to the office. See picture below.

image

3. Layers are just as important in the summer as the winter.

With the summer heat also comes severe air conditioning abuse. Keeping several blazers or cardigans at work allow you to still look professional without the need to walk across the city in a suit jacket.

 

4. Get your hair and makeup to play along.

Wearing your hair in a nicely coifed up do not only looks professional, but it keeps it off the back of your (hot) neck. As for makeup, you need some sort of setting spray or powder. Seriously. If you don’t, your makeup will take an unfortunate pilgrimage down your face as the day goes on.

 

Need some outfit inspo? Check out these ideas:

workoutfits1

(Can you tell which items are actually activewear? I’ll give you a hint: both dresses and two shirts are made from performance fabrics)

 

What do you love to wear in the summer when it gets hot? Tell me below in the comments!

 

Cheers,

Leslie

 

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How to wear shorts when you’re over 50

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How to wear shorts when you're 50+

“I can’t wear shorts, I’m too old for that”

It’s a comment I hear often from women over the age of 50 (and sometimes over the age of 40!)

They feel that hitting a certain number automatically takes away their right to wear specific types of clothing. Well folks, I’m here to tell you that it just isn’t true.

Saying you can’t wear shorts over a certain age is just as ridiculous as saying someone over a certain size shouldn’t wear a swimsuit.

I understand that you want to look age appropriate, but I have a little secret for you. It’s possible to wear shorts at any age and look age appropriate.

Here’s how.

1. Choose the right length

Obviously, you don’t want to wear daisy dukes, but just because you’re older doesn’t mean you have to wear Bermuda shorts. Finding the right length for your body is key to looking age appropriate in shorts. Essentially, you want your shorts to be no higher than where the inside muscle of your leg ends. To find that spot, stand in a superman pose with your legs slightly spread. The inside of your legs will get thinner as they go from your pelvis to your knee. Whenever they stop getting thinner and just go straight down, that’s where the muscle ends. Here are several pictures featuring women of different body types and shapes. The red line is where the inner muscle ends (and where your shorts should begin).

From left to right: Ashley Graham, Goldie Hawn, Julie Andrews

2. Keep it simple.

Leave the bright floral prints, polka dots, and stripes to your kids and grandkids. Opting for neutrals like white, beige, black, and navy are going to look more classy than cutesy. It’s also a good idea to choose shorts from more structured fabrics like thick cottons and canvases. These fabrics don’t wrinkle as easily, they don’t cling to your skin, and they look more pulled together (aka: age appropriate!) than linens and slinky polyesters. Keep it simple when it comes to pockets, too. Cargo pockets look bulky and will make your legs look bigger than they are. The more hidden the pockets, the better. If you need help coming up with a classic wardrobe of clothes, click here.

Washed Chino Bermuda ShortsWashed Chino Bermuda ShortsWashed Chino Bermuda Shorts7" Button-Hem Short Riviera Shorts with 6 Inch Inseam color Coral Blush

From left to right (LLBean, Eloquii, Talbots (other colors available), LOFT (more colors))

how to wear shorts and not look frumpy

3. Choose the rest of your outfit wisely.

If you’re showing more skin on your bottom half than normal, cover up more on top. A cardigan or long sleeve shirt will keep you from looking like you’re baring all. Also, try to pick tops that match the formality of your bottoms. In other words, if you’re wearing gym shorts, wear a t-shirt. If you’re wearing tailored khaki shorts, opt for a nice blouse (like a button down oxford). Pair nice shorts with the same tops you would wear with business casual khaki pants.

Here are several ideas of how to wear shorts:

outfits with shorts

Left to right (Casual daytime look, more professional look, very casual/beach look)

Creating a wardrobe of clothes you love can be hard, not to mention when you’re trying to achieve an age appropriate look. If you’re looking to boost your style (or even start out in the right direction) keep reading here about my classic wardrobe basics (and the 20 items that make up every great wardrobe- no matter how old or young you are).

How do you wear your shorts? I’d love to know! Comment below. 

xoxo, Leslie

 

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The pair of shoes you can wear with anything

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The only pair of shoes you'll need

 

Anyone who knows me (or follows my blog) probably knows that I’m a neurotic packer.

I absolutely love packing for trips. This, in and of itself, is weird (or so I’m told). But while the rest of world dreads packing and procrastinates until the last minute, I start planning months in advance.

My goal is to pack the least amount (I almost never check a bag!) but still have enough clothes to look really stylish and appropriate for my destination. Because of that, I approach packing like a puzzle. How many outfits can I make from the least amount of clothes? How many accessories do I need to make each outfit look amazingly unique, even if I wore it the night before? And, the question that brings us to today’s topic, what is the least number of shoes I can pack? (psst. My biggest packing tip is to only pack some of the basics from your wardrobe.)

Shoes are a big deal. For one, they take up a lot of room in a suitcase. They are also extremely important when it comes to enjoying your trip. You don’t want to get blisters on the first day from bringing shoes that don’t fit well.

I just went to New York City for the weekend to meet up with my sisters. Activities included everything from walking around the Met to going out and laying out. I needed a shoe that would look great with a fancy dress, jeans, and a swimsuit. It was a tall order.

What did I end up choosing? A cute pair of black mules. The picture below is the exact pair of shoes I wore.
target black muleBlack Mules from Target ($24.99)

Since I had copious amounts of time in airports and cars this past weekend, I got to thinking, “Is there one shoe you could pretty much wear with anything?” The shoe above did just that, but what happens when that shoe is outdated? And that’s when I got my follow up answer; it wasn’t about the exact shoe itself so much as the type.

The picture above, is a fancy flat. If you’re not familiar with that term, don’t feel bad, I literally made it up in the Delta lounge last weekend. More on what makes a fancy flat fancy later, but I want to hit on why this type of shoe will always be around:

When that fancy flat gets outdated, another fancy flat will take it’s place.

Just think about the last couple years of fashion when it comes to flats: ballet flats were all the hit (a la Tory Burch), then loafers, and now mules. In a few years (or months) another flat will take the place of mules.

So what makes a fancy flat fancy?

So glad you asked. It’s some sort of embellishment or attribute that takes the shoe from completely casual to gussied up. It could be an actual embellishment like tassels (see above) or rhinestones. Or it could be as simple as using leather or satin instead of canvas or some other cheap substitute.

This is the secret to having a shoe that can go back and forth from a maxi dress to a swimsuit.

Below are two flats. The one on the left is just a normal, casual flat while the other is one I’d consider ‘fancy’. Can you tell the difference?

Galinsky Loafer

Left (Toms $49.95), Right (Aldo $59.99)

The two shoes above are very similar, but because the one on the right uses leather instead of canvas and has a pointed toe, it looks fancier. Crazy how such a small change can make a big difference right?

Both shoes will look great with jeans, but only the one on the right will look good with fancier skirts, dresses, and even work pants.

Keep reading to see the top 3 reasons why fancy flats are so incredible.

you can wear these shoes with everything

 

The top 3 reasons why the fancy flat can be the only shoe in your closet:

  1. It’s a flat, so it’s easy to walk in. If you have one shoe in your closet, it better to be easy on your dogs.
  2. It’s fancy (or part of it is dressed up in some way) so the casualness of the low heel is contrasted with the more formal embellishments or materials. These two qualities ying and yang to create the perfect shoe that can work just as well with jean shorts as it can a silk slip dress.
  3. What’s en vogue changes enough, that by the time you wear out your pair of fancy flats, another pair will be on the market (which means you are always in style)

 

I love fancy flats, and think they’re so important, that they actually made my list of the top 20 items you need in your closet.

 

 

Looking for more fancy flat options? Try these:

Renzo Flat

DSW $44.99

Rodney Pointy Toe d'Orsay Flat, Main, color, Pink Snake Print Leather

Nordstrom $83

Sunflower Studded Mule Slide

Bergdorf Goodman’s ($347)

 

As you can tell, not all fancy flats have to be plain black (although that is pretty versatile!) Pick a pair that works well with the color scheme of your closet or opt for neutral colors like beige and black to get the most wear! They also don’t have to be fancy priced. The pair of mules I took to New York were less than $25. I’d say that’s a win-win.

Do you have a pair of fancy flats that you love? Tell me below!

xoxox,

Leslie

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The Best Swimsuits for Every Body Shape (2018)

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To celebrate the official start of summer, I want to talk swimsuits.

Did I hear a groan? What’s that? You don’t LIKE shopping for swimsuits?

That’s weird. Just kidding.

It’s not weird at all. In fact, most women I talk to absolutely dread bathing suit season. They either don’t like their bodies, or they have trouble finding swimwear that fits. (Sound familiar?)

Well, fear not, because I want to help make swimwear season a little less horrible for you.

Below, are my top swimwear and cover-up suggestions for each body shape. If you’re not sure what body shape you are, take this easy quiz.

Enjoy! (and happy swimming!)


 

 

Pear

If you’re a pear, look for bathing suits that are basic (aka: boring) on the bottom and fun up top. This draws the eyes away from your bottom half and up to your top half, making it look larger (which is a good thing).

Off the shoulder tops, ruffles, and lace up styles are all really popular this summer. Look for ones that have those features around the bust or shoulder area (like the swim suits below!) High cut legs are also really in this year and will look amazing on you. Don’t be afraid to try them.

If you’re self conscious about showing off your hips/butt in a swimsuit, try adding a neutral colored sarong (like the first picture) to your outfit. This will help cover your butt and hips without making you look short and stumpy (which is what those skirt bathing suits do when the skirt hits across the widest part of your hips)

Main Idea: 

Wear this…ruffle sleeves, embellished necklines, and off the shoulder tops with neutral bottoms.

Not that…Hipster bikini bottoms and lots of detail around the hips/butt. Avoid skirts/shorts/bottoms that hit across the widest part of your hips. 

Want to know what top 20 items every woman needs to have in their wardrobe? Check it out here.


 

Inverted Triangle

 

If you’re an inverted triangle shape, look for bathing suits that are basic, or more boring, up top and have more details around the hips and waist. This visually makes your hips look bigger (in a good way!) and draws attention away from your broad shoulders.

As seen below, pom-poms, ruffles, and high waisted swimsuits are all in this year. Choose swimwear with ruffles around the hips (like the last pic), or other similar detailing like peplums, horizontal stripes (like the second pic), or bright colors.

Your best cover up is going to be a fun sarong. Go crazy with colors and textures, like in the one below, or keep it simple with one bold hue. Whichever you decide, make sure it makes a statement!


Main Idea: Wear this…ruffles, patterns, skirts, and horizontal lines on the bottom part of your suit while keeping the top half boring. Usually triangle style tops are better than bandeau. 

Not that…off the shoulder tops and anything embellished around the upper body!

Want to know what top 20 items every woman needs to have in their wardrobe? Check it out here.


 

Hourglass

Hourglasses are the ones who never complain about swimsuit shopping, because they look good in pretty much any swimsuit.

If you like showing off your curves, keep your swimsuit simple like the second picture. If you like a more modest look, go for a retro looking one piece.

Your best cover ups are going to be ones that come in at the waist. That means that they either have elastic, a tie, or a drawstring around the waist. Long robes with ties (shown below) will look especially good.

Main Idea: 

Wear this…balanced swimwear that doesn’t have too much going on up top or on the bottom. 

Not that……..(there literally isn’t anything! You’ll look great in pretty much everything)

Want to know what top 20 items every woman needs to have in their wardrobe? Check it out here.

Rectangle

If you’re a rectangle, you’ll want to look for swimwear that makes you look curvier than you are. You can do this a couple ways: 1) by adding volume to your hips and bust, 2) by accentuating your waist, or 3) both 1 and 2.

The model in the middle picture below (and under the apple example) are both rectangles. Look for one pieces that accentuate your waist, like this tie waist option below. Look for bikinis that have an equal amount of visual interest (ruffles, ties, colors, etc.) on the top as on the bottom, like the second picture below. Any sort of seaming or tailoring that draws the eye into your waist and back out is also good (you can see examples of this under the apple swimsuits).

You can wear almost any cover, so why not go dramatic? The Tory Burch caftan below was made for your body.

Main Idea: 

Wear this…suits with fun trim, accented waists, and princess seam details. Hipster bottoms and bandeau tops work well for you. 

Not that…solid, athletic suits will make you look like a child, or pro swimmer.  

Want to know what top 20 items every woman needs to have in their wardrobe? Check it out here.


 

Apple

Similar to the rectangle, apples should focus on swimwear that makes them appear to have a defined waist.

Seaming and pattern changes, like the one piece below look best on you. If you are looking for a one piece, make sure that the top and bottom have equal amounts of visual interest. The bikini below has a color, style, and button details that reflect evenly (for the most part) on the top as on the bottom. The way the buttons slop inward to the waist on the bottom and are on the middle of the top, visually create the illusion of a waist.

Elastic waist coverups are a good option for apples, as you can adjust the elastic to wherever you want your ‘waist’ to appear.

Main Idea: 

Wear this…suits with princess seams, pattern changes (like the Tory Burch above) and color blocking. 

Not that…muumuu bathing suits that make you look like a sack that is much bigger than you actually are. 

 

Want to know what top 20 items every woman needs to have in their wardrobe? Check it out here.

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How to dress an HOURGLASS shape

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Different styles throughout the decades tend to favor various body shapes. The 60’s claimed the rectangle, the 80’s the pear, and the 40’s were great for apples- to name a few. What about the hourglass, though?

If you’re an hourglass and you’re feeling left out because the decade of styles that looked best on your were from the 1950’s…DON’T. Your time has come again.

Thanks to the Kardashians, the hourglass shape is back in and hotter than ever. This is especially good news for extreme hourglasses (ie: you’re curvier than most) who might have trouble finding outfits to fit their bodies.

So, no matter what you think about the Kardashian kids, give them your thanks, because their celebrity status is driving fashion trends (which means you don’t have to rely on ‘retro’ style clothing to make your body look as incredible as it is!)

 

Keep reading to find out:

  • What an hourglass shape actually is (pssst, if you’re not sure, check out this post and take our quiz!)
  • Celebrity hourglass examples
  • What to wear 
  • What NOT to wear
  • Sample Capsule Wardrobe

 

Please note that this post contains affiliate links. I use affiliate links in the form of clothing suggestions in order to help you best discover (and locate!) clothing that will work best for your body shape. If you click on the affiliate links, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost for you. Thank you for supporting us, so we can continue to give you quality content. ~LF

You’re an Hourglass If…

You know you’re an hourglass shape because you have these two attributes:

  1. Your bust and hips are pretty much equal widths
  2. You have a defined waist that is noticeably smaller than your hips/bust

 

If you’re still confused about your shape, check out my original blog post on shapes (and how to dress any shape no matter if you fall neatly into a category or not)

 

Celebrity Hourglasses:

I already mentioned the Kardashian kids (and I did throw one in for good measure) but here are several other stars with hourglass shapes.

 

See the source imageThis fitted dress is a huge success at showing of Salma Hayek’s hourglass curves. 

 

Source: New York Daily News

Sofia Vergara  

 

See the source image

Ah yes, and then we have Kim. What I like about Kim is that there are literally millions of paparazzi shots of her wearing everything from sweatpants to going out clothes (like above). This is nice because it allows hourglasses to see what they might look like in different outfits, without even having to try them on. Thanks, Kim!

The Main Idea:

In the original blog post about DRESSING YOUR SHAPE, I talked about my easy secret to always knowing what will look good on you regardless of shape. The secret is to always wear clothing that make you look like an hourglass. If you missed the post, you can read it here.

Essentially, dressing for your shape is all about using clothing, jewelry, and other accessories as an optical illusion to make us appear a certain way.

The optical illusion is formed when we distract the viewer away from one part of our body and attract their eyes to a different part.

Here’s the thing though. You don’t have to use any optical illusions to make you look like an hourglass because YOU ARE an hourglass. Your only job now, is to preserve your hourglassness.

 

 

What to Wear:

Remember the main idea here: preserve your hourglass shape. If you wear something voluminous up top, you need to match that visually on the bottom. For example, a loose t-shirt looks best tucked into fitted wide leg pants. Likewise, a full skirt is best evened out with some eye catching detail up top (off the shoulder shirt, statement necklace, etc.). Whatever you do though, don’t lose your waist!! Make sure it’s defined at all times. (Pssst: want some help picking out the basics you need in your closet? Click here to hear about the 20 basic items everyone needs)

Here is what to wear, when it comes to different types of clothing:

    • Tops/Blouses: Fitted shirts are going to look best on you. Make sure to choose shirts that have equal interest above and below the waist (example: the first shirt is off the shoulder AND has volume below the waist). This is really only important if you plan on wearing your shirts untucked. You can wear any neckline.

    • Blazers/Jackets: Wear anything that comes in at the waist, or accentuates the waist in some way.

    • Skirts: High waisted skirts are going to look best on you. Flared skirts or other types of skirts with volume at the bottom are also good choices because they even out the volume of your hips.

    • Pants: Wide leg, boot cut, and flare pants are your friends. Much like the skirts, the volume at the bottom of the pants evens out the width of your hips.

    • Dresses: Anything fitted (note! fitted doesn’t have to mean skin tight) is great and the simpler the better. If you’re really curvy, it may be difficult finding dresses that come in enough at the waist. If you have this problem, try belting the dress at the waist, or shop for adjustable dresses like wrap dresses.

  • Accessories: Belts are your friends. A good rule of thumb, is to choose belts that are compatible with your size. If you are a bigger build, choose wider belts. If you’re a smaller build, choose skinnier belts. This keeps the belt from overwhelming or underwhelming you. You can wear any jewelry that you want. Woohoo!
  • Purses: You also want to keep your bags in proportion to your body. If you are more a Kim hourglass, go for bigger bags. If you are a smaller hourglass (less dramatic curves) opt for a small or medium size bag.

What NOT to Wear:

  • Tops/Blouses: Anything baggy where your waist isn’t accentuated. (Like the baggy shirt below) Depending on the extremity of your curves, you may need to have a tailor on call to help make every item fit just right.
  • Blazers/Jackets: Avoid jackets and blazers, like traditional pea coats, that are straight up and down with no seams or detailing around the waist. They will make you look like boxes. (Exception: if the boxy jackets end above your waist or if you belt them)
  • Skirts: Low rise skirts that lie across the hips are generally not good.
  • Pants: Skinny pants make your hips/butt look bigger than it is. Low rise pants are also a bad idea. Rompers and jumpsuits are best to avoid as they will most likely not fit your curves without extensive alteration.
  • Dresses: You’ll want to avoid anything sack like.
  • Accessories: Avoid belts that don’t fit your body size!
  • Purses: Cross body bags that cut your body in half and take away from your figure!

Sample Hourglass Capsule Wardrobe:

A capsule wardrobe is a small collection of clothing where each piece can be worn with every other piece to make a maximum number of outfits. Below, we have put together a capsule collection for an hourglass with classic style.

You’ll notice that I tried not to pull anything over $200 to keep this wardrobe budget friendly!

Ps. Don’t forget to look under the collection to see how to put these pieces together for a week’s worth of activities!


Here are just a few combinations you can make for an entire week’s worth of activities.

Monday: (work) White dress + jacket + heels.

Tuesday: (work, then school meeting) Button down shirt + denim skirt + heels. Change from heels to sandals after work.

Wednesday: (work) Jacket + off the shoulder top + khaki pants + heels.

Thursday: (work, volunteering) Burgundy t-shirt + white dress (t-shirt is over dress) + gold belt + heels. Swap the dress for jeans and tennis shoes when you leave work.

Friday: (work, after work dinner date) Floral dress (safety pin the slit shut so it’s not so risqué) + jacket + heels. Unpin skirt and add gold belt at waist for date.

Saturday: (playground with kids) Burgundy t-shirt + jeans + tennis shoes.

Sunday: (baseball game, book club) Off the shoulder top + denim skirt + sandals.

 

Want more ideas for an hourglass shaped capsule collection? This e-book shows you how to choose the top 20 items every one should own, which versions you should wear for your body shape, and outfit ideas for work and play. Read more about it here! 

 

The Big Take-Away:

You literally have the shape that *everyone* wants. 

Long story short, don’t hide it! Make sure your outfits show off just how glorious your body is!

 

And most, importantly, you’re gorgeous. Never forget that. 

xoxo, Leslie 

 

PS. Now that you know the rules, you can break them. 😉

 

 

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How to dress a RECTANGLE shape

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Rectangle shaped bodies have been called many other things over the years including ‘athletic shaped’ and ‘boy body shaped’. I don’t have a problem with the athletic shape thing, but boy body??? What is the difference between the body of a boy and a girl (literally, pre-pubescent they look pretty much the same). Although, to be fair, I also wouldn’t want to have a ‘girl shaped body’. That’s weird. So, let’s just call it rectangle and stick with that.

*rant over*

Now it’s time for me to tell you how great a rectangle body is. Did I just see an eye roll? Pull yourself together woman, I’m serious. You know why? Because rectangles can pretty much wear anything.

Let me explain. Rectangles are usually thinner and straight up and down. In other words, there are less curves to deal with. You know want that results in? The perfect frame to showcase clothing.

Have you ever wondered why 99.9% runway models (except Naomi Campbell who is an inverted triangle) are rectangles? It’s because it’s easier to put clothes on a rectangle than any other body shape. They look good in pretty much anything.

You know that friend who can wear a sack and look great? She’s probably a rectangle. Or has a ton of self confidence (which outranks any fashion rule btw).

 

Keep reading to find out:

  • What a Rectangle shape actually is (pssst, if you’re not sure, check out this post and take our quiz!)
  • Celebrity Rectangle examples
  • What to wear 
  • What NOT to wear
  • Sample Capsule Wardrobe

 

Please note that this post contains affiliate links. I use affiliate links in the form of clothing suggestions in order to help you best discover (and locate!) clothing that will work best for your body shape. If you click on the affiliate links, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost for you. Thank you for supporting us, so we can continue to give you quality content. ~LF

You’re a Rectangle If…

You know you’re a Rectangle shape because you have these two attributes:

  1. Your bust and hips are pretty much equal widths
  2. Your waist is pretty much the same width as your bust/hips (or within an inch or two)

 

If you’re still confused about your shape, check out my original blog post on shapes (and how to dress any shape no matter if you fall neatly into a category or not)

 

Celebrity Rectangles:

Celebrity rectangles are all over the place because they are so easy to dress.

 

See the source image

You see where Gwyneth Paltrow’s dress starts to flare out? Well, her body just keeps going straight down from there. The flared dress gives the illusion of a waist (by making her hips more pronounced). 

 

See the source image

Natalie Portman uses color blocking to give the illusion of a defined waist. 

 

See the source imageSee the source image

You thought Kate had the perfect hourglass shape? Not so! It’s all a trick. See the picture on the right? She didn’t just grow curves once she became royal (she just got a stylist). 

The Main Idea:

In the original blog post about DRESSING YOUR SHAPE, I talked about my easy secret to always knowing what will look good on you regardless of shape. The secret is to always wear clothing that make you look like an hourglass. If you missed the post, you can read it here.

Essentially, dressing for your shape is all about using clothing, jewelry, and other accessories as an optical illusion to make us appear a certain way.

The optical illusion is formed when we distract the viewer away from one part of our body and attract their eyes to a different part.

In the image below, you can see that her hips and chest fill out the hourglass, but the waist area does not come in. This means that we have to use an optical illusion to give her a defined waist. I call this: creating a fake waist.

Rectangles, you can get away with pretty much anything, sartorially speaking. With that said, your best looking and most attractive outfits are going to include the optical illusion of a waist.

Keep reading to discover how to create a fake waist.

 

What to Wear:

Remember the main idea here: we need to equally add volume to the top and bottom of the body to make the waist seem smaller (and more defined). (Psst. click here to discover the top 20 items every rectangle needs in their closet)

Here are several other cheats (aka: sneaky ways) to defining a waist:

  • Use color. Just make sure the color change happens at your fake waist (like the picture of Natalie Portman above).
  • Use gathering or ruching. This can make it look like you have a waist.
  • Use seaming. Seaming is where two pieces of fabric come together. Creative seaming (like in the last jacket shown) can make you look more curvy than you are.
  • Use a belt. Sometimes it helps to visually draw a line across your fake waist (the smallest part of your torso, remember??) using a belt.

Here is what to wear (and how to fake a waist), when it comes to different types of clothing:

    • Tops/Blouses: Choose shirts that make your top half seem bigger (thus making your waist smaller). You don’t necessarily need volume to do this. You can simply choose a boatneck, square, or wide V-neck neckline.

    • Blazers/Jackets: You can wear any jacket that you want as long as 1) your waist is defined in some manner and 2) any volume on the top of the jacket (puffy sleeves) is evened out at the bottom of the jacket (peplum) or with the pant/skirt (flowy skirt) choice.

    • Skirts: Just like the tops, you don’t want the skirt to overpower the outfit. The skirt should even out what’s going on up top. High waisted and A-line skirts are your best choice.

    • Pants: Keep your proportions equal. Bigger top means bigger pants…just don’t forget to wear a belt or make sure the shirt/pants are fitted at the waist. Any rise of pants works for you as long as you don’t neglect the waist!

    • Dresses: When looking for dresses, it’s all about the middle detail around your ‘fake waist’ (surprise, surprise, right???) Color blocked dresses, ruched (gathered) waist dresses, fit and flare dresses, and wrap dresses are all perfect for your shape.

  • Accessories: Belts are your friends. A good rule of thumb, is to choose belts that are compatible with your size. If you are a bigger build, choose wider belts. If you’re a smaller build, choose skinnier belts. This keeps the belt from overwhelming or underwhelming you. You can wear any jewelry that you want. Woohoo!
  • Purses: Take your pick of purses except for cross body bags.

What NOT to Wear:

  • Tops/Blouses: Anything baggy where your waist isn’t accentuated. (Like the baggy shirt and low rise skirt shown below)
  • Blazers/Jackets: Avoid jackets and blazers, like traditional pea coats, that are straight up and down with no seams or detailing around the waist. They will make you look like boxes. (Exception: if the boxy jackets end above your waist or if you belt them)
  • Skirts: Avoid skirts that are much more voluminous than your top. (Think: tank top with peasant skirt)
  • Pants: None! Go crazy!
  • Dresses: Almost nothing.
  • Accessories: Avoid belts that don’t fit your body size!
  • Purses: Cross body bags that cut your body in half and take away from your fake waist are bad.

Sample Rectangle Capsule Wardrobe:

A capsule wardrobe is a small collection of clothing where each piece can be worn with every other piece to make a maximum number of outfits. Below, we have put together a capsule collection for a Rectangle with classic style.

You’ll notice that I tried not to pull anything over $200 to keep this wardrobe budget friendly!

Ps. Don’t forget to look under the collection to see how to put these pieces together for a week’s worth of activities!

Here are just a few combinations you can make for an entire week’s worth of activities.

Monday: (work) Dress + blazer + belt (over blazer at waist) + heels.

Tuesday: (work, then school meeting) Button up shirt (tucked in) + skirt + earrings + black flats.

Wednesday: (work) Black bodysuit + crème pants + blazer + heels.

Thursday: (work, volunteering) Dress + belt + black flats.

Friday: (work, after work dinner date) Black bodysuit + skirt + jacket + earrings + heels. Take off jacket for date.

Saturday: (playground with kids) White top (tucked in) + black pants + Soludos mules.

Sunday: (baseball game, book club) Button up shirt (untucked) + crème pants + belt (over shirt at waist) + black flats.

 

Want to know the basics EVERY woman should have in their wardrobe (plus outfit ideas on how to put them together?) Just click here to find out!

 

The Big Take-Away:

Just because you don’t have a defined waist, doesn’t mean it should stop you from being a complete bad a$$ (I mean, did you see my celebrity rectangles above!?!?!) Focus on creating that fake waist and then accent the heck out of it! 

Or…ignore all the rules and go fashionista on the world (Natalie Portman is really good at that if you need examples) 😉

And most, importantly, you’re gorgeous. Never forget that. 

xoxo, Leslie 

 

PS. Now that you know the rules, you can break them. 😉

 

 

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How to dress an INVERTED TRIANGLE Shape

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When I was a competitive swimmer in my childhood, aka: pre-puberty (before the hips joined the party), I was as inverted triangle shaped as you got.
 
I may have been only ten, but I knew something looked off when I looked in the mirror (why is my head so small? Why are my shoulders so big and the rest of me is tiny?) However, being ten, I wasn’t quite smart enough to figure out that it was because I WAS A CHILD and SWAM 24/7. This is all quite funny now.
 
Although I’ve grown up (and have consequentially become an apple, spoon, and hourglass during different life stages), it is still a very personal thing for me to help women who have a negative body image because they are inverted triangles.
 
If you loathe your wide shoulders or big bust, YOU’RE THINKING ABOUT IT ALL WRONG. Your shoulders and bust are a positive, not a negative. In fact, you look incredible, so there are no negatives….only glorious opportunities. One of those opportunities is that you can go crazy with what you wear on your bottom half.
 
Flamenco skirt? Pleated pants? HORIZONTAL LINES on a pencil skirt? Yup, you can do it all.
 
Pretty great, right? And this is only the beginning.
 
Keep reading to find out:

  • What an inverted triangle shape actually is (pssst, if you’re not sure, check out this post and take our quiz!)
  • Celebrity inverted triangle examples
  • What to wear 
  • What NOT to wear
  • Sample Capsule Wardrobe

 

Please note that this post contains affiliate links. I use affiliate links in the form of clothing suggestions in order to help you best discover (and locate!) clothing that will work best for your body shape. If you click on the affiliate links, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost for you. Thank you for supporting us, so we can continue to give you quality content. ~LF
 

You’re an Inverted Triangle If…

You know you’re an inverted triangle shape because you have these three attributes:

  1. Your shoulders and/or bust are/is the widest part of your body
  2. You have a defined waist
  3. Your bottom half is smaller than your top half

 

If you’re still confused about your shape, check out my original blog post on shapes (and how to dress any shape no matter if you fall neatly into a category or not)

 

Celebrity Inverted Triangles:

Celebrity inverted triangles are more common than you think (and no, they’re not all athletes).

 

See the source imageSee the source image

Charlize Theron (or should I say, her stylist) is so good at wearing appropriate clothes for her shape and posing her correctly, you’d never know her shoulders were much wider than her hips. The picture on the left is more recent and the ruffles around her hips and down, make her look bigger on the bottom (to even out the width up top). On the right is an early career picture where she makes the classic mistake of wearing a tube top dress and the result is (obvious) wide shoulders and small hips.  

 

See the source imageSee the source image

The world of fashion is super weird, and these two outfits are no exceptions…but try to forget about the quirkiness of the looks and focus on Naomi Campbell’s body shape. The picture on the left makes her look like an hourglass (look at all that volume at the hips!) while the one on the right highlights her true inverted triangle body shape.

 

See the source image

Jessica Alba can rock pleated pants (or a pleated jumpsuit) like no other because of her inverted triangle shape. Notice how this jumpsuit accentuates her waist AND makes her hips look bigger without making her shoulders look bigger (ideal!) (PS. is anyone else really curious as to what she’s pointing at in this photo?)

The Main Idea:

In the original blog post about DRESSING YOUR SHAPE, I talked about my easy secret to always knowing what will look good on you regardless of shape. The secret is to always wear clothing that make you look like an hourglass. If you missed the post, you can read it here.
 
Essentially, dressing for your shape is all about using clothing, jewelry, and other accessories as an optical illusion to make us appear a certain way.
 
The optical illusion is formed when we distract the viewer away from one part of our body and attract their eyes to a different part.
 
In the image below, you can see that her bust and waist fill out the hourglass, but the hips don’t. This means that we have to use an optical illusion to give her wider hips while keeping waist and top the same size (ie: not making them visually larger).

 

What to Wear:

Remember the main idea here: we need to distract away from her top and waist (that keeps them at their normal size) while making her hips look wider.
 
IMPORTANT!! You don’t necessarily need to combine a million ways to fake a waist as shown below in the garment examples. Just choose one per outfit (example: you wouldn’t wear a peplum shirt with pleated pants, but you would wear one or the other.)
 
Here is what to wear, when it comes to different types of clothing:

    • Tops/Blouses: Remember, we are trying to draw the attention away from your top half and to your bottom half. You can do this by choosing items with defined waists and ruffles/peplums/volume in general below the waist. V-necks, scoop necks, and crew necks will be most flattering on your figure. Drop sleeve (that means the seam for the sleeve is lower on your arm instead of being on the top edge of your shoulder) tops are going to smooth out your shoulders and make them look less wide. 

    • Blazers/Jackets: We want to do the same thing with blazers that we did with tops. Look for blazers with more detail and volume below the waist. Tuxedo jackets and narrow lapels will look best on you. You will also look good in anything drop sleeve.

    • Skirts: Okay, this is wear things start getting fun. Feel free to go crazy with skirts. Colors, patterns, ruffles, volume, and fun details are all going to be your friends. This draws the eye from your wide shoulders to your bottom half and visually makes it look bigger (thus completing the hourglass). You can wear skirts that fit at your waist or your hips well.

    • Pants: Again, go ham. Colors, patterns, and volume are all your friends. You are incredibly lucky because you can wear trends that a lot of people can’t: booty shorts or just shorts in general, jogger pants, pleated pants, paperbag pants, etc. AND you can wear low rise pants actually work for your body type. If you don’t like volume around your hips, opt for wide leg pants.

    • Dresses: Forgive me for sounding repetitive, but keep the attention on the bottom of your dresses! Ruffles, stripes, and patterns are going to look best at the bottom of your dress instead of the top. Look for V-neck, scoop, and jewel necklines (they will draw the eye down instead of out). Love sack (and other loose types of) dresses? Simply wear a belt and your done!

  • Accessories: Belts are your friends. A good rule of thumb, is to choose belts that are compatible with your size. If you are a bigger build, choose wider belts. If you’re a smaller build, choose skinnier belts. This keeps the belt from overwhelming or underwhelming you. If you want to do something fun with your jewelry, focus on your fun watches, bracelets, and rings.
  • Purses: Cross body bags and other bags you carry lower (ie: not up under your arm) are going to be best. Hell, you can even get away with fanny packs.

What NOT to Wear:

  • Tops/Blouses: Strapless and off the shoulder looks are not the best for you. Dolman (or batwing) shirts should be avoided as it makes your top half look bigger. Also avoid shoulder detailing and patterns around the shoulders.
  • Blazers/Jackets: Wide lapels and boxy jackets are not good for you. Also stay away from excessive shoulder pads (all quality jackets have a little padding).
  • Skirts: Avoid tight body con and pencil skirts unless they have a pattern, bright color, detail that makes them stand out.
  • Pants: Tight skinny pants and jeans with no details are not doing you any favors (unless you have some sort of top as mentioned above combined with it).
  • Dresses: Strapless tube dresses are not good (remember early Charlize!!??) Also not good? Dresses that are baggy up top and then body con (or just fitted) at the bottom.
  • Accessories: Wear statement earrings and necklaces (if it’s a short necklace) with caution. Remember, you want the attention on your bottom half, not your chest area.
  • Purses: Short shoulder bags worn right under the arm are a no-no.

Sample Inverted Triangle Capsule Wardrobe:

A capsule wardrobe is a small collection of clothing where each piece can be worn with every other piece to make a maximum number of outfits. Below, we have put together a capsule collection for an Inverted Triangle with classic style.
 
You’ll notice that I tried not to pull anything over $200 to keep this wardrobe budget friendly!
 
Ps. Don’t forget to look under the collection to see how to put these pieces together for a week’s worth of activities!

Here are just a few combinations you can make for an entire week’s worth of activities.
 
Monday: (work) Button up shirt + navy pants + white blazer + heels + bracelets + watch + belt (in pant belt loops).

Tuesday: (work, then school meeting) Blue dress + heels. Swap heels for wedges for school meeting

Wednesday: (work) Pink dress + watch + heels.

Thursday: (work, volunteering) Button up shirt + navy pants + wedges + watch.

Friday: (work, after work dinner date) White blazer + jumpsuit + heels + belt (over blazer at waist). Take off blazer and put belt over jumpsuit, and add bracelets for date.

Saturday: (playground with kids) Navy tee + linen pants + mules.

Sunday: (baseball game, book club) White t-shirt (tucked in) + blue skirt + wedges + watch.

 

The Big Take-Away:

 
Keep it simple up top and go crazy with your pants and skirts. Seriously, have some fun. 
 
And most, importantly, you’re gorgeous. Never forget that. xoxo, Leslie 

 

PS. Now that you know the rules, you can break them. 😉

 

 

 

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What to wear if you’re APPLE Shaped

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An apple shaped body (also sometimes called an ‘oval’ shape) is the most common shape along with pear. So, if you think you’re the only one who struggles with extra weight around your waistline, you’re not alone. 

I’m one of the only women I know (besides my mom…hmmm) whose extra weight doesn’t go straight to their thighs and butt. Nope. It goes directly to my mid-section. And then it hangs out there as long as I’ll let it. I think the record time was two years (I gained my freshmen 15 when I was a senior in college…you, know…because I’m an overachiever).

When I look back at pictures from my senior year in high school and freshmen year in college, I can’t help but laugh. I had no idea what to wear. I wasn’t used to having an extra fifteen pounds around my middle and my outfits confirmed that.

*Note: I just spent 30 minutes looking through high school/college pictures for a hilarious example of said outfits. I decided the results were too terrifying to post in a public spot. I’m sure you’ll understand*

The thing was, my body didn’t look bad (albeit not being healthy). My shape wasn’t bad, but the outfits I put on it were terrible.

Long story short, learn from my mistakes and dress your beautiful apple body in a way that it will love.

Keep reading to find out:

  • What an apple shape actually is (pssst, if you’re not sure, check out this post and take our quiz!)
  • Celebrity apple examples
  • What to wear 
  • What NOT to wear
  • Sample Capsule Wardrobe

 

Please note that this post contains affiliate links. I use affiliate links in the form of clothing suggestions in order to help you best discover (and locate!) clothing that will work best for your body shape. If you click on the affiliate links, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost for you. Thank you for supporting us, so we can continue to give you quality content. ~LF

You’re an Apple If…

You know you’re an apple shape because you have these two attributes:

  1. Your bust and hips are pretty much equal widths
  2. Your waist is slightly wider than your bust and hips

 

If you’re still confused about your shape, check out my original blog post on shapes (and how to dress any shape no matter if you fall neatly into a category or not)

 

Celebrity Apples:

Celebrity apples are all over the place, although you might not be able to tell it because they dress so well (how sneaky!)

My absolute favorite celebrity example of an Apple is Oprah. Why? Because her size is more in line with the ‘average’ woman’s (aka: all of us who aren’t celebrities) and she wears a lot of normal outfits that you can easily copy.

Image result for oprah outfits

See what I mean about normal outfits!!?? This is by far my favorite Oprah look because it makes her look like she has a waist and it’s slenderizing, but it’s not a big muumuu. 

 

Image result for catherine zeta jones outfits

Catherine Zeta Jones wears a ruched dress that accents her waist area (thus making us think she has a really defined waist…or a waist at all). If you were to locate her actual waist in this picture it would be much lower than where the ‘fake waist’ optical illusion is happening. More on the fake waist phenomena below. 

 

Image result for drew barrymore outfits

Drew Barrymore uses a wide belt and contrasting colors (white, blue, and brown) to make her seem narrower in the middle

 

The Main Idea:

In the original blog post about DRESSING YOUR SHAPE, I talked about my easy secret to always knowing what will look good on you regardless of shape. The secret is to always wear clothing that make you look like an hourglass. If you missed the post, you can read it here.

Essentially, dressing for your shape is all about using clothing, jewelry, and other accessories as an optical illusion to make us appear a certain way.

The optical illusion is formed when we distract the viewer away from one part of our body and attract their eyes to a different part.

In the image below, you can see that her hips and chest fill out the hourglass, but the waist area does not come in. This means that we have to use an optical illusion to give her a defined waist. I call this: creating a fake waist.

Apples, you can get away with pretty much anything, sartorially speaking, as long as you make it look like you have a waist (without adding too much volume to the top or bottom).

THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT!! Your new ‘fake waist’ is probably not going to be where your real waist is (around your belly button). It is going to be the smallest part of your torso and that is, most likely, going to be closer to your boobs. Really don’t have a real waist? You can literally make your fake waist under your boobs. This is especially handy if you are petite.

Go back up to the picture of Catherine Zeta Jones for a minute. Where does your eye first go when you look at her? My bet is her waist. Only, it’s not her real waist…it’s her fake waist. You can literally create a waist wherever it benefits you most. Remember that.

Keep reading to discover how to create a fake waist.

 

What to Wear:

Remember the main idea here: we need to distract away from her top and bottom while making her new fake waist the main attraction.

IMPORTANT!! You don’t necessarily need to combine a million ways to fake a waist as shown below in the garment examples. Just choose one per outfit (example: you don’t need the first striped shirt shown AND a belt unless you want to)

Here are several cheats (aka: sneaky ways) to defining a waist:

  • Use color. Just make sure the color change happens at your fake waist
  • Use gathering or ruching. This can make it look like you have a waist. See image above.
  • Use seaming. Seaming is where two pieces of fabric come together. Creative seaming (like in the last jacket shown) can make you look more curvy than you are.
  • Use the column of color method. This is literally when you have a boring (neutral color and no details) open cardigan or blazer over a more interesting blouse. The eye automatically goes to the column of color of the blouse that you’ve just created and it visually cuts off the sides of you where the cardigan is, resulting in a more long and lean look. If you scroll down to the ‘wear this not that’ image, you can see this being played out (Except I used a long necklace to attract the viewer’s eye instead of a bright colored shirt).
  • Use a belt. Sometimes it helps to visually draw a line across your fake waist (the smallest part of your torso, remember??) using a belt. In the celebrity pics above, this is what Drew Barrymore and Oprah have done.

 

Pssst: Want to have a full wardrobe laid out for you (that’s bigger than the one below)? Just click here to learn more!

Here is what to wear (and how to fake a waist), when it comes to different types of clothing:

    • Tops/Blouses: If your shirt is untucked, you’ll either need to make sure it has detailing around the waist (ruching, gathering, faux belt, peplum, color change, etc.) or you’ll need to add a belt. Alternatively, you could tuck in your blouse to high waisted bottoms. Here are a few examples of tops that give the illusion of a waist.

    • Blazers/Jackets: Take it from Oprah, an unbuttoned jacket or cardigan is your best friend. It’s a casual way of drawing the eye into the space that is open (where your shirt is underneath) and it makes you look thinner and taller. Closed blazers and jackets work as well, but much like shirts, you should make sure that the garment nips in at the waist or has ruching, etc. Uneven hemlines (short in back, long in the front or vice versa) are going to look best.

    • Skirts: Once again, you can get away with a lot, as long as you define that fake waist. A high waisted skirt in a different color as your shirt counts as defining the waist, as does a color blocked skirt. (Remember, we’re defining your new fake waist, not where your waist actually should be) Just above the knee and maxi are going to be your best lengths.

    • Pants: You want wide leg or boot cut pants. A larger amount of volume by your calves will even out your body and keep you from looking top heavy. Just look at Oprah, she never wears skinny pants. High waisted pants are your friends and keep the hemlines as long as possible to lengthen your frame.

    • Dresses: When looking for dresses, it’s all about the middle detail around your ‘fake waist’ (surprise, surprise, right???) Color blocked dresses, ruched (gathered) waist dresses, and wrap dresses are all perfect for your shape.

  • Accessories: Belts are your friends. A good rule of thumb, is to choose belts that are compatible with your size. If you are a bigger build, choose wider belts. If you’re a smaller build, choose skinnier belts. This keeps the belt from overwhelming or underwhelming you. If you don’t like wearing belts, you can just choose to work with the column of color optical illusion (long open cardigan/blazer + under shirt the same color as pants + pants). This makes you look long and lean without the need for a belt.
  • Purses: Take your pick of purses, but please, no fanny packs.

 

What NOT to Wear:

  • Tops/Blouses: Anything excessively tight on the waist. If you’re going to wear something tight, make sure it is a nice, thick material. Also avoid anything too loose unless you accenting your fake waist in some way (like adding a belt).
  • Blazers/Jackets: Avoid jackets and blazers, like traditional pea coats, that are straight up and down with no seams or detailing around the waist. They will make you look like boxes.
  • Skirts: Avoid wearing any skirt whose waistband sits directly across your hips. This will make you look unnecessarily wide.
  • Pants: I know you love leggings, but they aren’t your friends. Leggings will make you look like a popsicle. Now, I like popsicles just as much as the next person, but I want to eat them…not look like them. Also avoid pants that are low rise, as they make your hips look wider.
  • Dresses: If you’re a small apple, you might be able to get away with a sack dress. So, if that’s your style, go for it. If you are wearing a sack dress or muumuu to hide your stomach, STOP. You don’t have to hide your stomach so much as just move your waist up higher. Avoid anything tight that clings around the stomach.
  • Accessories: Avoid belts that don’t fit your body size!
  • Purses: Fanny packs and other cross body bags that cut your body in half and take away from your fake waist are bad.

Sample Apple Capsule Wardrobe:

A capsule wardrobe is a small collection of clothing where each piece can be worn with every other piece to make a maximum number of outfits. Below, we have put together a capsule collection for an Apple with classic style.

You’ll notice that I tried not to pull anything over $200 to keep this wardrobe budget friendly!

Ps. Don’t forget to look under the collection to see how to put these pieces together for a week’s worth of activities!

Here are just a few combinations you can make for an entire week’s worth of activities.

Monday: (work) White long sleeved blouse (tucked in) + red pants + heels + earrings.

Tuesday: (work, then school meeting) White blazer + white lace top + denim skirt + loafers.

Wednesday: (work) White blazer + dress + belt (under or over blazer) + loafers.

Thursday: (work, volunteering) White tank (don’t tuck in) + creme cardigan + jeans +  belt (over or under cardigan) + Tory Burch flats.

Friday: (work, after work dinner date) Polka dot halter (tucked in) + red pants + white blazer + heels + earrings. Take blazer off and add earrings for the date.

Saturday: (playground with kids) White tank (don’t tuck in) + jeans + Tory Burch flats

Sunday: (baseball game, book club) Velvet tank top (tucked into skirt) + creme cardigan + denim skirt + loafers.

 

Click here to find out the top 20 items every woman needs in her wardrobe (plus outfit ideas on how to wear them)

 

The Big Take-Away:

Just because you don’t have a defined waist, doesn’t mean it should stop you from being a complete bad a$$ (I mean, did you see my celebrity apples above!?!?!) Focus on creating that fake waist and then accent the heck out of it! 

And most, importantly, you’re gorgeous. Never forget that. 

xoxo, Leslie 

 

PS. Now that you know the rules, you can break them. 😉

 

 

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What to wear if you’re PEAR shaped

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It’s great knowing your body shape, but if you don’t know what to DO with that information, it can be quite pointless. That’s why I’ve written a series of blog posts that will help you always find the perfect outfit.

The first post is going to be about the pear shaped body. A pear shaped body (also sometimes called a ‘spoon’ shape) is the most common shape along with apple. So, if you think you’re the only one who struggles to find dresses that fit your bust AND your hips, you’re not alone. 

Keep reading to find out:

  • What a pear shape actually is (pssst, if you’re not sure, check out this post and take our quiz!)
  • Celebrity pear examples
  • What to wear 
  • What NOT to wear
  • Sample Capsule Wardrobe

 

Please note that this post contains affiliate links. I use affiliate links in the form of clothing suggestions in order to help you best discover (and locate!) clothing that will work best for your body shape. If you click on the affiliate links, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost for you. Thank you for supporting us, so we can continue to give you quality content. ~LF

You’re a Pear If…

You know you’re a pear shape because you have these three attributes:

  1. Your bust is smaller than your hips
  2. Your waist is defined (in other words, you have an obvious waist)
  3. Your hips and bigger than your bust area

 

If you’re still confused about your shape, check out my original blog post on shapes (and how to dress any shape no matter if you fall neatly into a category or not)

 

Celebrity Pears:

Thanks to the Kardashian clan, big hips and butts are having a moment right now. Here are some celebrity pears who are really rocking it (or should I say, their personal stylist is really rocking it!)

See the source image

Rihanna uses a wide V-neck to draw your eye up and out (making her top half look bigger)

 

See the source image

Beyoncé shows off a monochrome suit. Notice the wide leg pants and the long jacket (hits lower than the widest part of her hips). It’s also hard to see because of her hair, but her jacket is fitted at the waist and features a wide lapel and scarf (that, once again, distract the viewer’s gaze upward)

 

See the source image

America Ferrera uses black to draw attention to her waist and her upper body. 

 

The Main Idea:

In the original blog post about DRESSING YOUR SHAPE, I talked about my easy secret to always knowing what will look good on you regardless of shape. The secret is to always wear clothing that make you look like an hourglass. If you missed the post, you can read it here. You may also remember the graphic below, and how we need to ‘fill out’ the top of the hourglass.

Essentially, dressing for your shape is all about using clothing, jewelry, and other accessories as an optical illusion to make us appear a certain way.

The optical illusion is formed when we distract the viewer away from one part of our body and attract their eyes to a different part.

In the example below, the dark neutral skirt is boring, thus not meriting much attention. The striped shirt on the other hand, draws your eye upward and from side to side (because of the stripes), thus making her top half seem bigger than it is. All of a sudden she looks like an hourglass shape, even though nothing else has changed.

 

What to Wear:

Remember the main idea here: we need to distract away from the hips/butt and draw the attention upward. The following are several ways to do that, with an explanation of how it works. (Want to take a shortcut? Click here to see the 20 items every wardrobe needs and what that looks like for your body shape)

    • Tops/Blouses: You want to choose tops that are fitted UNLESS you have something that is defining your waist. An important part of keeping that hourglass shape, is to make sure your waist is visible. There are two ways to keep your waist visible: 1) wear a top that is fitted, especially around the waist, or 2) Make sure you have on a belt or your loose shirt is tucked into a pair of pants or skirt with a waistband. You also want to draw attention upward, so your tops are the place to go ham with colors and patterns. Boat necks and wide V-necks are going to be the best option for you.

    • Blazers/Jackets: Make sure any blazer or jacket you buy is nipped in at the waist. Look for blazers/jackets with more detail on the top than bottom. For example: you would want to choose a jacket with a wide lapel over one with a peplum. A wider lapel brings the eye up and out while the peplum brings it down and out (making your bottom half look bigger).

    • Skirts: Pencil, A-line, full (circle) skirts. A lot of pears don’t think they should wear full skirts, but just the opposite is true! A full skirt can do a wondrous job hiding your hips and butt and making them look smaller than they are. The key is to choose dark, neutral skirts with little detail (that are boring) so the eye has no choice but to look upward to your fabulous necklace, shirt, piece of distraction on your top half. Skirts just above the knee and longer are going to look best on you.

    • Pants: Opt for wide leg or boot cut pants. When you have more volume at the bottom of your pant leg, it evens out the fullness of your hips/butt. The bigger your hips/butt the bigger the bottom half of the pants need to be. The top of any pair of pants, should be as smooth as possible (no extra pleating or detailing) and should be fitted through the knee area.

    • Dresses: Dresses can be difficult, especially if your bottom half is much larger than your top half. If you’re wearing a dress alone, fit and flare dresses will almost never steer you wrong. Dresses with detailing or fullness at the top (like an embellished neckline or full sleeves) are also okay. If you have a dress that you love, but you think it makes you look bottom heavy, try layering more distractions (a blazer, necklace, earrings, etc.) to your top half.

  • Jewelry: This is the time to go crazy with statement jewelry. Necklaces, earrings, and brooches are all your friends…and the bigger the better. Jewelry is a really great and easy way to draw the eye upward towards your face.
  • Purses: Opt for shoulder bags that you can put right up under your arm. Clutches are a great option also.
  • Bathing Suits: Click here to read my entire blog post on choosing swimwear for your body shape!

What NOT to Wear:

  • Tops/Blouses: Anything baggy that hides your waist (like the t-shirt in the picture below). This will just make you look thick around the middle (which you aren’t!) and like a big triangle (also not desirable). Avoid blouses that end right along the widest part of your hips. They will make your hips look wider than they are. You will be better off, 9 times out of 10, with shirts that are shorter rather than longer.
  • Blazers/Jackets: Avoid shapeless blazers and jackets. They will just make you look big allover. If you like a certain look (like a peacoat) opt for a version that is fitted in the waist. Avoid jackets and blazers that end along the widest part of your hips. Just like tops, you’re almost always better off going shorter than longer when it comes to jackets.
  • Skirts: Avoid bright colors and patterns. Horizontal stripes are always a bad idea, and vertical stripes can work at times (especially if you’re petite!) Avoid mini skirts as they will make your hips/butt look like one big (and super weird) rectangle.
  • Pants: I know you love leggings, but they aren’t your friends. Save your leggings and jogging pants to wear at home. Low rise pants are also a no-no. The higher your pants are, the better you’ll look.
  • Dresses: You are too sexy for sack dresses and other shapeless dresses. They will make you look like a big triangle (which you aren’t). Fitted tank dresses are also a bad idea if worn alone, because they usually don’t have enough interest above the waist, to distract the eye away from your hips. Avoid drop waist dresses like the plague.
  • Jewelry: Bracelets are rings are okay to wear, just don’t go too crazy. When you are standing up and relaxed, your wrists usually hit around your hipline. Loud bracelets or rings will draw attention to that area.
  • Purses: Avoid large purses that hang low (that you would fall around your hip area) and cross body bags. Both are going to draw unwanted attention to your bottom half and make you seem bigger than you are.

Sample Pear Capsule Wardrobe:

A capsule wardrobe is a small collection of clothing where each piece can be worn with every other piece to make a maximum number of outfits. Below, we have put together a capsule collection for a Pear with classic style.

You’ll notice that I tried not to pull anything over $200 to keep this wardrobe budget friendly! (yes, I know the necklace is expensive but you can find similar ones for far less.)

Ps. Don’t forget to look under the collection to see how to put these pieces together for a week’s worth of activities!

Here are just a few combinations you can make for an entire week’s worth of activities!

Monday: (work) White t-shirt + white cardigan + black pants + heels + shoulder bag + belt (over cardigan).

Tuesday: (work, then school meeting) V-neck blouse + black skirt + black blazer + heels. Take off blazer for a more casual look.

Wednesday: (work) Blush dress + black blazer + belt + heels.

Thursday: (work, volunteering) Turtleneck + black pants + shoulder bag + heels + necklace. Change from heels to tennis shoes and white t-shirt for volunteering.

Friday: (work, after work dinner date) Pink tank top + black skirt + black blazer + heels + clutch. Take off blazer after work for a sexy date night look.

Saturday: (playground with kids) White t-shirt + jeans + tennis shoes.

Sunday: (baseball game, book club) V-neck blouse + jeans + sandals + shoulder bag.

 

Want more ideas for a pear shaped capsule collection? This e-book shows you how to choose the top 20 items every one should own, which versions you should wear for your body shape, and outfit ideas for work and play. Read more about it here! 

 

The Big Take-Away:

You have a hot body…don’t sell yourself short. Keep it dark on the bottom and bright (or patterned) up top and have fun with the accessories! Anything that makes people look up (from your hips) is a good thing. And never, ever forget to accent your waist. 

And most, importantly, you’re a stud muffin. Never forget that. 

xoxo, Leslie 

 

PS. Now that you know the rules, you can break them. 😉

 

 

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What’s your body shape? Take our quiz!

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You may have heard someone say (not going to lie, it was probably me) how important it is to dress for your body shape…but what exactly does that mean?

Although all bodies are unique, they are still human bodies and have the same basic features…hips, bust, waist, etc.  The size of your hips, bust, waist, and shoulders end up making a shape and are thus classified into different categories with the intention of helping you dress great based on the size of your features.

There is no one fashion god (sorry Anna Wintour) who decides what the names of these shapes are, so you may see different ‘shape’ names across the internet. Don’t freak out. I’ll help you figure out what conventional shape you fall into AND how to dress for your body regardless of the official shape you are.

Before you take the quiz, though, I want to introduce the 5 body shapes that are most common: pear, inverted triangle, hourglass, rectangle, and apple.

Ready to get started?

I made this really easy quiz. It will help you decide which of the 5 most common shapes you identify with. Under the quiz, I’ll tell you my little secret to dressing for whatever body shape you have, and also provide links so you can read more about your specific shape. 🙂


Yay! Hopefully you took the quiz and know exactly what body shape you are.

But what if you don’t? What if you don’t feel the answer is accurate?

Fear not! Not falling into one of these 5 categories isn’t the end of the world.

Here’s my little secret to looking amazing no matter what shape you have (even if I don’t have a name for it!) 

You want to dress in a way that makes you look like an hourglass.

That’s it. That’s my little secret.

First, you’re probably wondering…why an hourglass?? That’s a reasonable question, and the answer goes all the way back to our Neanderthal ancestors.

Back when we were cave men and women, we had two jobs: stay alive and procreate. The people best suited to stay alive were physically fit and healthy, while those more likely to procreate had good features for childbearing and rearing. Now, think back to the hourglass figure. It has a fuller bust (milk for babies!), defined waist (all that exercise running from tigers!), and wider hips (great for pushing out kids!) So, the things that kept us alive many era ago are still ingrained in our subconscious and thus, we are attracted to people with hourglass bodies because they are ‘more likely’ to be able to stay alive and procreate. It sounds really crass, but that’s what we’re working with. That, and the fact that people like symmetry, so a full top that balances out a full bottom is visually pleasing.

With that said, you can use two simple fashion tricks to help you look more like an hourglass:

Trick 1: Draw attention to the parts of your body that DON’T fit the hourglass mold.

Trick 2: Downplay parts of your body that DO fit the hourglass mold. 

I know what you’re thinking. That sounds counterintuitive. But stay with me here. Look at the person below as an example.

This woman has wide hips and a smaller top half (she’s a pear!) Her bottom half already fits the hourglass shape, as does her waist. The part that doesn’t fit is her top half. So, using the two tricks above, we need to downplay her hips and waist and draw more attention to her top half. Drawing more attention to her top half VISUALLY makes it look BIGGER, thus completing the top part of the hourglass. Downplaying her hips and waist doesn’t necessarily make them look smaller as much as helps the top half look bigger.

I know that sounds confusing, but we do this ALL the time when getting dressed and don’t even think about it. If you have big hips, you may choose to wear a bright colored shirt and dark pants. That is downplaying your bottom half and bringing the attention to your top half. See…I told you it wasn’t that hard.

Here are a few ways to ‘draw attention to’ and ‘downplay’:

Draw attention to an area with: stripes, prints, patterns, color, accessories, jewelry, detailed clothing, etc. (In the example above, we use a shirt with a bright pink horizontal stripe)

Downplay an area by wearing: darker colors, simple clothing, less contrasting items, etc. (In the example above, we used a dark, neutral color skirt)

For each shape, I’ve gone into way more detail (including lots of pictures and outfit ideas!) about how you can look like an hourglass. Check out the links below to see more examples of what it looks like to use these two tricks of downplaying and drawing attention!

How to dress a PEAR shape

How to dress a RECTANGLE shape

How to dress an HOURGLASS shape

How to dress an INVERTED TRIANGLE shape 

How to dress an APPLE shape

 

Happy Styling!

xoxo, Leslie

 

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What I do with your information

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If you’re anything like me, you’ve received a million emails this week about every company and their mother updating their privacy policy.

It’s almost like they all sat down and were like, “we need to update our policies by the end of the week”. Which actually, isn’t that far from the truth.

The European Union has created new data collection and privacy laws that go into place May 25, 2018 (aka: Friday). The new regulations are called GDPR (general data protection regulations) and apply to any EU citizen AND any business that collects any sort of information (yes, that includes names or email addresses) from EU citizens.

As someone who has wonderful people from all over the EU visit my website, get my freebies, and buy my products, I needed to make sure I was compliant with these new laws. So, I’ve spent some really great quality time this week reviewing the GDPR and making sure I’m up to par, and here’s what I’ve learned…the purpose of GDPR is to keep people from misusing your information. I guess I knew that, but I thought compliance would be a lot harder than what I’m already doing (since I’m pretty much 100% compliant already). What it really does, is keep people from pulling marketing gimmicks on unsuspecting visitors (like pre-checking boxes for you and stuff like that).

How many times have you signed up for one thing (like an e-book) and then started to get emails from the same sender about all sorts of unrelated and unwanted things? That’s what the GDPR is trying to stop.

So, let’s go back to all those emails you’ve been getting. Most of them say something like, “we’ve updated our privacy policy and would like you to agree to the new policy. Please read it here”

I don’t know about you, but I’m not going to take the time to read through their whole privacy policy. I mean, maybe if I had insomnia I was trying to cure, but I have a lot better things to do. I found myself wishing that they would just summarize it in easy language for me to skim over. That’s when I got the idea to do that with my own privacy policy.

If you want (maybe you’re trying to cure some insomnia!?), you can read my whole privacy policy here.

For everyone else, I thought I’d just write a really candid letter about what I do with any information you give me. (aka: what the privacy policy says)

Enjoy

xoxo, Leslie

 


Dear Awesome people that visit my website, 

Thanks for stopping by! You may notice that I have lots of great resources about how to look your best, communicate effectively, and improve your personal brand.

It’s my goal to provide you with incredible resources to help you be your best self. Some of those resources are paid (e-courses, etc.) and some are absolutely free. Maybe you’ve already watched a webinar or downloaded a free cheat sheet and know what I’m talking about.

The easiest way for me to get these freebies to you, is via email. Lots of websites may spam you to death the minute you give out your email, but we won’t. (If you want to see a full description of what happens when I get your email, look at the PPS at the end).

Once you give me your email here’s what we WILL and WILL NOT do:

Things I DO with your email:

    • Use it to give you the free or paid resource you requested
    • Save it in a safe place (secure third parties Mailchimp and Convertkit hold my email list)
    • Communicate with you personally if you reach out with questions, problems, comments, etc.

Things I DON’T do with your email:

  • Spam you. Why? 1) It’s rude. 2) I personally write all my own emails. I don’t have a huge team behind me doing all the email writing work. I want to make all my communications with you as personal as possible, so I write everything. The point? I don’t have time to write you a million spam emails. I don’t even have time to write more than a couple follow up emails.
  • Sell it to someone else. Also, rude. Shame on people who do this. I know how important email addresses are. I wouldn’t want  you to sell my info, so I wouldn’t sell yours. It’s that easy.
  • Anything else shifty.

Wow, isn’t that easy? Essentially, it all comes down to respect. I respect you. If you asked to be taken off a list (aka: unsubscribe) or to be forgotten, then I’ll do it.

You may also be wondering about other types of information I collect. Basically, I don’t have ANY of your information until you give it to me in the form of signing up for something (like a webinar or freebie) or writing a comment on a blog post. Any information collected from you leaving a comment (IP address, name, etc) is only seen by me and a third party that checks to make sure it isn’t spam. Neither I nor the third party do anything else with that info. We don’t sell it, auction it off, give it away on business cards…we just let it hang out in the comment info. (Boring, right?)

And that’s it. 

Bottom line?

I don’t want to send you anything you don’t want. I don’t want to make money off your information. I don’t want to be super creepy with your IP address (I wouldn’t even know how if I wanted to!)

I want to help you look and feel your very best. I want to help you create a killer personal brand. I want to help you dress like the confident, powerful BAMF you are.

And, most importantly, I want to respect you.

Highest Regards,

Leslie Friedman

www.leslie-friedman.com

 

Ps. Want to chat? I’m not elusive, send me an email here: empowerme(at)leslie-friedman.com and I’ll reply ASAP.

Pps. Here is pretty much exactly how this process works. 

  1. You visit my website and see something that catches your interest. Let’s say it’s my webinar on How to Get Dressed in 3 Minutes. 
  2. You enter your email address to have the webinar sent to you. You receive the webinar and hopefully enjoy it and learn a lot!
  3. I receive a notice that someone has signed up to watch the webinar and I receive your email address. Your email address goes automatically into either Mailchimp or Convertkit where it is safely stored in groups according to what you watched or downloaded (this helps me know what you might like in the future!)
  4. You will get a follow up email asking how you liked the webinar and if you’d like any other emails about style tips. If you say you would like occasional emails about style tips, I send you emails about style tips. I also like to send coupons and freebies in these emails, so you don’t want to miss out. But I never send anything ‘off topic’. 
  5. That’s it. No one else sees your email address and I don’t sell it or do anything weird with it. Boring, right?

 


 

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3 Steps to Becoming a Personal Stylist

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Today I want to take a hot second and address the #1 question I get asked via email from wonderful readers just like you: How do you become a personal stylist (or image consultant)? 

Side note: I’m going to use the term personal stylist because it is more widely known, even though I go by ‘Image Consultant’. There are many other names for similar services including: wardrobe stylist, fashion consultant, personal shopper, etc. For our purposes here, I are going to use the word personal stylist as blanket term for someone who provides fashion and style services.

Do you remember having to shadow people in middle and high school? The whole idea was that you followed a professional around for the day to see what they did, and gain insight into whether you would enjoy that career or not.

I’m not going to lie, I don’t remember who I shadowed during those times. But I sure know it wasn’t a personal stylist.

In fact, I didn’t even know that was a career option until I was in my twenties…post college. Despite having constant walking proof around me daily, I didn’t realize that most people couldn’t (or didn’t enjoy) dressing themselves.

It sounds really stupid now, but I didn’t realize that this was a career option until people starting stopping me in public places to ask things like…

“Would you go through my closet for me and tell me what looks good and what doesn’t?”

I thought it was a joke (I was a fashion designer at the time, not a wardrobe consultant!) until I realized people were serious.

Since then, I’ve gone on to build a successful personal stylist business all over the country. And here’s the cool thing. If I can do it, so can you. And it doesn’t have to be super scary.

I made a lot of mistakes and also did a lot right during my early days of personal styling, but I was pretty much on my own. No one showed me the ropes. No one gave me advice. I was just winging it.

Here’s my thing. I don’t want you to be in the same position as me.

I don’t want you to just ‘wing it’.

If you want to be a personal stylist, then I want you to walk into this new adventure informed and empowered and ready to kick some booty.

Which brings us to the next part. How do you actually BECOME a personal stylist?

Becoming a personal stylist isn’t like becoming a heart surgeon. There is no exact path to follow in order to become a stylist. With that said, I’ve looked back on my years as a stylist and have boiled down a no-nonsense list of the main 3 steps you need to follow.

Step 1: Get Informed

 

Before you just go bounding into a new job/side hustle/whatever you want to call it…ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do I know what it entails?
  2. Would I actually like performing the services that are most needed in my community?
  3. How much time do I have? Or, Do I have enough time?
  4. What have I done in the past that sets me up to be a good personal stylist?

 

Seriously think about each of the these questions and if you don’t have the answer, find it out!

Here’s something I learned from working all over the country. Different services are more requested in different regions of the US. When I lived in the Midwest, most of my clients were middle aged mothers who still felt young but didn’t want to dress like their teenage daughters. In Flagstaff, Arizona, most of my clients were consultants that traveled a lot and knew they couldn’t wear hiking boots to meetings on the East Coast but had no idea what to wear. I know these sound really specific, but it is true that the bulk of my clients in different places had very specific needs that almost seemed regional (or town based).

Do some research. The easiest way to find out what services people need is by asking them questions like this: What’s your biggest fashion problem? If you could change one thing about your style or clothing, what would it be? What do you hate most about shopping or getting ready in the morning? These questions will lead you directly to the need and allow you to figure out what personal styling in your town would actually entail. Then, you need to decide if it’s something you’d actually enjoy doing. Maybe you don’t like the idea of going through people’s closets. If that’s the main need, you may want to reconsider being a personal stylist.

Before you just jump in, do some research. Ask around. Watch some free webinars. Read blog posts. And most importantly, talk to your future clients! I can’t stress how important the information gathering stage is!!! If you do it right (like, talking to your future clients about the services they might need), you’ll set yourself up for success.

 

Step 2: Make a plan and get your first clients

 

I can’t tell you how many people get caught up on step 1 and never make it to step 2. They hem and haw and spend thirty years reading blog posts but never actually DO anything. Now’s the time for action. If you’ve decided that you have the time and you want to start a personal stylist business, don’t doddle. The world needs your fashion help.

The first thing you need to do is come up with an action plan. Look through your research notes. What services are most requested? Who is your target market (aka: the type of people requesting the services)? Who do you want your test subjects to be?

Test subjects?

Oh yes. This is very important. Most people think they need all their branding (website, business cards, etc.) done before they start actually working. That’s expensive and, truth be told, not completely necessary. Instead, use this nifty little formula below to start getting clients and making money right away. THEN, once you get money coming in, start investing in a website, business cards, brochures, etc.

For more in depth details about how this works, fill out the form below to get the FREE Personal Stylist Webinar sent to your inbox!)

Also, don’t forget to put tentative deadlines on your action plan! This will encourage you to keep pushing forward and not get stuck in the research phase. Here’s an example of what your action plan may look like:

I made this very simple action plan in Microsoft Excel (because I’m a giant nerd) but you can do yours on a piece of paper, word document, or anything else. Just so long as you keep yourself accountable!

Step 3: Evaluate, Strengthen, and Brand your business

 

The beauty of having friends and family as test subjects is that you can get honest feedback from them without wasting any money. I’m a big branding person, so I literally created a website, ordered business cards, made coupons, set up social media accounts, and did a million other (not so cheap things) before I even had my second client. This wasn’t a totally bad thing, but looking back, it wasn’t necessary. I wasted so much time changing the website and print materials when I decided to change up services. I also wasted a decent amount of money on business cards/advertising that ended up being outdated because my business had altered directions.

If I had done my research first and listened to what people wanted (instead of providing what I thought they needed) and started with several close friends and family members BEFORE branding, I would have saved so much time and money.

Learn from my mistakes. Get out and talk to people before you start all the branding stuff. This not only saves you time and money but it also does something very important: it primes your audience.

What?

Yeah, I said primes. You know how you prime an engine before you start it? Doing your research helps prime your future clients. It helps them get ready for the awesomeness you’re going to bring with your personal styling business.

Think about it. If you just walk up to your Aunt and announce yourself as a personal stylist (here’s my business card Aunt LouLou) and ask her if you can freshen up her wardrobe she’s going to have a lot of questions, and rightfully so, some hesitation. Compare that this scenario: You are thinking about becoming a personal stylist. You contact Aunt LouLou and explain that you are considering this and would like to ask her some questions. While talking to her about her fashion problems, you learn she feels like her wardrobe is in a rut. You then propose helping her ‘freshen up her wardrobe’ and get out of the rut in exchange for recommendations if she’s happy with your work. How much more likely is she to say yes? Like, 10 fold…because she’s been primed. You already made her understand her need and even talk about it out loud. Psychologically, this makes her acknowledge her own wardrobe shortcoming and much more likely to accept your solution (aka: services).

Priming your Test Subjects (I’ll refer to them as clients) can also have these benefits:

  1. Clients will associate personal styling with fashion help instead of having no idea what it means.
  2. Clients are very likely to talk with their friends before/during/after your services and thus priming the next round of people to be recommended to you.
  3. Clients are more likely to do more for you (whether that be paying more, recommending more, giving you networking advice, helping with your business, etc.) when they feel a problem of theirs is being solved.

(Side note: If you’re a marketing person, doing research and talking one on one with future clients- what I am calling priming here- can also be thought of as making hot leads out of warm leads)

Once you’ve primed your test subjects and performed services on them, it’s important to take a minute to evaluate. Evaluate what they thought about the service and their insight into making it better. Also evaluate how YOU felt during the service. Did you like it? Did you hate it? Think of it as one big test run. If you don’t enjoy being a stylist it’s easy to back out now. You have pretty much nothing, except time, invested. If you hate it, leave it. If you love it, keep working through your action plan and start branding your new business!!

And that’s it. That’s the best way to start.

I know there’s so much more that goes into starting your own personal stylist business, but this really is it in a nutshell.

We tend to make things too complicated, but these three steps are the easiest and best way to start a personal stylist business today. (Literally!)

With that said, if you’re interested in learning more about the basics of starting your personal stylist business, check out this webinar I recorded for you.

It’s one of my most popular webinars and it’s totally free to watch.

In it we discuss what a personal stylist IS, what services you can provide, how to figure out how much time you have, and a more in depth discussion of getting clients using the model above.

Start your PERSONAL STYLIST Business this weekend!

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In this FREE webinar you'll discover...
1) What personal styling IS (and how you can start with no money!)

2) The 3 steps I used to start my own, profitable styling business in just one weekend!

3) My tried and true secret to getting your first clients

**PLUS, what I wish I knew when I started out and much more!**

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

 

Happy Styling,

Leslie

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Bralettes to Life Saving Jewelry- What I’m Obsessed with Right Now

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Call me picky, but it actually takes quite a bit for something to reach ‘obsession’ level with me. I’ve seen a lot of fashion trends and, while I like some of them, I usually don’t get super excited.

Every once in a while, however, something pops up out of the blue like a pleasant little surprise. I must be having a good month or two, because three of those ‘little surprises’ manifested themselves over the past couple weeks. So, without further ado, here’s the low down on what I’m loving right now.

  1. This specific bralette from Victoria’s Secret.

victorias secret bralette

Bralettes aren’t new. In fact, I own a couple and they weren’t even on my radar when I walked into my local VS the other day. The last couple bras I bought were either online, or I didn’t try them on, which led to less than great fit. Determined not to make the same mistake, I stopped by the VS store to try stuff on in person. You know, like a normal person and not the online buying millennial I am. This turned out to be a great idea because I came across this bralette that was perfect in every way. It fit great, it was unbelievably comfortable, AND it didn’t have underwire or clips in the back (it pulls over the head). I literally could sleep in this thing it was so comfy. The nail in the coffin was that they were 2/$30. That’s a freaking steal. Obviously I bought two, and I seriously thought about getting multiples as back ups. I loved it so much I literally took a half naked selfie in the bra to show to my two best friends…”You need one of these!!!” I think that qualifies as obsession level.

Click here to shop the bralette.     (This is an affiliate link. I receive compensation when you purchase through the link, but the cost of the product never increases because of it! I just have to put this here because the government and what nots.) 

 

  1. This jewelry company that helps save women from human trafficking

I came across the Starfish Project on Instagram and immediately fell in love with their business idea and their jewelry. This jewelry company helps women in Asia gain independence and break free from exploitation (usually sexual). The best part is, that the jewelry is really pretty (I like simple pieces, and they have plenty of them!) and it’s affordable. On their Instagram and website (starfish_project) they even say what each piece can fund. For example, one necklace can pay for health care costs for one woman, or housing for a week, etc. It’s really cool knowing that you can help out in that way and still only pay less than $50 for most of the jewelry. Here are a couple of my favorite pieces:

Shop the Tori Necklace (this is a choker <3 <3 <3) and the Carter Earrings.

Shop the Madelyn and  Kerry Necklace. (They have silver jewelry too, but I love all the gold)

  1.  Compression socks

Okay, you really weren’t expected that were you? Of all the fun fashion out there, my current obsession is…compression socks? Like, what old people and pregnant women wear? Yes, yes, and yes. I’m not even ashamed. My doctor had recommended CS (for POTS) so, I borrowed a pair of my husband’s compression socks that he had purchased because of a past knee surgery. LIFE CHANGED. My legs had been aching constantly and the socks immediately relieved all pain. It was crazy and I never want to take them off. I also proceeded to buy another pair from Amazon. This is the exact pair that he (and I) purchased:

compression socks

And here’s the link. I’m not saying that they’re going to cure all your pain issues, but if you have blood pooling in the legs you may want to seriously consider trying a pair!

 

In short-

All I want to do is wear my new bralette, compression socks, and gold necklaces. Nothing else matches the greatness of that outfit. Although, I may put on some pants if I decide to leave the house (you’re welcome). 

 

What are you obsessed with right now? Let me know in the comments. 🙂

Cheers,

Leslie

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Nordstrom Anniversary Sale 2017 Favorites (under $75!)

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It’s that time of year. The Nordstrom sale is about to start and you’re invited.

If you have the Nordstrom card, you can start shopping now during the presale. If not, the sale will open to the public on July 20th.

I did a little preview of the sale and picked out my favorite items under $75. Click on the pictures below to get more information on any given item.
Can you believe those prices? I’m a sucker for simple jewelry, so that necklace is definitely in my cart as well as that white shirt. It looks just like a COS shirt, but for much less. #Winning.
I plan on doing some more browsing and will keep you updated on more fabulous finds. 🙂
Happy Shopping,
Leslie

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why you should care about personal branding

What is personal branding (and why should you care?)

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Have no clue what personal branding is? You’re not alone.

 

When you work around something day in and day out, it’s easy to forget that not everyone understands what you’re talking about. This is something I’m reminded of on a daily basis, specifically, every time I introduce myself.

 

My standard introduction used to be: “Hi, my name is Leslie Friedman and I’m an image consultant who specializes in personal branding”.

 

Forget knowing what personal branding means, most people couldn’t make it past image consultant. “What exactly IS an image consultant?” is a question I began to answer so many times that I added a little extra phrase to my introduction.

 

“Hi, my name is Leslie Friedman and I’m an image consultant that specializes in personal branding. Which basically means that I help people leverage their appearance to be more successful.

 

This not only happens when I throw out the term ‘image consultant’ but when I talk about personal branding. I incorrectly assume that most everyone knows what personal branding is, when actually, the exact opposite is true. If you’re one of those people, this article is for you.

 

I’m staying away from any industry jargon or other confusing terms to simply explain what personal branding is, and of course, why you should give a damn.

what is personal branding?

So, let’s get started shall we?

 

The concept of personal branding has been around for less than 20 years. It all started when this guy, Tom Peters, wrote an article in 1997 for the magazine Fast Company about this radical new idea- if companies can have brands, then so should people.

 

A brand is what makes a company distinctive and recognizable. Just think of Starbucks or McDonald’s. Not only do you immediately think of the products these places sell, but you also see the golden arches and green medallion symbols from the logos. All of these special little things that go into making a company recognizable, help create its brand.

 

Peters proposed that people could have similar brands. They too could have all those ‘special little things’ that go into making them recognizable as a person. Famous people are pros at this. Think of Beyonce, Steve Jobs, or even President Trump. My guess, is that most of you could recognize these people instantly if you were given a verbal description of who the person is/what they’ve done, or if you saw them. You could do that for the same reason that you could identify Starbucks or McDonald’s if you heard someone describe them or if they showed you a picture. These celebrities and companies have done the same thing- created brands around themselves. They decided what they wanted to be known for and then made sure their actions, words, and appearance all reflect those attributes.

personal branding secrets and checklist

I know what you’re thinking, “I’m not a celebrity, and I don’t want to be one..so why should I care? Why should I go through the effort of developing a personal brand? What’s in it for me?”

 

Here’s the thing; you don’t have to be a celebrity (or even like the person) to learn from what they’re doing and use it to help you.

 

Essentially, celebrities are using personal branding techniques for job security. The longer that person is in the spotlight and people know about them, the higher the chance they’ll be able to sell products, etc. Far less people would buy Beyonce albums if she wasn’t popular and people didn’t know who she was.

 

In the same manner, we can use personal branding to make us more successful. What do you want? Job security? Money? The ability to travel? A family? You can get pretty much anything you want by adjusting your personal brand.

 

Here’s a side by side example with an actual brand, a celebrity, and a ‘normal’ person, to help you make the connection.

 

Company/Person Goal Ways to achieve goal
Beyonce To sell albums Works to become nationally recognized and remains in the spotlight
Walmart To sell low price goods Spends lots of time sourcing goods that are less expensive for its stores
A 5th Grade Teacher To help students learn Shows up to work on time and is focused on doing their job

 

Your brand (personal or corporate), is the set of characteristics you/your company is uniquely known for and exhibits through their actions, words, and appearance.

personal branding quote

Keeping their end goals in mind, look at the chart below and see how each company/person from above uses specific actions, words, and appearances to achieve their goals.

 

Company/Person Actions Words Appearance
Beyonce Makes music and goes on tours Talks about herself as a celebrity Wears ‘news worthy’ ensembles
Walmart Sells low cost items at its stores Advertises to specific target markets about their deals No frills stores are clean but not fancy
A 5th Grade Teacher Help students one on one to learn material Builds up students with her/his words Dresses appropriately to teach students

 

It seems really simple, right? If Walmart wanted to sell expensive products to the ultra-rich they wouldn’t sell low cost items, advertise to everyday people like moms, and have a basic store. Likewise, if a teacher didn’t really want to help students they wouldn’t care about showing up on time, actually teaching, and wearing clothes that don’t distract students.

 

Our reputation, or how we want to be known, needs to make sense with our end goals and needs to be supported by our personal brand. We all have a personal brand. We all have traits that make us uniquely who we are. What we don’t always do, is focus on developing and nurturing that brand.

personal branding cheat sheets

We go through the motions and do what we’re supposed to because that’s what our boss and HR want us to do, but we don’t often think about how we could be using everyday things like actions, words, and our appearance to get ahead.

 

If our desire is to travel, maybe culture awareness is a strong characteristic that we embody.

 

If our desire is to make a lot of money, maybe a strong work ethic and go-getter attitude are what we are known for.

 

If our desire is to find a spouse, maybe dressing a way that shows your value will attract the right person.

 

Essentially, your personal brand is the process of creating and managing your reputation.

 

Personal branding isn’t a difficult concept, but it does take a decent amount of self-awareness. What do you want? (even if it’s just for the next 5 years) How are you being perceived right now? How do you want people to think of you? Once you start exploring these questions, you’ll be on your way to cultivating an incredible personal brand.

 

I know creating a personal brand isn’t easy. You may want to start, but have no idea how. That’s perfectly normal. So, normal in fact, that I created an entire e-course (including a 20+ page workbook) that walks you through creating your unique brand step by step. This is for anyone who wants a helping hand through the process, and is serious about really developing a brand that will help reach your goals. Sounds good? Click the button below to get instant access to the beginning of the course (for FREE!).

personal branding e-course

Questions about personal branding? I’d love to hear them! Comment below.

 

Obsessed with your success,

Leslie

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beauty from the inside out part 2: pretty girl problems

Pretty Girl Problems

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Part 2 to the 6-Part Series: Beauty from the Inside Out
Featuring Becky Lauren and Leslie Friedman

Beauty from the Inside Out is a 6-part series exploring the struggle women have every day, from looking nice and staying healthy to taking jobs and choosing friends, because we want to or because society expects it from us. Each week we’ll discuss a new topic, culminating in how we can break the mold as strong, confident, beautiful women.

Part 2: Pretty Girl Problems

Prepare yourself for this one, ladies, it’s going to be a long one.  It’s something that really affects me in every way every single day and it’s very important to me…

In today’s age we’re still living in a world where most career women struggle working in ‘a man’s world’.

I still laugh every time I watch Kristen Bell’s video ‘Pinksourcing’ . In the video she makes fun of everything that is unfair about being a women in the workforce.

I’ve known what I wanted to be since I was 8 years old. I was going to be “in the special forces”.  I of course didn’t really know what that meant other than wearing a uniform and carrying a gun and beating up bad guys.  At 8 years old I had no idea this dream wasn’t actually a possibility for me.

It wasn’t until I started growing up that there limitations on what I could dream and achieve.  Some of these limitations were real and some were conditioned. “Oh a pretty little girl like you can’t be a Soldier, that’s for boys!”

Do you have pretty girl problems?

Can women be in the special forces? At the time – no. In today’s age – kinda.  But were there really cool jobs similar to that women could do? Absolutely!

As I started to grow into my professional career in the corporate world sitting at the large mahogany conference room tables of ‘old white men’ the reality of working in a man’s world began to sink in.

If you were an attractive woman, you obviously got the job because of your looks.  If you were unattractive you obviously got the job because nobody wanted you so you had nothing to do but to work. (This is actually something that’s been told to me by numerous people over the years)

As a woman working in a field dominated by men, I am confronted by the double standard every single day. The struggle for me has always been where the line is, when to give into it, and when to fight it.

 

Where does ‘Pretty Girl Problems” come from? It’s from years of being told that my problems weren’t important.  When I would give a presentation to someone much higher up in the company than I and they couldn’t stop staring at my legs (I’m 5’10) I was told it’s a ‘pretty girl problem’.  When I had people from the company texting me slightly questionable things when they were drinking it was a ‘pretty girl problem’. When people assume I got my job because I’m a woman and they needed to make a ‘quota’, that’s a ‘pretty girl problem’.

 

“Oh it must be SO HARD getting all that attention from men all the time.” My male co-workers would joke. Yes. It is, and no, I don’t like it.

I once had a mentor, she was mid 50s, sit me down when I was an intern and give me some of the best advice I still look at today. She took me for coffee and as we sat down said “You, my dear, are going to have some trouble in this world.” The piece of advice she gave me which I still use is this: “There is a double standard that you aren’t going to get rid of in your lifetime, so you might as well take advantage.  Your looks will open doors to you that it won’t for men. Don’t be afraid to use that, but you better make sure that when you open your mouth you are smarter than anyone else in the room.  You better floor them!”

Leslie and I talked a lot about how to dress as a woman in the workplace. I’ve always joked that I have a pendulum that swings from ‘I don’t give a fuck to lesbian pant suit’.  I’ve been told that if I don’t want men to stare at me I shouldn’t wear dresses and skirts, form fitting clothing, or low tops.  I don’t disagree that if I avoided wearing those things I might not get as many looks.  My issue lies in who’s side society is taking.  

By saying “she’s asking for it. She’s wearing a pencil skirt with a shirt tucked in, you can see her shape” what we’re really saying is that we’re choosing men. We are choosing that their opinions and actions mean more than a woman’s. THEY can’t handle themselves so we need to change how we exist in the world. No. I just won’t.

Except I do. I think we all do.  I’ll have an inappropriate comment made to me or someone stare just too much and the next day I’m practically wearing a mumu with my hair in a bun and no makeup. And I’ll do that for a few days so I don’t get the attention. And in that moment, in that decision, I’ve let them win.beauty quote

 

The crazy thing is, that these same problems happen to women regardless of what industry they’re in. As an image consultant, Leslie works with women across all different fields look their best especially when they are going to work. She’s noticed that a ‘pretty girl’ double standard is present in almost all workplaces, but does vary from industry to industry. For example, a woman who wears heels in a more casual teaching environment is judged as being sexy and trying too hard while a woman who wears flats in a high power ad agency might be seen as lazy and unprofessional. Likewise, it is deemed equally inappropriate (by the men who have always set the standards, of course!) for a woman engineer to wear a skirt at a manufacturing conference as it is for a woman lawyer to wear a pant suit in the courtroom.

So, what’s Leslie advice to these women? Dress in a way that makes you feel comfortable, reflects the way you want to be perceived to your client (ex. Professional, capable, etc.), and is appropriate for your workplace (I don’t want to see tight pants, short shorts, or unbuttoned tops on men either). If you feel comfortable in a skirt, wear an office appropriate skirt. If you feel incredible in a power suit, wear your power suit. Your appearance certainly has an affect on others, but it also affects YOU! The way you look should empower you, while setting the stage for your actions- which is the real secret to breaking barriers.

Pretty Girl Problems affect all of us.  I have a million stories of this and I’m sure each and every one of you do as well. We know women who exacerbate the issue and we know women who hide from it. I’ve always tried to live my professional life and professional friendships with integrity – in a way where I had fun, I dressed fashionably but appropriately, and acted in a way that nobody would question my intentions.  “Live your life in a way that if someone spoke bad about you, nobody would believe it”

Xoxo
Becky and Leslie

P.S. Don’t miss out on past or future videos and posts in this series! Sign up HERE to get access to everything!

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Dealing with Jealousy (and using it to your benefit!)

Dealing with Jealousy (and how to benefit from the green monster)

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Part 1 to the 6-Part Series: Beauty from the Inside Out
Featuring Becky Lauren and Leslie Friedman
Beauty from the Inside Out is a 6-part series exploring the struggle women have every day, from looking nice and staying healthy to taking jobs and choosing friends, because we want to or because society expects it from us. Each week we’ll discuss a new topic, culminating in how we can break the mold as strong, confident, beautiful women.

Part 1:
Dealing with Jealousy
(and learning to benefit from the green monster)

 
Jealousy doesn’t always get the best rap.
 
Think about it. If you were describing your best attributes during a job interview, you probably wouldn’t throw out, “Oh, and one of my all time greatest character traits is my jealous nature”.
 
No, of course not. But jealousy isn’t all bad, and it can actually help you decide where priorities and values lie. For that reason, it’s the perfect place to start this 6 part series.How to use jealousy to become a better person
 
Jealousy is really like alcohol in a lot of ways. It can lead you to hurt yourself, or to help yourself. The choice is yours. We’ll talk about how it’s hurtful, first, because that’s the aspect we’re most familiar with.
 
We’ve all watched our girlfriend get drunk and start saying something stupid or pouring out her inner most feelings. It’s a painful thing to watch, especially if you’re sober. It’s obvious that she is saying something hurtful or acting stupid, but she totally doesn’t see it. It’s similar with jealousy. As women we’ve somehow been ingrained to minimize what we are jealous of. Just like the drunk girl spilling her guts, you can spot the jealous girl a mile away. “Oh well she has an easy job and can work out whenever she wants” or “she’s just showing off because she’s trying to get a man”.
 
Has another woman ever made a snide comment to you about your hair, weight, or appearance in general? It’s hurtful and probably the result of jealousy. You have something they don’t, and in order to satiate the jealousy they bring you down.

“Calling somebody else fat won’t make you any skinnier. Calling someone stupid doesn’t make you any smarter. And ruining Regina George’s life definitely didn’t make me any happier. All you can do in life is try to solve the problem in front of you.” – Mean Girls

 
Women deal with jealousy in two main ways: motivation or negativity. Some will see their co-workers new car and think ‘that car is awesome, I need to work harder to get one’ while others will say ‘I’ll never be able to afford a car like that’. Which one are you? When other people have something you want does it motivate you to work towards it? Or retreat and hide from it? If you’re the latter then it’s time to change your approach! It’s time to start using jealousy in your favor!
 
A lot of introverts or people with social anxiety like to drink when they’re at social functions. The ‘liquid courage’ makes them feel less stressed about talking with others.
 
These people understand how alcohol affects them (and knows exactly where their limit is) and how they can use it to make themselves better at a specific task.
 
mean girls quote about jealousy
You can take the same jealous (that can be equally bad if not controlled) and use it to your advantage. No matter how jealousy affects you, in three easy steps you can start putting it to use for your personal benefit.
 
Step 1: Identify what triggers jealousy for you. Whenever you have a jealous thought (I want.., I wish…, She has the best…,) stop and think about what they have that you want. You don’t even have to do anything about it at this point, just write it down or remember mentally. Eventually, you will see a pattern. Maybe, it’s other women’s bodies that you are jealous of. Maybe, it’s their clothes, cars, homes, or how they seem to raise their kids. Whatever it is, find your main triggers. Remember to separate the person of jealousy from the attribute you are jealous of. You aren’t jealous of Staci, you’re jealous of her jet-set lifestyle.
 
Step 2: With each trigger, really ask yourself- is this something I actually want? It sounds stupid, but you’d be surprised. I used to envy every single post someone I follow put on Instagram. “She has the life! It’s so wonderful!” However, one day I really thought about if I would want that life and the answer surprised me- it was no. She travels constantly and is never at home with her family. She has a stressful job and works for months at a time without breaks. It may have looked great (and I hope it’s really great for her!) but it wasn’t what I wanted. I only really liked the idea of it.
 
Step 3: Once you find out the triggers that point to something you actually want, set some goals and use the things you want as an incentive to do better and be better. Remember- don’t compare yourself to the person you envy. They are at a different place in their life as you. Instead focus on the aspect of their person/life that you like, whether that’s their relaxed attitude or dedication to working out.
 
It’s most important to keep your priorities straight. Just like one too many drinks takes you from comfortable and cool to sloppy drunk, the wrong motivations behind jealousy will just make things worse. You need to turn your jealousy into motivation to be better. If you’re jealous of how good of shape your frenemy is in, don’t COMPETE with her, set a new workout and nutrition schedule for yourself and start working out so you look at your own body and say “damn, I look great!”. That mentality turns into putting others down instead of building everyone up together
 
What do you think? Tell us about a time when jealousy has helped or hurt you. What struggles do you have finding that line between healthy and harmful amounts of jealousy? Comment below!
 
Xoxo,
Leslie & Becky
 
Did you miss the intro post or video? Don’t worry! Click here to get access to all past and future parts to the series!

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How to be an effective communicator

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how to be an effective communicator

Communicating with someone else doesn’t seem like a hard concept…until something goes wrong and a ‘misunderstanding’ happens.

 

“Did you get more milk?”

“Uh, no. Was I supposed to? I thought you were picking it up”

“No, I asked you to get it!”

 

Sound familiar?

 

I’m sure we’ve all found ourselves in a situation like the one above at least once, if not more.

 

When a misunderstanding happens, it’s easy to point the finger and blame the other person for not listening. However, we need to understand that WE could be partially to blame for the mix up. If we’re not communicating effectively, then it’s easy for things to go south quickly.

 

Intuitively, we know we need to be strong communicators to get what we want. Ironically though, we don’t usually do what we need to do to strengthen those skills.

 

This article is designed to help you start thinking about your own communication level and what you can do to be more effective.

 

If you have no idea where you’re starting from, then it’s going to be hard to know where you need to improve. That’s why we’re going to start laying the groundwork for discovering who you are and what your message is.

 

Sound good? Great! Let’s get started.

We’ll start really simple and then build our way up to the complex stuff.

 

COMMUNICATION- SIMPLY SPEAKING

For starters, communicating is simply interacting with others.

 

However, just because you are physically communicating with someone/something else doesn’t mean you’re doing a good job at it. I communicate with my dog on a daily basis, but when she fails to sit when I say ‘sit’, I’m obviously not doing it well. I also communicate with my husband on a daily basis, and when I’m too tired to really pay attention to what he’s saying, I’m also not doing it well.

 

Just because you’re speaking the same language and physically ‘hearing’ one another, doesn’t mean you’re communicating well. You’re just communicating.

 

In order for communication to happen (good or bad), there needs to be at least two parties. Although technically, I guess talking to yourself or self-reflection time could be considered communication- but we’re not going to go there today. For the sake of staying focused, we’re going to say communication happens when at least two parties are present.

 

The two parties are (obviously): YOU and THEM.

 

‘You’ are, well, you, and ‘them’ is whomever you’re trying to communicate with. Since you have the most power over yourself, we’ll start with you.

how to get what you want by communicating effectively

YOU

The great news is that you have pretty much full control over yourself. What you say. What messages you send. How you act. Most of us realize this, yet we never do anything to harness that power.

 

A lot of what I’m about to say may sound really obvious. That’s because it is. However, before you write me off, ask yourself if you are doing these simple things every time you communicate. The kicker here is that they are SIMPLE, but not always EASY. Keep that in mind.

 

Point 1)

In order to be an effective communicator, you need to know who you are and what you want. Simple, right?…but definitely not easy. Here’s why each matters:

  1. Know who you are. The reason you are communicating, depends on your needs. Are you talking to a group of people because you need social interaction or a job completed? There’s a big difference. The more self aware you are, the better you will be able to get what you want (because you’ll know what you need and how you are conveying yourself).
  2. Know what you want. The end goal of communication is to get something out of it. Right? You talk to the cashier because you want to buy something. You leave a note for a co-worker because you want them to know something. You talk to your spouse because you want a higher level of intimacy. If we didn’t need anything from anyone else, we probably wouldn’t see a need to communicate.

 

So, who are you and what do you want? Imagine you just walked into a tv show and have no idea who the characters are or what’s happening. You ask your friend to explain and they say, “Jerry is trying to break up with Shannon because she cheated on him”. Just from that, we know that Jerry is a guy in a relationship who wants to break up with his girlfriend. Now, imagine instead of a tv show, it’s your life. If you write a note or speak to someone, how could that be summarized? Here are some examples:

  • (Networking event) Leslie is a professional Image Consultant who wants to seek out new clients.
  • (Writing an Email) Leslie is the leader of a giveaway collaboration among several blogs and is writing to make sure all the bloggers understand the rules of the sweepstakes.
  • (Standing in line at CVS) Leslie is an entrepreneur who wants to be seen as friendly in the community, so she smiles and makes small talk with people in line.

Every time you communicate, you are saying something about yourself and what you want. If you have no idea who you are (or how you wish to be perceived) and/or what you want, then it’s very likely that you’ll fail communicating.

 

TL;DR version: Make sure you know how you want to be perceived and what you want out of every exchange you make.

motivational quote about communication
Point 2)

There are two main ways that we communicate: tangible and intangible.

  1. Tangible. This is our physical presence and our non-verbal communication. If I want to seem friendly to the people in the checkout line at CVS, I don’t really have to talk to them. I could smile and nod, show open body language, and/or show respect by waiting patiently and not constantly checking my phone or watch. All of these things would make me appear more friendly, without me having to say or write a single thing. Likewise, if I wanted to seek out new clients at a networking event, I could dress appropriately for the event while still looking stylish. People with judge your appearance before your words or actions, so it’s important to set the stage correctly with your non-verbal language!
  2. Intangible. This is what we most often think of when it comes to communication. Here are few sub-categories of intangible communication:
    1. Verbal- What are you saying? Does is clearly indicate what you want (or help you to get what you want)?
    2. Written- What’s the point of the email you just sent out? Does the note you wrote for your spouse/co-worker/child accomplish your end goal (getting what you want)?

We’ve all received that email or talked to that person and then thought, “what are they trying to say?” or “what do they want?” When time is precious, there’s nothing more annoying than reading a super long email to only reach the end and not be sure what they author was trying to say. Additionally, it’s important for your intangible forms of communication to be aligned with your tangible forms (this will happen naturally if you know who you are what you want). If you wear really promiscuous clothing to a networking event, yet want to gain to new clients for your law practice- you’re going to fail at communicating. Likewise, if you act really sweet to your son and then leave a harsh note about his grades, your bad communication will confuse him.

 

**A brief note about why consistency in tangible and intangible forms of communication is important: because it builds trust. Consistency builds trust while inconsistency breaks trust. If you want someone to trust you, you need to be consistent.**

 

TL;DR version: Understand how you communicate both in tangible and intangible forms and make sure the two are consistent!

 

Like I said before, this is really great because you have so much power!! You can wake up in the morning and decide who you are and how you want others to see you. You can decide exactly what you want from someone else and then change your approach to raise your chances of achieving your goal!

 

THEM

Here’s the side you can’t control…as much.

 

Why do I say as much? Because you do have some control over how the recipient of your communication reacts. It’s just not complete control (for the record- that would be weird and if you do have complete control you’re probably in a cult).

 

The way you present yourself and your message has a direct effect on whomever is on the receiving side.

 

Example: I have a great new idea for a company. I want to pitch this idea to someone I know has the capital to back it at the next networking meeting. Here are several ways I could do that:

 

  1. Put on a power suit,  come into the meeting confidently, and chat with the person of interest, and then pitch my idea (or make another personal meeting to pitch my idea) or
  2. Wear jeans and a t-shirt, come into the meeting, and avoid the person of interest until I have enough courage to go pitch my “maybe it’s a good idea, I don’t know, but what do you think” idea.

 

Here are the likely effects of each:

  1. The person may or may not fund your idea, BUT they will most likely respect you and would be open to doing business in the future.
  2. The person may or may not fund your idea, BUT they will most likely not take you seriously and not have much respect for you or your idea.

 

These were extreme examples, but it illustrates that we really do have more power than we think over other people. While ultimately, the end choice is theirs, we can influence their decision of us.

Effective communication infographic

IN THE END

Influential people (whether that’s a celebrity or the mover and shaker of your local town) all have something in common: they are great communicators. They know exactly who they are, what they want, and how they can use different channels of communication to get a desired outcome. You can think of it as a trifecta of effective communication, and (the best part) it works pretty much every where. Here is a range of examples. See if you can guess the person each is describing.

 

Who they are: What they want: Methods:
Celebrity entertainer Empower women to ‘slay’ Singing and songwriting
Technology entrepreneur Elite technology for the masses Creating solar cars and exploring space travel for everyday people
Mom-blogger of 3 kids To raise well-behaved children that positively influence the world Lots of daily love, encouragement, and family volunteering

 

If you guessed: Beyonce, Elon Musk, and….(if you weren’t sure about the last one, that’s okay because I made it up)- then you’d be correct. I wasn’t thinking about anyone in particular, but it could be almost any mom. The point is that you don’t have to do something on a huge grand scale to be an effective communicator. A mom who nurtures her kids to be good people is just as effective as a communicator as Beyonce is- as long as they are fulfilling their goals and getting what they want.

 

Remember the milk misunderstanding from the beginning of the article? It didn’t have anything to do with providing technology for the masses or empowering a certain sex. It was literally a matter of keeping the household running smoothly.

 

Everyone is different and leads different lives. Because of that, we will all be different people who want different things and employ different methods to achieve them.

 

So, here’s my question to you: Who are you, what do you want, and what methods are you using to reach your goals? Please share in the comments below!

 

Cheers!

Leslie

 

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The Complete Shopping Guide for Tall, Petite, and Plus Size Women

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Special size guide- where to shop for tall, petite, and plus sizes

If you’re a special size (like tall, petite, or plus), finding clothing that fits can be downright agonizing. Luckily, I’ve come up with the complete guide to shopping for special sizes. I’ve broken down each special size into several sub categories like: casual, work (business clothing), wedding, shoes, etc. so you can easily find exactly what you’re looking for!

 

My goal was to make this list digestible, not exhaustible, so if I left out your favorite place to shop- leave a comment and tell me where you love to shop and for what size range (tall/petite/plus/etc.)

 

Note: each brand name is a direct link to the website where the described type of item can be found (therefore, ASOS under tall casual will go directly to tall clothes on the ASOS website).

 

Price indicator: Average cost of items from each retailer

$: $0-100

$$: $100-250

$$$: $250+


the complete guide to finding clothes for tall womenTALL

Casual/Everyday Clothing

  • Ann Taylor: $$ Ann Taylor has a whole section just for tall women and provides a good selection of classic clothing at reasonable prices.
  • ASOS: $ Asos has a ton of tall options when it comes to well priced, casual clothing. Be advised however, that their target market is for the under 35 crowd.
  • Banana Republic: $$ The nicest of the three Gap companies, BR has tailored casual and professional clothing in tall sizes.
  • Gap: $ More casual than BR, but with some dressy options like blazers and tailored pants. Much of what is available in regular sizes is available in tall.
  • JCPenney:$ Like many other department stores, JCP offers a specific tall shopping section on their website. While most of the clothes are casual, you can find professional separates like skirts, dresses, and jackets.
  • J.Crew:$$ From cocktail dresses to denim shirts, J.Crew has a lot to offer tall women.
  • J.Jill: $ Relaxed, casual clothing for tall women. J.Jill caters to a 35+ age group.
  • Lands’ End: $ Casual clothing and swimwear is available in tall for both their original (older target market) and canvas (younger target market) lines.
  • LOFT: $ LOFT is Ann Taylor’s less expensive and more casual line. You’ll find similar aesthetics to Ann Taylor, but less formal.
  • Long Tall Sally:$ to $$ This online boutique only sells brands that are suitable for tall people (and fashion forward!) They cater to a young professional market (ages 25-55).
  • New York & Co: $ Affordable clothing ranging from casual to professional. BONUS: Their new Eva Mendes collection is adorable AND available in tall.
  • Old Navy: $ Like its sister brands Gap and BR, Old Navy offers a good selection of casual tall clothing.
  • Simply Tall: $-$$ This online boutique only carries tall casual and (some) professional clothing. The pieces are more classic than trendy and cater towards a 30+  market.
  • TopShop:$ Like ASOS, TopShop has tall options in trendy, younger looking clothing.

 Work

  • JC. Penney, J.Crew,  New York and Co, Simply Tall, Long Tall Sally, Ann Taylor, LOFT

Formal/cocktail

  • ASOS: $ ASOS specializes in casual and formal clothing and skips the whole professional look. Luckily, they have great depth in those two categories and lots of tall items to choose from.
  • Ann Taylor: $$ While Ann Taylor doesn’t have tons of cocktail dresses, they do have several classic little black dresses at reasonable prices that are one fabulous necklace away from cocktail worthy.
  • Long Tall Sally: $-$$ From cocktail dresses to shoes up to size 15, LTS will have you fashionably dressed for your next event.

Shoes

  • DSW: $ Find trendy and classic shoes up to size 15 and in wide options.
  • Long Tall Sally: $ This online boutique only sells shoes in size 9-15 (and they’re good looking!)
  • Nordstrom:$-$$ Nordstrom carries a decent amount of their most popular shoes in a special 10.5 and up section. (You can also search by wide foot and wide calf!)
  • Shoes of Prey:$$-$$$ Can’t find any shoes you like? This website allows you to create your own. No longer does your long, narrow foot have to wear ugly shoes. Sizes up to 15 in varying widths.
  • Zappos:$-$$ Zappos has a nice range of styles from tennis shoes to professional heels all the way up to a size 20!

Subscriptions

none 🙁



where to find clothing for petite womenPETITE

Casual/Everyday Clothing

  • Ann Taylor: $$ Similar to talls, Ann Taylor provides a whole section of classic, refined clothing just for petite women.
  • ASOS: $ Well priced casual and going out clothing for a younger crowd. Great selection of petite clothing.
  • Banana Republic:$$ BR has a nice selection of casual and professional clothing for petites both online and in stores (some stores have a petite section that’s just as big as the ‘regular’ section!)
  • Dress Barn:$ A great option for both career or casual clothing in petite sizes. You can also find a Dress Barn in most larger towns, so buying things online isn’t your only option.
  • Gap:$ More casual than BR, but with dressy options like tailored pants and blazers. Their pant options for petite (and tall) are quite extensive.
  1. JCPenney: $ Like many other department stores, JCP offers a specific petite shopping section on their website. While most of the clothes are casual, you can find professional separates like skirts, dresses, and jackets.
  • J.Crew: $$ J.Crew offers a nice variety of preppy clothes in petite sizes. You’ll find everything from cropped sailor jeans (at least, this season!) to suits.
  • J.Jill: $ Relaxed, casual clothing in petite sizes 0P-18P. J.Jill caters to a 35+ woman.
  • Lands’ End: $ Casual clothing and swimwear is available in petite for both their original (older target market) and canvas (younger target market) lines.
  • LOFT: $ A younger and more casual version of Ann Taylor clothing complete with an entire petite section.
  • Lord & Taylor: $-$$ If you’re looking for a great variety of petite work clothes, Lord & Taylor has you covered.
  • Macy’s:$ Work clothes, lounging clothes, swimsuits, jeans…you name it, Macy’s probably has it (in petite!)
  • New York & Co.: $ Affordable clothing ranging from casual to professional. BONUS: Their new Eva Mendes collection is adorable AND available in petite.
  • Nordstrom:$-$$ Nordstrom offers a really wide selection of petite clothing ranging from casual t-shirts to formalwear.
  • Old Navy: $ Like its sister brands Gap and BR, Old Navy offers a good selection of casual petite clothing.
  • Talbots:$-$$ Classic casual and professional clothing in petite and petite plus sizes (up to 22w)
  • TopShop: $ Like ASOS, TopShop has casual petite clothing for a trendy, younger crowd.

Work

  • Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Dress Barn, Gap, JCPenney, J.Crew, LOFT, Lord & Taylor, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Talbots

Formal/Cocktail

  • Ann Taylor: $$ Although they don’t have a lot of cocktail dresses, there are some good options you can dress up to be more formal.
  • ASOS: $ If you’re looking for a dress for an upcoming wedding/cocktail party/whatever, ASOS has a great selection.
  • Dress Barn: $ Pretty day and cocktail dress options at prices under $100.
  • Lord & Taylor:$$ Petite formal dresses in available from a variety of well known designers.
  • Macy’s: $-$$ Convenient search options allow you to find dresses for daytime, cocktail, prom, and even weddings.
  • Nordstrom:$$ A good variety of formal dresses suitable for different occasions and ages.

Wedding

  • David’s bridal: $$-$$$ They say they have a dress for every bride and every budget and I think they’re right! Petite gowns range from $99-$2000.

Swimwear/intimates

  • Dainty Lady: $ This British company only sells petite sized undergarments, and they ship anywhere!
  • Lula Lu: $ Online lingerie store specializing is petite sizes as small as AAA.

Shoes

  • Cinderella of Boston: $ This online boutique only carries sizes 2-5.5.
  • DSW: $ DSW offers shoes all the way down to size 3.
  • Nordstrom: $-$$ Forget shopping in the children’s section. Nordstrom has cute shoes (flats, heels, you name it) down to a size 4. There’s even a ‘4.5 and under’ search option.
  • ShoeBuy: $ Online retailer with a variety of shoes brands in sizes as low as 4.
  • Shoes of Prey:$$-$$$ Can’t find any shoes you like? This website allows you to create your own as small as size 2!
  • Zappos: $-$$ Zappos has a nice range of styles from tennis shoes to professional heels as small as size 1.

Subscriptions

  • M.M.LaFleur: $$ Professional clothing subscription company that offers sizes 0P-16.
  • Stitch Fix: $ Casual clothing subscription box with a growing number of petite offerings.
  • Trunk Club:$$ Casual and professional clothing picked by a stylist and sent to you at your request (so, not technically a subscription because it doesn’t come every month unless you want it to!) Inquire about special sizes.

petite women shopping guide

 


Where to shop for plus size women's clothingPLUS SIZE

Casual/Everyday

  • ASOS: $ Once again, ASOS provides a great selection of casual and formal clothing in plus sizes up to 26.
  • Avenue: $ An online store exclusively for plus size women. They even carry special plus sizes like petite, tall, shoes up to size 13, and bra bands sizes 50 & 52.
  • Catherines: $ Don’t like buying online? Catherines are almost as plentiful as department stores across the US. They sell casual plus size clothing for a 30+ age woman.
  • Dillards: $-$$ Huge range of any type of clothing you could possibly want.
  • JC.Penney: $ Like other department stores, JCP has a nice selection of plus size clothing including swimwear and underwear. While they don’t sell plus suits, you can buy professional separates here.
  • Jessica London: $ An online retailer specializing in plus size clothing. They carry casual clothing, suits, cocktail dresses, lingerie, swimwear and everything in between. Sizes go up to an 8x.
  • Kohl’s: $ A low cost option for casual plus sizes up to size 26W.
  • Lane Bryant:$ Online and brick and mortar retailer specializing in plus sizes. They carry everything from work clothing to swimwear (and activewear!)
  • Lands’ End: $ Lands’ End signature classic style and great quality is available up to size 26w.
  • Lord & Taylor: $-$$ A range of casual and formal styles from various designers that go up to size 30.
  • Macy’s: $ Having trouble finding professional clothing in plus sizes? Macy’s has you covered with a special ‘wear to work’ search option.
  • Nordstrom: $-$$ Nordstrom proves that plus doesn’t have to be frumpy or for just a certain age group.
  • Simply Be:$ Simply Be carries sizes 8-28 exclusively and cater to curvy figured women who want trendy clothing. :
  • Talbots: $-$$ Classic casual and professional clothing in regular plus (sizes 12w-24w) and petite plus (12w-22w).
  • Torrid: $ Trendy, casual clothing for women sizes 10-30.

Work

  •  Dillards, Jessica London, JCPenney, Kohl’s, Lord & Taylor, Talbots

Formal/Cocktail

  • Dillards: $-$$ Get your sparkle on with dresses for all occasions.
  • JC.Penney: $ From mother of the bride to cocktail hour, JCP offers a nice range of occasion dresses at a good price.
  • Lane Bryant: $ Classic cocktail dresses for (mostly) less than $100 a pop.
  • Nordstrom: $$ Lots of options for plus size women including a whole prom collection!

Wedding

  • David’s Bridal: $-$$$ Find plus size wedding dresses in sizes up to 26. Prices range from $40-$2000 and you can even search for plus size petite.

Swimwear/Intimates

  • ASOS: $ Find trendy swimwear up to size 24 and/or size 38 DDD/F. They also have cute lingerie up to size 24 and/or cup size 44L.
  • Bare Necessities: $ Classic undergarments up to a size 58B.
  • Catherines: $ If you’re more concerned about function and practicality when it comes to underwear than lacy little nothings, Catherines is the right place for you. They also have a nice selection of swimwear.
  • JCPenney: $ Affordable swimwear and intimates with sizes up to 26w.
  • Lands’ End: $ Lots of swimwear options up to 26w and a nifty search tool that allows you to filter results based on things like ‘sun protection’ and ‘conceal thighs’.
  • Lord & Taylor: $ L&T is bringing sexy back for women who wear sizes up to 38I. They also have plain panties too, if that’s more your thing.
  • Macy’s: $ Pajamas, shapewear, sexy lingerie, and basic undergarments- Macy’s has anything you could need.
  • Nordstrom: $-$$ Sexy lingerie and practical undergarments and shapewear for up to size 48F in certain styles.
  • Simply Be: $ A diverse range of underwear and swimwear…they even have mermaid blankets!
  • Torrid: $ Fun and trendy underwear and swimwear for sizes up to 48DDD.

Shoes (see wide shoes below)

Subscriptions

  • Dia & Co:$ Monthly clothing subscription box specifically for women sizes 14+.
  • Gwynnie Bee:$ Subscription clothing box company for sizes 10-32.
  • Stitch Fix:$ A casual subscription clothing company that offers sizes 14W-24W and 1X-3X.
  • Trunk Club:$$ Casual and professional clothing picked by a stylist and sent to you at your request (so, not technically a subscription because it doesn’t come every month unless you want it to!) Enquire about special sizes.
  • Plvsh:$-$$ Personal styling subscription box (for sizes 14+) that could include casual or professional clothing based on your needs.

plus size shopping guide

 


where to find wide shoes for womenWIDE SHOES

*Wide shoe hunting tip*: think outside the box. You might not think of shopping for shoes at a plus size store if you aren’t plus size, but these types of stores usually carry a good selection of wide shoes!

Here are some great places to find wide shoes:

  • ASOS: $ Trendy, wide, AND well-priced…is that even possible? With ASOS it is.
  • DSW:$ DSW not only offers wide shoes, but they also carry them in sizes 4-15.
  • Nordstrom:$-$$ Nordstrom has you covered with four different wide categories including: wide calf, wide, extra wide, and extra-extra wide.
  • Shoes of Prey: $$-$$$ Can’t find exactly what you’re looking for? Create your own! Shoes of Prey allows you to customize your own shoes including length (sizes 2-15) and width (both narrow- extra wide).
  • ShoeBuy: $ Online retailer carrying a variety of wide shoes from different brands ranging from size 4-17.
  • Simply Be: $ Under the footwear category, Simply Be let’s you choose between with type of wide shoes you’re looking for (sandals, boots, heels, flats, etc.)
  • Zappos:$-$$ Zappos has a reputation for having a wide shoe selection and for a good reason- they carry sizes 1-15 and AAA through extra extra wide including tennis shoes, casual, and professional shoes.

wide feet shopping guide

Whew, that was a lot of information! Be sure to bookmark this page (and download the cheat sheets for your preferred size) so that you know where to turn next time you need to go shopping.

Tell me…what’s your favorite place to shop for hard to fit clothes?

Cheers,

Leslie

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Take the quiz to find out what your style is!

The secret to finding your style

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“I don’t have a style”

You have no idea how many times I’ve heard that phrase from either clients or random people (once they find out I’m an image consultant, of course).

The funny thing, though, is that all these people really do have a style.

They have a style that feels old and boring to them because it’s what they’ve always worn, but that’s exactly what style is: a consistent way of dressing in a certain manner.

We often don’t consider our daily uniforms (you know, your go to outfits and accessories) as a style because it doesn’t fit into our perception of ‘style’.

Culture and society tells us that style is ever changing and it’s whatever is vogue right now. It’s avant garde and artsy. We think of style as something only a select few can obtain and that there’s some secret one style per person limit.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. While, style can be avant garde or artsy, it most certainly is not restricted to one person or a specific group of people. Many people can have the same style and that’s perfectly okay.

All you have to do to find your style is simply look in your closet. What outfits do you gravitate towards? What are the common patterns? 

Find out your style with our new quiz

THAT IS YOUR STYLE!

If your closet is filled with jeans and t-shirts, you have a casual, all-American style.

If your closet is filled with tailored clothing, you have a more professional, pulled together style.

If your closet is filled with a mix match of colors and patterns, you have an eclectic style.

The question you should be asking is not, “what is my style?” but “does my style (clothing) say what I want it to about me?”

Do the clothes you wear most often (which make up your style), lead others to perceive you the way you want to be perceived?

Don’t miss this, because it’s the biggest secret to mastering your own style: your outward appearance must accurately reflect your strongest character traits.

If you’re a young professional that wants to be seen as experienced, professional, and dedicated- a jeans and t-shirt style is not going to work for you.

Likewise, if you want to seem laid back and fun, a closet full of super tailored clothing and business suits is not going to achieve that.

Fashion and style quote

So, before you get down and out about your style, ask yourself if it makes sense for your lifestyle and how you want to be perceived. If the answer is YES, embrace it. Just because you don’t look like the pages of a fashion magazine doesn’t mean you don’t have a style and can’t own it.

This is something that you need to realize BEFORE you even start thinking about what style you are most drawn to.

Why? Because your personal appearance does two things: 1) it affects other people and 2) it affects you.

First, your image sends a message about yourself. Before you think about how to construct that message, you need to decide what you want to say.

Second, your clothing affects the way you feel. A single piece of clothing has the power to make you feel bold and confident or uncomfortable and self-conscious. Fit, color, and feel all contribute to the way we feel in an outfit, but so does one other thing: the actual style of the garment. Just like we’re drawn to certain cars and feel awkward in others, different styles of clothing can change the way we feel while wearing them. For that reason (among others), it’s important to have at least an idea of what types of clothing you like.

While you could separate different styles into multiple categories, I use a basic 6: minimalist, bohemian, traditional, eclectic, modern, and feminine. This quiz will help you decide which style you like the most.



Each style says something different about the wearer. We all make similar snap judgements when someone dressed ‘goth’ or ‘preppy’ walks by, right? Well, it’s the same with ANY style.

To help you decode what your style may be saying about you (both good and bad), I created this nifty PDF that you can download for no cost. Enjoy!

what does your style say about you pdfCLICK HERE to download for FREE

Xoxo,

Leslie

 

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how to create a personal brand

The 5 Secrets to Developing a Stand Out Personal Brand

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We can theorize about personal branding and mission statements all day, but unless we put any of it to practice in an applicable way, it doesn’t do any good. Unless you understand what your personal brand is, the rest of this book will just be entertaining fluff. Here’s the thing. I didn’t sit down and write a book about how to make you look pretty. Yes, I am all about you looking fabulous, but my intent is to help you create a look and then use it to be successful. There are plenty of books out there on how to get dressed. There are even more on how to do it with style. I want to tell you how to alter your appearance to get what you want. Whether it’s a better job, happier home life, or improved self-esteem, I want you to be living to your fullest potential. And that’s something that needs to start from the inside, from your personal branding, and then move its way outward.

 

So, let’s talk about your brand. I promise it will be easier than you think. Remember, we are trying to figure out what makes you, uniquely you. This includes personality traits, general characteristics, and accomplishments. It’s everything that sets you apart from others in your home, office, town, state, and even country. Everyone has a personal brand, but most people’s brands aren’t realized or well developed. Using the following secrets, you can create a strong personal brand that will serve as a solid foundation for your future success!

Side note: the following is an excerpt from my book: Dressing Your Personal Brand. To download the entire book, click here.

personal branding short version

Secret #1: Strong personal brands are a mix of intrinsic and extrinsic traits.

This is something a lot of people either forget, or disregard. Your personal brand isn’t just about who you are, but what you’ve done, and how you’ve accomplished it. It’s not just what you’ve done (e.g. Where you’ve gone to school, awards you’ve won, accounts you’ve landed…). It’s not just about your personality (e.g. Extrovert, leader, intuitive…) or about how you your personality manifests itself (E.g. Outgoing, team player, problem solver…). Rather, a strong personal brand includes traits from all of these areas. There are several reasons why this is.

 

For one, it shows that there are multiple facets to you other than how you were born or what you’ve accomplished. Think about it. Any of the above characteristic sets can be entirely independent of another when creating a personal brand. One whole set of traits without any of the other sets leads the recipient to believe that you have certain qualities, but don’t know how to use them. For example, if I say I am a Harvard graduate with a PhD in Biology and a successful career in research- that only describes my accomplishments. Alternatively, if that same person said, “I am an extrovert with a positive attitude and upbeat personality”, they’re really only talking about their intrinsic traits. The best personal brands show a blend of intrinsic and extrinsic traits. They declare, ‘this is who I am and what I’ve achieved with what I’ve been given!’ For example, it would be best if the above person said, ‘I am an extroverted, ivy league graduate who is passionate about finding cures to common diseases in order to help everyday people.” See how much more powerful it is when you combine the qualities you are born with and what you’ve accomplished?

 

Secret #2: Your personal brand is like a lock.

Remember those good old combination locks you were assigned in gym class during middle and high school? Every lock contained the same numbers, but each lock had their own special combination of those numbers that caused it to open up. Personal brands are very similar. The human population as a whole contains all the same characteristics, traits, and accomplishments. However, it’s the way in which these are combined that make your personal brand special to you and unlock your full potential! Many people believe that they have to reinvent the wheel or discover a whole new personality trait in order to have a successful brand. This isn’t true at all. The key isn’t to make up characteristics that nobody else has, but rather to find the right combination of traits that you possess to create a new (or at least new to your desired audience) sequence. If you want to add some novelty into your combination, you do that by altering what you do or accomplish. For example, there are lots of philanthropic, anthropology graduates. However, there are much fewer philanthropic, anthropology graduates that have devoted significant amounts of time to studying a specific species of animal just as Jane Goodall studied apes.

 

There is no one size fits all method to identifying your personal brand. However, I usually recommend that people narrow down their five strongest descriptors and use that as their personal brand. Just as a combination lock may be 12 + 4 + 7 + 22 + 35 = open, your personal brand can do the same with this simple formula: intrinsic personality trait + accomplishment + general characteristic + goal + passion = winning personal brand! In a sentence it would look like, ‘My name is Kathy and I am an extroverted, award winning research scientist who uses my compassionate nature to pursue the cure for cancer and help everyone I come in contact with.’ Each of the individual parts of this sentence are true for hundreds of people, but when you pull together the parts that are uniquely yours, then you can accurately describe your own personal brand.

 

Just think of your personal brand statement as a ‘cut to the chase’ elevator speech. In a few seconds or less, what do you want the other person to know about you? With a successful elevator speech or personal brand statement you lay down your most important cards, and in doing so, will attract others who share the same passions and goals as you. Here’s a personal example of how a strong personal brand statement can help you. A few months ago, I was attending a small entrepreneurial networking session and we had the opportunity to introduce ourselves. Some of the attendees seemed caught off guard and stuttered a short line of thoughts like, “well, I’m Jake and my wife and I are thinking about possibly starting a fishing business, maybe”. Other people, like myself, confidently threw out their personal brand statements along with an invitation to talk afterwards. I think I used some version of, “Hi, My name is Leslie Friedman. I’m an author, speaker and image consultant who is passionate about helping people leverage their personal brands and their appearances to be more successful. I really enjoy collaborating with other entrepreneurs, so don’t be shy to come say hi after the program; I’d love to talk to you.” It is simple and to the point. Not every person in the room found me after the program to say hi, but the ones that did were also aligned with my goals and came with opportunities. A solid personal brand statement not only helps you keep focused, but it is a key component to opening doors.

how to develop a strong personal brand

Secret #3: Don’t forget about your end goal.

I’m sure you have a lot of characteristics, goals, passions, accomplishments, and traits that define you. The key to picking the right ones for a strong personal brand depend on what you want to accomplish with your brand. Remember when we talked about your end goal and having a mission statement? If you don’t know what your end goal is, then it will be very difficult to pull together a personal brand that will lead you there. Just as you need to pick the right paint when painting different parts of a house, you need to find the right combination of attributes that will help you accomplish your end goal best. If the aforementioned, bio-scientist Kathy wants to help elementary aged children by having a long career as a second grade teacher, then her personal branding statement is way off. If her goal is to be a notable, bio-researcher with a significant influence in the realm of disease prevention, then she is right on track. Nabisco probably had a clear end goal in mind when they created Oreo, and they made sure that the branding around the Oreo cookie ensured the success of reaching that goal. In this same way, we need to make sure our brand is properly setting us up for our end goals.

 

Secret #4: The easiest way to discover your brand is by not trying.

Your personal brand is 100% you and there’s no one who has a clearer view of you than those around you. So, if you’re stumped about what your brand is, sit back and let the people around you throw in their input. Simply ask any objective, third party person who spends time around you (a coworker is a great option) to describe who you are. Better yet, have them describe you to another coworker. The more people you sample, the better picture you will be able to make about yourself. It is also worthwhile to ask the people that know you the best (spouses, family members, friends) how they would describe you. Most likely, your personal brand is going to be a combination of the two opinions. While this is one of the most effective ways to find out what your personal brand is, it can also be the most painful- especially if you’re not branding yourself to your fullest potential.

 

If other’s responses are way off base compared to how you would describe yourself, your brand is having an identity crisis. Look into inconsistencies and ask yourself 1) which way you would like to be seen and 2) what you’re doing to elicit an undesired response. Maybe you think working through your lunch hour every day brands you as hardworking and dedicated, but really it comes off as aloof and as a bad team player.

 

Even if you have your personal brand down pat (these are the traits I want to be known for!) it’s important to consistently ask for feedback to make sure your branding is accurate. Large companies are constantly soliciting feedback on their products and their brand image to ensure that the image they are presenting to the consumer is exactly the branding they desire. Find the combination of attributes that is most accurate for you and most effective to reaching your end goal and then double check it over year after year to make sure you are always on track for success.

personal branding quote

Secret #5: Your personal brand might change. And that’s okay.

The personal brand you develop during the length of this book may not be the same brand you have in twenty years. It may not even be the brand you have in five or ten years, and to be completely honest, it shouldn’t be. Hopefully, you are constantly in the process of developing and growing into a bigger and better person. Throughout your life you will have different accomplishments, experiences, and encounters that affect your goals, missions, and values. You will also have different priorities today than ten years from now. If you’re a young, professional making their mark in the workplace, you may place more value on being seen as knowledgeable and experienced. Ten or fifteen years down the road, however, you may place more value on being known as a leader and a great communicator. The key is to constantly reassess your mission statement and your personal brand statement to ensure that it aligns up with who you want to be today and the short term future. When you are younger, your brand statement may change as much as every year to every five years, while at the peak of your career, it will probably change every ten to fifteen years.

personal branding secrets and checklist

Coming up with a personal brand that is reflective of your true self shouldn’t be difficult. If you’re forcing a certain goal or character trait on yourself that doesn’t come naturally or that you aren’t passionate about, you’ll have a hard time living out your brand. It’s much easier and less energy consuming to actively develop and pursue a brand that feels like second nature.

To your branding success!

Leslie

PS> Like what you read? This is only a small portion of my book: Dressing your Personal Brand. Read the rest of the book here.

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personal branding strategies for work

Personal Branding Strategies for the Workplace

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When we think about work, personal branding isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind. After all, personal branding is personal and most of us make a decent effort to keep our personal and professional lives somewhat separated. The truth is, however, that our personal brands (and, therefore, our personal branding strategies) are vital components of the workplace. Each person in a company is important to the success of the company as a whole. That means, of course, that each personal brand plays an important role in helping the company reach its goals.

Think of the company Procter & Gamble. P&G is a huge company, and a brand within itself, but it’s made up of smaller companies- each with their own brand. Crest, Tampax, and Downy are all brands that create relatively unrelated products. However, they are all home and hygiene brands, which fall under the larger brand of P&G. Without the smaller brands that reflect the objectives of the P&G brand as a whole, P&G wouldn’t even be a brand. Personal brands work the same way in the workplace. Your company has its own objectives, goals, and brand. As part of the company, you are one of the smaller brands that helps the parent company reach its goals.

If your company or organization is the big parent company (like P&G, Nestle, Mars, etc) then there are four different types of smaller brands that make up that company. These ‘smaller brands’ are the personal brands of four different groups of people:

  1. Employers
  2. Employees
  3. Customers
  4. Job Seekers

Each one of these groups, is filled with their own brands. A successful company should understand what brand each group represents and how it relates to the company as a whole.

 

strategies for employers

Employers:

Your main objective as an employer, is to find employees whose personal brands fill your company’s needs, and then effectively lead them to build a successful company. Think about the people directly under your supervision. Can you name their strengths? If you had to describe each person in one sentence, what would that sentence say? Would it be hard to do? If you don’t know what your employees bring to the table, then you are probably missing out on utilizing their greatest strengths. This is bad, obviously for the company, but also for the employee, who probably feels unsatisfied in their position. When employees are living out their brands and doing what they do best, then they are more likely to report job satisfaction. As the employer, you know that happy workers create a better workplace, more productivity, and less turnover (hint: all of these things leads to more profit!)

 

Employer personal branding strategies:

Take some time to sit down and think about every employee you have. (If you are in charge of a large number of people, maybe just choose your direct reports.) Pretend that someone has asked you to describe who they are in a few phrases. What would you say? Write down each employee’s name and their greatest strengths. Now, think about your company. What are the biggest needs or challenges facing your company right now? Compare the two lists. Do you currently have people’s strengths matched up properly to help fulfill your company’s goals? What could you do differently? Keep your employee strength/brand list handy for when a new project pops up. Use the list to help you find the right person for the job. Here’s a nifty worksheet to help you get started.

 

Customers:

Without customers or clients, you can’t have a business. Because of this very obvious fact, it’s important to think about who your customer is and how they would describe their own personal brand. What is important to them? What traits do they value? This is why market research is an essential aspect of any company. Here’s something really cool: if our company brand (or the brand of someone associated with the company) is able to resonate with a customer’s personal brand, then an immediate emotional connection is made- whether the customer needs our products or not. This emotional connection is KEY to creating loyal customers.

Customer personal branding strategies:

Why do your customers like your brand? Why do they buy your products? If you don’t know, ASK THEM! If you hear repetitive answers, you’re onto something. Be sure to continually assess your marketing strategy. Are you marketing to the right group? Are you forming an emotional bond? Does the personal brand of your customer make sense with your company’s brand?

 

strategies for employees

Employees:

As an employee, you want to set yourself apart from everyone else (and, therefore, set yourself up for success) by cultivating a strong personal brand. Imagine that your boss is sitting in a conference room right now and is asked by his supervisor to pick one person from his department to fire and one to promote. You certainly don’t want to lose your job, but you also don’t want him to hem and haw about who he should promote. You want him to not waste a second before announcing, “[your name] is the first and only person that is perfect for the promotion job!” A strong personal brand has the power to produce those kinds of results. If you haven’t started thinking about your brand, then consider the following strategy…

Employee personal branding strategies:

Write down your job title and ask yourself, “what makes me different from everyone else with this job title?” Make a list of accomplishments, character traits, and experiences that help set you apart from everyone else. Now ask yourself, “Do my actions, words, and appearance consistently reflect the attributes on the list I just made?” (Ex. if you wrote: professional, outgoing, excellent writing skills… then evaluate if you are displaying those traits the best you can in the workplace). Think about what you want to be known for within the workplace. It might just be one word: Dedication. Integrity. Leadership. Choose a word or short phrase and write it down somewhere. Do your best to live out that word or phrase through your actions, words, and appearance every day. When a new project comes up and your boss needs someone with outstanding leadership, (s)he won’t have to think twice about giving the project to you. Download a FREE worksheet to get started.

job seekers strategies

Job seekers:

If you’re not in a company, then you’re probably looking for somewhere to work (unless you’re retired, of course). Knowing your own personal brand and finding a company that holds similar values, makes the job search process more difficult, but also more rewarding in the end. Think of the first job you had out of college. If you’re like the majority of people, you did not enjoy the job, but you had to make money and pay off student loans. Very few people I know actually loved their first job. You know why? Because when you’re inexperienced, you have less options and, therefore, you are less picky about what job you choose. If they want you and they will pay you, then you sign up. The downside of this mentality to job seeking, however, is that you end up working for companies that don’t reflect your personal values. Your personal brand doesn’t align with their company brand…but you need a job, so you overlook that. Sometimes we just need to pay the bills, but if you’re looking for a fulfilling career, try the job seekers strategy below.

 

Job seeker personal branding strategies:

Before you even apply to a company: research, research, research! What is the company’s mission statement? What is their brand? What about the work culture? Do these things support your personal brand or are they totally different? Remember when we talked about P&G? P&G is a company comprised mostly of home and hygiene brands for personal use. It makes sense that P&G owns Head & Shoulders. It wouldn’t make sense if they owned Avis car rental. It doesn’t matter if you’re Head & Shoulders or Avis, just make sure the company you’re applying to makes sense with your brand! After you find a company or list of companies, identify their greatest needs. Compare those needs with your brand and your strengths and come up with concrete examples showing how you can bridge the gap. Tailor your resume to mostly show your ‘bridge’ skills and experiences (the ones that show you are capable of bridging the gap and solving their problems!) Make sure your interview answers also bridge the gap and show how you, in your truest form, can help fulfill the company’s needs. Use this FREE worksheet to help you get started.

 

Whether we know it or not, all of us have a personal brand. It might not be intentionally developed, but it’s there. Both personal and corporate success is possible by understanding personal brands and putting them to work to achieve your goals (no matter what workplace group you’re in!)

 

To your success!

Leslie

 

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What happens when you need to change your personal brand?

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Your personal brand is your unique combination of characteristics, accomplishments, and experiences that set you apart from everyone else. It’s how you want to be known to the world.

But what if you decide that your current brand isn’t working for you anymore? What if a career/priority/goal shift happens and you realize that you want to head a new direction? Is it possible to change a brand once it’s established, and if so, how do you actually go about doing it?

what-happens

The good news is that changing up your brand isn’t only possible, it’s necessary! Notice how the title of this article is ‘what happens WHEN you need to change your personal brand’ not ‘what happens IF you need to change your personal brand’. As we continue to grow and develop both in a personal sense and with our careers, it is vital that our brands grow with us.

A great example of a product brand that has grown and evolved is Starbucks. Below, you’ll see the original Starbucks logo from 1971 and the current logo.

Image result for original starbucks logo

Not only has Starbucks changed their logo over the past 45 years, but their business concept has changed as well. Instead of simply selling whole coffee beans like they did in the beginning, Starbucks has grown to sell everything from coffee, to mugs, to music.

Over the course of time, Starbucks realized that they had to change their brand to stay relevant to their market, achieve new business goals, and stay competitive. Your personal brand is also like a business. You are constantly in the business of selling yourself and your talents. Over time, your goals will change, as will your priorities and values. You may find that the talents you’re currently marketing (I’m a kind, career oriented, go-getter) are not the same talents you want to be marketing 10 years from now (I’m a kind, family oriented, volunteer). The first step to changing your personal brand is understanding that it is OKAY to make that change.

Second, you need to do some thinking about what you want to change. Maybe you were a career man who, over the course of a decade, has gotten married and had children. You still love your career, but you want your personal brand to reflect that you are also a loving father. Small changes, like this, are easier to navigate. The aforementioned man may decide to set a goal to leave work at a reasonable time each day and might occasionally turn down after work drinks to spend time with his family. By understanding what change you wish to make in your brand (in this case, a shift from workaholic to family man), you can start taking active steps to start being perceived differently.

Some changes are easier to manage than others. Often times, big branding changes happen as a result of a significant career move or a radical belief transformation. Stepping down from a corporate career in New York City in order to become a yoga instructor in Hawaii is a drastic example of a career change that would affect your personal brand. Likewise, subscribing to a new belief system, whether it’s converting to a religion or choosing a eco-friendly lifestyle, will also result in a personal branding change.

There are two main ways to pull off a major change in your personal brand:

1 ) Ease into it. The person who leaves their corporate job in New York, may use their vacation time to get yoga certification while teaching classes in the city. Slowly, becoming a yogi becomes part of their brand and when they decide to leave the corporate world for Hawaii, it’s a bold move, but not shocking.

2) Do it quick. If easing into something isn’t your style, a more dramatic switch may be fitting. In this case, the person from the above example simply packs up their stuff one day, quits work, and heads to Hawaii. Everyone is shocked for about a month, but soon the old brand fades away and the new one is quickly adapted.

No matter how small or big the change, it’s important to think through the shift you want to make and how you will execute it, before you make any moves. While altering your brand is normal and expected, doing it too many times within a short time period will make you look confused, indecisive, and rash. Instead, be thoughtful about your change and then start taking action to improve your brand!

Leslie

 

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Networking 101: How to be the most memorable person in a room

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There’s always that one person at a party, networking event, or social function that hits it off with everyone and makes a stellar first impression. It’s the same person that you talk about on the way home (“Did you meet Derek? What a cool guy.”) and, often times, the person you remember weeks later. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to become that person; with only a few easy tips and tricks, you too can start becoming the most memorable person in a room.

networking-101

Tip #1: Memorable doesn’t mean being in the limelight

Introverts breathe a sigh of relief. Being a ‘success’ at a social event doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to be the center of attention. In fact, some of the most memorable people (in a good way) are far from being in the limelight. You’ll see why this is, in the following tips.

 

Tip #2: Have a clear idea about how you want to be perceived and what you want from the event

If twenty people all leave a networking session and say something about you to someone who wasn’t at the party, what would you want them to say? “She was so kind”, “She was really passionate”, “She is very dedicated to her work”…. Decide how you want to be perceived BEFOREHAND, and then make sure your actions and speech follow up your brand. You also need to set goals for what you want out of each event. I know it sounds stupid, but trust me, it works. Maybe it’s a social party with friends and your goal is to have a good time and make new friends. Maybe it’s a business networking event and your goal is to target three potential customers for your business. Whatever it is, making goals will ensure that your night isn’t a total waste of time (because when you make a goal, you often follow through to achieve it!)

 

Tip #3: Focus on others

It sounds counter-intuitive, but spending more time focusing on the other people at the event will make you more memorable. Check out the following tricks to make sure you are focusing your time and energy on others:

Trick #1: Have a loose knowledge of a wide breadth of subjects. This will allow you to talk to almost anyone about their favorite subjects (ps. You don’t have to be know-it-all about every topic. You just need to know enough to hold a conversation and make them feel like they are interesting and intelligent.)

Trick #2: Be a people connector. Standing in the corner talking to one person the whole night might make you memorable to that one person, but not to everyone else. Think of any networking or social event as a game of memory. Instead of flipping over cards to reveal matches, you want to identify people that have similar interests. This accomplishes two things: 1) it allows you to work the room without getting stuck with just one person all night, and 2) it makes you seem more caring when you seem to know small details about someone that others might have forgotten. (example: when you introduce Sally to Steve because they both have a weird love of Jenga.)

Trick #3: Remember names. It’s not always easy, but it works. Remember people’s names and use them as often as possible without sounding weird.

 

Tip #4: Master the follow-up

It doesn’t matter if you’re networking at a business event or working the room at a party, follow-up is key. I personally love sending a handwritten letter to the host thanking them for a wonderful time. An email, text message, or LinkedIn invite are also good ways to connect after the event. A successful follow-up (once again) focuses on the other person and makes them feel special. It also may include an ask. Here’s a great example of a brief, but effective follow-up:

Hi Sam, I really enjoyed meeting you last night at the xyz networking event. It was so fascinating to hear about your experience in business and how you started ABC consulting company. If you don’t mind, I’d love to get together for coffee sometime and hear more about the marketing strategies you’ve used when getting ABC off the ground. Best Regards, Taylor

The key is to sound interested, without sounding like a total suck up. If you’ve done your job well, then they will have enjoyed their time with you during the event and will gladly make room in their schedule for you in the future.

 

IMPORTANT SIDE NOTE: Everyone is selling something, especially at a networking event. Successful salespeople know to make relationships first, and then offer their product. The networking event and even some follow-up events (like the coffee mentioned above) should be primarily for relationship building and not for selling. Selling your product will come naturally when the other person trusts you enough to tell you their personal or their business problems (which you would provide a solution for). Ps. Generally (though not always) the bigger the price tag of the item you’re selling, the more time and energy you will need to put into the relationship.

 

Networking events, mixers, and parties all take up your precious time, so you might as well get something out of it! Making yourself memorable is not only easy (bonus: it gets easier the more you do it), but it makes your goals more achievable in the long run. When you’re memorable, people will start reaching out to you, rather than you spending tons of time and energy reaching out to them. Now, get out there and start standing out!

 

 
If you like what you just read, you’ll probably enjoy my best-selling ebook: Dressing Your Personal Brand. Go ahead and check out the (totally free!) first chapter below –>

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5 biggest holiday stressors and how to eliminate them

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Welcome to *insert music here* “the most wonderful time of the year* and the “happiest season of all”. Let’s face it, though, no matter how jolly and happy this season is, it comes with its fare share of stress. Holiday shopping (or perhaps dealing with other holiday shoppers), fattening foods, horrible traffic, way too much family time (“you voted for who?!!?””you’re STILL not dating anyone??”)…the list could go on. By the time the second week of January rolls around we are more tired, broke, and stressed than we ever were before. Here are 5 easy tips you can do to combat the January blues. I’ve broken them down into 5 categories that usually leave us the most stressed.

5-biggest-holiday-stressors

#5 Biggest Holiday Stressor: Parties

It’s officially party season and you have a dozen invites on the table. If you’re an extrovert- the thought of a million parties sounds exhilarating. If you’re an introvert- multiple parties seem like a good way to kill yourself. No matter who you are though, a bunch of holiday parties can drain your bank account (if you’re bringing a bottle or two of wine to each), sabotage your health (helllooo sugar overload), and leave you exhausted. The key is to set boundaries and learn to say no. Go with a friend and help them keep you responsible (I will leave by 9pm, I will not eat all the cookies…). Or get a jump start on your New Years resolution to say no more often and send your regrets. This will save your time, money, and energy for the parties you care most about.

 

#4 Biggest Holiday Stressor: Traffic

If you are someone who gets easily angered by traffic, get prepared…this time of year is no driving cakewalk. Opt to visit stores during their off-peak hours (if you search any local store in Google, a nifty chart comes up showing you when that particular store is least and most busy) or purchase online. If you’re hitting the road to visit friends or family, try to get off work early or leave after everyone else. You won’t avoid traffic completely, but it may help you keep some of your sanity. With that said, be careful driving late at night as there is in an increase in drunk driving around this time of year.

 

#3 Biggest Holiday Stressor: Health

It’s too late to take back what you ate for Thanksgiving, but it isn’t too late to make sure you don’t add a few more pounds before New Years. If you’re going to a party, bring a healthy dish (note: healthy doesn’t mean that you’re stuck with carrot sticks, this black bean salsa is healthy and delicious) and decide what you’re going to consume beforehand. Ask a friend or spouse to keep you in check. The items with the biggest calorie count aren’t necessarily cookies or cake (although, those don’t help) but alcohol. A single glass of wine can have up to 100 calories or more in it. If you’re friends are party animals and love to drink, volunteer to be the DD. It’s a great out for you (let them kill themselves at the gym come January…you’ll still be looking great) and ensures everyone is safe during the holidays.

 

#2 Biggest Holiday Stressor: Family

Family is great. But often times, too much family can be…well, too much. You don’t have to spend every waking moment with your relatives to prove you love them. Allowing downtime and limiting the length of your stay are two ways to show that you respect the other person’s personal space and generosity to host you. If you need some alone time (and no one is getting the hint) this may be a great time to do something active. Go for a walk or take a jog. It will help re-energize you and work off any wine you might need later that day.

Image result for dysfunctional family holiday

#1 Biggest Holiday Stressor: Money

How many times do you get your January credit card statement and solemnly vow never to spend that much again…only to have severe amnesia around Thanksgiving and repeat the whole process? Don’t worry, you’re not the only one. Luckily, a little planning and preparation (and some self control) can help get your finances back in order and keep them that way. For starters, assess everything you purchase. Yes, everything. And ask yourself, “do I (or whoever it’s for) really need this?” If the answer is yes, follow up with this question, “do I need it right now?” Instead of buying a new outfit for every party, borrow something from a friend, rent a dress, or get creative by mixing and matching pieces in your own closet. Instead of bringing a pricy dessert that you picked up from the bakery, make it yourself and save some money. Instead of buying an endless amount of gifts, decide on a gift budget beforehand and then stick to it. Every year my husband and I decide on how much money we will spend on each other. I also decide what my max amount is to spend on family members. That way, there’s never a surprise bill in January.

If you’re already too far gone this year, try something different next year. Set your budgets and then divide that total amount by 12. That’s how much money you need to put into savings each month to afford your holiday spending…without the hangover.

Image result for holiday stress

Not everyone gets stressed out about the same things during the holiday season. Whether it’s weight gain, money woes, or traffic issues, know what pushes your buttons and make an active plan (NOW!) to better avoid the stress later. Believe me, you’ll be glad you did.

 

 

 

 

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How to Pack a Carry-on like a Pro this Holiday Season

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how-to-pack-a-carry-on-like-a-pro-this-holiday-season

 

There are two camps: people who will check their bags, and people who will do anything in their power NOT to check bags when flying. I’m the latter. The strong desire to never check a bag isn’t a matter of money so much as it is convenience. For example, this past summer, my husband and I went to Thailand for ten days and I packed us both a small backpack. There was nothing better than landing, grabbing our bags from under our seats, and walking right off the airplane and straight to our resort (no lost luggage or long luggage pick up lines to deal with!)

Unless you travel with bulky medical equipment or lots of kids, I truly believe that most people can pack whatever they need in just a carry-on…especially during the holidays. Here are a couple of tips to beat the holiday chaos around baggage claim and get your carry(on)!

Tip 1: Pick the right bag.
A good carry on bag will have a firm bottom and flexible sides. This allows the bag to keep its structure while you are allowed to pack more. I prefer duffels and back packs over roller bags because they are easier to navigate large crowds with.
backpack

The backpack on the left is what we took for Thailand (yes, we had enough to last 2 weeks in there!), the bag on the right is my current heartthrob.

Tip 2: Don’t pack anything with only one purpose (except a bathing suit and/or coat)

Sequin jacket? Body con dress? Sweater that only goes with one pair of pants and nothing else. Those items are great, but they don’t belong on this trip. If you can’t pair an item with everything else you’re bringing, then it needs to stay at home. I don’t even pack real pajamas when I go home because they really only have one purpose. Instead, I wear my lounge clothes to bed. Be realistic about what you’ll be doing at home. If you’re going to be sitting around with your immediate family, leave the fancy stuff at home.

Tip 3: Choose a color scheme.

Either go all browns/blues or all blacks. This means you only have to pack one (or two…max!!) pairs of shoes. Everything should coordinate with your color scheme including your purse.

Tip 4: Wear your bulkiest outfit while traveling

When you have everything laid out on your bed before you actually start packing (something I highly recommend, so that you can see what outfits you can create with what you have) remove the bulkiest items. This is what you’re going to wear on travel day. Ex: Set aside your boots, jeans, sweater, and coat….while you pack flats, leggings, and t-shirts.

Tip 5: Remember where you are going

Are you going to a family member’s house who has every hair device you could possibly need (blow dryer, flat iron, etc)? Don’t bring your own! My little sister never packs pajamas when visiting my parents because she knows my mom owns, at minimum, 35 pairs of flannel pajamas. If you’re meeting up with siblings at your final destination, divvy up any items that you can share while you’re at home. Are you going somewhere with a washing machine? Perfect! Now you can pack even less. There’s no need for 28 pairs of panties when you have a washing machine.

Tip 6: You need to plan ahead

Packing with just a carry-on does take a little planning. If you’re rushing around the morning before a flight, you’re not going to make great packing decisions. Instead, make it into a fun activity or (if you have kids) a game. If you’re by yourself, put on some great music and pour yourself a glass of wine. If you’re helping your kids pack light, turn it into a fun game of matching or a critical thinking challenge (how many outfits can you make and put in this backpack?)

You can’t beat all the airport chaos this year,  but you can make it a little bit easier on yourself- by only packing a carry-on! It never hurts to try.

What’s your biggest deterrent to only packing a carry-on? Not sure how to pack the bag? Shoe addict? Chronic over packer? I want to hear your reasons!

Cheers,

Leslie

 

 

Like what you read? You’ll probably love Chapter 4 of my new book. Check out a free sample below!

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Why You Need a Uniform NOW

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Have you ever seen someone well dressed and think, “I could look like that if I just had some more time to get ready.” Or maybe your reasons are more along the lines of,  “I’m too busy“, ‘there are more important things I need to worry about”, or simply “I don’t care”. While I can’t help you with the last reason, I can fully sympathize with you on all the others.

why you need a uniform

My life has been more stressful than usual lately. Combine an impending cross country move with home buying, home selling, and a sinus infection and ‘looking my best’ isn’t exactly at the forefront of my priorities. Some days I’m lucky just to get out of workout clothes and into jeans. Unfortunately however, your appearance still matters even when it’s the last thing on your mind.

 

Future clients are still seeing you in the grocery store.

 

Your employer is remembering you by that last impression you’re leaving.

 

People are still making judgements about your character, work ethic, etc. even if you aren’t willing and ready for it.

 

It sucks, but you still need to make some sort of an effort to pull yourself together, even if you’re busy and stressed out…and that’s where the uniform comes in. If you remember nothing else about this post, remember that:

 

  1. Uniforms are glorious
  2. You need one

 

A uniform is essential to getting you through those particularly rough patches in life, because quite honestly, we often have better things to spend our time on than picking out clothes. At it’s purest form, a uniform is a tried and true outfit that is easy and foolproof. It’s the jeans and t-shirt combo you pull out because you know you look good in it and you know you’ll be comfortable.

 

The secret to looking great when you don’t have time, or simply don’t feel great, is to plan ahead. Have one or more uniforms waiting in the wings for those times that you don’t have the time or effort to plan an ensemble. I have two uniforms. One is for casual errand running and the other is for business.

 

My casual outfit is a pair of tailored, dark wash J.Crew jeans, button down Ralph Lauren oxford, and a cute pair of flats. On really unfortunate days, a hat or sunglasses may get added to the mix. It’s streamlined, it’s pulled together, and (most importantly) it isn’t fussy. I can throw it on to run to the grocery store or go to the dog park. If I run into someone important during my errands, I don’t have to hide behind aisles of cereal at the store because I still look professional and appropriate. In fact, several great client relationships have blossomed while I’ve been waiting in a checkout line or hanging out at the dog park. You’re always making a first impression, so make sure you are making a good one!

Shop Vineyard Vines for large selection of womens button down shirts. Our White Oxford Shirt for women is classic! Wear with skirts, slacks or jeans!:

An example of my classic oxford and jeans uniform (pic from Vineyard Vines). 

My business uniform consists of a black dress, pearls, and black heels. No matter how short on time you are, there’s literally no way to mess that up. A quick up-do like a french twist solves any bad hair situations. If you choose a dress (especially a dark colored one) for your uniform, make sure you have one that you can step into (as opposed to pull over your head) to steer clear of any deodorant disasters. If I have a last minute speaking gig or have to meet a client on short notice, I know exactly what I can wear and still make that great impression. There’s no time wasted in front of my closet stressing out (more than I already am) about what to wear.

Monday dress

This classic black number from J.Crew doesn’t even need jewelry…just a great pair of shoes and you’re ready to go!

Figuring out your uniform is pretty easy. Simply go through your closet and pick out a couple outfits that always make you feel confident and powerful and that fit consistently well (as opposed to fitting only when you are in top physical condition). If it helps you to remember, take pictures of these outfits so that you can easily refer to them when time gets crunched or more important things pop up. Apps like Closet can help you keep track of your uniform and even record when you’ve worn it previously (so you don’t end up wearing the same outfit to every client meeting). I actually have several different variations of my uniforms: oxford button downs in several colors and multiple black dresses. This way I’m never without a uniform to wear. 

 

Taking the extra thirty minutes to craft a couple of great uniforms is absolutely worth it. You’ll never be caught hiding behind random stuff at the grocery store again (wait a minute…are these adult diapers?!?) and you’ll never have to sacrifice your reputation or professionalism to time and stress.

If you’re having trouble figuring out your style, or finding the right uniform for your body type, you have to check out The Ultimate #STYLE E-Course.

How do you still look your best with your pressed for time or stressed out? Do you have a favorite uniform that you always turn to? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

 

Cheers,

Leslie

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4 Easy Ways to Dress Young…without looking like teenager

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The most common woe clients come to me with goes like this: “I don’t want to look frumpy because I feel young, but I also don’t want to look like my 16 year old daughter.” These middle aged women are often vibrant, active, and far from looking like how their mothers did at the same age. But, it’s one thing to feel young and another thing to dress young. Here are three easy ways to strike a balance between frumptastic and teenager.

4 ways to dress younger without looking like a teen

 

  1. Stay out of the juniors department (and stores specifically geared at teens). This one sounds easy, but it can be challenging. Have you ever wandered into the juniors department thinking, “oh, that’s cute” without even realizing where you were? This happens all the time to me at Target. One minute you’re looking at work attire and then you’ve crossed the invisible line to juniors clothing. Additionally, try to avoid stores that are geared directly at teens like Abercrombie and Fitch, American Eagle, Forever 21, etc. While you can find suitable items in these places, it’s much easier to pick out age appropriate items in a place like Banana Republic than H&M.

70 c clothes

Sometimes it’s hard to tell where Junior’s ends and everything else begins…especially during sale season.

 

2. Let quality and fit be your guide. Clothes designed for teenagers are made poorly. Companies know that teens and young adults rotate through clothing more rapidly than other age groups, so they don’t spend as much time and money on quality. If you can’t tell whether you’re in the juniors department or not, just ask yourself, “how well is this made?” Choosing well made clothing is going to make you look more age appropriate because it will actually fit you well. Designers go through lots of measures to make sure their clothing fits their target market properly. That’s why Aeropostale fits one way while Talbots fits another. If an item is too tight, too short, and generally ill-fitting you will look like you stole clothes from your daughter’s closet. On the other hand, if the fit is baggy and ill-fitting in the too big direction, you will look older.

 

3.Watch for the word Contemporary. Many nice department stores like Saks, Barneys, Bergdorfs, etc. divide their products by floor. As a result, you’re likely to step into an elevator and be given options like ‘beauty, shoes, contemporary, designer…” If you don’t understand what defines and differentiates floors like contemporary and designer then you’re already fighting an uphill battle before you’ve begun. Essentially, contemporary is the way to say ‘current’ without saying ‘trendy’. In a department store like Saks, contemporary clothing is less expensive (though certainly not cheap) and more current and mainstream. It’s not just big department stores that use the word contemporary. Forever 21 uses it to describe their more modern, looser fit collection (which fits more like…forever 31). Current but not trendy is exactly what will make you look your age and these pieces are often categories as ‘contemporary’.

 

4. Stay current with silhouettes, not patterns. Loud patterns, bright colors, and off beat prints will all make you look younger, but not necessarily in a good way. Instead of dressing younger through patterns, do it by keeping your silhouettes in style. For example, two trends for the fall include feline motifs and layering dresses over shirts. Unless you’re in a creative field or the fashion industry, anything with a cat on it is not age appropriate for anyone over 19. Instead, choose another trend and try layering a white button down shirt under a shift dress. Interpreting trends in a classic way will help you look current without giving off the impression that you are ‘trying too hard’.

 

If you’re still in doubt whether an item or an outfit is ‘too old’ or ‘too young’ for you, I always recommend erring on the side of caution; don’t purchase or wear the item/outfit until you can get a second opinion from someone you trust!

Dressing appropriately for your age can be tricky. In fact, I created a whole lesson in  The Ultimate #STYLE E-Course that addresses just that issue because it’s so commonly asked about! For the complete guide of style tips, including how to dress for your body type, how to wear jewelry, and how to style scarves, click on The Ultimate #STYLE Course link above.

Cheers!

Leslie

If you like what you just read, you’ll probably enjoy my best-selling ebook: Dressing Your Personal Brand. Go ahead and check out the (totally free!) first chapter below –>

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Inappropriate workplace dress: should you just be more open?

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I was sitting at lunch yesterday when my dining partner said something I’ve heard several times: “I feel like young employees have no idea what is appropriate and what isn’t in terms of workplace dress.” Friends and acquaintances will then go on to recount their own personal experiences of fashion faux pas, ranging from barefoot interns to visible tramp stamps on new hires. And lastly, this is the part I found most interesting, they always follow it up with self-blame. “Maybe I’m not being open enough, but I don’t think it’s appropriate”. “Maybe I’m just old fashioned and these things are acceptable now.” It wasn’t just my polished and very professional lunch buddy the other day who has relayed these thoughts to me. I hear it all the time, usually from middle aged or older women who hold very good positions within their companies. So what’s going on here?

Appropriate work dress in the 1940’s. If not much has changed in the last 75 years, then I guarantee things like tattoos, piercings, and athletic wear are not making an office debut anytime soon.

For one, it has nothing to do with you not being ‘open enough’ so stop blaming yourself. Period. Appropriate workplace attire hasn’t changed that much in the past several decades and it’s probably not going to change that much in the near future. Sure, trends and silhouettes change, but shoulder pads are not the same as neck tattoos. If you work in a corporate setting, the biggest sartorial change in the last 50 years is that it is more acceptable to not wear panty hose. That’s pretty much it. Even though miniskirts were big in the 60’s or tube tops ruled the 90’s, you still didn’t see these trends infiltrating the corporate workplace. Likewise, tattoos, sneakers, and multiple piercings may be acceptable in society, but that doesn’t mean they belong in a board room. We need to learn to segregate and compartmentalize what is acceptable in the workplace and what is acceptable in public in general. Should you scowl and shake your finger at every neck tattoo you see? No, that would be rude. Should you say something if you see that same neck tattoo in your corporate office? Yes, because the reputation of the company, and not just the individual, is now on the line. Which leads us to the next point- how to deal with inappropriate dress at work.

workplace attire

First of all, your workplace should have an up to date dress code. No matter how small your business is, having a policy in place when it comes to dress will help make confrontations smoother and more objective. Without a dress code, you will look like you are picking on people and critiquing them for their personal style. With a policy, you simply need to state what the company has defined as appropriate and ask the employee to stay within those bounds. Another key part, is to make sure your dress code is up to date. It may have been utterly unfathomable that anyone would come to work in a halter top fifty years ago when your dress code was first written. If you don’t make changes to update your policy, then you run the risk of having interns who think it’s okay to trod around the office barefoot. There are plenty of sample dress codes you can find online and make you own. If you’re business is bigger, you can always call upon an Image Consulting professional to help you draft an effective dress code for your company.

When you see inappropriate dress in the workplace, do something! If the person in question is not your direct report, contact their supervisor or human resources about your concerns. As I mentioned before, each employee not only represents themselves, but the company as a whole. In the most basic sense, when you are hired on with a company, they are paying you to carry out their values and beliefs. If you get hired as a barista at Starbucks, you are being paid to carry out their values of great coffee to the masses. If you are hired as the CEO of Google, you are being paid to advance the mission of Google at the top most level. It’s easy to forget that we are here for the employer rather than the employer being here for us. If our appearance doesn’t line up with the values we’re supposed to be representing, then something needs to change. If you don’t stand up against improper image in the workplace, the reputation of your organization might be at stake.


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If reading this makes you upset, don’t get all huffy and start ranting about stifling creativity and identity. Instead, find a company whose culture matches your values. If you feel taking your nose ring out compromises who you are, then don’t apply for a job at a large business consulting firm. Find a more boutique consulting firm that values individuality. You’ll be a better employee, a better representative of the company, and won’t get any judgmental looks from co-workers.

If you are a business struggling with inappropriately dressed employees, a new employee trying to make a good impression, or a company that needs a new dress code, I can help! Whether you’re the employer or employee, I’d love to hear the problems you or your company is facing and help you work towards a solution. Just send an email to: empowerme@leslie-friedman.com to start the conversation.

To your success,

Leslie

 

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Amazing ways to spot a liar by only observing these three body parts

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Image result for liar

 

Being lied to is bad. Not knowing you’re being lied to (and believing the fib) is even worse. Luckily, there are a couple easy ways to know someone is lying by simply reading the person’s body language. The trick is to focus on three parts of the body: eyes, hands, and feet.

 

Eyes

A professional liar, such as a pro poker player or con man, usually has a lot of control over their facial expressions, including their eyes. Pro liars won’t glance nervously around the room or only make eye contact in short spurts. Instead, these people usually overcompensate, resulting in prolonged eye contact with very few breaks. Fortunately, most of us don’t deal with professional liars on a day to day basis. We deal with people who are trying to flatter us, get us to buy products, and do favors for them. The eyes of these amateur liars often deny their innocent sounding sweet talk. If they are fabricating a story rather than giving a truthful account, they will most likely break eye contact by looking up and to the right. They will also avoid direct eye contact and will fleetingly scan the room during the conversation. Instead of listening to you, their eyes will be moving around while they think of their next excuse.

 

Hands

Despite our best intentions, hands often move on their own accord when it comes to small involuntary motions. Picking at nails, cuticles, or fidgeting the fingers in general shows nervousness and anxiety- a sign the person is about to or is in the process of lying. A liar will also use their hands to touch their nose, tug on their earlobes, pull their collar, or scratch their neck. These are all subconscious movements made while people are in the process of telling lies. A liar may also rub his eyes or the area under his eyes. Usually the longer the rub, the longer the lie.

 

Feet

Look at the direction the feet are pointing. If the liar has a chance to position themselves, they will most likely point their feet in the direction of the door– indicating their desire to leave the situation. Liars will also tend to fidget with their feet. A foot may be ticking back and forth during a fabricated story or rubbing against the other foot. If the person is standing, they may nervously shift their weight from one foot to another.

 

While a seasoned liar can control one or two of these body parts, it’s often quite difficult to control all three while spouting out a convincing dialogue. Different people tend to display their own personal combination of the above lying indicators. If you are worried someone like a coworker or family member is lying to you, then I recommend you learn what combination of signals that person uses subconsciously, by doing the following:

 

During a relaxed conversation ask the person to relay a set of facts or recount a true event that happened recently. This could be as mundane as asking them directions from point A to point B. Or you could say you were having a debate about the wall color and ask them to describe what color they think it is. Essentially, pick something that a person wouldn’t need to lie about. As they give you directions or describe the ecru walls, watch their body language and specifically their eyes, hands, and feet. Now ask them a more ridiculous question where they would have to make something up. Show them an ugly shirt and ask them what they think. Describe a bad decision and ask them what their opinion is. If you are a higher status than them, they will most likely always lie. If you are the same status or lower, ask a question like, “What would you say to [insert badly dressed superior’s name] if he/she asked you what you thought of their outfit?” Watch their body language again as they answer. Notice how it chances and what patterns emerge. Do their feet stay still but their hands always rub their eyes while they glance around the room? Once you identify the subconscious movements that person makes while lying, all you will have to do in the future is watch their hands and eyes for the tell tale signs. 

Note: It is particularly helpful to know a person’s body language when they aren’t lying because some people may be naturally more high strung and thus display fidgety mannerisms or have low self-confidence and make poor eye contact. Understanding what is normal for a person will help you better detect when that person is displaying abnormal lying body language.

 

If you like what you just read, you’ll probably enjoy my best-selling ebook: Dressing Your Personal Brand. Go ahead and check out the (totally free!) first chapter below –>

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10 Ways to look like a million for under $10

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10 ways to look like a million for under $10

You don’t have to have a million dollars to look like you do! Here are 10 quick tips to have you looking your best…for just $10 or less!

      1. Wear clothes that fit. You wouldn’t believe how much of a difference this makes- and how many people wear ill fitting clothing. Many men’s stores will hem pants for free and do other alterations for minimal cost. Nice department store might also offer this service. Going to a tailor to bring in a button down shirt will cost around $15 while changing hemlines averages around $10. If you know someone who sews, they might be willing to do it for free or for an exchange (did anyone say wine?) Cost= $0+ depending on the alteration.

     

      1. Be picky when you’re buying second hand. You can save a lot of dough by buying clothing and accessories second hand, but beware of purchasing items that look too rough. Make sure that you actually love the items you are about to purchase and that you aren’t just buying them because ‘they are so cheap!’ Garments still need to fit and be a flattering shape and color. They should also be in good condition. Pretend like you’re in a high end store where everything is $500 plus. Would you buy the same thing in that situation? This will prevent you from having a closet full (cha-ching!) of mediocre clothes that look okay on you. Cost= $10 or less for second hand clothes

     

      1. Fill in your eyebrows. As we women get older, we often lose our hair (sorry guys, who didn’t know this), which is why thick locks are a sign of youth. Filling in your eyebrows is one of those changes that can make you look younger without being blatantly obvious. Make sure you choose the right pencil for your hair color and, if you are in a beauty store like Ulta, ask one of the salespeople to teach you how to use it. Cost= Eyebrow pencils on Ulta.com ranged from $1.99-$24

     


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    1. Improve your sleeping habits. Sleep looks good on everyone, and it’s free (Win-win? I think so) The biggest enemy of good sleep is your cell phone. Avoid looking at your phone (or any other screen) one hour prior to sleeping. I also use the ‘do not disturb (silence except for emergency numbers that I dictate) until my next alarm’ feature. Even if you don’t realize that your phone is glowing and beeping all night long, your REM cycle might. Getting a couple of extra Z’s will improve your complexion and save you money on cucumbers (or all those costly cremes and cover-ups). Cost= FREE!

 

    1. Tuck in your shirt. My husband works in a factory setting and this tip works just as perfectly for factory workers as it does for top level executives. Why? Well, tucking in a shirt creates a waist (or any body definition) where there was none which looks better on any body shape. It also looks more pulled together and generally less sloppy. You didn’t just throw on a pair of pants and a shirt, you carefully manipulated your clothing to look more professional. Cost= 10 seconds

 

    1. Take care of your shoes and/or handbags. I have a friend who cleans her shoes off after every wear. It doesn’t matter if they were $300 or $3, she simply takes a clean cloth and wipes them down before putting them in back into her closet. The result is that she always looks polished and sharp, not to mention her shoes last forever. We may be able to fake a million dollar look, but shoes and handbags usually rat us out by looking slightly tattered. If you’re like me and don’t have time to daily clean your shoes, try doing it once a week while you watch tv or talk to a friend. Cost= FREE!

 

    1. Exercise. Another freebie that makes a big difference. When you look at people in upper class society, you’ll see that they look more healthy than their lower socio-economic counterparts. Additionally, clothes look and fit their best when the wearer is at a healthy weight for their body type. You can blame cheap fast food, expensive gym membership access, or a multitude of other things on why this rich/poor healthy/unhealthy paradox exists…or you could do something about your own body. Planning out your meals will save you money, calories, and time. Parking further from your destination, getting off the bus a stop early, or going on an evening after dinner stroll in your neighborhood are all simple ways to start living a healthier life. Cost= FREE + a little time

 

    1. Learn how to barter. You may not have the financial resources it takes to buy the best clothes and purchase the best haircuts, but you might have something else. Think about what talents or services you provide and then use those to barter for what you want. Maybe you are great at social media. Ask a local salon who’s struggling with their online presence whether you can help them with their social media in exchange for haircuts/colors. This usually works best with friends and acquaintances. Just make sure that you are good at the service you’re offering and that you follow through on your end of the deal. Cost= FREE (or the cost of your services)

 

    1. Straighten up. Standing up straight can visually make you look 5 lbs lighter and years younger! There’s nothing more aging than a hunching posture. Look at any wealthy business person and you will see someone who carries himself or herself (upright!) with confidence. Practice sitting up straight while at your desk, typing, or even browsing your phone. Cost= FREE

 

    1. Break out the blush. Our cheeks naturally flush when we are excited or aroused. This almost always reads positively by the person viewing you, because they subconsciously connect your excitability to being with them. Luckily, all it takes to fake this effect is to throw on some blush. A little bit of blush will immediately make you look fresh, vibrant, and youthful. Cost= $2.99 + from your local drugstore. 

 

    1. Choose colors that flatter your skin tone. Everyone has a certain color or set of colors that really bring out their best features. Work on identifying your colors (pinterest is a great place to find resources about this) and then start wearing them! Cost= nothing if you have clothing in your ‘good’ colors. If you don’t? Try buying a scarf. It’s a lot cheaper than buying a whole new shirt and you can pair it with items you already have.

 

    1. Smile. I know it sounds cheesy, but have you ever hung out with someone who has a resting bitch face? Even if they’re saying nice, friendly things it’s hard to not think that they are constantly judging you, or are unhappy about hanging out with you, or are just plain uninterested. Cost = some face exercises.

 

    1. Discover the many uses of coconut oil. Coconut oil is incredible. It will make your hair shiny and strong, your skin smooth as a baby’s butt, and your teeth several shades whiter…to name a few. Beauty gurus have been touting the positive beauty affects of coconut oil for years! Check out a whole list of things you can do with the magical stuff here. Cost = $7.99 usually for a jar.

 

Above all, remember to take control of the things you can, and don’t worry about the things you can’t! Money can’t buy attitude, manners, kindness, or presence.

Cheers,

Leslie

Want to learn more about improving your appearance? Check out a free sample below of my latest ebook: Dressing Your Personal Brand!

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What a Thai Hospital taught me about the psychology of dress

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Most of the time, June is a pretty uneventful month in my household. This June, however, was anything but…especially when it comes to my husband, Andrew.

 


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It started with a surprise two week vacation to Thailand and ended with intensive physical therapy and work restrictions including ‘no walking’ and ‘no standing’. In between, there were lots of beaches, a five hour surgery, and one motorbike ride gone terribly awry. While we learned lots from our experience (stay at the beach, don’t ride motorbikes), one of the most interested things I learned had to do with the hospital uniforms. But, I’ll work my way around to that in a minute.

 

Just an hour before leaving for the airport, I announced to Andrew that we would be heading to Thailand for a two week long stay at an eco-luxury beach resort. We were celebrating our 5 year wedding anniversary and our 10 year together anniversary, so I had arranged a surprise trip that fulfilled Andrew’s two biggest wishes: somewhere warm, with a beach. Everything was sunshine and fresh coconuts until we decided to get adventurous and rent motorbikes to ride around the island.

thai sunset

Sunset views at our resort

 

Needless to say, the whole motorbike thing didn’t end well and Andrew ended up with a dislocated knee, fractured patella, and downright broken tibia. He was strapped to a body board and, two ambulance rides and one 30 minute boat ride later, was emitted to the ER at Bangkok Hospital Phuket. At the hospital, x-rays were taken, a surgery was declared necessary, and within 12 hours Andrew was in a deep slumber for 5 hours dreaming about the resort he was ironically not at. The surgery was followed by a week stay in the hospital and a jump start at physical therapy before catching a flight home.

family on motorbike in thailand

A rare moment where everyone (including the kids) are wearing helmets. Motorbikes are a common form of transportation in Thailand, and I took this picture en route to the hospital one day.

 

It was during my long hours at the hospital post-surgery and pre-flight home, that I had plenty of time to observe the nurses and hospital staff. I don’t spend a lot (or really any) time in American hospitals, but I was really struck with how professional everyone in this particular Thai hospital dressed. I think I saw a total of 5 people in scrubs during our entire week stay. Doctors wore business clothing with lab coats (unless, I’m assuming, they were in the OR). Nurses wore either white or lilac suits with the cutest hats. Staff members (or what I called: patient ambassadors) wore blue suits that coordinated with the hospital’s logo. Even the first responders in the ambulance had on suits or, at the very minimum, a sharp polo with the hospital’s logo and dress pants.

Doctors from Bangkok Hospital Phuket

 

Maybe it was because we were no longer in a small rural clinic (where the doctor wore baggy khakis and an oversized polo), but I just felt like everything was going to be okay and that Andrew was going to be well cared for in this hospital. It turns out my intuition was correct. Although the break was ‘quite bad’ and the surgery was ‘risky’ (to quote our orthopedic surgeon), Andrew’s surgery was a declared a success by local doctors and our American physician. It wasn’t until a few days post surgery that I wondered if the professionalism of the hospital uniforms didn’t help subconsciously put my mind at ease. I perhaps felt like Andrew was in good hands because the hospital staff looked like they had everything pulled together and under control. Clean and crisp uniforms implied that their wearers took themselves, and their patients, seriously.

A group of nurses and doctors

 

Not only do I think the uniforms created an unspoken air of authority, credibility, and professionalism, but they also made it very easy to identify different roles within the hospital- an important thing in an international hospital where many languages are spoken. Based on what the person entering our hospital room was wearing, I knew exactly what we would be discussing. A blue and red suit meant bills and insurance. White or purple suits meant bath time and pain meds. White lab coats meant a check up on the wound. Dark blue polos with a prominent third party logo meant mealtime.

Nurse surrounded by patient ambassadors (who are wearing blouses with a blue and red cross pattern- the hospital’s logo)

thai hospital

A very sketchily taken photo of some of our amazing night nurses in their lilac outfits.

 

I was also amazed at how easily the uniform accommodated Muslim staff members. In the Western world, I feel like there is always a debate over whether it’s appropriate or not for a Muslim to wear a headscarf at work. It seemed like adding a coordinating headscarf to the uniform options wasn’t even second thought in our hospital. With 20% of Thailand’s Phuket province being Muslim, providing a headscarf option to the uniform seems obvious. If Western companies are struggling to accommodate the headscarf to their uniform, they should look to Bangkok Hospital Phuket as a prime example of how to do it respectfully and professionally.

 

I wanted to get a picture with all the wonderful nurses from our ward to show you exactly what I’m talking about. However, when it came time to leave, a waiting taxi and a ward of busy nurses (with plenty of other people to deal with) prevented a photo-op. Instead, you’ll have to look at the above photos that I plucked off the hospital website in order to see exactly what I mean. (And enjoy that one winner that I snapped while they were changing the sheets)


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All in all, it was a crazy month and we still have a long journey ahead of us (or more so, Andrew has a long journey of healing ahead of him). And while I wish I had never needed to check out the hospital uniforms in the first place, I enjoyed seeing how another culture uses dress to influence both the staff and the patients. It would be interesting to see what would happen in terms of provider/patient relationships if American hospitals adopted more professional dress in their health care institutions.

 

Ciao,

Leslie

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The simplest definition of personal branding you’ll ever read

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The concept of personal branding isn’t a hard one, yet you almost never see it defined in one or two sentences. It’s usually dragged out into a five page article, or in the case of when I’m giving a presentation, a 30-60 minute engaging explanation complete with analogies and helpful pictures. In reality, all you need are a few words:


Personal branding is your unique set of characteristics that set you apart from everyone else.

 

There you go. That’s it. That’s the thin and thick of it- short enough for a tweet and then some. Yes, it matters what you do with those characteristics, but it’s their presence in general that is the foundation of your personal brand.

Image result for confusing brand

My sister accurately pointed out the other day, that many people get hung up on the actual term ‘personal branding’ and have trouble making it past that to the definition. “Afterall,” they reason, “Starbucks is a brand, not me.” If you’re one of those people, take a minute and think about how you would describe the Starbucks brand to someone who had never heard of it (crazy assumption, I know, but work with me here). Chances are that you would list of a string of descriptors about Starbucks. It’s a coffee chain that sells gourmet coffee products to the average person in a friendly atmosphere. I just made that up off the top of my head, but you get the idea. It’s a series of characteristics that define Starbucks. Likewise, your brand is a series of characteristics that describe you. Leslie is a fun, energetic public speaker that is passionate about personal branding. That is an example of what my personal brand might sound like. Simply, a unique set of characteristics that set me apart from other people. See? It’s really not as complicated as it sounds.

Your personal brand is a phrase that tells the world who you are and what you bring to the table

To your success,

Leslie

 


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5 Secrets to Winning Clients with Your Clothes

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Whether you are a Realtor, business owner, investment banker, event planner, or lawyer your clients are the number one priority. You make every effort to gain their trust and satisfy their needs while (obviously) trying to make a decent profit. And, while you put great amounts of thought into everything from your marketing materials to the emails you send, how much thought are you putting into your appearance? The very clothes on our backs send the first and strongest message, so make sure it’s a good one! The following are five ways that you can win over new clients (and keep old clients in your favor) simply by changing your clothes.

win clients with your clothes

  • Don’t overdress. No one likes a snob. If you walk into a meeting way overdressed, the client is going to assume that you are either desperate (and possibly completely clueless to the environment you’re in) or a conceited ego maniac. Neither are good options. If you like to dress up, don’t fret. There are ways for you to look nice without going overboard. A blazer with a pair of tailored jeans or a belted shirt dress are two ways to bridge the gap between fussy and relaxed.

 

  • Don’t under dress. While overdressing is bad, under dressing is way worse. It sends an immediate single that you don’t take yourself or the client seriously and don’t respect either party. The last message you want to send a client, old or new, is that you didn’t care enough about them to even put on decent clothing. Those sweatshirts may be comfortable, but they may also be costing you valuable clients.

 


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  • Dress one notch nicer than your client. This is the Goldilocks solution to how formal you should dress. You need to seem relate able, but also like you respect the client and are willing to go the extra mile for them. If you expect your client to be wearing jeans and a button down, try wearing khakis and a button down. If you work in a more formal setting, mix and match your suit jacket and bottoms to create a more informal look. Dressing just a step nicer than your client shows that you understand who they are and where they’re coming from and you respect them enough to take it up a notch.

 

  • Choose quality. If a client sees that you choose quality for your clothes (and other aspects of your lifestyle, although clothes are usually the most obvious) they are going to assume that the same taste for quality rolls over into your professional life. They will assume that you treat your work, and your clients, with the same care and respect that you treat yourself. It also shows that you are successful enough to buy high quality items- which is good because your success is your client’s success.

 

  • Reflect their biggest priority. Even if you’ve only conversed with your new client over email, you can still figure out what their greatest priority is. It could be professionalism, a no frills attitude, creativity in problem solving, or even an eye for details. Whatever their priority is, reflect it in your appearance. If your client wants someone who can get the job done and play hardball, forget all the frilly details of your ensemble and go straight for the power suit look. If your client is more concerned about finding the solution to a difficult problem, have a little more fun with your outfit, dress creatively (but not kooky), and show your client that you think out of the box. Something as simple as mixing prints effectively can come make the wearer appear that they are good at problem solving and are more creative. An outfit that is more matchy (think tie matches your pocket square, or earrings match your necklace) reflects control and precision. Find out what your client wants most and show it to them- both in your actions and your image.

 

To your success!

Leslie

 


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Decoding the Queen’s Green: Why She Wore What She did for the big Birthday bash

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In case you missed it, the Queen turned 90 and there was a huge party in her honor last Saturday. Even if you aren’t an Anglo-maniac, the news of Queen Elizabeth’s celebration parade and activities have probably found their way into your daily life. I have reason to believe this, because I am literally half way around the globe in Southern Thailand and have still managed to see it in newspapers and online. People seem to love a good parade regardless of their native culture. You know what else people love? Who wore what. And this is especially true when it comes to the Royal family. Don’t believe me? Just visit the site WhatKateWore.com to see basically every outfit the Duchess of Cambridge has ever worn in public.

While most people are usually crooning to see what the Duchess is donning, this past Saturday’s event had all fashion eyes on the Queen. This may have been because she was sporting her typical coat and hat ensemble in a very atypical color (or should I say, colour): neon green. The article I was reading from Thailand’s Newspaper The Nation described it ever so hilariously by saying, “But it was the queen’s unusually bold dress and hat combination in a green so bright as to be almost fluorescent which caught the eye of many.”

Queen Elizabeth's 90th Birthday Outfit Creates Twitter Hashtag

(image from People.com)

You wouldn’t pick out just anything from your closet for your big 90th birthday celebration, and neither would the Queen. She picks out every ensemble with Anna Wintour-esque pre-meditation and this bright number is no different. Here are a few theories as to why stop light green made the final cut.

  1. It forces all eyes to be on her. Think about it. How do you keep the focus on a small elderly woman during the midst of a huge celebration featuring hundreds of people including a whole brigade of grown men wearing 3 foot tall black, furry hats? You put her in a shocking bright color that is a complete contrast to what everyone around her is wearing (ie: red. Remember the color wheel? Red is directly across from green which means that no other color will have more contrast and pop). Squint your eyes and look at the picture below. Where do your eyes go first?That’s right, the lady in green. It’s no coincidence that she choose the color that would stand out the most amongst the red any more than it was a mistake that everyone else is wearing bland, monotone colors that all blend well together. If it were my 90th birthday, you better believe that not only would I have a kickin’ outfit, but that no one else would be outshining me. Well done, Queen.
  2. It’s actually quite flattering. For real. Scroll back up to that close up shot above and take a good look at her face. She isn’t washed out at all and the neon really works for her skin tone. Her face, hair and skin all look bright and even. As someone who’s been in the spotlight for decades, no one knows better than the Queen that if you’re going to be in the spotlight, you better look great.
  3. It was a strategic move to appeal to a younger generation. Within minutes of the Queen’s grand appearance, the hashtag #neonat90 swept Twitter. Thousands of Millennials that would usually just tune in to check on Kate’s outfit, all of a sudden were paying attention to the Queen. And not only were they paying attention, but they probably saw the Royal family as a whole in a new light: modern, current, and relateable. In an era far from the aristocratic times reminiscent of Downton Abbey, the Queen (and Royal Family in general) have a constant challenge to stay relevant to the youth of Britain. As icons representing the country, it’s important that the family reflects the sentiments of the British people- including the growing youth population.

Or, maybe I’m over analyzing it all and green just happens to be the Queen’s favorite color. Either way, she looked great.

 

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Summer Scarf Trends You Need to Try Now!

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Don’t let winter have all the fun. Scarves are just as useful and beautiful in the summer as they are in the winter months. Don’t believe me? These new summer scarf trends may change your mind!

  1. Long and Skinny. Thin, simple scarves are anything but understated! Not only do they have a lengthening effect on the body, but they seem to add that right amount of interest without using jewelry. Stick to solid colors or matching prints to make a big impression.

How it’s being worn –>

(Rebecca Minkoff, Helena Bordon, NYFW attendees)

Shop the look –> 

(click on picture for more details about each scarf)

 

2.  Neck Scarves. I love a good neck scarf…especially when I’m feeling too lazy to put on a necklace (which, I know, is quite the low point). Any square scarf can be used as a neck scarf. Simply fold the square in half to form a triangle and then tie the two furthest points of the triangle together behind your neck. If you have a really big square, you can cross over those two triangle points in the back (with the big point in front) and then bring them around to tie in front.

How it’s being worn –>

At Fashion Week

(Wes Gordon, Instagrammer @lookdepernille, NYFW blogger)

Shop the look –>

(click on picture for more details about each scarf)

 

3. Large and Loose. You don’t have go small and dainty. In fact, the bigger built you are, the bigger your accessories need to be. The key to wearing larger scarves in the summer months is to focus on lightweight fabrics that are light colored. Look for scarves made from silk, chiffon, and gauze cottons. I bring a huge scarf with me on every beach vacation and use it as a scarf, wrap, beach cover-up, and barrier against unreasonable airplane temperatures.

How it’s being worn –>

(left: Can you find the scarves? Each girl is wearing one! right: street style photo)

Shop the look –>

 

(click on picture for more details about each scarf)

Scarves are one of the easiest ways to brighten up an outfit without having to totally commit to a crazy color or trend. Take advantage of it and let scarves take you right in to summer!

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10 days, 1 backpack: the SECRET to packing like a pro

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Get all four sent to you today: Scarves, Necklaces, Closet Cleanouts, and Packing tips


I’m that super nerdy person that really loves packing for trips. The further the destination and more moody the weather the better. Packing strategically probably appeals to me because it combines two of my favorite things: travel (including the wonderful anticipation beforehand) and problem solving.

In the videos below, I let you in on my three step packing process while I get ready for a 10 day excursion half way around the world. Check out below the videos for a full step by step checklist to packing.

Step 1: Pull

Essentially, pull everything that you would pack, but don’t actually pack the items (because, let’s be real, there’s probably waaay too many).

___  Choose any clothing/accessories you feel you’ll need for your trip

___ Group all items in categories (ie: underwear, tops, bottoms, jackets/cardigans, jewelry)

Step 2: Edit

Time to get rid of everything you don’t really need!

___ Choose a color family to adhere to (blacks or browns)

___ Eliminate anything that doesn’t fit into that color family

___ Eliminate anything that doesn’t go with almost every other piece (ex. take out that shirt that only goes with one bottom)

___ Eliminate any ‘solitary use’ items. If they are only used for one purpose, (with the exception of undergarments and swimwear) they don’t belong in your bag.

___ Choose 1 or 2 (at max!!) jewelry accessories for your trip. Chosen accessory should work with every outfit. I am bringing two long necklaces (not shown in videos).

___ Choose 2 pairs of shoes (max!) to wear while on your trip. One pair you will pack, the other (the bulkiest) you will wear for travel.

___ Think creatively. I packed a skirt that could also be worn as a dress. I also packed a rash guard that can be layered under tees or just worn like a normal long sleeve shirt. The more versatile each piece is, the more outfits you end up with.

Step 3: Pack

Most people assume that packing light has to do entirely with HOW you pack rather than what you pack. This isn’t true. If you haven’t done the Edit step well, there’s no amount of packing knowledge that can fit too many clothes into a suitcase.

___ Take out your bulkiest outfit. This is what you’ll wear to travel in.

___ Shoes always go on the bottom. If you have closed toe shoes, fill the cavities with rolled socks/underwear/etc.

___ Roll tops and bottoms by category (as shown in video 3)

___ Roll socks, panties, other undergarments individually and stuff into the free space around the larger (tops, bottoms, etc) rolled clothing.

___ Put items you’ll need on the plane or immediately upon arriving (phone chargers, eye mask, earplugs, etc) in a separate bag at the very top of the backpack for easy accessibility.

___ Always leave room so that you could take things in and out easily!! Your bag shouldn’t be bursting full. Packing your bag should be more like solving an easy Sudoku puzzle than a rubix cube. Traveling is stressful, and the last thing you need while having to roll through airport security is to have to figure out how exactly you stuffed everything into your bag in the first place.

___ Enjoy your vacation!!

Ciao! Leslie

Ps. For more videos, check out my YouTube channel!

 


 style bonus fashion cheat sheets skinnyBONUS: FREE Fashion Cheat Sheets!

Get all four sent to you today: Scarves, Necklaces, Closet Cleanouts, and Packing tips


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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How to Choose the Best Outfit for Your Business Headshot

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So, maybe the last blog post hit you a little deep and you decided it’s time for a real, professional headshot. Doing some research and finding the right photographer is the easy part. It starts getting hard, and quite frankly- overwhelming, when we start thinking about everything else required like picking out an outfit, doing your hair, choosing makeup, etc.

I’m going to use the full body photo I just had taken last week (maybe you saw my live video, if not, watch it here and like my Facebook page so you don’t miss out on the next one!) to walk you through, step by step, how to choose an appropriate outfit for your business picture/headshot.

PictureBusinessPic

(Huge kuddos to Stephen at Giraffe Photography for the above picture)

As you can see in the above picture, I broke the decision process into four steps:

  1. Garment Type. The best place to start anything is at the beginning, and that’s exactly what we’re doing here. You need to start by deciding what type of garment you’d like to wear. Whatever you choose needs to be appropriate for your position and be able to resonate with your future clients. For example, a lawyer wearing a polished suit would be both appropriate and be seen in a positive manner from potential clients. On the other hand, if a laid back bar owner wore a suit, it may look out of place or trying to hard (as compared to a more casual look). I chose a dress because I cater to women and I want to be seen as feminine, professional, and fashionable. I also chose a dress because I knew that I wanted a full body picture that would show off an entire garment.

2.  Color. Once I decided to wear a dress, and before I even started thinking about what dress I wanted to wear, I picked a color. Color is the easiest way to instantly send a message to your viewer and it’s also the easiest way to make you look younger and more vibrant or old and worn out. This goes without saying, but choose a color that looks good on you. Red looks good on me and it is also a strong, memorable color.

3.  Fit. Now that I’ve decided on my garment type (dress) and color (red), I need to figure out what kind of dress I want. Once again, I wanted something feminine and sexy, but still business appropriate. I genetically have thin legs (thanks, mom!), so I always try to accentuate my waist, hips, and legs. I chose something that was most blousey on top to even out the fitted nature of the bottom of the dress (this keeps me from looking like a skank) and give me a more hourglass shape. Like most women, I am a pear shape with a bigger bottom half than top half (read: I have no boobs whatsoever). Just like choosing a color, the key is to find a fit that flatters. If you don’t have that perfect dress in your closet, don’t worry. Between friends, siblings, and rental companies, you can find exactly what you’re looking for at minimum cost (more on that later).

4.   Accessories. Leaving out accessories is like walking away from a painting before you’ve finished painting. I like to keep accessories to minimum so that don’t distract, but I also make sure that the ones that I do wear are impactful. I am particularly a huge fan of pearls. Pearls can brighten up the face and are traditional enough that people don’t get distracted by them. After all, you want the viewer to focus on your face rather than your jewelry. Be sure to also think of your hair, nails, and makeup as an accessory. How can you alter each of these items to enhance your natural look without making yourself look fake or contrived?

Let’s talk money. Some people can hire an Image Consultant like myself to tell them exactly what to wear, go shopping with them, and recommend hair salons for hair and makeup the day of. However, the majority of us don’t have a pretty penny budgeted in for professional headshots. You’ve probably already taken the leap to hire a professional photographer and you’re dealing with the sticker shock (compared to those subpar free photo sessions your company provides occasionally) and thinking, ‘I can’t afford to go out and buy all new clothes!!’ These next few tips are for you:

  •  Borrow. If you have a friend that has the perfect suit that you need for your picture, simply ask. Be sure the have the suit professionally dry cleaned afterwards as a thank you. You can also borrow shoes, accessories, etc.
  • Rent an outfit. I rented my dress and necklace from Rent the Runway in order to get an expensive designer look for much less. You could also get a subscription to any clothes service (le tote, etc) and use pieces from that.
  • If you don’t feel comfortable doing your own makeup or hair, get it done at the makeup counter at Sephora (be sure to buy something, though!) or book an appointment with a cosmetology school for a blowout and makeover. If you do your makeup yourself, be sure to ask the photographer (or do some online research) for tips. Makeup shows up differently in different lights.
  • Take into account what you know will show. If you are getting a traditional headshot (unlike my full body pic), you don’t really need to worry about the kind of bottoms or shoes you are wearing. Finding a perfect blouse may be exactly what you need and is much easier to pull together than an entire perfect outfit, so don’t get bogged down trying to assemble something that won’t even be seen.

I spent under $75 on the outfit you see above. The shoes I already owned, but those are basic black pumps that I could have easily borrowed from a friend. The dress ($55) and necklace ($10) came from Rent the Runway and since it was my first rental, I got an extra 20% off. I did a lot of online research to figure out what makeup would be the best and I did my own (pro tip: don’t use anything with SPF! It will reflect camera light and make you look greasy). I also did a lot of trial and error at home to make sure I knew how to create the hairstyle I wanted. All in all, the most expensive part was the clothing, but as the key component that makes this photo really stand out, I think it was worth it.

Good luck with your next photoshoot!!

If you liked what you read, you’ll probably enjoy my best-selling book: Dressing Your Personal Brand! Check out the first chapter below for free!

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4 Crucial Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing a Headshot

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Thanks to the internet, headshots are more important now than ever. Way back before the age of the web, you used to get one headshot (usually only if you were somebody) in a blue moon and this picture was then put on your business cards and company pamphlets. Not everyone got headshots taken, and there was simply not the outlet to display them like there is now. Those times are far gone, though! As I type this, I can see my face in three different spots– and that’s just on my internet browser that has one page pulled up!

It’s important to note that I’m not some crazy egotistical person that feels the need to see my face everywhere. Rather, as an Image Consultant and Public Speaker I am (literally) the face of my brand and my headshot serves as a logo. That same headshot is on my website, facebook page, twitter, and business cards because I want my clients to instantly associate me with my brand.

No matter what business you are in, your face (or most commonly, your headshot) serves as a logo for your personal brand. Take a minute and look at your profile picture for LinkedIn, Facebook, and your business/company. What messages are these pictures sending? Is it all the same message, or several different ones? Now, ask yourself the big question- How much more could you benefit by sending the right message?

Creating the perfect headshot is a whole book within itself, but today I’m going to touch on a few of the most common mistakes when it comes to headshots.

  1. You don’t use a professional photographer. Coca-Cola doesn’t have graphic design interns make all their logos and you shouldn’t settle for your friend’s IPhone picture from three years ago as your personal brand logo. Does your picture have to be in front of a grey marbled background oddly reminiscent of middle school pictures while you are stoically poised in the middle in a suit? No, of course not, but it does need to make sense with your message (see #4) and it needs to look like you put in some effort. A professional picture shows that you take yourself seriously and that others should too. And for the love of all that’s good, please no selfies. I think I die a little every time I see a ‘professional’ use a selfie as a headshot.
  2. You pick the wrong photographer. Not all photographers are created the same. You wouldn’t go to your veterinarian to get medicine for your sick human child, so why would you have someone who takes baby pictures take your headshot? Do your research. Your brand is on the line here and it pays to find someone who understands the message you want to send and can accurately capture it.
  3. Your picture isn’t current. I find that this sin is most often committed by middle aged women. It’s like they got a headshot done at work a million years ago and they are still using the same one. Maybe they like that they were ten pounds lighter then or just looked younger. Whatever the case, it’s misleading and creates instant distrust when a customer actually meets them face to face. Believe me, it’s far more attractive and trustworthy when you embrace the you, you are today and are able to deliver that confidence in an (accurate) headshot.
  4. Your headshot sends the wrong message. This is a big one and goes back to the whole creating distrust thing. The style of your headshot absolutely needs to be consistent with your message. I specialize in teaching my clients about personal branding and how to dress for the person they wish to be perceived as, therefore, I choose a classic black and white picture rather than a colorful, trendy and flamboyant image. You may look beautiful in that picture from your friends wedding, but that bodycon dress and solo cup aren’t doing your banking career any favors. The easy solution? Crop out anything that could be opposed to the look you’re going for. I recently saw a headshot of a public speaker who looked like he was in a death stare with the viewer. Even though his photo was clearly taken by a professional, his offsetting appearance didn’t make any sense next to his bio which claimed he was ‘fun loving, outgoing, and humorous’. Your headshot should display your true, authentic self and be reflective of your strengths and values.

Remember, every profile picture is a chance to show off your personal brand. Different headshots may make sense in different outlets (my Instagram headshot is much more relaxed than my more serious business card headshot) but they all need to convey the same message! So, stop wasting precious advertising space- figure out what you want to tell the world and start using headshots that relay your message loud and clear!

Questions about your headshot and what message it’s sending? Send me an email (empowerme@leslie-friedman.com), tweet (@friedmantalks), gram (@leslie_friedman), or message (Leslie Friedman) and I’d be happy to give you my opinion and some free advice.

Looking for more great career advice? You’ll love Chapter 3 of my best-selling ebook: Dressing Your Personal Brand. Go ahead and check out the (totally free!) first chapter below –>

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5 Things Every Woman Needs to Know about Instagram Envy

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Instagram envy. It starts off harmless enough. You might be scrolling through your favorite social media app (be it Instagram, Facebook, Twitter…) casually looking at friends’ pictures and posts when you find yourself sighing and thinking any number of negative thoughts.

Why don’t I eat beautiful food like that? Why isn’t my closet that clean? I wish my kids looked that pulled together. I wish I could be in Paris right now. Why do I have to be so fat/short/tall/pale/dark/[insert insecurity here]?

I feel that women are especially prone to insta-envy. Maybe it’s our unparalleled ability to compare ourselves to any and everything. Maybe it’s the fact that we tend to downplay our own lives, achievements, and self worth. Whatever the reason, it happens. The following are 5 helpful tips to getting through the envy and embracing it to make you a better person.

what you need to know about instagram envy

Number 1: Not only does it exist, but it affects you.

This is for people who aren’t sure if they have social media fueled envy. This is for the women that are painfully aware that they do have it. This if for everyone who thinks that Insta-envy exists for everyone else except themselves.

Despite where you fall on the spectrum, there are two common truths: Social media envy exists and it affects you.

pierre

Even my Chinchilla, Pierre, can’t hide from social media!

Our surroundings and experiences are constantly shaping our current and future actions. You may be very aware that you feel sad when you look at her (you know, that frienemy whose jet setting, gourmet foodie lifestyle you constantly lust after) grams or read her Facebook posts. Alternatively, you may feel nothing at all save from basic observations (‘that’s a pretty flower!’ ‘That restaurant looks like fun’ ‘That’s a cute child’), but even at this point, your mind is identifying what is ‘good’ (well dressed children) and filling away assumptions as to what is ‘bad’ (kids in mismatched clothes). We are always in the process of reacting to what we’ve been exposed to (ex: you are more cognizant about the pictures you take because you like seeing the beautiful pictures on your feed) and Instagram is no save haven. Which leads us to the following…

Number 2. It can make you a sad, miserable person…

…if you let it. See that second part? It’s really important. While you can’t control what your mind takes in (not completely, that is) you can control what you do with the information. When you see a friend dressed to the nines in high end designer clothing, you have a choice. You could ignore it. You could get jealous and hold a pity party (whyyy can’t I have beautiful things like that?) Or, you could react positively (that blouse really brings out the color in her eyes. I’m lucky to have such beautiful friends!) I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure which option I would choose.

Number 3: It can make you a mindful, appreciative person…

…if you let it. There it is again. Remember what I said above? The choice between positive and negative is totally up to you.

Start by targeting the cause of your envy. When you find yourself feeling jealous from a certain picture or post, ask yourself: what about this picture/post is causing the envy? Would I actually want that [insert cause of envy] even if I had it? What in my life would someone else be envious of? For the sake of example, let’s say the said envy inducing picture was a young lady in (probably skimpy) workout clothes who has a very fit body with the caption, ‘can’t wait to workout today!’ You see the picture, get jealous, and then ask yourself the above questions.

Maybe the thing causing jealousy is her fit body (that you assume you don’t have), her enthusiasm to workout, or even the fact that she looks great going to the gym (presumably…we’ll discuss that in point 5). Now, really ask yourself- would you want that fit body knowing what you have to do (workout…a lot) to get it? Would you feel comfortable showing off your body in those revealing clothes (if not, does that make a difference? Do you care more about what other people would think than about you being healthy?) Do you really wish you were super enthusiastic about working out? Or do you actually want to look like a made up model on the way to the gym? Often times, I feel like we really wouldn’t even like the point of envy if we had it. Having a super fit body may mean spending time at the gym instead of with your family. It may involve forgoing your favorite foods or restricting alcohol intake. You’d be surprised at how often we get envious over things that we really don’t care about at all.

Here’s an alternative. Instead of getting jealous, simply think about the awesome things in your life. What would other people be jealous of? Believe me, there’s always something. That roof over your head (not to mention everything under it!) would be a luxury for far too many people. What you need to do is retrain your brain. You love looking at beautiful Pinterest and Instagram pictures, right? Well, go through each day with mindfulness and really try to see the beauty around you. Often times, great grams are because the person responsible has an eye for seeing beauty in everyday things.

coco

This was just your average Sunday at the local minor league ball park. Beautiful things (like this sky…and Coco) are all around you if you take the time to look.

If you notice a pattern in what you find envious, maybe it’s time for a change. If travel pictures make you insanely jealous, start considering what sorts of trips you can take with your time and budget (even short, weekend trips count!) If you are constantly coveting a fitter figure, get thee-self to a gym (or see a therapist if your body image concerns are extreme) and make an action plan to start eating better. When you are actively working towards a goal, you will start seeing those same posts and pics as inspiration towards said goal rather than silent shaming reminders that you aren’t working towards your dreams!

halfmarathon

Seeing half marathon posts from my friends gave me the (unintended and very indirect) encouragement I needed to run my first half marathon. This picture is now a reminder to me what I’m capable of. (Btw- the term ‘run’ is used very loosely here. Think of it as more of a quick walk. Also- thank goodness for great filters and well placed hat shadows!)

Number 4: It can help elevate your personal brand.

You know I can’t have a post without talking about the all important personal brand! Your personal brand is what sets you apart from every other person in your office, town, state, and world. It’s what makes you, you and social media is simply an extension of your ‘you-ness’. When you feel jealousy over someone’s post, that means they have done something to elicit emotion in you. Now, turn the tables and ask yourself- ‘what kind of emotion do I elicit in other people?’ Is it joy? A hunger for knowledge? Happiness? I personally, would like for people to feel relaxed, inspired, and empowered to positive change when they are around me. For that reason, I choose to share and post positive, relate-able, and helpful (or just happy) items on social media. So, stop being jealous, start figuring out what you want people to think when they see your posts, and act accordingly. Coworkers, future bosses, clients, and your network will all be watching eagerly.

mug

Something as simple as a to go coffee mug can help tell the world what you’re all about.

Number 5: Not everything you see is real.

This seems obvious, but a little reminder here and there is nice. A lot of grammers literally retake their pictures dozens of times to make sure everything is perfect. They Photoshop and filter their pictures far past the point of reality. While these pictures may be beautiful, they have deviated greatly from the original shot, and should probably be viewed more as art than ‘I woke up like this’ (which, you probably didn’t). Do you remember that gram from the half marathon above? While it’s not Photoshopped, I did look straight up rough in non-insta filter light…so believe me when I say not to believe everything you see. Oh, and that girl who is going to gym in full makeup? Yeah…she probably never made it there.

The big takeaway here? Use the power of Insta-envy to formulate goals (and action plans!!), become more mindful, and build your personal brand! Sure, you can delete Instagram or turn your phone off, but why do that when you could turn the tables and use it to your benefit? Now, go gett’m girl!

chaise

All Instagrams pictures are from my personal account: @leslie_friedman. The picture directly above was used on this blog with absolutely no consent from the subject. But she looks fabulous, no? I’m lucky to have such beautiful friends. 😉

 

 

*****Side Note****If you have major jealousy problems that affect your life significantly in a negative manner, you may benefit greatly from seeing a therapist or mental health professional. Likewise, seek out guidance if you have a self image that is drastically inconsistent with your peers (e.g. You think you’re fat and no one else does, you have an unhealthy obsession with traveling and wish to constantly escape your life, etc.) Additionally, if you feel that your self worth is based on the amount of positive feedback (likes, loves, etc) you receive on social media…talk it through with someone. There are trained professionals in every town who can help you retrain your brain and get the most out of life; use their expertise to start living a better, fuller life!*****************

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The Best Beauty Item you never knew you needed

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There are a lot of beauty items that I can’t go without. My tweezers, because I’m pretty sure there are wooly mammoth genes running strong in my family. Moisturizers, because nothing is worse than being hairy and dry. And my razor, because…did I mention that my body generates hair faster than vines grow in a rain forest?

Then there’s the item that I never realized I couldn’t go without until I had it: my shower cap.

2016-04-20_14.33.16

I know. I know. I sound like an 80 year old. But hear me out; shower caps are ahhhmazing. I didn’t realize how much stress I had in my life until I bought one (and successfully eliminated said stress).

There are two ways that I use my shower cap most often: in the shower (shocker, I know) and on my face (we’ll get to that in a moment).

The first seems pretty basic. When I’m showering and don’t want to get my hair wet, I pull out the trusty shower cap. Hair stylists and experts alike will tell you that washing your hair every day is not the best path to take. Daily lathering and rinsing can strip your hair of the very oils it needs to stay silky, shiny, and strong. This is great news to me because I’m not the kind of person who likes to carve an hour out of my day to style my hair. An hour every two or three days? Now that is something I can handle. I may only be a few steps removed from your grandmother (you know, the one who goes to the ‘beauty parlor’ to get her hair done once a week, every week), but as long as my hair is looking fabulous, you can hold your judgements.

When my shower cap isn’t hanging out covering my hair, it’s covering my face. In fact, I bought my cap for the sole purpose of wearing it over my face. Stay with me here. Have you ever spent forever getting ready and making sure your makeup is just right? Then, you pull on that cute white blouse in ultra slow motion to make sure that your face gets nowhere near the fabric only to realize after this painful process that foundation SOMEHOW got on the neckline. You then spend the next five minutes angrily analyzing your dressing technique, the next 10 removing the blouse (hellooo more makeup), and then 20 more minutes laundering it with special soap to make sure it doesn’t stain.

I can’t tell you how many times this has happened to me.

Enough times, apparently, to go shopping for shower caps to wear on my face. (In case you’re wondering, I picked this jazzy polyester one up in the clearance section of my local walmart for just under $2.) Two little dollars and my life changed forever. I can now pull on clothes with reckless abandon. I can try on as many clothes as I want post makeup without having to worry about time. I haven’t bought a bottle of stain remover in years. Okay, that last one isn’t quite true, but that’s just because I am messy not because of makeup issues.

2016-04-20_14.32.19

If you haven’t already, you should try it. After seeing me use the full face shower cap to get dressed several times, my husband marveled, “you should sell those”. My somewhat bewildered response was, “what? Why?” (As someone who always thinks in terms of profit margin, marketability, and market share, selling a product you could free at most hotels seems a little far fetched to me). He then proceded to say that I should make them and sell them because it was so cool how I never got make up on my clothes now. “You made that one, didn’t you?” was his reasoning. Oooh. Now this made sense. I had to break the news to him that it was really just a shower cap. Intrigue and fascination = immediately smothered (along with the business idea).

You know what isn’t smothered, though? My hair. Because my shower cap is roomy enough for even the biggest bouffant. Which works out great when I have my hair done and I’m working on my makeup, but need my ‘do’ to ‘don’t’ interfere. If you’ve ever gotten an wisp of hair in your eyelashes while you’re applying mascara you know the importance of this. If you don’t, just wait until you mindlessly move that hair out of the way and watch the mascara trail it leaves across your face. #winning. Unless you like that sort of getting ready fun, might I suggest a shower cap? It is after all, a much more fashionable option than the hair net.

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So, what do you actually do? The short answer

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Regardless of where I am or who I am talking to, that inevitable question comes up: what do you do? Except, unlike most people, I am usually asked that question twice. Once at the beginning of a conversation and then again after I say what I do. It goes something like this:

Person at dog park/networking event/meeting: What do you do?

Me: I am an Image Consultant and Public Speaker.

Them:

via GIPHY

Them: So…what exactly does that mean?


I’ve heard it so many times that I have a tactic for dealing with this issue. For starters, I make sure that I ask them what they do before they ask me. Then, I elaborate on my title in a way that makes sense to them. For example: If they work in the school system I may say, ‘I am an Image Consultant and Public Speaker. I often talk to college students about the importance of personal branding and their appearance when they go to career fairs, etc’. It may not clear all the confusion, but it helps to draw a connection between their career and my own.

I think it’s the C-word that throws everyone off. Consultant? How do you consultant images? Do you just go around telling people they look bad? For the record, the answer to that last question is ‘no’. Everyone has attributes that they love about themselves. I help them identify and showcase these attributes in a way that builds confidence and self esteem. My goal as an image consultant is to help individuals look the way they wish to be perceived. For example, if a client wishes to be seen as professional, hard working, creative, and globally versed, I help them adjust their image to be seen as those characteristics. I also help clients find their personal style, clean out their closets, and dress appropriately for their careers.


And then there’s the speaking thing. The vast majority of people do not speak for a living, so when you meet someone who does, it seems strange. But just think about it. Every time you go to a conference, club meeting, organization (even Rotary or Kiwanis), or Chamber of Commerce special event there are individuals who deliver presentations. I am that individual. There’s a reason why you are getting charged $35 to enjoy a $12 salad during your lunch hour. The rest of the money goes to the hosting organization and to the guest speaker. Often times these individuals are people who have some interesting outlook or perspective and seek to share that with others. I am passionate about personal branding as it relates to a person’s appearance. I truly feel that you can leverage your appearance and personal brand to help you achieve your goals. Each time I speak, I seek to deliver applicable, interesting information in a way that is entertaining and easy to understand. The main point of the message is always the same (the importance of your appearance in personal branding!!) but the overall topic may vary based on the audience. One week I may give advice to college students about their personal brand while the next I am coaching salespeople in a major corporation as to how their appearance can help, or hurt, sales.

If a decent amount of people ask me the ‘so, what exactly is it that you do?’ question to my face, I am willing to bet there are dozens more out there who wonder the same thing. Hopefully this short post will satiate your curiosity, although it doesn’t go so far as to answer the question I’ve been asked once or twice: what exactly do you do all day? That will just have to wait for another time.


Cheers,

Leslie


ps. If you’re interesting in learning more about my speaking topics or image consulting services for individuals, click on the link above titled ’empower my…’ and then choose the option most applicable to you. 🙂

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How Your Weekend Clothes May Be Hurting Your Career

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It’s a Sunday afternoon and you are strolling through the grocery store focused on remembering which cereal your 8 year old wants (this week) when all of sudden you turn a corner and spot your boss. You immediately look for a place to hide. It’s not that you don’t want to talk about work (which you don’t) but rather that you don’t want to run into the person who pays you to be a professional, while wearing a ratty t-shirt and sweatpants. It’s a Sunday, and you aren’t at work, but you still don’t want to leave that image in their mind.

Sound familiar?

weekend clothing and your career

As awkward as this situation is, especially when you are recognized despite your avid attempts to hide behind the first product available (great. now your boss also thinks you are incredibly interested in the children’s game on the back of the Fruit Loops box), at least you recognize something very important- It matters what you wear outside work.

It’s not fair, but it is true: you are constantly being observed, and judged.

You don’t want your boss to see you because they (hopefully) have a professional image of you that you’d rather not have shattered. They know it’s the weekend, but that doesn’t keep them from thinking, ‘wow, Leslie sure looked rough the other day.’ Most of us want to look somewhat respectable in front of our employers, and we realize that not doing so could potentially hurt our careers. This especially true if you work in a professional services based field. (Think about it- would you want a lawyer from your firm walking around Walmart in an offensive t-shirt? Probably not.)

What we don’t often realize, though, is that sartorially slacking off could hurt our careers- even if the boss is no where in sight.

Nobody understands better than someone working in a client driven field that customers are everywhere. Whether you are a realtor, sales representative, or entrepreneur, future clients are everywhere that we are. I can’t tell you the number of people I’ve been able to tell about my consulting services while hanging out at the dog park, in line at the grocery store, or even in the gym locker room. It is, after all, the logical thing to talk about after that first oh so typical ‘so, what do you do?’ question. As an image consultant I have to be very particular about how I look most of the time (it’s very difficult to make someone believe you are an image consulting professional while you are wearing gross paint covered workout clothes while taking the dog on a walk. Trust me, I’ve tried.) And, I would argue that if you are in a field that offers professional services, that you should too. All it takes is one pulled together outfit for the conversation to move from “oh, that’s an interesting job” to “oh, how fascinating. I could really use your services with my business”. Your appearance can produce strong psychological effects like that. Embrace it.

Side Note- This also works the other way around: if you’re the boss. Employees who see their supervisor looking rough or inappropriate (think mini dress at a bar) are likely to let those observations affect their opinions of you.

If you aren’t in a professional service job, don’t think I’m going to let you off the hook scotch free. Your appearance matters too. Instead of running into potential clients, everyday you are running into potential employees and employers. No job is safe (sorry) and there’s no guarantee that you will be gainfully employed in six months or searching for something bigger and better. Every time your appearance makes others think something of you that is not in line with your personal brand- you run the risk or hurting your career. The last thing you want is to realize that the person you were chatting it up with at the dog park is actually the perfect person to help you get your dream job a few months down the road (when all they can remember was ‘she didn’t strike me as being very pulled together’).

So, am I encouraging you to wear a suit every time you go to CVS? Of course not. That’s just stupid. What I am saying, however, is to figure out how you want to be perceived (ie: your personal brand) and then follow the 90/10 rule. 90% of the time, look the way you want to be perceived. 10% of the time, life happens. I would lie if I said I’ve never been in the grocery store at 2am in pajamas buying all the Pepto-Bismol I can get my hands on (while googling if it’s safe for the animals too).

Say you want to be perceived as a professional who is organized and good at time management. You can still dress casual while portraying these characteristics. Simply make sure your clothes are ironed before going into (and thus coming out) of your closet and that your garments are clean and fit well.
Here’s a good example of someone (who wants to be seen as a professional) dressing casually:

And here’s a bad example:

Okay, that’s probably a little extreme for a bad example, but you get the point. Avoid sloppy and aim for clothes that actually fit. My secret is to have a go-to outfit ready any time I need to leave the house in a hurry. This is generally a nice pair of jeans (I like J.Crew) and a pressed oxford button down paired with cute flats. If I don’t have an ironed shirt, I have several semi-fitted lightweight sweaters that also work well.

Looking like you care, no matter where you are headed will make a difference. I promise! The more consistent you keep your personal brand (including what you’re wearing!!) the stronger your brand (and as a result, your networks, your career, your sphere of influence) will become.

Happy Dressing,

Leslie

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Personal Branding Tips for High School Students

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Maybe I’m aging myself, but when I was applying for college the big hot topic for essays was always something related to diversity. How have you encountered diversity? How have you encouraged diversity? Etc, etc. While diversity is still important, it seems to have been replaced as a college essay forerunner by something else: personal branding.

I work with a decent amount of high school upperclassmen on a daily basis and the issue of personal branding seems to keep rearing its ugly head no matter what college or university is involved. Why the ugly head? Personal branding is a tricky subject. It’s really tricky if you are a teenager and don’t have a clue what you plan on doing tomorrow, let alone how you plan on marketing yourself for some indefinite span of time. So, how do you find, let alone try to describe, what your personal brand is when you are still in the process of figuring out who you are? Read on for 3 things to consider.

branding tips for high school students

  1. It’s not about what you do. Ever wonder why people have midlife crises? This is why. They often discover that they have worked a job for their entire life that has grown to define who they are. The job has become them and there suddenly their identity is their job description. When the job disappears, so does their identity and that’s when it gets bad. When I ask teens what their personal brand is, they often tell me their aspirations. While having aspirations is great, your personal brand is more about the core behind what drives those aspirations. For example, wanting to be a nurse is not part of your personal brand. However, a desire to help others, a passion for the healthcare system, and a strong work ethic are all characteristics that describe your personal brand. When you get older, your career will be a part of your personal brand, but it won’t be all of it. In fact, it won’t even be most of it. Why? Because ANYONE can do any certain job. No where on the job description for COO of Facebook does it say “Must be Sheryl Sandberg”. It’s what Ms. Sandberg brings to her job and gets out of it that defines her personal brand…not the title itself. So, if you don’t think that you’re capable of figuring out your personal brand because you don’t have a set career path, think again.
  2. Keep it general. Oprah Winfrey has a very strong personal brand. So do Bill Gates, Martha Stewart, and Jay Z. What else do all those people have in common? You got it, they’re all old. Okay, they are older than you (provided you are a college student or younger). The point is that they’ve had lots of time to develop strong personal brands. These people didn’t graduate middle school knowing exactly what would define them as adults. Chances are though, that they did understand what makes them different, even if in the most generic sense. Personal branding is all about what makes you, you. What are you good at? What keeps you up at night? What gets you excited? How do you function? These questions bring out answers that only you can answer (unlike questions such as, ‘what sport do you like to play?’) You don’t have to know what to do with all that information. You just need to have some basic self-awareness. You realize you are good at problem solving. You notice that you get excited and can’t sleep when thinking about creative things. You feel better when you’re in a group of people. Even if you don’t understand how these pieces fit together or what their value is, they are still the important base layer of your personal brand. No matter how old you get, these core traits will always be a part of who you are. The sooner you realize what they are, the easier it will be to build upon them.
  3. Think outside of your own shoes. One of the easiest ways to figure out your personal brand is to ask the people who know you best. These are the family members and friends that you are completely yourself around. What character traits do they view in you? Humor? Organization? Attention to detail? Often times other people are able to see more than you are.

 

Think of yourself at the beginning of a marketing stage. When Nabisco first thought up the concept of Oreos, they didn’t have all the fine details of the brand hammered out. They simply wanted to make a cookie that was yummy, chocolatey, and creme filled. They started with the absolute basics of the product. Likewise, you have to start with the absolute basics of what makes you uniquely you. Maybe it’s your positive attitude, your intelligence, or your competitive nature. Instead of trying to pull together a whole brand for an incomplete product (we are all in the process of discovering ourselves), work on understanding the fundamental attributes that make you, you.

Still confused? Feel free to leave a comment below or email me at empowerme@leslie-friedman.com.

Leslie

Want to learn more about personal branding? Check out my best-selling ebook: Dressing Your Personal Brand. Go ahead and check out the (totally free!) first chapter below –>

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