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How to wear a long cardigan (for every body shape & type)

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From the runway to stores like Target, the long cardigan is everywhere.

And for a good reason.

It’s comfortable, stylish, and easy to wear. The perfect layering piece, a long cardigan can go with anything from a pair of jeans to a ball gown.

And…the best part is that the long cardigan can be worn by any body type and shape! Here’s how:

Pssst. Not sure what body shape you are? Click here to take the quiz!

Apple:

Apple shaped women are wider throughout the waist than the hips and chest (here’s everything you need to know about dressing Apple body shapes).

Apples will look best with their long cardigan unbelted and open. Resist the urge to close up the cardigan as it will actually make you look taller and skinnier when you can see the rest of your outfit under the cardigan.

Extra weight around the middle? You’d never know it in this outfit!

See more apple outfit ideas on this Pinterest board.

Rectangle:

Rectangle shaped women have a straight up-and-down almost athletic shape (here’s everything you need to know about dressing Rectangle body shapes).

Rectangles tend to look better when long cardigans are wrapped and belted. This gives the illusion of volume and a waistline. It also makes the wearer appear curvier than they actually are.

See more rectangle outfit ideas on this Pinterest board.

Hourglass:

Hourglass shaped women are fuller in the chest and hips and have a smaller defined waist (here’s everything you need to know about dressing an Hourglass body shape).

A baggy cardigan can hide your curves and make you appear larger than you are. For that reason, opt for more fitted options. If you can’t find a more fitted cardigan, try adding a belt to your outfit or looking for sheer cardigans. Either option will keep you from looking like a blob.

A sheer cardigan adds interest (and warmth!) to your outfit without making you look like a sack.

See more Hourlgass outfit ideas on this Pinterest board.

Inverted Triangle:

An Inverted Triangle shaped woman has wider shoulders, a defined waist, and more narrow hips. Here is everything you need to know about dressing an Inverted Triangle body shape!

Choose a long cardigan that will draw the eye away from your shoulder area. For example, look for cardigans with: accent pockets, vertical stripes, multiple colors, or patterns.

The argyle design draws the eye up and down while the big pockets catch your attention- and distract away from the chest/shoulder area.

See more inverted triangle outfit ideas on this Pinterest board

Pear:

Pear shaped women are smaller through the chest, have a defined waist, and are fuller through the hips (psst. here is everything you need to know about dressing a Pear body shape).

The most important thing for pears to watch out for are cardigans that end at the widest part of the hips. This will make your hips/booty area appear bigger. Instead, choose a cardigan that is shorter or longer.

This cardigan makes her look long and lean while the dark belt accents her waist.

See more pear outfit ideas here.

how to wear a long cardigan as a petite woman

Special Sizes:

Plus: Choose your cardigan based on your body shape (above!) Need help finding clothes that fit your figure? Check out this post.

Tall: Long cardigans were made for you. Choose the one that works best for your body shape. Looking for clothes that are just for Tall people? You need to read this post.

Petite: Long cardigans don’t have to make you look short. Opt for a neutral color cardigan that is different than the color of the rest of your outfit underneath to make you appear taller (like the picture below!) Not sure where to find petite sized cardigans? Check out this blog post.

A dark shirt and jeans makes this woman look taller than she probably is!

What’s your favorite way to wear a cardigan?

Let me know in the comments below!

xoxo, Leslie

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How to be an effective communicator

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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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how to create a personal brand

The 5 Secrets to Developing a Stand Out Personal Brand

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

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinThere’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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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

 

 

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

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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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5 Secrets to Winning Clients with Your Clothes

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinWhether 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

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinIn 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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10 days, 1 backpack: the SECRET to packing like a pro

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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!

 


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How to Choose the Best Outfit for Your Business Headshot

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinSo, 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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