Browse Tag: business

Dress for the Job You Want!

I had written a post about this same topic three years ago but I felt it was time to revisit it. Here is a passage from the first post:

I can’t imagine you haven’t heard this English idiom. Essentially what it means is you should not prejudge the worth or value of something by its outward appearance alone, however, when the reputation of the business is lowered due to the “appearance” of its employees – the line needs to be drawn. When I interview a potential candidate for this relatively simple sales associate position, my first reaction is based on punctuality. My second thought is based on appearance. My third thought is based on personality (due to the nature of our small shop, personality is key to the team working well together.) My fourth thought is about the ability to do the job well.

Working in fashion retail for all these years and any appointment I have gone to in a business oriented environment, I am always seeing black. Black, black and more black. I understand though as black business suits are easy you just swap out the blouse underneath to change it up. Not to say there is anything wrong with that, but you didn’t come to this blog to hear me talk about basic black business attire! I love colour, even if its only present in my heels and jewellery. I feel a world of difference when I wear it.

I dropped off a resume and portfolio package to a potential employer one morning wearing this very exciting bright coloured combo. Although its not quite what I envisioned in my dark dreary basement wardrobe room that morning, I thought the coral blazer matched the dress perfectly, but as it turns out in day light its orange in the dress, not coral. Oh well the fun citrus colours do play well off each other!

My philosophy has always been to make a statement when dropping off a resume or interviewing. I first thought of this years ago when I was at an interview for a local government office position with dark brown hair, sporting hot pink underneath. I styled my hair up so that it was less noticeable and died it solid brown after I was hired for my first day. When the CEO walked into the office that day her first reaction was “Oh! Where did the pink go? It was so cool!” Over the next month different employees would walk in and say “you’re the girl with the pink hair, but where’s the pink?” Who knew it would make such a statement!

Now not only is bold bright colours and patterns part of my every day wardrobe, I make a point of wearing a striking bright dress with matching jewellery and a blazer for any professional meetings or events. Making a statement is everything! You can get lost in the crowd of black business suits so make sure you are wearing something “wow”!


Fun Business Looks

I’m not traditional, by any stretch of imagination. Every day I push the boundaries of fashion in my little world exploring new fabrics, layering and accessorizing. I don’t see professional as being limited to black and grey as most people come to believe. They instantly grab the black suit, white collared shirt, pumps and tiny stud earrings. Blah.

Years ago I learned that in interviews to be memorable, sometimes your presentation has to be exciting moreso than whats on the paper in front of them. I went to an interview for a small community township office reception job, at the time I had dark brown hair with pink underneath and I styled it in such a way that it looked more professional (along with the outfit of course!) and not as loud. When I was hired and arrived for my first day of work I had re-dyed my hair to be more professional and the CEO walked in and said “where did the pink go?!”

Little did I know the staff in the meeting remembered me and referred to me as the girl with pink hair… It stood out rather than “the brunette in the black suit” … hmm not so memorable. From then on I was dressing professional but in my thrifty fun way and they loved it. That office was excited to see what I wore each day. Every day is new and exciting so its more fun to dress as such!


I’ve been asked a few times about a business look for an interview or new job and to be honest my style isn’t that much different when I’m working in a “professional” environment. I’m still colourful and fun, I just add more on the accessory side and more formal footwear. I’ve put together a few of my favourite business looks I’ve worn to the studio in the last two years so you can see the array of styles that are totally office appropriate – unless your office wants a boring black suit of course!

Because of my curves I like to have bright print skirts paired with a matching blouse (usually sleeveless so my arms fit in the blazer sleeves!) and a basic solid colour blazer. Unless I’m wearing a substantial pashmina, necklaces are a must they just add that finishing touch. I’m told pointed toes are on the way out, haha, not in my world! I think a pointed toe is extremely classy and make any outfit look polished. Fitted black jeggings paired with a pointed toe heel or flat is everything. The easiest way to look office ready without trying too hard.

 

Craving Magenta

feb4final This is truly the colour of the season for me I am finding it in so many unique shades throughout the thrift stores. When I was a child a friend bought me a shirt this colour and I believe it may have been the only compliment from her I ever received – but she said this colour looked really nice on me. I must agree! Its that lovely dark pink!

This is a new look I’ve put together featuring two half price day pieces I found last month the top only needed a slight alteration. Unfortunately some of the cutest tops I’ve found in my travels I’ve left behind due to the style of the elastic band around the bottom for this “peasant” style… Looks good on no one by the way. Fortunately for me the elastic was not sewn into the hem so I could remove it with a small snip! My intention was to wear it tucked into a high waisted skirt so the bumpy bottom isn’t so much of an issue.feb4final2

I didn’t have to alter this skirt in any way and it fits really well because of the stretch. It also matches my pumps nicely! I picked up this multi layered necklace from The Store a few months ago, as it had sat in the display case not selling for a few months. I honestly can’t imagine why its a stunning Shopping Channel piece thats a bit on the dressy side that we had priced for just $20.

No bites. Often there are things that I love in the store that sit there without someone to love so I take it upon myself to see what’s wrong with it, why it hasn’t sold. Sometimes I end up absolutely loving it myself and have to introduce it to my wardrobe – other times I figure out right away it was a bad design.

However I think this pairing is absolutely gorgeous! I am always so thrilled with the vision I have for a look turns out better than expected!

 

Appropriate Work Attire


If you can’t see the video above please check it out on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Awne0y5yUy0

I had written an extensive article (or rant) two years ago about the importance of dressing appropriately in the post: Dress For The Job You Want. I referred to the job hunters I was seeing come into the shop as “looking like they rolled out of bed, as if they didn’t mean to go out in public they were simply doing their laundry at home…” On to explain that “yoga” pants are not dress pants, they are meant for… wait for it… YOGA!

As a clothing store we are trying as employees to be fashionable, knowledgeable as to what to wear with different items that we stock. As a manager, its exceptionally frustrating to try to communicate this simple idea to staff: You must look the part! I find as a society we care less and less about our appearance and feel that if we simply show up to our jobs that that’s good enough. As if the employer or business should be thankful that you showed up at all to help them out. You know what I think? Its not about them, its about YOU. Do you want customers to question whether or not you are an employee? Have your employer looking you up and down trying to be polite but really wishing you would take a hint that you need to dress more appropriately?
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A Great Business Suit

jan15-final To explain professional attire we used to say, “look at what the girls at the bank are wearing” until it became a casual environment. In the last ten years, or as I would call it “the era of yoga pants and sweats” we are seeing less and less interest in our appearance. As a child I didn’t know exactly what job title I wanted, I simply wanted to have a position of status where I needed to wear a suit… to this day I love the look, so classy and professional. Any time I have walked into a bank I expect to see this but I rarely do. Financial advisers and I’m sorry to say it, any male staff are in my opinion the only ones dressed appropriately for the level of status I feel their job title has.

Everything now is worn tight, assuming spandex and stretch makes it more comfortable – forgetting the amount of rolls it creates. Dress pants are no longer a staple but rather yoga pants tucked into boots. These are meant for athletics, at home, running errands on your day off perhaps… but trying to pass them off as work attire? Seriously. There was a young hire at a job I had a few years ago and she was showing up in yoga pants and a blazer with dressy flats. The Lululemon logo was painfully bright for me to not notice. Although it was not my place to say a word about dress code I just continued to wear my dresses and business suits. The day finally came when she wore black “toe” shoes that people where for barefoot running. This is right next door to running shoes folks. I decided it was time to inform the owner of the lack of dress code – but before the words came out of my mouth he beat me to it. Thank goodness.

jan15-final2 A business suit is not hard to find, even in thrift or consignment you can get a beautiful tailored suit with no bells and whistles that matches any blouse you have – for a fraction of the cost new. This beauty fits to a T without much in the way of alteration. I am not really big on long sleeved blazers so I created a small hem to bring the arms in a little shorter to expose my wrists – great for wearing bangles! The pants were painfully long on me so I added a simple hem to the bottom so I wouldn’t be walking all over the bottoms.

Its comfortable and works well with so many blouses I already have in my closet. Easy for any style or look you want to create. Pair it up with heels or flats, jewellery and accessories and voila you have yourself a very professional suit and look the part!

Modern Business Wear

businesswear2My least favourite term is “business casual” as really this could mean a lot of things to different people. For me the typical dress pant, fitted solid colour shirt and blazer makes for one heck of a boring outfit. So I’d like to show you my twist on the business look!

My philosophy is, if you have the basics – all you need is a variety of beautiful blouses! A simple long sleeve black blazer that fits to a “t” should be a staple in your wardrobe. For me, I go for a skinny leg dark black jegging instead of a wider leg dress pant based on my shape. It creates a more flattering look for my wide hips and bum if I go narrow toward my ankle. Continue Reading

The Wow! Business Look

franklymandressWho says business professional has to be boring black suits?! Check out this fabulous look I put together for a local business expo one of my employers took part in! I have owned this dress for a few years, made some alterations to it back in the day (took up the hem so it sits above the knee) but never found an opportunity to wear it.

I wanted to look professional but sophisticated and stylish at the same time. I just hate the solid black dress and blazer that most women resort to for these events! What’s wrong with a splash of colour? I do not recall if this is a Joseph Ribkoff or Frank Lyman, regardless its stunning and feels like a tshirt when it’s on.

Paired with a 3/4 sleeve blazer and point toe pumps, and vibrant aqua jewellery of course!
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Neutrals for Fall

ericalexandreskirt As you are well aware, I’m not often one for neutrals or dark palettes. When this skirt caught my eye I think it was more of the fabric than colour, the soft texture and the feel of it on my body. In the fall and winter seasons I do add a blend of neutral outfits into my wardrobe as some days you just don’t feel like being too bold but rather more focused on comfort and warmth.

This particular day wasn’t overly warm in late September so I thought I would embrace the season everyone was pushing on me and styled up this Eric Alexandre skirt. To give it some punch I paired it with my stone 3/4 sleeve blazer, Nine West pumps and my own one of a kind jewellery.

Ladies have often commented on this particular set and no, I will never sell it. It was one of the first complicated-time-consuming-ready to rip your hair out – pieces I ever made. Each brushed coin is hand wrapped to dangle from the chain. It has all three pieces to match, bracelet, earrings and necklace. It truly is unique and is the perfect colouring for this outfit.

Bringing Back Blazers

Mario Serrani BlazerIn working at a women’s consignment clothing store, one of the most popular items that are brought in for potential consignment are business suits, skirts and blazers. Although there are many cities where businesswear is booming and in high fashion, heck even mandatory! In Kingston, we are a university and retirement city, with not much in between.

We are a city that more and more has adopted the casual lifestyle and we have somehow made that lifestyle expand into the workplace. As you can imagine, I’m not one of these people, I will not leave the house in yoga pants unless I am on my way to the gym or to yoga class! We have a few blended trends that in my opinion have been completely overdone to the point of being lazy and sloppy. Let me give you an example.

The first celebrity images that surfaced of Pamela Anderson wearing UGGs several years ago. She now regrets having promoted them while on Baywatch (to keep her barefeet warm on the beach) after learning they were made of animal product. In Kingston, with our Canadian winter, the trend was misappropriated and considered to be a “Winter” boot, when in fact, it is not. It is being worn in this city with sloppy sweat pants or yoga pants, a padded bomber coat with a hoodie hanging out. I can understand if you are cold at home and you want to wear your “warm and fuzzies” but this is not where we are seeing this “look”. It’s everyday shopping, it’s off to work at Starbucks, it’s going to class.

As I said, one of the most popular things people try to consign at the store is a business suit or a blazer. Unfortunately, in our store, the more formal it is – the less likely it is to sell. Usually consignors have the initial shock expression when we decline these items even if they are gorgeous and in pristine condition. But when we then ask them why they aren’t wearing it, the answer is always the same: “I don’t dress up anymore.” Surprise, surprise. We like to use the bank as a great example of what “women” are wearing these days. They’re skin tight, low cut, belly roll hanging over the side of their yoga pants – claiming that anything black on one’s legs is a “dress pant”.


White & Black Blazer
White Blazer

I had a student work along side me at one of my former jobs, a high end photography studio with very business-oriented clients. She showed up day one in a cheap black blazer from Stitches (I can’t criticize too much as she did make an attempt!), a white spandex tshirt with a pair of black yoga pants and dressy flats. Okay, number one – you did make an attempt at business attire with the blazer and sticking to neutrals; number two – who in their right mind thinks that yoga pants are appropriate for the office?!

I thoroughly enjoy listening to customers on a regular basis complaining that they don’t own anything dressy – usually for tonight’s formal event such as the Ballet. While sitting in the Grand Theatre this past Saturday evening I observed a very casual crowd, a mix of jeans and hoodies, a few sequined dresses and a couple tucked in shirts. Far superior in a formal wardrobe, the 6 year old girls out-shined 90% of the adults in attendance. All in all it is very sad.

When I go to work, I usually add a blazer to complete my outfit in the cooler weather seasons. Not only are they easy to match up in an outfit, they feel great and they instantly improve your outfit. Throw on a necklace or a scarf and I’m done! Granted, I am wearing jeans with my blazers to tone down the “business” look, but only because I work in a fashion environment where I want to show customers that blazers can be fun!

The blazers I am featuring in these three images were all under $15 secondhand. You can’t tell me blazers are expensive, I’m living proof that you can look amazing and well dressed on even the smallest budget!

H&M Bow Print Skirt

H&M Bow SkirtH&M Bow Skirt

I was completely thrilled with how today’s outfit turned out! I had mentioned being frustrated with trying to match the navy in the skirt I had thrifted recently – I’m sure you know the feeling if you’ve ever tried to match blue before. There are just too many shades! Quite randomly this little short sleeve blazer was brought into the Store and is just about a perfect match. I was thinking over the course of that week that I’d have to wait for an H&M navy blue blazer to come in as their colours tend to stay consistent. But this little number is by Dynamite.

Now it took some work to get the details right as I need layers for work (I work where there are no windows and it stays quite cool). The blazer is short sleeved and the blouse by Zara I wanted to wear is sleeveless – with some quick thinking and a stroke of luck, my go-to cream coloured blouse blended flawlessly underneath!

In typical Pamela-fashion, I wanted the skirt to be longer and more flattering to my figure. This lace my mom and I found at Fabricland works perfectly on so many outfits! The bow print is white, but the lace is cream coloured and happens to pull the look together quite nicely.

Happy Accidents

Le Chateau DressTo the untrained eye, this is just an adorable pleated skirt. Now let me fill you in with the story behind it.

I am guilty of not often bothering to try outfits on at the store, usually the reason I do spend the time is because I think the price might not be worth it. This particular dress by Le Chateau I did take the time to try on. I was instantly in love with the bottom of the dress with the three rows of adorable pleats.


Le Chateau DressLe Chateau Dress


Well the dress fit just fine in the store but I wasn’t too crazy about how the sleeves felt. I get home try it on again and decide that the sleeves needed to be redesigned. I spent about an hour first thing in the morning adjusting the sleeves, essentially removing them altogether and adding the design elements back on afterward.

Once the sleeves were complete I tried it on ready to wear to work. It was like the top half had doubled in size. A thought occurred: I had tried it on wearing two tank tops and a thicker padded bra. If this was to fit I’d need a pair of DD’s which isn’t happening any time soon! But I was still infatuated with the bottom, so in typical Pam style, I grabbed the scissors and make a drastic design decision.

Le Chateau Dress Le Chateau Dress

Within moments I had created the beginning of a vest and skirt both cute but in a whole new way. At this point I was going to be late for work if I didn’t sort this out so my quick and easy solution for this new skirt was to pin the unfinished-freshly-cut top to a thick belt. Voila! Totally cute and one of a kind pleated skirt.

You’ll never guess how many compliments I received all day long. Now when anyone comments I have a great story to go along with it!

What is Appropriate?

What is Appropriate?There’s something about wearing pastels, pinks and peach tones that makes me feel super girly. I’d have to say I’ve never really been a tomboy, if I can wear heels I will. My outfits effect me very strongly, if it doesn’t come together my mood is off and my day usually reflects that I don’t feel on the ball. Guys wonder why it takes considerably longer for most women to get ready in the morning, a concept such as this that they would never understand. I strive to look better than “fine” and I think we all should put in some effort in the morning. Everyone has excuses, I have my share some days too. But if a girl such as myself that is very sleep-deprived can get up at 6:15 every morning, shower, style my hair, do my makeup, design an outfit and prepare a lunch for myself – I think you can too.

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