Monday, November 28, 2011

Fashion Tips for Men and Women

Making a Great First Impression

It takes just a quick glance, maybe three seconds, for someone to evaluate you when you meet. The other person forms an opinion about you, based on your appearance, your body language, your demeanour, your mannerisms and how you are dressed. These first impressions can be nearly impossible to reverse or undo, making those encounters extremely important, for they set the tone for all the relationships that follow.
They say “A picture is worth a thousand words,”
and so the “picture” you first present says much about you.

What about grooming? Clean and tidy appearance is appropriate for most business and social occasions. A good haircut or shave. Clean and tidy clothes. Neat and tidy makeup. Make sure your grooming is appropriate and helps make you feel “the part”.

Smile and the World Smiles Too!” There is nothing like a Smile to Create a Good First Impression. A warm and confident smile will put you and the other person(s) at ease.


Pierre Trudeau, well-respected Prime Minister of Canada for several years, frequently wore a flower in his suit jacket lapel...his persona to the public 
always flamboyant!

A Sales Representative for a Real Estate firm in Mississauga, drove a pink sedan creating impression to his clients...a great identifying symbol which resulted
in a successful career!

For me, I wore hats to enhance my business profile and symbol of my career. 
In June 2011, I published an article...Real Estate's Hat which you 
may a description of these millinery accessories ...with often a “story behind the purchase”.

It is not my suggestion that you go “way out” to distinguish yourself, but as 
Verna Williams (Fashion Co-ordinator and owner of a successful Modelling Agency) once told me, “Always leave home... well groomed and well dressed...
it is unknown whom you will meet on your quick errands and appointments.” 
You can create this noticeable impression...whether wearing casual,
business or formal attire.

Many men and women would love to achieve this...But How? 
It is not difficult. Common sense reigns when it comes to Choice of Clothes, Colour, Accessories and Personal Grooming!

Colour is a basic ingredient. For several years, it seemed an important decision to have your “Colours Read” which would blend with your character, your skin tones, your eyes, hair colour. The advisor would define you as one of the four seasons...and supply you with “colours just for you.” I never once participated 
in this. It seemed that when I wore a colour and friends exclaimed, “How Wonderful the Outfit!” I realized, it was not the style was
the colour! The dress was a lavender...possibly perry-winkle blue with co-ordinated accessories together combined with hair styling, makeup...
all contributing to the ensemble. On another occasion, it was a navy blue suit 
with hot pink splashes of colour...or a camel- tone jacket and pants accented 
with lime green...a stunning combination.

The Wearing of Jeans

This clothing article has become a “staple” in every man and woman's wardrobe.

Tips When Purchasing
Try them on and walk around with them...they must feel comfortable.
Versatility is important! They are worn around the house, in the workplace, or casual outing.
Always ensure your “jeans” look good with sneakers, boots or dress shoes.
Look for “timeless washes”.
Look for tried and true denim styles.

Three Classic Designs
Original blue jeans (very versatile)
Slightly faded blue jeans ~ casual looking (great with sports jacket and shirt)
Dark denim: the straight leg adapts well for office with navy blazer & leather     jacket.

Guidelines for Men

Men frequently pay less attention to their clothes than women. 
“I dress the way I do, because I've never really learned how. Fashion just 
wasn't on my radar,” quotes a friend. “I should have more than one pair 
of slacks and one shirt nice enough to wear to an industry event without embarrassing myself. 'It depends on my personal style,' I'm told. But what 
if you don't know your personal style?” With the following guidelines 
he became conscious of styling that appealed to him.

Dress Suits:
You eventually want to own three suits. Your first suit should be either navy blue or grey, possibly with a light chalk stripe (like a pinstripe, but softer), and in an all-season medium weight. Either of these colours will fit into most social settings. Your second suit should be the one you didn't get the first time around. Your third suit should be black ~ not for funerals, but for black tie affairs.  If you work in a field where suits are the norm, you'll probably want more than three; once you've covered the basics, you can move on to more distinctive suits: (pinstripes, different weights, unconventional colours, etc.)

Suits are made of wool or cotton. Higher thread counts signify higher quality, but are ironically not as durable, so stick with something mid-range. Ask the salesperson to help you with this. (Yes, the salesperson. Suits are not self-serve.)

You never button the bottom button. Apparently, Edward VII got fat and couldn't button his vest over his belly, so now nobody does. On a three-button jacket, you button the middle; the top button is optional. If you have a jacket with 4 or more buttons, you obviously know what you're doing already.

A gentleman carries a handkerchief in his front breast pocket. You don't have to get fancy, just fold it square to fit and have 1/4” to 1/2” sticking out the top. Proffer it as needed.

Don't wear your sleeves too short or too long. 1/4” to 1/2” of cuff should show beyond your jacket sleeve.

Shirts with button-down collars are not dress shirts. They're sports shirts, so wear them with a sports coat. Polo players used to button their collars down 
so they wouldn't flap up in their faces while they played...this of course is an English practice.

If you unbutton your collar, remove your tie. You can wear a suit or sports coat without a tie ~ just ask Obama ~ but wearing a tie with an unbuttoned shirt
looks sloppy.

You can unbutton the top button always (provided you're not wearing a tie), the second button, usually, the third button only on disco night!

Wear your pants at your natural waist. Too high and you look like Grampa, 
too low and you look like a high school kid. Your waistband should sit 2 to 3 inches below your belly button.

Pants should almost touch the ground without your shoes on, Jeans can be 
a little longer, since they shrink a bit when you wash them.

One pleat, maximum. Its job is to maintain the crease sown the front of your pants. For pants without that crease (and many with it), pleats are unnecessary. For pants that need the pleat, they only need one (on each side).

Cuffs... 1” to 1 1/2”...or not. There's nothing wrong with cuffs...there's nothing wrong with no cuffs. They are understood, however, to be an older man's style ~ not in a bad way: think sophisticated, experienced, distinguished and conservative. For younger men, a cleaner line is generally preferred.

Shoes ~ Pay attention to these!
Buy the best ones you can afford, and take care of them. Polish them regularly 
(a few swipes with a wax-infused polishing cloth is often all it takes) and store them covered if you won't be wearing them for a long time. Shoe trees, it turns out, are important: they not only hold the shape of the shoe but the cedar ones absorb moisture (and thus odours) which helps to preserve the leather.
(Aside, women tend to pay a lot of attention to men's shoes. Keep that in mind when dating or interviewing for a job.)

Shoes are usually made of leather which breathes and adapts to the shape of your foot. The soles don't have to be leather, but the uppers do.

You need more than one pair of oxfords (lace-up dress shoes),
black loafers (slip-on-shoes), brown oxfords or brown loafers and you're set. 
A pair of ankle high boots in  brown or black can substitute for the loafers. Ox-blood (burgandy) shoes are harder to find but in theory go with everything.
It is safe to ignore white shoes!

The shinier the shoe, the dressier. Matte-finish shoes...nubuck (that pebbly leather), suede and distressed leather shoes are automatically compatible 
with jeans or khakis; shinier shoes might still go with jeans, but it depends 
on the rest of your outfit. If you can wear them with a suit, you probably 
can't wear them with jeans, and vice-versa.

Shoes should be the same tone or darker than your pants. This is the only rule you need to know when trying to figure out what shoes to wear. This is why you never wear brown shoes with black trousers, but you can usually wear black shoes with brown trousers.

Match your belt to your shoes. It doesn't have to be a perfect match, as long as you wear a black belt with black shoes and a brown belt with brown shoes.

Match your socks to your pants. Again, it doesn't need to be a perfect match - 
a little lighter or darker is fine. If you don't have socks to match your pants, 
you can match your shoes, or just wear black socks. White socks are for sports only!!! Unless, you are... a) wearing sneakers and  b) doing something athletic 
in them, avoid white socks!

Your tie should reach your belt. Anything short of your belt makes you look
like a rube.

Try a front pocket wallet or money clip. This will save wear-and-tear on your back pocket. This is very classy.

You're allowed one affectation. A fedora. A pocket watch. A bracelet or class ring. A vest. An expensive wristwatch. Pick one...but no more.

If it feels like these rules are arbitrary and stifling...they are! Think of it like learning how to paint: first, you do a still-life (arbitrary) using just one colour (stifling). Eventually, you move up to two and three colours, then maybe a 
warm or cool palette, and your subjects might expand to include figures or landscapes. Once you've mastered the basics, you can begin to press
against the rules.

In fashion, as in art ~ style emerges not from a lack of rules
but from a mastery of them, from making them serve you...
instead of the other way around.

Fashion Tips for Women

It is So Easy to Buy a Dress (Suit, Blouse, Pants) on Sale...because it's a “Good Deal”! Yes? No? Before heading to the Fitting Room, or laying down Cash or Credit Card,ask yourself: 
       Do I really need this?
        Is it for a special occasion?
       Will this style be in fashion a few years from now?
        Is it a “classic”? That I can re-invent in time with various accessories?
       Will it co-ordinate with the rest of my wardrobe?
       What do I have to accessorize it?
        Is the colour suitable?

Love What You Wear! Wear What You Love!

Wearing a sweater that is delicious to you,
cheers you up by just being inside of it.
It celebrates Life! When it comes to clothes, Love it...or Leave it!

Dress your body graciously ~ with no regard whatsoever to sizes.
Dress yourself for the body you are in currently.
Shop for and wear apparel that fits you right now.
Your essence is not a “6”, a “12” or an “18”.
You are a fabulous person and what matters
is that you look fabulous in your clothes!

Use accessories (scarves, bags, belts and jewellery) to add emphasis
and draw the eye to the areas you most want to highlight!
A soft scarf or earrings that dangle and move well, will draw attention
to pretty eyes, a warm smile or chic haircut!

It has been my discovery, that Accessories “Make the Outfit”!
Select a complementary colour to give pizazz to your ensemble.
If you re wearing a design print, choose the main colour...or colour within
to provide that extra splash of excitement in your choice of accessories.
Shoes should be complementary to the clothes you wear.
Make-up need not be excessive...I use mainly blues and greens for my eyes.
Brow pencil, mascara, rouge and lipstick to match may also be used.
Hair ornaments...clips, bows, even feathers that today are so enhancing!
Nail polish, if used, should look freshly painted and look well with the outfit.

Let Not Your Age Be a Deciding Factor! Whether 20, 40 or 80...Fashion is In!
Looking and Dressing Younger After 40 means
Falling in Love with the Woman You this Present Moment”!

Experience the “WOW” Factor!

In January 2011, after visiting a dear friend in Jo Brant Hospital, I stepped off the elevator at the main floor level. Exiting from the other elevator at the same time, was a man dressed immaculately in navy blue suit, white crisp shirt, blue and grey tie expertly knotted...WOW!
My eyes travelled to his shoes: Black! Then back to his upper body: hair well groomed...then a recognizable face. The feeling was reciprocal! Our paths
hadn't crossed in over five years. The quick appraisal of each other had taken only a few seconds.
(You Never Know Whom You're Going to See!).
Simultaneously, we expressed this “sudden surprise encounter”. Don was in Commercial Real Estate, and I in Residential. We had a working relationship whereby we could tap into each other's expertise when needed. Taking a few minutes, with a Tim Horton's coffee near the front doors, we reviewed our current status. Don still daily works his Flamborough farm; his son is now married with children; his wife in good health!

Many years ago at a Business Women's Networking meet, an “instant friend” appeared at the table where I sat. Having just returned from a motorcycle ride
to and from Kingston, our discussion ranged from motorcycles to business
and family. She was...and still a Joy to my Life! With a smile as broad as a rainbow...gracious, warm and charming...eyes that twinkle when she talks...dressed smartly...very chic appearance...she was intriguing! WOW!
A few years ago, we reconnected. Our lives have “moved on”. Our children have matured with families of their own. From our businesses, we've both retired. We are now experiencing:
New Goals...New Aspirations...New Special Men in our Lives!
How Stimulating and Rewarding to Renew this Friendship!

Some persons, when they walk into a room have a “special aura” that attracts and commands attention! Often the meeting is in a casual atmosphere...yet the presence of the man or woman has a decided effect . It may not be the clothes...but rather the demeanour, the mannerisms, the sureness of walk, the overall general appearance...which always...speak “body language”.
Then the voice and conversation confirms that...This is a Special Person!

First Impressions are Significant!”

Merle Baird-Kerr . . . written November 26, 2011
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  1. OOOH,
    I just love this article on Fashion... right up my alley... so nice of you to refresh everyone's mind about the Pleasures of Fashion. Things are so dull around our part of the world... travel to Europe and men and women are alive with Great Fashion.
    Sherrie xo

  2. Thank you Sherrie...WE all want "to make an impression", but few will "make the effort"! Each woman and man needs to "believe in themselves",then design steps to enhance their personal lives...before they can enhance and embrace others. With a little effort, we can add Magic!