Archives for August 2017

Develop a Signature Look to Reach Your Goals

BY TRACI MCBRIDE

Q: Would you share some tips for men who want to express what you call “your brand at a glance?”

A: I’m so glad you asked. First, give thought as to what you want to visually express. Research proves that 65 percent of all communication is visual. What are your clothes saying about your personal brand?

Developing your signature style is knowing who you are and what you want others to note about you before you have opened your mouth.

Here are some tips for women and men:

Fit of your clothes will always be No. 1 in my book, regardless of the cost of the item. It is vital to have the clothing tailored to your body, sleeves perfectly hemmed, the break in your trouser just so, and no pulling and tugging at your waist or buttons.

Pay attention to proportion – know your body shape and what length of jacket flatters your unique shape.

Cut of garment should flatter your body shape. For example, wide hips give you the opportunity to put more emphasis on your upper body. Men can widen the lapels; women can add button detailing on jackets or punch up and visually add width with a scarf.

Know how color interacts with your skin tone, especially near your face. Men should pay attention to the color of their shirts, ties, and pocket squares. Women should do the same with collars, jewelry, and scarves. Know what certain colors communicate to others:

  • Red: Action/Angry/Passionate
  • Purple: Creative/Imaginative
  • Blue: Trust/Loyalty/Integrity
  • Green: Balanced/Self-Reliant

The details: Polished and cared-for shoes, leather purse or briefcase. Updated and flattering eye wear.  Watches or jewelry that go with the mood of your outfit. Know the company culture you are walking into. Grooming must be top notch, and watch out for overly aggressive scents. Manners and etiquette always have room for improvement. Brush up on yours and avoid pointing out others’ faux paus.

Body Language: If you have ever received mixed messages when meeting someone new, many times it’s the visual mismatched to the body language and facial expressions. Are you dressed confidently but your stance, handshake, and eye contact are weak? Are you a friendly, open person but your body language is turning people off before you can share who you are? Do you stand or sit with your arms crossed over your chest? OK, maybe you are always cold. But break that habit, as others may be reading it as either you don’t believe what they are saying, you are judging them or you are not open-minded. Check your posture too, as your clothes will always hang better if you don’t slouch, and it communicates confidence.

Be thoughtful about how to make others comfortable with you so that they respond in the way you want them to, yet set yourself apart in the crowd — as a leader and not one of the sheep. How do you do that? By having an unexpected mix of the classics with color and layering that shows you are not a rookie but an experienced problem solver. Be mindful of texture, print, and shine as you build your wardrobe. Most do not go the extra mile to achieve their signature style. Instead they play it safe, dressing exactly like everyone else. I also know most men and women need support and direction in pulling it off successfully. That is why an image consultant needs to be on your speed dial. Don’t lose an opportunity by blending in with the crowd.

Jot down three to five “style words” that you want others to know about you at a glance. For example — polished, knowledgeable, fun, detail-oriented, outgoing, chic, eclectic, classic, sharp, risk-taker, etc.

Give thought to how your clothing choices can visually communicate your style words. It is about using the tools of color, fabric, cuts, layering, mix, and matching to create just that image. This isn’t for the faint of heart, and not everyone can be successful at everything, so getting help and support as you invest wisely in your wardrobe is the key. Your image is your brand. Nurture and protect it, and it will pay dividends in personal confidence, opportunities, deeper relationship building, and reaching more satisfying goals.

ABOUT TRACI MCBRIDE: TRACI IS THE WARDROBE STYLIST AT TEEMCBEE IMAGE CONSULTING. SUBSCRIBE TO HER NEWSLETTER, SCHEDULE A STYLE STRATEGY CALL, OR REQUEST TEE SPEAKS TO INFUSE YOUR ORGANIZATION WITH PASSION AND STYLE.

Fashion Isn’t a Numbers Game

by Traci McBride

Q: A boutique owner asks: How do you recommend helping customers with the “size trap” issue — what a size label says vs. how it looks on their bodies?

A: This can be as frustrating to the client as it is the salesperson! This issue has become more prevalent the last 20 years since the U.S. government got out of the business of standardizing sizes. No longer do we have a standard sizing system across the board — so each manufacturer has developed their own specifications and measurements of sizing. Mass production has played into what shows up in stores.

My message is — It’s NOT you, its never you, it’s the clothes!

When I work with clients, pre-pulling clothes and stocking dressing rooms with the styles, cuts, colors, and sizes that they need to build on the wardrobes they have at home, I always bring several sizes to best gauge their sizes “at that store or by that Brand.” Many times a person will be one size at New York & Co. and then another size at White House/Black Market or Talbot’s. I keep notes of the sizes that best meet their needs at each store as well for future shopping trips. My goal is to act as an advocate for my clients so they won’t be “talked” into anything that does not honor their body — no matter what. Women need to stop beating themselves up with the numbers! Regardless of your size — from 00 to 3X — the number on the tag doesn’t determine your value as a person.

My advice is to avoid all garments that bunch, pull or sag and bring unwanted attention to an area of your body that you don’t want to focus on. Many times it’s necessary to up-size and then tailor the item to perfection. Off the rack garments need professional tailoring 90 percent of the time. It isn’t only about the size its about your personal and unique shape. Instead of thinking of it as a “bigger” size, look at it as a flattering size vs. unflattering size. Take the numbers out it.

Several retailers, such as Chico’s and Torrid, have changed the traditional numbers and instead use 00 to 4. Which only makes it all the more confusing for shoppers.

For the sales people out there, be mindful of how you approach giving support in the dressing room. Your words have a big impact on the fragile half-naked person in that tiny dressing room standing in front of a mirror! Treat others as you would want to be treated.

Really, the only way to find the right fit is to try on the clothes. Bring your best advocate to do your running for right-sizing and all the details that make up a supportive and effortless wardrobe that will show you at your very best every day.

ABOUT TRACI MCBRIDE: Traci is the wardrobe stylist at TeeMcBee Image Consulting. Subscribe to her newsletter, schedule a style strategy call, or request Tee Speaks to infuse your organization with passion and style.