Posts tagged ‘style’

February 12, 2011

What to Wear, What to Wear

Without advancing a stereotype, I’m the first to admit that despite having a fairly comprehensive wardrobe (ranging from sloppy t-shirts with kitschy sayings to blouses nearly crisp and starched enough they almost cause physical injury), there are days when I stand in my closet and haven’t the faintest idea what to wear. Now in my mid-twenties, I find myself naturally straying further away from the casual wear, leaning more toward more basic colors and silhouettes. This has also carried over into my now-growing professional wardrobe, which I’m being more cognizant of now that I’m out of school. Just today I made my way to the store, picking up some more career pieces.

In “Dress for the Job You Want”, Hewlett mocks one Swiss company’s (UBS), attempt to address work dress code, in a 43-page how-to of sorts, covering protocol on things like high heel height to hair coloring and makeup application expectations. Though excessive, undoubtedly, research conducted by other outlets reveals a true need in addressing corporate fashion and dress code.

Women, in particular, believed that dressing the part was a vital factor in attaining success: 53% of them felt aspiring female execs needed to toe a very conservative line, avoiding flashy make-up, plunging necklines, too-short or too-tight skirts, and long fingernails — exactly the sort of sartorial no-nos UBS spelled out. Indeed, half the women surveyed and 37% of the men considered appearance and EP to be intrinsically linked; they understood that if you don’t look the part of a leader, you’re not likely to be given the role. Far from imagining that appearance is a personal matter, they perceived that looking well-turned-out engenders self confidence, a trait they considered the bedrock of authentic leaders. (“Dress for the Job You Want“, Sylvia Ann Hewlett)

Looking professional and executive is struggle enough, but what about one’s sense of identity and personal style? As the article suggests:

The research also revealed, however, that it is one thing to grasp the importance of looking professional, and quite another to interpret the ever-shifting notions that define a professional appearance. Women, certainly, struggle more than men to achieve the look of leadership, a factor that contributes to their overall stall in middle- and upper-middle management. On the one hand, they’re told to conform; on the other, they’re advised to stand out. They’re told to downplay their sexuality, but warned against coming off as too mannish and threatening. They know they will be judged on their appearance, perhaps unreasonably so. (“Dress for the Job You Want“, Sylvia Ann Hewlett)

What’s the message here? It depends on who you ask and what you’re willing to put into practice. Unless and until organizations communicate the dress code expectations required of their employees, it’s inevitable that a fashion faux pas  or two may occur. UBS may have been a little heavy handed in their expectations, but ultimately, employees should know what is appropriate and tolerated and what simply isn’t. Personal style should only be incorporated into the workplace so long as it aligns with the organization’s image. That said, when in doubt, ask! If you’re unsure what may or may not be acceptable, asking for a refresher on the dress code isn’t out of the question, nor is doing a little research in the event you’re hesitant to ask. When in doubt, go the conservative route and think basics. And if you’re a girl, like me, who needs a pop of color in her life, a tasteful, colorful accessory will probably keep everyone satisfied.

For more resources on corporate fashion, check out the 20 Best Fashion Blogs for Professional Women.

December 21, 2010

Time Flies, Get a New Calendar

Along with new opportunities, resolutions and goals— we’ll call these traditional perks— a new year brings new calendars and planners, one of my biggest guilty pleasures.

For those looking to stray from your traditional, boring, black and white desktop calendar and personal planner, Etsy— an online marketplace to buy and sell handmade or vintage items, art and supplies— offers an array of unique and often one-of-a-kind items to start your new year off planned and organized.

Prices vary, depending on the seller. Another option for buyers are calendars that are formatted as downloadable PDF files, allowing buyers to simply pay online, then download their files to expedite shipping and handling.

Personally, I’m not willing to sacrifice my style to remain organized, so I opt for a more eclectic, quirky taste for all things organization and planning.

Etsy Seller: JPressDesigns

Etsy Seller: redstarINK

Etsy Seller: LittlePaperDog

Etsy Seller: LetterHappy

What Do You Think: Would you be more likely to remain planned and organized using items that more closely reflected your style?

November 3, 2010

Millennials, Weddings, and Personal Style

While I wouldn’t consider myself the girl who’s dreamt about her wedding since the ripe age of 5, now well into my twenties, it’s something I’ve had to start allowing to stir around my mind from time to time. Plus, given my interest in wedding and event planning, in tandem with my love of all things design and organization, it’s pretty natural for me to be interested in all things wedding related. Just today I stumbled upon a recent article examining my generation and weddings.

Just a bookkeeping detail before I delve in:

  • Generation Y consists of the roughly 50 million of us, myself included, currently spanning the ages of 18 to 29.

Research suggests that nearly 61 percent of surveyed Millennials indicate they think our generation has a unique and distinctive personality (PewSocialTrends). Incidentally, in yesterday’s New York Times, Elizabeth Olson published an article discussing the changing face of wedding style among the Millennial generation. Hm, I wondered, just how prevalent is marriage among my fellow twenty-somethings?

Pew Research Center found that Millennials are “markedly less likely to be married or to have children than earlier generations were at comparable ages” in the last two decades. In fact, just one-in-five Millennials (21 percent) is currently married. Pew further found that this generation values marriage above careers and financial success. Incidentally, the millennials will account for more than 60 percent of all weddings by 2012, according to census figures. While I cannot account for the lack of correlation between these two findings, I do find them intriguing at very least. Perhaps we simply value marriage more, thus we proceed with caution.

Photo Credit: Annalea Hart, Flickr

One fact remains evident: there has been a shift in wedding preferences among my fellow Millennials. In her article, Olson proposed (ha, get it? Weddings….proposal….okay, I’m done) “instead of traditional must-haves like engraved invitations or sit-down dinners, the millennials — people generally in their 20s — seek touches that showcase their interests and personal style.”

Brands are recognizing this increase in generational ego, and catering their messaging to appeal to this me, me, me mentality. Companies are now abandoning their nationwide advertising approaches, instead linking up with independent jewelry stores “with a campaign intended to raise the stores’ profiles in their local markets — where most couples still buy rings.” (NY Times)

Olson offered “one traditional item people are still buying, but adding their own twist to, is the engagement ring, which cost an average of $5,847 last year, according to a study by TheKnot.com and the WeddingChannel.com. One third of such rings are customized or personalized.”

What do you think: Are you a twenty-something knocking on marriage’s doorstep? What’s your style?

__________________________________________________________________________________

For more information on generational research, weddings, or anything discussed here, please visit the links provided above, or the following:

For Millennials, It’s More About Personal Style Than Luxury, NY Times

Millennials: A Portrait of Generation Next, Pew Research Center

The Center for Generational Studies

November 1, 2010

Looking the part: half the battle.

For the sake of revealing a little more of my personality, I wanted to do some secondary research on a different aspect of my career: what to wear!

I can so vividly remember witnessing a debate between my older sister (five years my senior) and my parents, just as she graduated from college. A definite free spirit that cannot and will not be tamed, my sister objected to parental suggestions to streamline her career wardrobe. “I will never shop at Petite Sophisticate!,” she always said.

While my graduate career has certainly extended my opportunities to sport jeans, t-shirts, and flip flops, I welcome the wardrobe change in my immediate future.

Marie Claire recently suggested “What To Wear for: The Corporate Career“. Among some of the suggestions are broader tips to introduce  a palette of black, metallics and shades of blue in a work wardrobe.

Glamour Magazine also offered their own suggestions for new graduates looking to mature their wardrobes in “Your Style Problems, Solved: A Great Work Wardrobe for Less”.

Dress: Mod Cloth

Necklace: Juko at Supplements NY

It’s my own personal philosophy that I always, without fail, feel better when I’m wearing something yellow. After all, you’re only as good as you feel, right?

What do you think: Are other young professionals concerned with how to appropriately express their personal style in the workplace?