3. FLATTERING COLORS
When you wear colors that flatter your natural coloring, you can instantly look energized, healthy, and well-rested. Sounds like a youthful image to me! Your ideal clothing colors complement the undertones in your skin, hair, and eyes and create an attractive harmony in your appearance. Wearing those colors can prompt compliments like, “You look great today! Just get back from vacation?” Wouldn’t you rather hear that than, “Nice suit”? Color, used correctly, can draw the observer’s eye off of your clothing and on to your center of communication – your face. Right where you want them!
If you haven’t had your colors analyzed by a professional, schedule a consultation with a color/image consultant in your area. Check out the website for The Association of Image Consultants International (www.aici.org) for listings of consultants near you.
Shirt = hair color; Jacket = eye color
Tie = hair color; Shirt = eye color
But here’s a simple trick you can start experimenting with today. Evaluate your skin, hair, and eye colors and simply match those same colors in your clothing, especially the pieces worn close to the face. For example, my hair is auburn, my eyes are olive green, and my skin is ivory. One of the most flattering outfits I wear is a burgundy jacket with an ivory top underneath. I get compliments every time I wear it and it’s become my go-to outfit for appearing on-camera and in front of audiences. Another favorite ensemble is an olive green cardigan with ivory shell. See how it works?
Now – look at your own coloring. Once you’ve determined your colors, play around with the different combos of hair color+skin color, eye color+hair color, eye color+skin color, etc. in your jackets, sweaters, tops, shirts, scarves, jewelry, and ties. These will be some of the most eye-catching, flattering, and unique-to-you ensembles you could ever wear!
TIP #1: Light skin tones can be the hardest element to analyze. Hold up to your face lots of different whites, creams, and ivories until you find the shade that eliminates the shadows and adds color to your cheeks.
TIP #2: Gentlemen – did you know the best tie color for you is your eye color? When you repeat that color in your tie, it will act like an arrow right into your eyes! For those of you with brown eyes, play with yellow or gold ties and get ready for the compliments.
TIP #3: To appear youthful, avoid wearing a lot of black near the face. While young people can look great in black, it can be quite aging on older faces. Better to wear your skin/hair/eye colors around the face. You’re wearing them there already!
©Jill Bremer 2013
2. UP-TO-DATE WARDROBE
Here’s another great exercise from Brenda’s Wardrobe Companion called “Name That Rut”. Create two columns and label the left one “Ruts” and right one “Actions”. What are your image ruts these days? Own too much black? Hairstyle still looks like your yearbook photo? Wearing jeans too often? In the right-hand column, start thinking of new responses to those old, boring habits. Consider new colors, styles, patterns, accessories – and the next time you go shopping, STOP YOURSELF when you find you’re heading toward the same stores/departments/shelves. It’s going to take courage to explore new territory, but it can also be exciting, too. You’re on your way to designing the new you!
As important as it is to look current, it’s also crucial to look age-appropriate. Trends = youth/energy, but you can’t be dressed in trendy fashions from head to toe. You’ll look like a fashion victim instead of someone who’s “current”. A good first step can be to add trendy accessories (shoes, bag, belt, etc.). Clothes should always be flattering, so keep your body shape in mind, too. In other words, maybe skinny jeans aren’t the jeans for you! If that’s the case, try a different trend. And be prepared to pay for alterations. You always want your clothing to look like it was custom-made just for you and the body you have today.
FACE FACTS: You’re going to need to go shopping. A youthful, trendy look means clothes will be new. At least, new-ish. Clothes these days are generally more slim than baggy. Buy new ties, ban all pleated pants, and no dark hose for women!
That title is probably a poor choice of words, but I hope you know what I mean! If you’re on the far side of 45, how can you spruce up your image and compete against all those young-uns out there? I know it doesn’t seem fair, but you have to face the truth. When you start to look old, people will assume you probably also have out-of-date skills and rusty attitudes. And that can be the death-knell to careers these days. I recently spoke on this topic to a group of older jobseekers and shared six tips that can help them – and you – stand out in the sea of younger job hunters.
1. REINVIGORATED ATTITUDE
Start by taking a look within. That will often reveal what needs to change on the outside. Think of it as a study of your “inner image”. A colleague of mine, Brenda Kinsel, shares the following exercise in her book, Brenda’s Wardrobe Companion. The book may focus on building wardrobes, but this exercise is a great way to start fresh on many levels.
Before you can define where you want to get to, you first need to describe where you’re starting from. Make two columns and label the left one “Moving Away From” and the right one “Moving Toward.” Think about your current situation in life/work and start listing what isn’t working for you right now. What’s frustrating you, bugging you? Are you feeling trapped, tired, invisible, old? That’s what you want to move away from.
Now think about what you want to move toward. When you visualize your dream life or job, what do you see? Think expansively! Are you picturing yourself confident, powerful, happy, employed? Give yourself the gift of time and let the dreams for yourself flow out of you.
The next step is to start to think strategically about your wardrobe, behavior, and communication skills. What new choices can you start making now that will reflect that “moving toward” image of yourself? The next five tips will help you in that effort.
Take off your ball cap, cowboy hat, and sunglasses. Women want to see you (and it doesn’t matter if you’re bald.)
At the very least, wear a shirt with a collar, not a well-worn stretched-out old T-shirt. The T-shirt look makes women wonder what you’ll show up wearing on a date.
Don’t make your profile pic a full-body shot. The picture space is tiny and you’re too far away for the viewer to see anything. Post a head-and-shoulder shot instead.
Smile! Serious expressions can make you look mean or sour. And you don’t look like you’d be fun to be with – at all.
Look straight into the camera for the picture – like you’re looking at HER! Your eyes will attract her attention and draw her in.
Don’t make your profile pic an action shot of you on your motorcycle, playing your guitar, or holding up the fish you caught. Those pix are fine for supplemental photos, but your profile picture is your first impression. This is your best chance to catch her eye. Think of it as your logo or brand – and market the best version of YOU!
Cocktail parties, client receptions, and networking hours can be wonderful career-developing opportunities for you. You get to know others – and they get to know you – all while in a relaxed environment. But don’t make the mistake of “letting your hair down” simply because you have a drink in your hand! These functions are still business in nature and best used for making new connections, finding resources, nurturing existing relationships, and staying on the inside track, NOT partying till the cows come home!
Keep these guidelines in mind:
- Your company is expecting you to work the room in order to connect with clients, prospects, board members, competitors, vendors – to build bridges, deepen relationships, gather intel, and find new business. Even when it’s a purely internal event, this is your chance to put faces on that org chart and get the skinny on clients, projects, openings, etc.
- If you enter the room and don’t immediately see someone you know, try to make eye contact with a friendly face or move toward an already-formed group of people who look like they’re having fun.
- Don’t clump! It’s okay to hang out with your friends for one drink or a few appetizers, but then it’s time to disperse and find new people to talk with.
- The best places to stand are either by a food table or in the center of the room. Food tables attract foot traffic so they’re great places to find people to engage in conversation. Food also provides good conversation starters (“Have you tried that?” “Do you think the green sauce goes with that?”). And everyone moves through the center of the room during an event making it another good place to connect, disengage, and connect with someone else.
- Use a filter when you talk. Don’t let company secrets slip out in your conversation or share something off-color or controversial. You don’t want to be next week’s “hot topic”!
- If you’re not on a first-name basis with someone between 9 & 5, you’re not after 5:00 either.
- Don’t monopolize any one individual. 10-15 minutes per person is a good amount of time for small talk.
- Limit your alcohol intake to 1 or 2 drinks. If you don’t drink alcohol, don’t feel pressured to do so. Choose a soft drink or water instead.
- Don’t pile food onto your appetizer plate. Better to make a few trips back to the food table to replenish, than to advertise you’re starving and the frig is empty at home.
One Final Tip: Go with the attitude that you’re the host of the party, even when you’re the guest. Keep an eye out for people who need help with their coats, finding their name badge, or locating a colleague. Doing what you can to make the party a success will shine a nice spotlight on you.
© 2016 Jill Bremer
Conducting meetings via videoconference is becoming more and more popular in business today. It can be a very cost-effective way to bring far-flung employees and teams together – without the costs associated with travel. In order to use it effectively, here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Arrive early enough to learn how to use all of the equipment. Practice using the various buttons.
- Check the volume levels, both outgoing and incoming. Find the volume control and learn how to increase/decrease.
- Check yourself in the picture-to-picture screen. Arrange seating so that people can be eye level with the camera.
- Are people well-lit? You may need to add lighting or open blinds to eliminate shadows on faces.
- Don’t put lighting behind people which will make them appear dark and in shadow.
- Clear out distractions in the background. Visualize the Oval Office when the President appears on-camera from his desk. Curtains, credenza, a few photos. Simplify your background, too.
- Dress in solids or very small patterns. Stay away from shiny jewelry (which can add glare) and large or busy prints.
- Speak clearly and slowly, aiming toward the microphone.
- Refrain from looking away, typing, or talking with someone off-screen.
- Look into the camera when you’re speaking. If you look at the screen, you’ll look like you’re looking off into the distance.
- Conversely, when you’re listening, look at the screen (at them, not your email inbox – we can see your eyes travel back and forth and hear you type!).
- Move as little as possible, with no fidgeting or big gestures.
- Wait for the time delay as people speak . Don’t overtalk each other.
- Sit up straight.
- Turn off all cell phones. People don’t want to hear the beep that says you’ve received a text or new comment on your Facebook status!