Saturday, March 31, 2012

Death By Shoes

The phrase might not be "The higher the heel, the closer to God," but it may as well be. Super-high platforms, stilettos, and wedges may give you a boost, height-wise, but anyone who's worn them knows that one misstep, and you can end up with a twisted ankle — or worse. Allegedly, a 25-year-old teacher in Japan died after falling from a 5-inch platform sandal and fracturing her skull, and another Japanese woman died in a car crash when her stiletto-clad foot couldn't get to the brake in time. Yikes.

Friday, March 30, 2012

New study: What you wear could affect how well you work

Does what you wear affect how well you work? (KAREN BLEIER - AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
Does what you wear affect how well you work?
Quite possibly. We’ve all had the experience of feeling more motivated and focused when we’re dressed up for work—whether that means donning a suit when our usual office dress is khakis and a golf shirt or, for those who work from home, simply getting out of pajamas. But new research shows that wearing certain items of clothing identified with certain qualities could help improve performance, too.
A recently published study from professors at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University shows that when research subjects wore a scientist’s or medical doctor’s white coat, they performed better on a test known as the “Stroop test,” which asks participants to say the color of a word being shown on a flash card, rather than the word itself. The group who donned white jackets identified as lab coats performed better on conflicting flash cards, such as when the word “blue” is spelled in red letters. Those wearing the lab coats, which people typically associate with care and attentiveness, made about half as many errors as their peers.

The researchers, Adam Galinsky and Hajo Adam, call their paper “Enclothed cognition,” a play on the term “embodied cognition,” the idea that bodily sensations can affect how we think and how we feel. For example, the folks over at Miller-McCune point to a 2010 study that found that body positions we think of as powerful (such as standing and leaning over a table or pumping out your chest) makes people act more confident and even raises testosterone levels in the body.
Interestingly, the study subjects who wore similar white coats but were told they were artists’ coats did not perform above average. As a result, Galinsky says their findings show that it’s not just the experience of wearing the clothes, but the symbolic meaning they hold for people. “It’s the simultaneous combination of the posture or the clothes and the symbolic meaning of them that matters,” he says.
Other than artists’ coats, Adam’s and Galinsky’s paper does not study the affect of clothes associated with other professions. But the findings do lead to questions, the authors write, about whether wearing the robes of a priest or a judge could prompt people to act more ethically, or whether putting on a firefighter’s coat could invoke courage. And what about suits and ties? “If you associate those clothes with power and confidence, it’s going to have a huge impact,” he says. “But for some people, wearing suits makes them feel like a phony, as Holden Caulfield would say. So it’s really about what the symbolic meaning of the clothes is to the person.”
What does this mean for leaders? I’d guess it should prompt more thinking about workplace dress codes and fashion norms. Such policies are often instated to make sure people look a certain way to outsiders (think bank tellers who wear suits) or they become common practice in order to fashion a certain workplace culture (“we wear khakis, so this is an informal, fun place to work”). Much of the research on clothing has been focused on how we’re perceived, rather than how it affects our own behavior; just as most dress codes and workplace dress norms are established in order to set up a certain perception of the people who work there, rather than to actually make those people feel, think or perform better.
But before you rush out and tell your employees to wear suits every day for work so they’ll feel more powerful and confident, keep a few things in mind. Again, some people may not associate the clothes with those emotions. Additionally, as Galinsky asks in the paper, “do the effects of physically wearing a particular form of clothing wear off over time, as people become habituated to it?” The focused power that comes from donning a suit (for some people, at least) could get old when it becomes the standard dress code. And finally, are the qualities many people associate with a suit—power, confidence, being a professional representative for a client—what you always want people to be feeling at work?
Like all such studies, it’s hard to know how this research translates to the actual workplace. But it’s a good reminder that leaders should think through dress codes or workplace fashion norms not just in terms of how employees’ attire is perceived by others, but how it makes the employees themselves feel, too. “It reminds people that clothes aren’t just a device of perception, but a tool that can really affect how you perceive yourself,” Galinsky says. Clothes may not make the man, the saying goes. But as the authors write, “they do hold a strange power over their wearers.”

Thursday, March 29, 2012

More Ways To Tie A Scarf!

A couple of weeks ago I posted 15 ways to tie a scarf.  Well here are 40 more ways!  Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Leather up!


Lots of us have motorcycle jackets in our closets. They languish there right next to the acid wash jeans. But there is a way to bring that jacket right back to the fashion forefront by pairing it with something soft and feminine. For this look, be sure to keep your hair and make-up classic and simple.. and jewelry to a minimum; little pearl drop earrings, say.  The idea is to counter the hardness of the jacket with everything else being soft and feminine.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

What is Le Smoking?

Created by Yves Saint Laurent in 1966, the Le Smoking style incorporates a long, thin tuxedo-style trouser suit for women. It's a favorite of Catherine Deneuve, Diane Keaton, and Lauren Bacall. However, the term references the French mot for dinner jacket, a "smoking," rather than the actual act of smoking, even though the connection was made famous by photographer Helmut Newton, who took the iconic photo of the Le Smoking-clad model holding a cigarette.  It's a great option for formal wear if you are not comfortable in an evening gown or even as and 'out-to-dinner outfit.  I would femme it up with sparkly rhinestone pins or flowers, but it's a very glamorous and sophisticated look for all ages!

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Power of Accessories

When designing a wardrobe for a film or television show, I find accessories are an important way to impart a lot of information about the various characters. Is the character rich? Poor? Artistic? Worldly? Cheap?  All these clues are given by careful accessory choices.

I think accessories are the best way to help us develop our brand as well.  Even the most conservative outfit can be enhanced by some well thought out accessories. For women, a good purse is a must and a great way to express your individuality.  But the price of many good quality bags is sky high!  Here are two great options, both pink, which is youthful, playful, and confident.

This great bag from Kate Spade is $448 at Zappos.  It's pricey but not out of the question.  While I love it, I think it's still too expensive for many.

This bag from Dooney and Burke is $278 and gives your look the same wow factor for a couple of hundred dollars less.  Sure, it isn't as luxe as the Kate Spade bag, but it's great looking,well made, and you have money left over for shoes!

Either choice will give your outfit a fresh, happy lift and help you appear approachable and fun!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Quick Tip

As Spring arrives it's time to start thinking about washing and storing our winter sweaters.  You should always wash your sweaters before storing them to help prevent moths from feasting on them over the summer months.  But have you ever mistakenly shrunk a sweater?  Ouch!  Here's a solution to that problem from Real Simple Magazine;
Add 1 tablespoon of baby shampoo (or hair conditioner) to 1 quart of water, then immerse a machine- or hand-washable garment in the solution to relax the fibers. (Knitted items made of cotton, cashmere, or wool have looser weaves and are much easier to manipulate than those made from silk or a synthetic fiber, such as rayon or polyester.) While the shrunken garment is soaking, trace an outline of a similarly sized piece of clothing onto a piece of parchment paper. Lightly squeeze the excess water from the garment, then lay it on the paper. Gently stretch the item so that it fits the traced outline. If there is a little stiffness, use a steamer or the steam from an iron to make the garment more malleable. Finally, secure the edges with heavy objects until dry (glass paperweights or coffee mugs will do the trick). If a piece of clothing came back from the dry cleaner smaller than when you dropped it off, don’t despair. Just instruct the dry cleaner to stretch the garment gently during the next steaming process. ―Jenny Kim

Friday, March 23, 2012

Updated Classic

You don't have to be under 30 to have fun with your look.  Playing with texture and color is a great way to update your classic look without looking trendy.  This Faux-Fur pullover by Kate Spade is a playful approach to a classic look and the red accessories add punch, making the outfit youthful without looking childish.

Look for ways to up your look and keep your brand fresh!



Thursday, March 22, 2012

Stay Strong

 Part of your Personal Brand stratagy should be keeping fit and lean. Katie Boyd, star of Style network’s hit show, Wicked Fit, which takes place in her gym, The Miss Fit Club , is taking women to a new level of fitness and feeling good with exercise and strategic nutrition tips. Here are Katie's tips;
  4 Tips for Getting in Shape for the Spring
Spring Fever is right around the corner! You know that feeling where it gets a little warmer, the sun starts shining brighter and while outside you close your eyes, take a deep breath and welcome it! Crocuses are popping up from the soil, the snow is melting away and so should your fat deposits that have been accumulating and storing as if you were a hibernating grizzly bear during an extra long winter slumber.
That being said there are a couple universal rules that all walks of life can do to help tone up, shed body fat  Here are my four no fail sure fire tips for Springing into Fitness
1. The biggest lesson I have ever learned in my life: Your best bet to shock your body into change is to do an 8 week stint of High Intensity Interval Training. HIIT training consists of upper and lower body movements at the same time with Isometric or holding contractions in static electricity in the muscle fiber and Plyometric exercises which are explosive movements in between every two exercise combos. For example: Bicep Hammer Curl with Plie Squats then Alternating Side to Side Lunges with Upright Rows then a Plyometric Jump Squat. A workout like this should be done 4-6 days a week depending on how much body fat you are looking/needing to lose. 45 minutes tops! Workouts that are hyperexplosive get the job done.
2.Eat six small meals a day! Never say the word DIET... Food is nourishment and fuel for an active lifestyle and if you follow the 80/20 rule meaning 80% of the time eat what I am going to show you and then 20 % eat some nachos or have a not  beat yourself up over it. Eating every three hours makes sure your body is always working to metabolize. Thus burning calories. I like to use the analogy of making a fire. If you are making a fire you feed the fire kindling and some news paper or brush and that usually ensures a bright burning fire that you can add larger items to like the occasional log.  It is the same with your body. Most people starve themselves until dinner time and drink coffee to keep themselves going until the eat a dinner the size of Manhattan, then go to bed with all that junk just waiting to be stored as body fat. How is that ever going to work for you? never will! Adapting the twigs and newspaper idea for your body as you would starting a fire is the way to go. Always have some kind of a protein at every meal. It doesn't always have to be food you can be a shake. You can also get protein from legumes like hummus or nut protein like raw almonds or all natural peanut butter as well. Tapering your starchy carbs off as the day comes to an end is also going to really help you shed that body fat because your body does not need carbs at night for energy. Just protein for repairing muscles and fibrous carbs like green veggies.  
Sample Meal Plan
Meal One at 7 am~ Greek Fritata with an Ezekiel Bread English Muffin with coffee with 2 Truvia and a splash of So Delicous Coconut Creamer (comes in three flavors, Hazlenut, French Vanilla and Regular)
Meal Two at 10 am~ 1 cup of berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, black berries, one or combo of all) with Muscle Milk Lite Vanilla Latte It is tasty, has mono and poly saturated fat which studies have shown help burn fat and is lactose free for those who have milk issues.
Meal Three at 12/1pm~ 1/2 of a cup (cooked) of Tricolor Quinoa, 1 cup of greens (broccoli, asparagus, or my favorite recipe right now, green beans, I love haricovert ...the baby string beans with pine nuts and dill with some type of protein whether it is chicken, steak or fish, or if you are a vegetarian Veggie Patch Makes wonderful meatless meatballs and veggie burgers.
Meal Four at 4pm~ 2 tablespoons of Tribe Hummus, they have a plethora of amazing flavors from Mediterranean style to Cilantro Chimmichurri with 1 cup of green veggies. My fave mix is broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, cucumbers, celery. No carrots and no tomatoes...too sugary for that time of day.
Meal Five at 6/7pm~baked haddock or cod fish around 4-6 oz with 2 cups of KB's green beans. No starches at pasta, bread rice potatoes of any kind and certainly not fruit.
Meal Six at 9 pm~some kind of Protein. I love Muscle Milk Lite Cookies N Cream Ice Cream.
3.Cardio: HIIT on the treadmill.
Warm up for 5 minutes on the treadmill at 3.0 MPH at a 0 Incline. Then 3.5 MPH at a 15 Incline...hold on for dear life it's going to get really real right now! Do this for 2 minutes. Recover at 3.0 MPH at a 0 Incline for 1 minute Then walk side to side first starting on your less dominant side step together step together at 1.8 MPH at a 5 Incline. 1 minute on each side. Then recover at 3.0 MPH at a 0 Incline. Sprint at 6.0 MPH at a 5 Incline for 2 minutes then recover at 3.0MPH at 0 Incline...that is always going to be your recovery zone. Then to finish the round you will walk backwards at 2.0 MPH at a 7 Incline for 2 minutes. You will repeat this for either a half an hour 45 minutes or an entire hour depending on what your goals are for body fat burn. You are getting a full blown all around leg workout without the boredom of just blankly staring into space.
4. To find  the recipes for food, products and juice .

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Your Iconic Brand

In what has to be one of the most genius branding stories in fashion Christian Louboutin's red soled shoes has elevated a simple pump into a fashion icon.  Ever wonder how he came up with the idea?

According to Vogue magazine, it is as simple as it is intriguing: in 1992, at the beginning of his career, Christian Louboutin was checking out a few samples of his shoe styles and felt that something was missing. In the meanwhile, one of his assistants was painting her nails in a Chanel red varnish. They look like two completely disconnected events, and yet it was thanks to that assistant’s oblivious beauty ritual that the designer got the eureka moment he was looking for: he applied the same colour on lacquer on the bottom of one of his voilĂ , the iconic red-soled shoe was born. 

You can do the same thing with your brand. Come up with a simple signature look and work it! Not sure of how to find your iconic look?  Keep checking in with the blog or contact me for help....that's what I live for!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Cracking the Scarf

The scarf has come roaring back into fashion, and why not? This humble length of fabric can dress up almost any outfit making it  more interesting and stylish. Just look at how this bright scarf moves a simple jeans outfit to the next level!
 Need some ideas on how to do some fancy ties?  

12 ways to tie a scarf