By: Rachel Cansler
In our professional lives we’ve all heard the adages, “Dress to Impress,” “Confidence is key,” and “Dress for the job you want, not the one you have.” Is there any truth to these common sayings? Are our business ventures influenced by our individual style and level of confidence? Empirical research has shown one’s professional success can be dramatically increased by one’s ability to project a refined, poised image. Professional Image and Design Consultant Valerie Burns and Jewelry Consultant Calla Gold led an interactive discussion on image, success, and self-confidence at AWC-SB’s May 1 event.
To help participants assess their current wardrobe image before obtaining any professional advice from the expert panel, Valerie Burns had all attendees fill out a questionnaire about their personal style. “Whatever you do, you’re your own best advertisement,” and you need “to look the part for whatever product or service you’re selling,” suggested Burns. Burns shared before and after stories of four different clients. Participants could see how women often struggle to know how to dress for their body type. She gave examples of women who dressed too casually for their occupation or wore clothing too big or too small for their particular body type. When revamping your style, Burns suggests starting with one thing at a time so one can ease in to their new-found image while remaining true to themselves.
Calla Gold then gave her thoughts on how women can make a better first impression by wearing the correct jewelry pieces for a particular business occasion. She suggested shorter necklaces, 16-18 inches in length, that lay above a women’s breast-line are perfect jewelry pieces for professional or elegant occasions such as a small group business meeting or a dinner with people whom you are attempting to impress. A 20-24 inch necklace that falls right at or right above a women’s breast midline, is okay for businesslike situations that are more casual. A necklace 30 inches or longer communicates a more sensuous look that should be reserved only for nonprofessional events. A bold, thick center piece necklace is great for situations where you are speaking to a large crowd or wanting to portray ownership and power. In addition Gold explained how the right earrings for an occasion depends on one’s face shape and on which part of their face they wish to highlight. Smaller earrings attract attention to the eyes while dangly or shiny earrings tend to accentuate one’s smile. She also suggested that for public speaking events women should, “Wear earrings that are as public as the event you are at.”
The night progressed to another interactive portion where Valerie Burns chose audience members to model different scarves to illustrate the power of color. During this activity Burns demonstrated that women should pull color around their faces to give them a glowing look and certain skin tones are complimented better by dark, chocolate brown colors as opposed to classic black. Also, purple tones tend to stand out more on brunettes while blues focus attention to those with blue eyes.
When asked what her image consultations typically begin with Valerie Burns stated she usually starts with an analysis of the client’s closet followed by finding staple items for their wardrobe such as a great fitting pair of pants, a statement jacket, and a couple of tops so they can mix and match the items to create multiple outfits. Calla Gold advised that all women complete a “look across the room” when getting ready for a professional event to get feedback on the color, shape, and style of jewelry and clothes from a distance. To do this, she suggests to stand away from the mirror at each approximate distance that their audience members would be at during the particular event. Both experts stressed not to forego your entire personal style when dressing for an event. It is vital, no matter the business venture, to stay true to your own personality.