How to Crack the Dress Code on Event Invitations

 

Has a wedding or event invitation ever left you confused as to what to wear? Themed events and parties are on the rise; Great Gatsby, Disco Glam or Back to the 80’s just to name a few!

These decade-themed parties are pretty straight forward, encouraging a guest to go ‘all out’ in an outfit or costume. Weddings, cocktail parties, galas, fundraisers and New Year’s Eve can be a bit trickier to decipher the language on the invitation. Here’s how to crack the code so you’ll never feel over- or under-dressed again:

Wedding Attire Etiquette

First rule of thumb: as a guest at a wedding, remember that today is ALL about the bride! The beautiful bride is the star, so dress and act accordingly. Although wearing black is no longer considered a faux pas, white should absolutely be avoided. Every religion and culture has customs and traditions; when attending a wedding outside your own culture, reach out and ask for specific guidelines. Your host will appreciate it and you will feel so much more comfortable!

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“Dressing well is a form of good manners.”

Tom Ford

Black Tie

This indicates a very formal event and usually means it is an evening affair.

For him: A tuxedo, a black bow tie, a cummerbund, and patent leather shoes.

For her: A long evening gown or a chic cocktail dress.

Formal or Black Tie Optional

This event is slightly less formal but still suggests dressing accordingly.

For him: A dark suit or tuxedo; conservative, not flashy.

For her: A long dress, chic cocktail dress, or dressy separates.

Semi-formal / Smart Casual / Dressy Casual

This one is a lot trickier to decipher! Take cues from the time of year and time of day during which the wedding or event is being held.

For him: A suit – light or dark, depending upon the season; colourful, trendy shirts and ties. A vest can also be worn as an alternative to a suit jacket.

For her: A cocktail dress, maxi dress, skirt with a top, or dressy pants and a blouse.

Beach Formal

This suggests an elegant beach wedding, so dress to impress while still keeping sand and exposure to sun in mind.

For him: A summer suit with a linen shirt (no ties required), linen pants or khakis, and sandals.

For her: A maxi dress, a lightweight summery cocktail dress or a dressy sundress, and sandals.

Casual

Consider the purpose of the event when deciding what to wear! Jeans, t-shirts, and shorts are acceptable when a casual dress code has been indicated for a friend’s birthday BBQ or a Euchre tournament at the community centre. When it comes to attending a “casual” wedding, unless specified as acceptable on the invitation, steer clear of jeans and shorts!

For him: Dress pants, chino with button-down shirt or polo shirt.

For her: Dress, skirt and top, or a blouse with dress pants.

When in doubt, remember this advice from Karl Lagerfeld:

“One is never over-dressed or under-dressed with a Little Black Dress.”

Do you have questions about what to wear to your next special event? Schedule a complimentary Style Success Session with me!


EVENT ETIQUETTE: Ponderings from an Event Planner

 

by Heather Reid

As the calendar turns over to November and we wind our way towards the new year, our attention turns to holiday gatherings and a full calendar of social activities.   Business parties, office soirees, gala evenings and intimate dinner parties all require us to put our best, professional selves forward.  As women leaders and entrepreneurs, we are always being observed by those around us – and we want to come “to the party” prepared and professional.  

Party or GatheringHaving planned countless business and social events during my 22 year career as an entrepreneurial event planner, I’ve seen first-hand the “good, bad, and ugly” in event etiquette and behavior.  When you’ve considered and incorporated my ponderings, I’m confident that you will move through the upcoming season with flair and finesse – all appropriate to your professionalism and persona!  

Be Prepared

  • RSVP in timely manner, and then honour your decision.  If you indicate you’re attending, show up!  If you decline, don’t!  Plans are made by the event hosts and costs are incurred – show your appreciation of the opportunity to participate by keeping your word.    
  • If you are unfamiliar with the guest list, arrange to talk to the event organizers as to who is expected to be there and who they could introduce you to.  Setting personal and professional intentions for each and every gathering is a solid practice to moving yourself and your business forward.  
  • Always carry your business cards, but do not pass it out unless you’re asked for it – and then, present it with the text facing the person you are presenting it to.  On the flip side, if you request a business card – accept it with both hands if possible, look at it, and acknowledge it.  Treat the business card with respect.  
  • A well-timed and well-performed handshake, combined with a genuine smile, is a winning way to be noticed and remembered.
  • Inquire, with the event planner and/or known guests, about the dress code if not indicated – dress one notch above the dress code to stand out.  If you over dress too much – you’ll look like you don’t belong; if you under dress, you’ll look like you will never belong.   
  • If provided a name badge, oblige.  However, be sure to wear the name badge on the upper chest region of the arm that you shake hands with……it aligns the other guest’s eyes with your hand and your name badge

Be Aware

  • Holiday functions are not a time to let loose – you are being observed and are “on stage” so to speak…being observed by coworkers, supervisors, clients, board members and potential colleagues.  
  • At functions that have simple or downsized bar set-ups, keep your libations simple. It is not the time to hold up the line with a complicated drink order or to show off your mixology skills!
  • Position yourself in high traffic areas where you will be able to more easily insert yourself into conversations – ie., hang out near the bar, near the food.  Avoid isolated locations or remaining stationary at a table.
  • If you are not the host – this is not your party.  Be respectful of the host, the purpose of the gathering, and be considerate of the other guests.  Unless you’re the hired entertainment, you’re not there to upstage your hosts!

Be Interested and Interesting

  • Never underestimate the power of being able to introduce yourself to others in a polished and professional manner.   This does not come naturally to most people – so you’ll need to prepare and practice your introduction, and then deliver it in a relaxed and authentic-to-you way.  Captivating introductions are rarely spontaneously spoken!  
  • Be prepared to acknowledge and talk to any level of business professional – front-line to CEOs.  
  • Be prepared to talk about business subjects, but be armed with timely and relevant every-day topics, too.  Avoiding politics, religion and gossip are strongly recommended.   
  • If you are at an event where there is a guest speaker – rather than trying to get to the speaker, approach someone that asked a question or is a support person to the speaker – you will make a meaningful connection with fewer guests “in line” to contend with.  
  • Being ready and willing to connect people to one another is one of the most appreciated skills at a social gathering.  Guests are there to make meaningful connections – and facilitating these will position you favourably!
  • Being present and in the moment – rather than responding to your phone or gazing off at other guests – will gain you more respect in the eyes of the person that you’re with, than you’ll get from those that are the distraction.   Be purposeful and be in the moment.

Be Appreciative

  • Always be mindful and pleasant to event staff – remember, you are being observed – and the way you interact with those “serving” you is very telling!
  • Events are organized opportunities to network – and the rules of dating do not apply to the connections you make.  Don’t wait for the other person to follow-up; follow-up promptly.  Be persistent in your efforts and always respectful of their wishes and time.
  • Acknowledge the efforts of your event host – either in advance or post-event.  A token of appreciation or the simple gesture of a hand-written note is always appropriate!  

Participating in business and social events is both a responsibility and a privilege.  To get the most of your time there, be sure you represent your best self by being:

prepared…..aware…..interested and interesting…and appreciative!

 

heather-reid Heather Reid is the Founder and Owner of Planner Protect – a first-of-its-kind boutique contract review agency that negotiates fair venue contracts for independent and in-house event planners, and event hosts. Heather has more than 20 years’ experience in the event planning industry and is also Owner & Principal Planner of Innovative Conferences & Communications. As an expert in contract negotiations and the meetings industry, Heather has authored articles in major industry publications, and has been invited to speak at IncentiveWorks 2015 and 2016, Canadian Sport Tourism Association, PCMA East Chapter Meetings (Ottawa & Toronto), PCMA CIC Conference and several CanSPEP national conferences.

Are you interested in contributing a guest post to Victoria’s Blog? Please email victoria@beautifulyoubyvictoria.com for more information!


2 Simple Steps to a More Balanced Life

My clients tell me all the time how they desire more balance in their lives:

“I only have work clothes and sweatpants.”

“I have nothing in my closet that works for just a movie night or a nice dinner out.”

Actually, just the other day, I had a conversation with a client whose business has evolved so much that she has nothing to wear this fall but what she calls “convention clothes” – and she is not spending all of October in conventions!

Can you relate?

I have a great trick up my sleeve to help you figure out whether your life balance is out of whack!

I’m talking about your Lifestyle vs Wardrobe balance – sorry, no meditation or time management tips here! Today, we’re going to go to the root of the cause and find out if your lifestyle and wardrobe match up in the closet.

Ready? Ok, old-school people like me, grab a pen and paper… millennials, open an app.

Step 1

Figure out what percentage of time you spend in the following categories

  • Work
  • Casual (movies, dinner out, bowling, shopping… get the drift?)
  • Active (exercising, walking dog, gardening)
  • Formal (weddings, graduations, galas)

Step 2

Go to your closet and do the same exercise with all your clothing. This can take a while, so it makes a great “rainy day” or weekend project. It’s also much easier if you’ve recently completed a wardrobe audit – to learn how to do that, check out this blog post.

Determine what percentage of clothing you have for the same 4 categories:

  • Work
  • Casual
  • Active
  • Formal

For example, you might have 50% Work, 20% Casual, 20% Active, and 10% Formal. There is no right or wrong amount here! All you’re doing is finding out whether your lifestyle and wardrobe are in sync.

Whenever I go through this exercise, I like to make a pie graph for each step and then compare them side-by-side to find out where I might need to add or take away from my existing wardrobe.

Here’s an example:

lifestyle-vs-wardrobe-comparison

It’s one of my absolute favourite tools – it keeps me focused on my shopping trips and has lessened the itch to impulse buy!

Do you have questions about this process? Schedule a complimentary 30-minute Style Success Session with me here and let’s talk!

 


The Difference a Year Can Make – Lessons in Life AND Business

On August 31st, 2015, I officially handed over the keys to the new owner of my day spa. That day was a weird experience. I was excited, full of anticipation of how my new career/business would unfold and develop. At the same time, I was sad to say goodbye to so many great clients, memories of how it all began, the good times, and funny stories that had happened there over the years. It was a day of mixed emotion.

The sale of my day spa is just one component. My family and I also relocated to a new town in June 2015, leaving behind great friends and a community I loved dearly.

For those of you getting these newsletters and following me on social media, you can agree: WOW a lot can happen in a year!! I have been blessed to moved into a great new community, launch a new career, make new friends, etc… you see the highlight reel. All the good stuff.

There has been lots of talk lately on how the “highlight” reel on social media feeds can actually make us feel bad about ourselves.

Yearcollage

Maybe you are anxious to get engaged and start a family, and while you seemingly wait patiently by the sidelines and nudge your boyfriend to buy the ring, everyone else you know seems to be getting married or having their first baby. UGH it isn’t fair: when will it be my turn?! you think.

Are you struggling to make ends meet financially, and it’s depressing to see posts of friends traveling the world, going to exotic places or even having a dinner out? I mean sure, you are happy for them, but you deserve it too!

I am one of the most upbeat, positive, happy people I know, and yes – this past year has been marvelous, but I have also had struggles. As an entrepreneur, I can tell you it is a roller coaster ride with many ups and downs.

I choose to show my highlight reel on social media: all the good stuff, the celebrations of my hard work and perseverance.

What you didn’t see is me sobbing uncontrollably driving away (and for hours after!) from appointment with the lawyers to close our previous home. We carried both homes for 4 months and I didn’t realize how much emotion this would bubble up. The finality, knowing I couldn’t just pop up the road to my friend’s house for an impromptu tea and a chat. I felt fear of the unknown.

I began online certification courses in September 2015. Every day for the first month my husband would come home for lunch and I would be waiting for help, frustrated and ready to throw the computer out the window! The course load itself was fine; it was my incompetency with computer programs I had never needed to use before that was literally driving me crazy! I felt inadequate and stupid.

Same goes for joining a tug of war team, as well as a ladies dance troupe, to meet new people. I felt clumsy and awkward.

Heck, even the grocery store was set up differently to my old one. EVERYTHING was new and I was a novice at it all. My normally adventurous self was taking a beating, and it wasn’t pretty.

And for the first time in 28 years I felt lost. By December my courses were complete, Christmas shopping was done, and my business was not yet launched, so I was client-less and stir crazy! In previous years, I would have been running around the spa like a chicken with its head chopped off by that time – crazy busy and exhausted while wishing for it to end. Be careful what you wish for!

I felt lost and frightened. My confidence faltered and I began to second guess myself. Some days I only drew comfort knowing I could cook a good meal and keep a tidy home.

I am persistent if nothing else!

Every day, I woke up determined to keep on going. I soldiered on, and slowly but surely everything became easier: I was getting better! My confidence returned and the adventure became fun.

My persistent nature, consistency with executing “the plan”, and willingness to try new things, whether in business or pleasure throughout this last year, is what has brought all the cool, new opportunities into my life.

My motto – feel the fear and do it anyways!

Guess what?

  • I have made new friends and maintained friendships with many whom I care so much about and we still get together for tea… the only difference now is we just have to plan ahead!
  • I have gained new clientele from across Canada/U.S.A. and stay in touch with some former clients through Facebook/email, or get a big hug if we bump into each other at the mall!
  • I can now troubleshoot many of the computer techy issues myself!
  • My tug of war game has improved and it will continue to be a work in progress.
  • Over 600 people, over 3 nights, paid to watch me dance in a community fundraiser with the ladies dance troupe! What a blast!
  • I easily maneuver through the local grocery store these days and despite clumsily knocking over an entire aisle display of birthday candles, I became friends with the owners who had a good chuckle that day!

My mission or personal mandate when I launched this business, began blogging and creating buzz on social media, was to be a woman first and an Image Coach second. To some this may seem a backward approach in growing a profitable business, but I am passionate about creating a community where women empower women. To see higher potential in yourself, to inspire action or to love yourself in this moment today while on the journey to becoming the next version of you!

What I know for sure is we are all more alike than different. We all have the ups/downs in life, it depends if you decide to tackle them or let them tackle you that dictates your outcome and future.

Cheers to all of us in the game, ready to rumble and make our dreams come true!

Remember that you are beautiful!


How The Word “No” Taught Me When to Say “Yes”

dreamstime_s_30035137I have a hard time saying no. I admire those who can say “no” straight up, with zero hesitation and zero guilt.

Saying “no” has been on my list of goals for the past two years, and I have improved. People pleasing and doing things out of obligation instead of desire are two areas where I am practicing this art of “no”.  Years of patterned events, behaviour and customs for us “people-pleasers” can take its toll, and the joy of serving others is replaced with resentment. Now I carefully choose with whom I spend my time, and I am thrilled to have such a diverse group of family and friends.

Who wants to spend their life feeling and doing things strictly out of obligation? I thrive on joy, love, fun and excitement. For those of you who’ve received an email from me, you may recognize this quote from Rumi, which appears in my email signature and is my personal motto:

“Set your life on fire; seek those who fan your flame.”

The real magic begins with saying “yes.”  Are you confused yet? :) First I tell you I am practicing saying “no” and now I tell you saying “yes” is magical!

Here is the difference:

Say ‘no’ when you are suppressing an eye roll to an invitation to spend time with people who are simply not in line with who you are, where you do not want to spend the evening with a fake smile and head nods.

Say ‘yes’ when your heart skips a beat, when you think “I can’t do that” because it is far fetched – be crazy enough to give it a shot!

Being open to new experiences, adventures and people is saying “yes” to what makes my heart sing. Yes is magical. Yes is scary. And yes opens up a whole new world of opportunities.

So what do you have to lose? Try saying yes to something new this week and see what difference it makes in your life and in the lives of those around you! Here are some suggestions:

Say “YES!” to…

  •  Trying new foods!

Life is far too short to spend it eating meat and potatoes every night! Be brave: order something new the next time you are at your favourite restaurant, or try a new recipe!

  •  Volunteering in your community or at a fundraising event!

Meeting new people with a common interest/goal and giving back is a win/win. I have made amazing personal and business relationships through volunteering.

  •  Signing up for a physical challenge!

Whether it is a 5 km fun run, mud run, marathon, bike ride, yoga or tai chi in the park, the energy and excitement is amazing.  Registering will keep you on top of fitness goals and the accomplishment will make you proud!

  •  Doing business in a new way!

I never expected my business to expand virtually through Skype the way it has, but I said ‘yes’ to trying. Likewise, with new partnerships, public speaking – which I had no experience doing, but said ‘yes’ anyway.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained – and I have gained a lot thanks to being open to trying something new.

  •  Something that scares you a little (or a lot)!

Like zip lining, tree topping or midnight skinny dip, doing anything out of your comfort zone heightens all the senses. It is invigorating and freeing!

Practice saying yes to opportunities TODAY by grabbing one of my complimentary Style Success Sessions. I’m opening up just 6 spots on my calendar for these 20-minute sessions, and they’re first come, first served for the first 6 people who book one. When the last session is booked, I’ll be closing my calendar. Click HERE to schedule yours now!


Effort is Attractive: 7 Tips to Avoid “The Trap”

When you start a new job or open a business, things are always so fresh and exciting at first! Your mind is full of cool new ideas. You know, with full conviction, that you’re going to make your mark on your industry. Sure, there are obstacles, but you can conquer them and boy, you look good doing it, too! Coming to work, attending meetings and conferences with your hair coiffed, nails polished and dressed to impress. No one can stop you, except you – when you fall into “The Trap”.

Trap? What trap?

I’m talking about reaching your comfort zone… aka falling into “The Trap”.

Here’s how it happens: your career is humming along, your life feels balanced, you have a good rapport with your clients and coworkers, and you’ve hit certain goals that you’re really proud of and happy about. You’re feeling good about yourself and life in general, so you decide – subconsciously – to ride it out for a while.

caution

How do you know you’ve fallen into “The Trap”? When bit by bit, you start letting yourself slide by thinking things like“No one else dresses up in this office, so why bother?” or “Ugh, it’s Casual Friday anyways – jeans and a messy bun will do,” or even “I’ve had this client for years; they won’t care how I look.”

Hey, I get it, I’ve been there myself! It’s a nice, comfortable and easy feeling.

Breaking News…. your appearance matters!

What got you to where you are now in your career is not going to take you to the next level. People notice when you show up as your best self and they notice when you don’t. This is not ego, this is reality! I just read The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, and this particular line stuck with me:

Appearances matter. If you want people to judge you for what’s inside,

don’t let them get confused with the outside.

If you are happy with your current reality, happy with the status quo, that’s great – no need to read any further! But if you want to stand out from the competition and go above the norm, here is the best advice I can give to get you back on track:

Effort is attractive – jot these words down on a sticky note and attach to your bathroom mirror. It all boils down to effort.

Whether it is within our workplace, business relationships or personal and romantic relationships, effort is attractive and key. Effort in how we present ourselves is the quickest, simplest way to increase attention towards who you are!

1. Get a decent night’s sleep.

7-8 hours is what research suggests the average person needs to maintain good health. Routine sleeping patterns will keep you looking fresh;feeling energized and maintains more brain power!

2. No extra snoozing.

Get up with your alarm! Allot yourself enough time each morning to properly get ready for the day ahead. That means no more ponytails or applying mascara/lipstick in the car at stop lights! Have an outfit picked out the night before to alleviate some time in choosing. Calmly beginning your day sets the tone for next 8-10 hours.

3. Pre-book grooming appointments.

Haircuts, waxing, manicures and pedicures can all be booked from one appointment to the next. This habit alone will keep you feeling and looking better, which builds your self confidence.

4. Don’t wear clothing that is worn-looking, stained, missing buttons, or in any state of disrepair.

Toss it! Same goes for shoes, boots and purses.

5. Smile!!

Even if you don’t feel happy. A smile goes a long way, makes you more approachable, likeable and it shows effort!

6. Say please and thank you.

Good manners are very much in style. Be fashionable: use them and earn the respect from those around you.

7. Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.

Often, I hear women say they don’t want to stand out, they would rather blend in. This breaks my heart! You were born to stand out, not to blend in! Besides, if you want to advance in your career, you need to stand apart from the competition, get noticed, get promoted, gain higher level clients, and earn more wealth!

Above all, remember that you are beautiful! Do you have questions about how to stay out of “The Trap”? I work with professional and entrepreneurial women who want to kick their style and their careers up a notch. I’d love to chat with you – just click here to be taken to my calendar and book a complimentary Style Success Session with me!


Perfectly Imperfect

perfectly imperfectThe t-shirt arrived on my doorstep as a gift from my good friend… and I find it “perfect”. I wear it with great pride, and it is what I am wearing in the cover photo on my personal Facebook page.  Our joke regarding the phrase began while she and I decorated my home on two separate occasions: once for a baby shower and another for a Mardi Gras party. We both like the house to look perfectly imperfect when staged for an event!!

As a type A personality, Virgo and self proclaimed perfectionist, I began to think and have a silent chuckle at how many times over the years I have spent endless hours decorating our home so it looks magazine worthy, yet not so perfect to be on display in a showroom all matchy-matchy. Or countless formal styles or updo’s I did as a hairstylist, making my clients look gorgeous with an effortless elegance, yet spending an hour and cursing silently with a bobby-pin in my mouth to achieve this. Or how I balance a client’s outfit to look elegant, sophisticated and yet approachable and fun.

I had to ask myself the question: Why? Why am I, and others, obsessed with this “perfectly imperfect” style?

I’ve come to the conclusion it’s because we are all perfectly imperfect; flawed in ways that make us unique and more attractive to our family, friends and clients.

All of us were born into this world as beautiful, perfectly unique humans. I encourage all of us to embrace those imperfect traits we possess, whether it’s those freckles, the gap in your teeth or your carrot top. Learn to love that which makes you different!

I have found that the quirky little traits we own and perhaps shun ourselves, are usually the same traits our friends admire about us most, or don’t even notice. I used to be terribly self conscious about my toes, they are spread wider apart than the average person (kinda creepy), so what? I am not average, so why should my toes be? My thighs rival most men’s for thickness, but they are strong! And I have this obnoxious loud cackle – yes I said cackle! – and the occasional snort slips out as well, it’s horrifying! Yet, more people have told me how much they love my laugh and how infectious it is!

Let the perfectly imperfect YOU shine on!

In a world where Photoshop and filters serve to enhance our pictures, let’s keep those enhancements subtle, real, pure and fresh.

To end I will leave you with a quote to ponder.

“There is nothing more rare and beautiful than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me that is the true essence of beauty.”

~Steve Maraboli

Victoria Baird works with women in life transitions to discover their personal style, develop their personal image and brand, and build their self-confidence around their own natural beauty. Ready to kick your image up a notch? Schedule a complimentary Style Success Session with Victoria here.


3 Fun Ways to Update Your Style without Spending a Cent!

Do you wake up in the morning, stare into your closet and just feel blah because all you can think is ‘same old clothes, same old style?’

Nothing excites you about getting dressed for work anymore, and let’s not even talk about a night out on the town! Night after night, you watch those reality TV shows and wish you were one of those lucky women getting the complete makeover you crave and deserve. Top that off with having to pay for the kids’ extracurriculars, a broken down car, and the rising costs of just about everything – the mere idea of going on a shopping spree to freshen up your ‘look’ is out of the question.

Sound familiar?

Too often, women get lost in the everyday shuffle of family life and responsibilities, leaving their own needs for last. Are you guilty of delaying an already overdue haircut because your youngest has outgrown his soccer cleats?  Or eyeing that beautiful cocktail dress in your favourite store during the holidays, but opting to wear the same dress you’ve worn the last 2 years to the office party because, well… it’s the holidays and the bank account is depleting fast enough.

Don’t despair! I can help.

Here are some easy, fun tricks to update your style, and you don’t have to break the bank to do it!

1. There’s more than one way to wear your hair.

Unless your hair is super cropped (I’m talking Demi Moore in GI Jane or Britney Spears’ rage-induced buzz cut of 2007), you should be able to wear it a couple different ways.

Believe me! It’s possible.

During your next visit to the salon, ask your stylist to show you some easy ways to style your current cut differently. Sure, it may require a different styling product and feel awkward the first few tries, but don’t get caught up with trying to have every hair perfectly in place. If, for some reason, your stylist is unable to assist with this, it might be time to shop for a new stylist!

2. Play dress-up!

Remember as a child how fun it was to play dress-up? To sneak into your mother’s or your sister’s closet and having fun trying on their clothes and shoes, layering their jewels like you were the Queen of England? Embrace that inner child again!

Set the stage: don’t attempt play time when you’re on a time constraint. Give yourself at least a couple of hours to “play.”

Next, turn on some music – music that you love, music that makes you want to dance (and you might!). Have some fashion magazines or your favourite Pinterest boards handy for style inspiration. Also have a full-length mirror available and do your hair and make-up beforehand.

Now it’s time for the real fun to begin. Pull out everything from your closet! I’m talking clothes, shoes, purses, jewelry – and start playing.

Most often, we reach for the same outfits – thus creating those “style ruts” we find ourselves in – so begin with just one of your favourite pieces of clothing and start dressing it up with items you don’t wear as often. Look to your inspiration pictures and don’t be afraid to be silly and creative. Untuck, tuck, wrap, twist, layer, add a belt…I guarantee you that at least a couple new outfits will come from this experiment and, better yet, you don’t even have to open your wallet!

For a real-world example of this “playing dress-up” technique in action, check out these pictures of my client, Yvonne. Together, we created a whole new look for her from items already in her closet – no trip to the mall required!

Yvonne1 Yvonne2 Yvonne3 Yvonne4

3. Host a clothing swap party!

Personally, I like any night out that involves good friends, wine, and potluck appetizers.

Instead of spending any money, host a “swap party” where friends bring gently worn clothes, shoes, handbags and accessories that they would otherwise donate.

Try to set up in advance to display the items – think boutique second-hand store. Once ladies arrive, everyone can mingle, try things on, and have some fun.

Set a limit, though, to make sure things are fair. For example, if you bring 3 items you can shop for up to 3 items – unless by the end of the night there are still items left. If any items remain after everyone has gone home, these can easily be donated to your preferred charity.

I know what you’re thinking – everyone is different shapes and sizes. Don’t underestimate the value of coming away with some cool accessories! Often it’s the little things that make the biggest difference.

If, after you’ve tried these 3 easy tricks, you’re still feeling like you have nothing to wear, it’s time to call in an expert for support. Book a complimentary Style Success Session with me here and let’s get you out of that rut!

 


Turn That Frown Upside Down!

I have a confession to make.

I am not always a happy camper. Actually, I don’t like camping at all.

Joking aside, I get angry, sad, frustrated and, at times, resentful.

Last week was a really crappy week for me! It was one of those weeks where nothing seemed to go right and my normally good attitude went down the drain, too: I stained a brand new blouse, burnt a batch of cookies, mixed up two of my own appointments (thankfully not client appointments!!) and then got nailed with a hefty,unexpected expense.

Seriously, as the saying goes when it rains it pours.

So why am I sharing this with you?

In my role as Image Branding Expert and Coach, I set a goal to intentionally inspire, motivate and keep you accountable for your own goals. I like to lead by example. I am a happy, fun outgoing and optimistic woman!

But, I am also human.

I have days where my head is just not in the game. I get down on myself and then the domino effect of crappy events happens, just like it did last week. The difference now is that I’ve learned how to snap out of the pity party I give myself and get back on track. Re-adjust my attitude and get focused, quickly.

4 Ways to Turn That Frown Upside Down

Here’s what works for me:

1. Acknowledge how you feel

I find accepting the emotion – whether it be anger, sadness or whatever – is best. Let it out. Have a good cry, scream into a towel or write it out in a journal. Expressing whatever I’m feeling, when I’m feeling it, has had such a cleansing effect for me. It’s like wiping the slate clean and starting again.

2. Deep breath in….. exhale…..

Intentional deep breathing is also very cleansing.

Sit, close your eyes and inhale through your nose, let your belly expand, feel your chest rise, slowly count 1-2-3….. Then, release and exhale out the mouth, slowly.

Repeat until you feel more grounded or settled.

3. Laugh until you almost pee your pants

Laughter truly is the best medicine! I have a stash of funny clips on my phone or on my computer handy for those days! Sometimes just hitting up YouTube for 20 minutes of funny video clips can turn my whole day around. Consider the wise words of Charlie Chaplin:

“A day without laughter is a day wasted”

Laugh until you almost pee your pants, then laugh some more!

4. Keep a gratitude journal

A daily entry into a gratitude journal puts life into perspective.

Every day, jot down 5 things you are grateful for. No need to over-think or over-analyze what to be thankful for. Did you have hot water for a shower? Did you have food for lunch? Was the sun shining? Did your child hug you?

It is life’s simple daily pleasures that create a happier life. As I was packing boxes during our move a few months ago, I came across some old journals of mine. For over 10 years I have kept a gratitude journal! It was pretty neat reading some of those entries.

Choose just one of these four strategies and start implementing it within the next 24 hours. Let me know which one you pick by leaving a comment!


The One Thing You Need to Know to Layer Your Clothing and Still Look Chic!

It’s warm, it’s cold, it’s wet, it’s damp, it’s windy, it’s calm, it’s sunny, and it’s dull. It’s springtime in Canada where the weather can change within minutes and “it” does! Just last weekend on my girls’ getaway in Toronto we experienced it all, even the dreaded S word – SNOW – in the middle of May. UGH.

This time there were 5 of us ladies, aged between 28-50 – what a diverse group of girlfriends I am blessed with! And this is just a few. Quality time with my friends is a priority in my life, although it’s sometimes hard to manage between all our schedules. But when we do – look out! We laugh so hard my head hurts; get into some deep meaningful conversations and the food… never a lack of good food and wine!

Why did we even pack umbrellas? It was sunny when were heading out into the city, so we were hopeful and left CanadianSeasonsthem back at the condo. We were wrong.

Not one of us was prepared in our dress for the weather, even myself – despite looking at the forecast the entire week leading up to the getaway. Maybe I was in denial or maybe I was overly optimistic; either way, I roamed the streets in a light weight leather jacket, hand and head open to the all the elements of spring that hit me. Literally hit me! It is not much fun roaming the Distillery District with a croissant in one hand and a tea in the other with sleet pelting down on me!

Clearly I don’t have ‘it’ all together all the time! For anyone who knows me well they can vouch for this! I struggle, just like the rest of you, trying to figure out what to wear each day with the erratic changes in weather. And in our defence, the weatherman has been known to make mistakes!

Mom’s old school advice holds true still in 2016. Layer up, buttercup.

Wikipedia defines Layer clothing as the wearing of multiple layers of clothing for practical or fashion purposes.

 

Want to layer and still look chic?

 

It’s simple – scarves, cardigans, tights or leggings under a skirt!

Easy to add and subtract, throw in purse or around your waist.

Let’s be honest. Aside from the weather, women’s body temperatures seem to yo-yo enough on their own. From pregnancy to menopause, dressing to adapt to our own internal furnace is tricky. What worked for us even a few months or weeks ago can change in what feels like the blink of an eye!

I love working with women in transition, experiencing life changes – and let’s face it, womanhood IS a series of transitions and changes, whether it’s (re)entering the workforce, changing careers, dating after divorce or the loss of a spouse, or even physiological – losing or gaining weight, having a baby and yes… menopause!

For those of you who are going through a transition like this, I’d love to have a chat with you – no obligation, just a chance for me to get to know you and perhaps offer a few simple tips to help you put your best self forward! Just click here and book a time on my calendar.