Will Wearing Summer Business Casual Damage Your Image?

Naughty teen with expressive faceIt’s hard to believe that spring is here and summer is just around the corner! As consultants who work in different corporations or agencies almost every day and we’ve noticed that many people have taken business casual to the extreme in the way they dress for work. What you wear can send out mixed messages.

Cover the Cleavage

We’ve been lucky so far but 2018 weather has been challenging. There is no reason to believe that summer 2018 will be anything other than different and bring us challenges about what to wear. Sure if it’s a scorcher out there that doesn’t mean women can wear tight, low-cut T-shirts that reveal too much. No matter the temperature, short shorts have no place at work – ever! No one will be taken seriously dressing in shorts or tank tops in a corporate environment.

We’ve been surprised and disappointed to see that many women are dressing down to the point that during a recent training session we felt we had to say something.

A beautiful young woman took me aside and confided, “You’ve helped me to overcome my little girl mannerisms and to feel more confident and in control. But I recently got a powerful new boss and when I’m with him, I revert back to being a little girl. What can I do?”

We pointed out that she was sending mixed messageSerious office worker at his desk, looking at cameras by wearing little black shorts with a black top showing too much cleavage. Her long brown hair was twisted behind one ear and cascading down one shoulder. The hairstyle was much too seductive and drew attention to her well endowed figure.

She was also wearing cheap flip-flops which are always inappropriate for the office. She didn’t convey the professional image required to have her boss, and others in the company, perceive her as a rising young executive.

She was standing out, but for all the wrong reasons. It was also a sign of disrespect to her boss, who grew up in a generation that dressed in suits and ties before business casual became the norm during the Internet era.

Wash Your Hair

Men aren’t immune to this new trend towards what has become “sloppy casual.” Recently, we were conducting a presentation training at a hip new technology company. In walked one of the directors, a man in his mid-40s. His long, dirty hair fell to his shoulders.

He was unshaven. His clothes were so wrinkled that he looked like an unmade bed. His shoes and belt should have made it to the dumpster long ago.

His offices weren’t any better, with files and debris strewn everywhere. It was a real turn off. We suggested that this might not be the kind of impression he wanted to convey to clients and prospects, not to mention staff.

Reshape Your Image 

It isn’t too late to restock your summer wardrobe with appropriate clothing. Stores are having sales in preparation for the Fall season, so you’ll also get good deals.

Long skirts are “in.” Fashionable sleeveless dresses and skirts are always in style. Be wary of tight knits that can be too revealing. Dressy sandals and “peep toes” can complement your outfit (but, again, no sloppy flip-flops). Some of the places we work actually ban sandals, sling back and open toe shoes! If you’re going on an interview, it’s important to know the dress code in advance and adhere to it.

It’s easy for men to achieve a professional look in a crisp, clean shirt and pressed pants. You don’t need a tie but you do need a shine on your shoes and a decent belt with a simple but elegant buckle.

As you plan your fall wardrobe, take inventory of what you own. Donate the clothes you’ll never fit into again to charities like Dress for Success which provides clothing and career counseling to underserved women entering the work force, or Career Gear, that does the same for men.

Or, consider donating your out-of-date clothing to a thrift shop or Goodwill. Then step into one of your new outfits. You will feel like a million bucks and convey confidence. You will look like the professional you are!

Browse fashion collections on-line, in the fashion magazines or in the stores and visit your favorite boutiques to learn what’s in style. Select mix-and-match jackets and pants to stretch your budget. Buy several colorful scarves or ties to add variety. Get those bangs that fall in your eyes trimmed.

You’re guaranteed to be complimented on your refreshed look as now you stand out for all the right reasons. Remember that it is a good idea to dress for the job you want and not the job you have!

Delivering the Speech of Their Lives

In the natural cycle of life, we all may find ourselves needing to write or deliver RIP - Rest in Peace - written on the roada eulogy for clients or a loved one.

Writing a eulogy is similar in many respects to crafting other special occasion speeches, but delivering a eulogy or coaching a client to deliver one presents unique challenges. Done well, a eulogy can be the best speech about the deceased’s life – and your best speech as well. …Read more…

A Great Teacher Can Change Our Lives Forever

Great teacher can change lives

Novak Djokovic

“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops” — Henry Adams

In an exciting five-set encounter, Novak Djokovic claimed his second Wimbledon tennis title in 2014. While his talent and tenacity pulled out the win, Djokovic didn’t forget how he reached the pinnacle of tennis.

In accepting the winning trophy, he paid tribute to his family, his team and to “my first coach Jelena Gencic.” When she died in 2013, Djokovic wrote a letter, while playing at the French Open, honoring her for changing his life forever. Here is an excerpt: …Read more…

#MeToo #TimesUp #5050by2020 #WhatsUpNext #WomensHistoryMonth

Will Women’s History Month (March) 2018 once again be detached from the present? Or, will it recognize that we live in a country that feels deeply divided – by geography, race, class, religion, media, political worldview – and help solidify a Fourth Wave of Feminism?

The intention of the #MeToo hashtag was to empower women through empathy, especially young, vulnerable women, according to creator Tarana Burke. After millions of people shared their own #MeToo stories, #TimesUp shifted and expanded the purpose from being a movement exposing the prevalence of sexual violence against individuals to one with broader implications and potential political impact.

Is This the Fourth Wave Feminism?

“Download This Chapter” from Women of Wisdom — PDF

Feminism is the one-word simplification of the two words “Women’s Movement.” The First Wave of feminism largely dealt with the station of White women involved in suffrage and political equality in the 19th century and early 20th century.

Second Wave feminism began in the 1960s with protests against the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City and continued into the ‘90s focusing on guaranteeing social equality regardless of sex.

“Particular Passions: Talks with Women Who Shaped Our Times: Women of Wisdom” by Lynn Gilbert and Gaylen Moore, is an absorbing collection of portraits  and edited transcripts of 42 iconic women from the Second Wave including Billie Jean King, who is particularly close to our hearts.

As portrayed in the 2017 film, “The Battle of the Sexes”, Billie Jean was a driving force behind the Virginia Slims tennis series because she wanted to end inequality of pay between male and women on the courts.

Virgina Slims Media Training

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We had the privilege of working next to Billie Jean King in media training the Original 9 players and the many that followed into what evolved into the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA). As the number of players grew in the Slims series, she frequently joined our training sessions to emphasize that a player’s role was as important in developing the women’s sport off the court as on.

At the time of her match with Bobby Riggs Billie Jean said, “To beat a fifty-nine-year-old guy was no thrill. The thrill was exposing a lot of new people to tennis. The most important thing was that women liked themselves better that day.”

“I walked into the offices of the Philadelphia Bulletin a few weeks later and all the secretaries stood up and clapped. They just went berserk. The editor said, ‘You have no idea what you did. The day after you played Bobby Riggs, all of these women asked for a raise,’” Billie Jean recalled in Particular Passions.

Women of Wisdom

Photographer/Author Lynn Gilbert says “when I photographed the women for the book, including Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem and Barbara Walters, it was the height of the Second Women’s movement. Billie Jean King, was one of the most outspoken supporters of gender equality. She not only brought about change on the tennis court, but in all sports. These changes filtered into in the workplace, not just in America, but around the world.”

“We are at a moment in time, where the ground work for Women’s Rights is coming to fruition. Women want equality to men written into the constitution. Who knew that it doesn’t exist under the law? I had no idea and neither did my friends,” she added.

Lynn Gilbert’s portraits of Billie Jean and Barbara Walters are part of the permanent collection of Washington’s National Portrait Gallery. Other portraits in her book include Julia Child, Betty Friedan, Ruth Bader Ginsburg,  Louise Nevelson, and Gloria Steinem. These are being featured on 21 New York City bus kiosks during Women’s History Month.

Historians say the Third Wave of feminism began in the early 1990s was a response to the perceived failures of the Second Wave and its emphasis on the experiences of upper middle-class white women. Will Women’s History Month 2018 blend the past with #MeToo, #TimesUp, and #5050by2020 to serve as a catalyst for the Fourth Wave as #WhatsUpNext?