If you haven’t noticed, Robin Kawakami, is doing a great job profiling companies and what people wear. Check out the latest on What People are Wearing at Scholastic
Whether you need a nice shot for dating or linkedin – everyone is focused on pictures today – they tell the story before you are even allowed to open your mouth for better or worse. That’s why New York Tech Women is organizing an event to take professional headshots for a fraction of what it would normally cost:
and there’s an after party! #SocialSunday: Shoot for Success After Party
Sunday September 23rd 2:30PM
If you aren’t able to join us for the morning Shoot for Success event, join us for the after party at Vapiano. We’ll still have that savvy industry talk and good friends! RSVP includes first drink for free.
Now as a blog focused on what people wear to work, I did some research for the shoot to give some advice on what you should wear in a professional headshot. The bottom line is COMFORT – if you don’t feel comfortable in what you are wearing for the shoot you won’t look comfortable in the picture. And by comfort, I don’t mean pjs but an outfit that makes you feel comfortable and confident about who you are and what kind of professional you want to portray. This could be a wide range of outfits including a suit, or bright and bold colors if that is your thing or a solid blank canvas outfit. Be wary of anything that totally bears your shoulders because that might look like you’re not wearing much else…you might have seen these types of headshots for ballet dancers but for the professional world that might not be the right thing to do. The bottom line is to be yourself! One blog I read said to also bring chap stick to avoid dry lips (who knew??). The consensus seems to be darker, or warm colors, unless bright is what you’re all about and the same goes for patterns. This all goes out the window though if the outfit makes you feel confident and comfortable and fits your profession and persona. Accessories shouldn’t distract and make up should really highlight your natural shadowing (and get a good night’s rest!) and features. Also, think about how you normally style your hair and make sure it also matches the look you are going for. For me, that would be tough, I consider myself a curly-haired girl but I might straighten out for corporate headshots. Once I got headshots done for acting purposes and the photographer told me to bring that shirt that everyone always complements me when I wear it. Think similarly within the guidelines and have fun!
Finally — smile! You’re on camera and it’s more welcoming and approachable.
The above shot is what I use for my blog, not a professional shot but I think it captures my personality for a ‘fashion blog’. For a more corporate job, I might change it up, but personally would not wear a collared shirt because I would want to show a little of my neckline with maybe a scoop top from Club Monaco (one of my faves for blouses) with a clean line and a well fitting blazer.
When people think of working in entertainment, they probably picture fabulously dressed people, the reality is there are still some suits around and you have to find a balance of chic and prof looks. Elana certainly captures this balance perfectly, she has worked at HBO for a few years now and prior to that was at Nickelodeon. I had the pleasure of hanging out with her at the Cannes Film Festival! We bonded over a love for both entertainment and fashion and recently she actually took a image consulting class and is slowly building up her own image consulting business helping out her first client with their summer wardrobe.
Role: Director, Marketing
Industry: Entertainment & Media
She is wearing a peachy colored top from BP at Nordstrom. The long cotton pleated gray skirt is from Antropologie. Necklace from Madewell. Shoes calvin klein wedges purchased on Gilt (which she loves because you dont kill your feet but still get the height!!!). I personally love the necklace to pull it all together for an easy, comfortable but still professional summer look with a little flair.
She says this outfit is a good example of summer dressing in the Entertainment industry (at least on the marketing side) — where you want to be comfortable and fashionable, but business casual at the same time. The fashionable part is important in entertainment, because you want to give off the impression that you are up to speed on the latest trends. But you also want to make sure to balance the trends with classic/professional pieces, as not to go overboard with the trendiness. You want to be taken seriously and being too fashion forward can limit that.
A quick survey of some Workplace Wears Insiders revealed Cole Haan’s Nike Black Pump for $248 as the clear winner of the most comfortable black heel. One fan even said… “I don’t know if they really do anything or if its in my mind.” Apparently, they can occasionally be found on Rue La La or at some Cole Haan outlet stores for a bit cheaper especially if the outlet isn’t near a major city!
One reader said “I have several go to shoes…coach makes comfy shoes, rounded toe. I also have chanel pumps, and the kitten loub’s are also great…depends on hem line of my pants. My shoes also last forever since I visit my cobbler often for re-soling so I have many pairs including a fair of Ferragamos that are on year 6 and still going strong!” <– Quality counts!
I had the pleasure of going to The Met exhibit this afternoon and highly recommend it – it’s amazing to see the link between these two designers! And while, their clothes may not be quite within our reach in terms of pricing, they certainly can provide us with inspiration and knowledge about how certain clothes are timeless in their influence.
Miuccia Prada was quoted saying, “I’m told that the women who wear my clothes very dramatically. Of course, I’d hope that they were clever and interesting. I’d also hope that my clothes made their lives a little easier, that they made them feel happier. Not more beautiful necessarily, just more of a person. I try to make women feel more powerful without losing their femininity.”
We met Mary Arnett, Founder of Ssh-oes at the Jai Collection Fashion show. I followed up with her to learn more about her background, personal style and how she went about starting her business and it was awesome! A former Bio-Chemistry nerd (although you certainly wouldn’t know it from her picture below well if you believe stereotypes hold some truth), but she has always been interested in fashion. After a few classes at FIT and interning at both Juicy Couture and Calvin Klein, she was ready to take a stab at designing her own product. The whole concept behind Ssh-oes is that the shoes make less clicking noise when walking and are designed with materials that are more comfortable than the average shoe. I have to say given the height of the shoes that Mary gave me, I was able to last on my feet for several hours but still in the end had to take a seat towards the end of the night.
Mary came up with the concept while walking home in Brooklyn late at night realizing how much the sound of heels drew attention to the fact that she was walking alone. It had always of been a pain point for her…if you are late to an event and would prefer to enter quietly or you are simply tired of having to replace the plastic part of the bottom of the heel constantly (something the almost every New York city girl has to do on a regular basis since the concrete jungle certainly take a toll on the bottom of ones heels and let’s face it the shoe store only take cash and are never open when you need them to be). The heel tip of her shoes are made with rubber which is much stronger and makes a lot less noise. She is in the process of patenting the heel tip. Currently the shoes cost between 100-150 and you can check out more about the construction here. They are sold in several boutiques and some Belk department stores. Mary’s personal style icon Victoria Beckham which is evident below in her chic, polished dress for the event Ssh-oes sponsored and provided for the runway looks. The shoes I tested out are below as well.
A great referral from Jovena who was profiled on this blog before. Shirley works at the fabulously Fab.com as a copywriter and content producer in the food market. I got to get a peek of their colorful offices and then we headed to Cowgirl for some serious food.
Necklace – purchased on Fab, designed by Rare
Ring – purchased at JFK while waiting for a plane (tip: there’s always time to shop)
Jeans – Banana Republic
Boots – Camper (love this brand, they have lifetime guarantees and high quality workmanship at affordable prices, I’ve had boots last almost 10 years from them!)
Hair – mom, dad and humidity (thanks humidity)
Pink cheeks – wine and lots of it
Also check out more office style of Fab.com in this Wall Street Journal article!
Lydia Yao – Start up attire / Former Consultant
Blouse: J. Crew, Natasha top
Cardiagn: J. Crew, Jackie cardigan
Jeans: AllSaints, Pipe Skinny Jeans
Shoes: Marc by Marc Jacobs
Bag: Michael Kors
Watch: Marc by Marc Jacobs
Necklace: Wendy Mink
Ring: Cam & Zooey
Lydia noted that both the shoes and bag were purchased at 50% off from Century 21! The necklace and ring were purchased also at a discount from Gilt. This pic is her ‘power outfit’ in her current role at Seamless.
Companies – Seamless.com / BCG
I met Lydia at a Duke Global Entrepreneurship networking event in NYC and immediately complemented her on her style and typical given the focus of her blog I asked her what she did. As soon as I explained the purpose of this blog, she and I continued to chat about her transition from consulting to start up world and even from college to consulting. Following up with drinks at Boqueria, I learned of her the many challenges that she encountered as she transitioned from each of the phases of her life and how resources were not plentiful to help guide her through each transition.
Lydia started her professional life as a consultant at BCG in Atlanta which she describes “small, suburban and conservative.” It was a great “starter city, and not overwhelming” although with a Mom who was an artist and no tips from Dad or older siblings she was at a loss of what to wear. She wanted to fit in and not stand out but shopping on a budget was difficult so she resorted to outlet shops for suits – Ann Taylor and Theory were the defaults but the key to her looking put together were not the labels it was tailoring. She said “I am a firm believer in tailoring my clothes… if you don’t get it tailored, there’s always going to be something off.” Some early rules that were bestowed upon her and still resonant with her even though she is in a much more relaxed environment now are no open toed shoes (something we’ve written about before here) and no sleeveless shirts (a bit of a new one.)
Through BCG, she was able to transition to New York City from Atlanta, which, definitely allowed for a little creativity but she generally still defaulted to slacks, a shell and a cardigan. When a recruiter reached out to her at Seamless.com, she was excited for a new challenge professionally, but the environment was going to be vastly different from her consulting world. The recruiter even warned her not to wear a suit to the interview! At a loss, she was still somewhat over dressed and on her first day of work was told “you don’t have to dress up” even though the slacks and chunky sweater she had on was already a huge departure from her consulting roots. That being said, she has now found a balance of style with a relaxed twist, she states that when you are given a wide range of options that people can take it in both directions but if you are a bit “more credible when you put in a little effort.” Lydia was wearing skinny jeans, a loose sweater and a long necklace that night and a theme that is becoming more and more present is that when you are dressed up you feel like you’re at work. It’s a change in attitude and shift to confidence.
One of the most interesting points Lydia made was that the focus in the workplace is often what ‘not to wear’ as opposed what ‘you should wear’. Hence, not really have real suggestions out of school on what to wear and having to very much figure it out on her own. Her current start up role has been a challenge and even in the end she was asking me if a sleeveless shirt was ok given some of the ‘rules’ that had been ingrained in her from her first work experience. New York and the start up world allow her a bit more latitude but still within a certain realm she deems ‘business shabby’. Even when she decided on a summer shift dress for her interview she felt overdressed and recognized that there would be a small learning curve to figure out her own workplace wear.
Check out this video on the Wall Street Journal web site. A quote I love:
“If you look at some world leaders, Neelie Kroes, who’s VP of the European Commission, is a great example, she wears floral dresses to make major speeches… It is a matter of industry and region, if you are a CPA maybe going super feminine or super loud is not going to give great confidence in your client. The really great news here is that women are a lot freer than they ever have been in the workplace to wear the clothes and colors that they think flatter them and that they like.”
Thanks Jenna for forwarding along to me!
Carly is another Service2School referral who, yes, (and you wouldn’t know it from this picture and look) went to West Point and was active military up until business school at Notre Dame. Below she is wearing:
Navy Blazer: Ann Taylor Loft
Corral Dress: Elie Tahari
Navy Patent Leather Shoes: Ivanka Trump
Carly transitioned to finance during business school when someone suggested she look into private wealth – with a bit of research, she automatically related to the relationship-driven side of the business. Her interest in fashion developed a bit earlier. She was stationed in Alaska, and developed a friendship with one of her colleagues’ wife who claimed that to get through the grueling Alaska winters of very little daylight all they need to do ‘was accessorize’. It was their way of having fun and adding color to their lives there. During business school, she went as far as reading Women’s Wear Daily, and contemplated a job in fashion born out of this interest but decided against it when finance sparked her interest. She says her style is classic to a ‘t’. Ann Taylor, Elie Tahari and Cole Haan are target brands for her but clearly she has a spark and is drawn towards color and is confident enough to wear it. Prior to interviewing though, she was lucky enough to be abroad in Hong Kong where she had 4 custom suits made and is excited about Carrie Hammer‘s concept of made-to-wear custom dresses for the workplace. She is very frugal and is slowly allowing herself to spend a little more to get a little closer to her style icon in the office (everyone has one!).
Some basic guidelines she has for finance (some of which are pre-defined by the company) are:
1. No open toed shoes…even if you have the best of pedicures it is better safe than sorry, the small, small exception might be peep-toe.
2. Less is always more in the finance world
3. Hair nicely kept
4. Color is ok. She said to be careful but she was recently noticed in for her office style in a positive way because she doesn’t always wear black (the NYC default for many industries). In fact, she stays away from black because she equates it more with having to go to a funeral than work! Who knew?