shopping

10 Cool Shopping Tips

Keep your objectives in mind to dodge the impulsive buys.
Know what you already have, what you intend to get, and know the specifications. The specifications? you may ask. If you don’t know them, you need to see us. These involve knowing exactly what suits your body shape and proportions, and your colouring – essential for smart shopping.

Set aside the time you need
A credit card and a lunch hour are usually insufficient for making a smart purchase. Leaving it to the last moment is like buying an umbrella on a wet day. Diarise the time needed.

Be awake, aware and alive!
Tuck away a bottle of mineral water – dehydration dulls the brain.

Ensure you do not have distracting and competing needs arising from hunger, tiredness or the demands of a friend or children.

Have a light meal before the excursion and wear comfortable shoes for the walking part.

Check out the store/s
Certain stores should set off warning bells almost immediately. They will usually be inadequately lit and have few or no mirrors until you get to the change room. It goes almost without saying that sales assistants have a target to meet and that you need to keep the purpose of your shopping excursion firmly in mind. Tell them what you are looking for, what you need it for and your (correct) size. If they don’t listen – then leave.

Know your budget
Our advice is always to go for the best quality you can afford at the time. A high quality, practical item which lasts and doesn’t date can be more cost-effective than one which seemed a bargain at the time but gets little wear over its short life span.

Questions to ask yourself if shopping for sales items
would I consider buying it if it were not on sale?
am I compromising quality, fit or appropriateness for price?
will I have to spend too much on alterations to make this fit?
will I be able to combine it with at least two other items I own?
Be realistic about weight gain and weight loss

If you are heavier than you would like to be, forget about buying too-small sizes that will fit once you ‘lose the weight’. You could be diverting your resources to a hope rather than benefiting in the immediate, practical present.

Put function before fashion
Avoid clothing which follows the latest fashion trend unless you have the means to renew your wardrobe frequently.

Dress for the shopping experience – or risk the ‘Pretty Woman’ encounter.
You will be given the service and respect your deserve when you step into a store looking well turned out.

Oh – and take with you…..

  • your colour direction reference swatch
  • the shoes you need for the outfit/s you intend to buy your wits!
  • … and wear your best supportive underwear.

On the other hand – you might simply prefer to call us and let us do all the thinking and planning for your best summer wardrobe yet. Call us if this appeals to you.

speak

Sound As Good As You Look!

The way you speak is just as important as the way you look! Itʼs as automatic as the way you dress, or where you part your hair. And like these everyday habits, you can change your speech to sound more confident, business-like and socially attractive.
Few people have ever heard a recording of their own voice, and, when they do, many canʼt believe it really sounds like them. For many people itʼs a humbling if not disturbing experience.

Then there is the practical issue of being clearly understood. Nothing undermines your confidence more than having to continually repeat yourself or find that others keep talking over you. Clear speech, in a pleasing tone, can make the difference between success and failure in both your social and business dealings.

Decisions about how you speak are no different to those you make about the manner in which you dress or groom yourself. If you are changing aspects of your outer image, itʼs a good idea to check also that your speaking style is aligned with your new image.
When your speech and appearance are congruent with your business goals, no only will you feel more confident, you will find that more opportunities open up for you.

Australia is a melting pot of many language influences and there are no longer rigid rules about “right” or “wrong” accents. If English is your second language, and others are finding your words difficult to follow, having voice training could be a very smart decision. Imagine the relief of being understood first time! Even Australian English can lack clarity, and the habit of using too many rising intonations makes you sound unassertive and lacking confidence.

When it comes to speaking style, quite a number of things can go wrong.

Ask yourself – Do I speak too fast, or too slow? Is my voice memorable (for the right reasons) or preferably forgotten as soon as possible – too loud, too soft, rough, breathy, nasal? Do I speak like a robot – in a monotone voice? Is my speech littered with wadding like “sort of”, “actually” and “you know”?
If you frequently repeat statements, find it hard to give information succinctly and in logical order, or would like to change speech pattern, then we highly recommend having a speech pathologist or trainer who specializes in speech and voice enhancement.

Itʼs easy to spot distracting features in others, but not so easy to hear them in yourself. Training enables you to increase both speech clarity and quality. Listeners will attend to what you are saying rather than being distracted by how you are saying it.

Good speech goes a long way towards building credibility in the eyes (and ears) of those you report to, work with and your clients.
If you would like to know what your best friend may never tell you about your speaking style, a voice assessment with a speech pathologist/trainer could be a smart move.

not in office

What NOT to wear at the office

One would think that the following information would be so common sense – however I have found that common sense ain’t always that common. So here are a few questions with answers to address this topic of what NOT to wear to the office… as if you wouldn’t know already!

Q + A’s

Q1 What are your top 3 banned items of clothing for office wear?

Because this relates specifically to items of clothing – it is not possible to generalise on this question.  I will give you three items for women, and three for men.

Women:
(1)  any item that exposes too much flesh ie midriff tops, low cut blouses/shirts, very short skirts, and anything that exposes bum-crack when seated.
(2) flip-flops and insignificant strappy sandles.
(3) very casual apparel ie  jeans/cargos, tank tops, and anything that would easily fit in with relaxed weekend activities. For some unknown reason – there are women who don’t know this, or just don’t care enough about their positions at work to care. They are either not conventionally ambitious, or ignorant of the opportunities they’ve lost for their career development. They don’t last long in an organisation where visual communication is as important as other mediums of communication.

Men:
(1) An obvious casual shirt worn with a suit and tie
(2)  too casual a shoe ie boat shoes/or relaxed loafers
(3) silly ‘party/cartoon’ ties and socks

Q.2 What mistakes do people often make when dressing for work?

Generic:
(1) Over-exposure – too much flesh showing.
(2) As above for women.  

For men:
(1) Short sleaved shirts &/or shirts not long enough (resulting in the hanging-out look)
(2) Pants worn half-mast (somebody die?)
(3) Open neck shirts especially when undone past the first 2 buttons….. hmmmm
(4) Wearing ‘down-market’ clothes. This certainly won’t communicate to those with plenty of   ‘clout’ in the organisation that they are ambitious and want to be taken seriously.
(5) Poor grooming e.g. the daily ‘bad-hair day’ syndrome; clothing that needs attention &/or cleaning; unpolished shoes and poorly groomed nails (Women: include nasty chipped polish).
Basically not enough attention to detail – which tells those decision-makers that this person could cut corners in other areas as well.
(6)  Men:  Obvious gold neck chains, bracelets and even facial piercings are not seen as particularly pleasing in most professional organisations.  A person can limit their career   opportunities with superfluous adornment such as these.

Q.3  What clothing advice can you offer someone who wants to make a good impression at the office?

Whatever a person wears – or carries in business, must be appropriate for their role and industry. Business apparel should also reflect current trends.
Note: Trends when introduced stay current over a 4-5 year time-frame. Fashion by contrast is an ‘in this year – out the next’ situation and these fashion items are useful to add ‘life’ and interest to the basic wardrobe items.

The 7 Deadly Sins of Style

The Seven Deadly Sins of Work-Style

1. Hazardous Hair

Don’t jeopardise your chances of stepping into a better job by having hair that looks as if you have just climbed out of bed.  There are three types of hair:  chic (short, cleverly cut)  classic (simple cut, above shoulder-line), and “I’ve Got Hair” (shoulder-line and longer).  If you’ve got it – then tame those tresses by using simple unfussy hair accessories.  Forget towering overpowering hair,  nasty scrunchies and those huge hair clamps for work.  Out-of-control hair could well be shouting “out-of-control” YOU.

2. Excess Baggage

I call it ‘visual noise’ – anything that is loud, and over-done.
Clothes that speak louder than you do are clothes that could kill your chances for being taken seriously.   Don’t let them up-stage you – tone them down.
Too much make-up,  you look like a clown.  The world wants to see YOU, not make-up that obscures  you.  Keep makeup simple and natural for the workplace.  And if you are still applying your makeup the same way  you did at your senior formal – get an update now!
Too much jewellery is another example of excess baggage.  Who needs to look like the Reserve Bank!   It should be discreet, elegant and exude quality.
Too much colour.  Some women look as if a flock of parakeets just landed on their bodies.  Women do have many colours which are appropriate ‘neutrals’  in the work-place  ie navy, black, deep cherry, aubergine, camel, charcoal and mid and light grey etc.   Keep your outfits simple, find out what your best neutrals are for your suiting. Contrast them with one other colour to suit your complexion.
(Remember black does not suit everyone.)

3. Over-Exposure

In the corporate business world, bare arms, low necklines, bare legs, toe cleavage spells career suicide.  In other industries, the rules are more relaxed but still beware – do you really want people to focus on an area 9″ below your chin?   ‘Titty-tops’   and anything strappy or stringy gets the thumbs down.

4. Swingers

For those full-figures ‘Reubenesk” females, don’t go without a well fitted bra.  Be a knock-out, not ‘knocked-out!   Harness those ‘puppies’ by selecting the best support bras at one of the specialty lingerie boutiques who have staff to fit you properly.   When traffic hopping through a line of stationary cars just as the lights turn green, avoid managing the brief-bag, lunch-bag AND unwieldy anatomy.

5. Neglected Nails

Obvious nail polish that is chipped and cracked.  Yucko.  You professional image has just gone to the wall.   For business, a natural shade or plain polish on short, trimmed nails says, smart, professional,  efficient and organised.

6. Frowzy Fit

Clothes that are ill-fitting make you look immature, and ordinary.  And a panty-line showing though your clothing………….aaaaAAAAGH!  Your business clothes should fit comfortably and hang properly without stress lines, gaping pockets or open pleats.   Cut out the size tag and go up a size for comfort – then have a good tailor adjust your jacket and skirt where you need to.

7. Faulty Footwork

You will sabotage yourself if you wear cheap shoes, white shoes – regardless what you paid for them, and shoes that are ill-kept.  The term ‘down-at-heel’ says it all.    Put your best foot forward and wear a stylish elegant shoe with a mid-high heel.

pen stain

Getting Rid Of Stains

Great article by Kelly Machbitz of Tampa Florida.

There’s nothing worse than pulling one of your favorite garments out of the wash to see a stain that seems to have appeared out of nowhere.  Don’t think about throwing it out until you try one of these unexpected –but highly successful– home remedies. Before you do, however, be sure to test first on an area that won’t be visible, such as on the inside of a hem.

Coffee Stains: Saturate the stain with white vinegar (the same ingredient you clean out your coffee maker with) and let sit for 30 to 60 minutes. Then launder garment as usual.

Felt-tip Pen or Marker Stains: Apply rubbing alcohol to stain and let sit 10 to 15 minutes. Launder as usual.

Fruit or Vegetable Stains: Moisten the stain with lukewarm water and sprinkle with a generous amount of salt, let sit for 15 minutes, then rinse. If the stain is still visible, apply rubbing aclohol or white vinegar and let sit for 30 to 60 minutes.  Launder garment as usual.

Grass Stains: First saturate stain with rubbing alcohol and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse and apply a small amount of liquid dish soap and scrub gently with a tooth brush or washcloth. Launder as usual.

Ink Stains: Apply glycerin to stain and rub well with a soft wash cloth or tooth brush. Let sit for 15 minutes. Launder garment as usual.

Makeup Stains: Saturate stain with hairspray. Rinse with vinegar, then launder as usual. For lipstick stains, try saturating stain with rubbing alcohol.  Then launder garment as usual.

Oil/Salad Dressing Stains:  Rub stain with good old fashioned cornstarch to absorb oil.  Then saturate stain with a liquid laundry detergent and launder in warmest water possible (check garment care label).

Red Wine Stains: You might have heard the method of using white wine to remove red wine stains. This works well, but vinegar (a much cheaper solution) usually works just as well. Saturate stain with vinegar, then apply a generous amount of salt. Let set several minutes, then rinse with vodka (yes, more alcohol!), and launder as usual.

Tea Stains:  Ever wonder why they always serve lemon wedges with tea? In addition to tasting great in the beverage, it happens to be a great antidote to tea stains. Apply lemon juice to stain, then launder as usual.

If you are concerned about doing it yourself, take the item to your local dry cleaning professional – one that comes highly recommended. Be sure to advise them what the cause of the stain was, how long it has been there, and the methods you tried to remove it. By arming them with all the information, you have the best chance of getting your garment back stain-free.