Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Wear to Work: Transition Dress

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Karen Kane Pencil Sleeve Faux Wrap Dress Karen Kane Pencil Sleeve Faux Wrap Dress, $108 (size XS – XL)

Early fall, or back to school time as it is now in many of our homes, is always a tricky time to get dressed.  We’re not ready to fully commit to cool weather clothes, but our summer pieces somehow seem out of place.  This dress, with its perfect length sleeves and stretch jersey is as versatile as it is flattering.  I like it in black and eggplant though the brown is a lovely option if you focus more on earth tones in your wardrobe.  Wear it to work now with a simple pump and pair with tights and ankle boots when the weather is chilly.  To add more interest, consider a lightweight scarf, or stack of bracelets.  As you’re shopping this time of year, look for transition pieces.  These are pieces you can wear this time of year and in early spring.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Q&A Tuesday: Pro Packing Tips


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We’re back with a how-to video based on questions we received after I posted this picture of my overhead bag for a week in wine country.  If you travel a lot for work, or want to keep vacation simple and stress free, these tips will keep you organized and wrinkle free. 

Want to see more tips?  Post your questions below!

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Monday, August 24, 2015

Chic of the Week: Melissa McCarthy Seven7

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Melissa McCarthy Seven7

We have been dressing women since 2006 and since then the one, never ending frustration we have had has been the pathetic selection available to plus size women at retail. It seems like you have two choices, frumpy and ugly or, for lack of a better term, street-walker chic (chic being sarcastic). In more recent years, we’ve been able to find a few better suiting pieces, and now and then we’ll come upon a great dress. For the most part, though, it’s been difficult to find our clients what they want and need. What makes me feel the worst, is several times a week we receive an inquiry from a woman, interested in our services and in her email she asks if we would consider working with someone plus sized. Can you imagine being so use to being overlooked, you assume a company wouldn’t want to work with you? It’s total b.s.

So we were delighted when we heard the Melissa McCarthy had a line of clothing in the works. She has great style, a personality that makes us want to be her best friend, and what many people don’t know, a true knowledge of the fashion industry. She studied textiles at Southern Illinois University and went on to attend FIT before switching career paths.

Melissa McCarthy Seven7 is finally available, offering sizes 14 – 24. It’s fresh, fun and fashion forward. I’d love to see her expand the line, with more workplace appropriate pieces like separate blazers, office dresses and layering pieces. Hopefully, we’ll see them in deliveries to come!

MELISSA MCCARTHY SEVEN7 Stretch Slim Leg Jeans Stretch Slim Leg Jeans, $98

Slim line gray jeans are the perfect early fall piece.

MELISSA MCCARTHY SEVEN7 Print Reversible KimonoPrint Reversible Kimono, $159

A brillant reversable kimono is fresh and updated in a floral or all black.  I love that the floral will peek out from underneath.  Pair with slim jeans, a simple tank and long necklace.

MELISSA MCCARTHY SEVEN7 Print Georgette Split Neck TunicPrint Georgette Split Neck Tunic, $79

This lovely tunic is nipped in the waist to show your shape and has a pattern that adds just the right amount of visual interest.  Pair with jeans as pictured or take it to work with a pair of trousers and a long cardigan.

Faux Leather Trim Waterfall Cardigan Faux Leather Trim Waterfall Cardigan, $139

Speaking of cardigans, this super chic version combines is sophisticated with its black and navy combination and faux leather trim.  Wear over a simple black dress, with tights and ankle boots to work, or a black tank and trousers with a classic pump.

MELISSA MCCARTHY SEVEN7 Faux Leather Trim Jogger PantsFaux Leather Trim Jogger Pants, $69.99

If you can get away with these at work, go for it.  The subtle faux leather trim give these a rich designer look for only $60.  Pair with the cardigan above or with an oversized sweater.

MELISSA MCCARTHY SEVEN7 Embellished Waist Seam TopEmbellished Waist Seam Top, $89

My favorite piece from her first collection.  It looks like someone actually thought about the design elements and created a cut that will enhance your shape, rather than hide it.  I would love this to be part of someone’s Thanksgiving Day outfit.

MELISSA MCCARTHY SEVEN7 Cowl Neck Poncho TopCowl Neck Poncho Top, $79

This is something I would wear on work from home days or for long flights.  It’s easy to throw on with some leggings, comfy enough to sit in for a few  hours and polished enough to run to the market or pick the kids up from school.

MELISSA MCCARTHY SEVEN7 Print Mixed Media Cotton ShirtPrint Mixed Media Cotton Shirt, $64

The perfect top to go with jeans on a crisp fall day.  Add boots and maybe a vest to pull the look together.

There a so many options in her line, including jeans and some adorable print bottoms.  Be sure to check them out soon as items are selling out quickly!

 

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Tips to Improve Your Body Language

Your words are powerful — but how you say them can have an even larger impact on your corporate image and professional reputation. If you are at a networking event, and you reach out mid-yawn, with a flimsy handshake and say “Hello there, nice to meet you,” your new professional acquaintance is likely to assume you are uninterested, unenthusiastic and unmotivated. Conversely, saying “Hello there, nice to meet you,” with a firm handshake, a welcoming smile and direct eye contact will make someone believe that you are dedicated, serious and ready to get down to business.

Body language, in a sense, is everything. Your corporate image is highly effected by your body language, so it’s important to be aware of the signals you are sending. Your hand gestures, your posture, your voice and your general attitude will all convey messages for you, whether you intend them to or not. These body language tips will help you polish your professional demeanor and improve your overall corporate image.

Body Language Musts

  • It’s all about eye contact. Whether you are meeting a new co-worker who is starting at your same level, or you are being introduced to the head of the company, you want to make eye contact when you introduce yourself. This shows that you are confident and interested in the business at hand. Eye contact allows you to connect with the person you are speaking with, and shows that you can be trusted. If you are speaking to several people at the same time, be sure to make eye contact with everyone in the conversation at some point. This will help you build connections and also allow you to convey your point better

 

  • Offer a firm handshake. Your handshake says a lot about who you are, and who you want to become. A firm handshake — one that is not too soft, but also not too aggressive — shows that you are confident in yourself. A lot of people know that they have to offer a firm handshake at the beginning of a professional conversation, but they forget that you should shake hands at the end as well. Never forget to conclude the conversation properly, and offer that firm, confident handshake once again.

 

  • Lean forward when speaking with someone, and avoid crossing your arms while having a professional conversation. By leaning forward, you are showing the other person that you are interested in what they have to say. It’s a polite way to show that you care, and it will go a long way in improving your professional image. Crossing your arms may feel like a natural thing to do when you are talking with someone, but it can make you come across as aggressive or impatient. You never want to seem like you are too busy or too good for the conversation you are participating in at the time.

 

  • Speak up, and participate early in a conversation or meeting. Obviously, you don’t want to yell at the person across from you, but you will want to speak loudly and clearly. If you wait until the end of the meeting to bring up your own viewpoint or opinion, you are not going to be taken seriously. Act like a leader, and offer input early in the presentation. Speak in an audible, clear voice, and speak with conviction.

 

  • Maintain a good posture, but avoid being too rigid while giving a presentation or conversing with a colleague. It may sound like the kind of advice you would get from that distant great aunt you only see at the holidays, but maintaining proper posture is essential to being taken seriously as a professional. If you are slouched in your chair during a presentation or meeting, you will appear more like a disgruntled teenager than a rising star in the corporate world. However, be sure to also appear relaxed, welcoming and open to new ideas. You want to be approachable and likable while also maintaining a professional demeanor.

 

In many ways, your body language will speak more loudly than your words and can be your biggest asset. Use it to your advantage in order to improve your corporate image and professional appearance, and it can help you rise in the ranks within your company. In general, companies are going to promote people that they feel can be leaders one day. Leaders are confident, professional and open to new ideas — all things that you can portray through your body language. By making a few simple changes in the way that you present yourself, you can completely revamp your image and begin working toward meeting your professional goals.

Tips to Pack for Your Trip in Only a Carry-on


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