Understanding Personal Style And Colour

Personal style is very - well, personal! And that's exactly how I believe it should be. Yet in truth your personal brand and image can say a lot about you - especially in the workplace. As well as, most importantly, have an impact on how you feel about yourself. Which is why I was intrigued to learn more when a very kind invitation popped into my inbox a few weeks ago.

Personal Style
I was extremely lucky to be asked along for a personal styling session with award winning Personal Stylist and Image Consultant Katy Dyer. Not least because Katy is absolutely lovely so spending a couple of hours in her company was both informative, relaxed and good fun but also because I learnt a great deal about all sorts of things related to style, colour and image that I hadn't ever come across before.

Now I have to say ahead of the consultation at Katy's home studio in Thame, Oxfordshire I was quite nervous. Picturing a room full of mirrors pointing at every angle and having to wiggle myself in and out of different clothing at the mercy of someone I'd never met before. Not my idea of fun! 

I needn't have worried though as that wasn't the deal at all - in fact I didn't have to change clothes once, nor did I have to really spend a whole lot of time looking in the mirror. Instead it was very much about learning what works for me and my body shape, which colours are most suitable, as well as what types of accessories to wear and much, much more.

Personal Style

You begin the session by answering a series of multiple choice questions designed to bring out your own style personality. Investigating things like how you like to wear colour, what kind of clothes are in your work versus casual wardrobe, what type of hairstyle do you prefer for example.

Answering these helps to pinpoint in a bit more detail where your style lies - be it natural, classic, romantic, creative and so on. Helping you to see why you choose certain types of clothes and why they work for you. Examples of celebrities with similar taste assist you in understanding what your style personality means and what kind of looks fit within that - a helpful way to visualise the kind of image you have. It may actually be a combination of more than one. In fact I think mine was a mixture of three but it was incredibly accurate when I think about what I wear on a daily basis and what I have sitting in my wardrobe.

Once this has been decided you then work through a style workbook together as you discuss key attributes like scale and height, colour blocking, proportions and types of clothes and clothing shapes that will work for you and your body shape. Katy works as part of the Colour Me Beautiful image consultancy who provide the workbooks and some of the fabrics and tools that she uses to help explain your colouring and style. 

Style Books

Colour has such a strong affect on your image, how it makes you look and feel as well as what it portrays to others. I spent a fair bit of time exploring this with Katy in more detail as it truly is quite fascinating just how much a certain colour can do (or not do) for you.

Part of the consultation involves working out the right colours for you by holding up different samples to see which ones suit you best. It's not necessarily that certain colours aren't ever going to look good on you, more that particular colours will enhance you better than others.

This is quickly demonstrated by holding fabrics up to your face in the mirror. Instantly it's clear that in some cases all you can see is the colour because it's too dominant, yet other colours work with you - you can see yourself and not just the overpowering hue of the fabric.

The psychology of colour is equally interesting. 

At the furthest ends of the colour spectrum, black and white, will tend to offer up more feelings of authority. Hence the black and white uniforms of our police force and why it's often advised that you pick black to wear when interviewing for a management position.

Mid-tone colours, with less contrast, make you appear more approachable. Certain blues will fall into this category which is why you will often find blue in the uniforms of medical staff, nurses, social workers etc. If you want to ace an interview choose blues, especially navy as this reportedly inspires confidence, credibility and trustworthiness. However if interviewing for a more creative position you may want to avoid this colour as you could come across a little too conservative!

You may have heard that you should never wear orange to an interview? Well that's kind of true. In a recent survey over 25% of employers stated that orange made them feel the candidate was unprofessional. Orange is quite a flamboyant and creative colour but it doesn't necessarily direct a prospective employer to find you suitable for a professional and organised role in the workplace so it might be best left for your weekend wardrobe and not your working one.

Intrigued to learn more about the role colour plays when interviewing for a job? Read this article for a neat summary of exactly what does and doesn't work according to employers:

Why You Should Never Wear Orange To An Interview - Fast Company

Katy Dyer Studio

So if you're interested in learning a little bit more about what works for you in the style stakes. If you'd love to know which styles, shapes and colours will bring out the best in you then I can't recommend a session with Katy enough. 

One of the best things to come out of the session for me is that since getting home and having a little reshuffle of my wardrobe with what I learned in mind (and I don't mean chucking everything out but more making the most out of what you have) I've honestly found getting up each day and getting dressed so much easier. 

You know those days when you just can't find anything to wear, when nothing fits, nothing matches. Well the advice Katy gives helps to start to eliminate that feeling. Enabling you to get an outfit together fast and get out of the door feeling your best without all of the aggravation that getting dressed for the day might usually bring!

For more information take a look online at the many types of consultations and packages that are on offer. From personal to corporate, style to makeup there is something for everyone and every type of need: www.katydyer.com. Whether Katy comes out to you in your home or you visit her home studio in Thame, it really is a worthwhile experience to consider investing in. To help you feel your best, feel comfortable (so very important) and look the part when it matters.

 

I was invited along to take part in a complimentary session with Katy. However all opinions are 100% my own and if I hadn't of enjoyed the experience I wouldn't be sharing it with you today.


Getting Dressed For The Job

Dressing right for an important job interview or crucial meeting can be a tricky business. You want to strike the right chord, look smart and like you mean business plus show that you're professional and ready to take on the task at hand.

In today's day and age with so many different office environments, flexible working and in some circumstances a much more relaxed approach to the traditional working arena it can sometimes be confusing to know what to pick out of your wardrobe to make sure you hit the right note. First impressions count so bearing this in mind, here are some tips to help make sure you make the right choice for those key occasions.

Getting Dressed For The Job

1. Do your research. Find out about the company culture and work from there. Don't be afraid to ask your recruiter or whoever has put you forward for the job what the culture is and what they would advise you to wear. As a rule it's always best to be equal to or smarter than the person interviewing you. If you're going for an outside meeting at another company don't hesitate at asking your contact what would be most suitable and go from there.

2. Don't under do it. When attending an interview, even if the company culture is very casual, don't be tempted to go along in your jeans and trainers. Like I say first impressions count and you still need to look as if you've made the effort and that you care. Ok so maybe the environment doesn't call for a full on suit and tie combination but you should still select something neat and presentable that shows you can look the part.

3. Don't over do it. Equally you need to make sure that you're comfortable and able to concentrate on the interview and not the tight fitting suit and shirt that you've forced yourself into. There is an element of making sure that you are 'you' and that your clothes represent the best of you. You want your outfit to help you feel at ease and able to focus on the conversation you are having or the presentation you are giving. Do keep it simple - bold, block colours usually work best and avoid the crazy and over the top patterns. Don't go mad on the accessories or anything that will distract and look too over the top.

4. Make sure you're well presented. Whether going for the full formal business attire or something a little more relaxed it is still incredibly important that your clothes are clean, well ironed and comfortably fitted. No wrinkles, no spilt coffee, and no button bursting shirts, trouser or overly short skirts. I wouldn't really advocate wearing jeans to an interview no matter how relaxed the environment but if you really think it's appropriate then make sure they are smart, no rips, tears and not hanging down around your midriff! No trainers - never trainers as far as I'm concerned. Smart, well polished shoes at all times. 

5. Grooming matters. Personal grooming is important. Don't over do the makeup keep it neutral, no bright and overly bold nail polish. Men - keep that facial hair in check! Perhaps slip a pack of mints into your bag incase you had too much garlic for lunch and need a little freshen of the breath! Another really important thing to remember is not to over do the perfume or aftershave. An overtly strong odour of someone else's chosen scent can be incredibly off putting.

 

I know it's tricky and difficult at times to find the right balance especially if you have a very individual style that you hate to lose. Yet when it comes to getting that job it's worth making these few tweaks to ensure you're as smart as you can be. After all it's just for those 30-45 minutes during that crucial meeting. Keep a little bit of you but smarten it up - if in doubt the smarter the better. You need to show you care and that you can be presentable to colleagues, clients and anyone else in the business that you may come into contact with.

For some super smart, suited and well booted style I love browsing the Suits And The City page on Tumblr. Taken on the streets on NYC by a professional photographer, these daily street style shots showcase the best dressed and most well heeled of New Yorks city slickers. It never fails to impress and inspire when it comes to up to the minute super, workwear style and trends.

What are your top tips for dressing for the job and have you any advice or stories of your own to offer? Let me know in the comments - it's always lovely to gather more ideas and inspiration.

Farewell for now all and as always have a very happy hump day!

 

PLUS: Don't forget to join me over @CareerBloggers on Twitter at 7:30pm this evening for tonights #CareerBlogChat. The topic this evening - Conflict At Work.

Hope to chat later!

 


Hannah Davis Designs For A Stylish Christmas

Get ready for the office Christmas party and a very stylish New Year!

Today on the blog I'm really excited to bring you a question and answer spotlight on the lovely Hannah Davis, a fantastic British Designer and owner of Wolf & Moon the beautiful handcrafted jewellery label based out of a studio in Hackney, East London. All pieces are made in-house using materials sourced from the UK or Europe and all of the pieces are just beautiful!

  Photographs: Wolf & Moon 

Photographs: Wolf & Moon 

Now I personally fell in love with the unique designs and style of this label as I love the balance that they offer for the current trend of largish, statement style pieces with such delicate designs, ethereal colours and a gentle, natural look. I wanted so much to bring these lovely pieces to a place on this blog. In the lead up to Christmas and New Years Eve I can really see how lovely they would work for styling up a classic outfit as you head off to the office Christmas Party or a get together with friends and colleagues. Whether you put one of the gorgeous necklaces with your trusted little black dress or pick a pair of earrings to jazz up a simple top for your office Christmas lunch there's something to make you stand out on each occasion. Stylish and chic just the way I like things!

So without further ado let's have a chat to Hannah about how she got started in this business, where she finds her inspiration and what her top tips are for maintaining a good work-life balance when things get really busy in business. 

 

Hi Hannah! Thanks for agreeing to have a chat with The What Now Blog - could you give me the low down on your company and the passion and idea behind what you do?

The idea behind Wolf & Moon is to create a unique handcrafted jewellery brand that is both fashion forward and affordable. Wearability is key, but I also want our pieces to be eye catching and unusual.

What is your background? How did you get into running this business and designing jewellery? 

I have always been a designer/maker in some shape or form. At college I started selling second hand and vintage clothes on MySpace with a couple of friends - they soon gave up and I took over. I began making some of my own jewellery to sell alongside the clothes and I found it extremely rewarding when it sold. I moved to London at 18 to study for a BA in Fine Art with an interest in film photography, but I took my jewellery to markets on weekends.  When I graduated, it became apparent that a successful career in the art world would be pretty difficult and so I decided to go full time into making jewellery as it was already paying my rent - it was the best decision I ever made! I often use my photography in making marketing material, packaging or for photo-shoots so in a way I chose the best of both worlds!

How do you find being your own boss - what are the challenges, what are the benefits?

On the whole it is fantastic! I now employ 3 assistants so I'm not just my own boss anymore and this comes with so much more responsibility.  Although I am fairly business minded, there have been many times I've learnt the hard way because no one tells you otherwise and it isn't always straightforward. I sometimes feel like I'm doing 5 people's jobs! The benefits, however, are endless - I feel incredibly proud that I've managed to create my own brand and that I get to work with such lovely people in my own studio. 

Where do you find your inspiration for the designs and ideas for your products?

Inspiration comes from a myriad of places - nature has a huge place in my heart so this usually comes into it whether it's literal or just mixing in wood for a more earthy feel. Otherwise I can be inspired by a design period, an exhibition, a place I have visited or simply by the materials themselves.

What is it that you love most about what you do?

Designing something new! I love a lazy Sunday trip to an exhibition then sitting in a cafe sketching new pieces.

How do you find balance between work and life when your workload gets overly busy?

It can be tough, and I'm not sure I do it very well yet. In the past I've worked until 11 or 12 every night and it was not good for my health. It comes from a passion for what I do and enjoying the work, but lately I've been making a point of finishing by at least 8pm - I had forgotten how nice it is to go home and cook something nice and have a relaxed evening!

Do you have any top tips or anecdotes you are happy to share with us – either relating to your company or just as part of your career as a whole?

Organise yourself with a to do list every day and carefully plan 3 months ahead with a detailed plan for at least the next month! Oh and don't push accountancy tasks to the side - hire an accountant/bookkeeper who knows best as it will definitely pay off. Tax and VAT can be extremely complicated but someone who knows about this area will often save you money and a lot of headache in the long run.

Do you have any advice for anyone else looking to get into a similar business?

My tutor at art school gave me the best advice - know what you are good at and run with it.  I would also say you should know clearly who your customer is and make sure you test out your products in the right market - for me, that was simply starting off at markets in East London.  Don't be afraid to just get your product out there and seen by people, then be as open as possible to feedback and change. Be prepared to work very hard, but it will be totally rewarding.

  Photograph: Wolf & Moon 

Photograph: Wolf & Moon 

Thank you so much to Hannah for giving us an insight to how she got started and how she balances her working world. Some really great advice especially about knowing who you are and running with it. I think that trusting your instinct is so important and can often be overlooked in many work environments when there are many untold pressures coming in your direction. 

I've included just a snapshot of some of the beautiful products that you can find by Wolf & Moon. The necklace above is part of their current collection in collaboration with designer Alfred and Wilde inspired by the platonic solids, a series of five solid shapes named after the Ancient Greek thinker Plato. I also really love the 'Coppafeel' collection above, an exclusive line designed as part of the Coppafeel campaign to help continue to raise awareness for the early detection of breast cancer. Something that I'm sure is close to many of our hearts.

Finally below I will leave you with some of my favourite picks for jazzing up your office party outfits and I hope that you find Hannah's advice as well as her beautiful jewellery as inspiring as I have done!

  Photographs: Wolf & Moon 

Photographs: Wolf & Moon 

Have a wonderful day all! 

Louise

 

 

 


Style Me Smart From Work To Play

Good morning What Now readers and welcome back to the blog.

I thought this Thursday I would give you the lowdown on some style and fashion tips that I was lucky enough to learn and experience recently plus share some autumn and winter styling and layering ideas that will keep you smart and warm as well as take you seamlessly from office to evening in no time. All with very little effort yet remaining incredibly chic!

Recently I was extremely lucky to be invited along to the Zadig & Voltaire concept store on Marylebone High Street in London to take at look at their current collection, try out some outfit ideas and gain inspiration and further understanding of the Zadig brand.

The label Zadig & Voltaire was created in 1997 by designer Thierry Giller, the son of Lacoste founders André Gillier and René Lacoste. Primarily concentrating on cashmere clothing at first the brand has now developed to be one of the foremost go to styles when looking to effortlessly create that 'casual chic' look that so many of us try to emulate.

Originating in France the label has successfully branched worldwide with an impressive 200 stores, 17 of which can be found in London alone. I visited the Marylebone store and was very lucky to have a fantastic afternoon trying out their beautiful clothes and accessories with their incredibly knowledgeable and passionate Store Manager and one of the brands Stylists, working our way through a multitude of styles and chic cuts and fabrics.

Now I'm going to admit that upon entering the store, although very warmly greeted by a wonderfully friendly team, I was a little nervous about whether this brand would work for me. Being a committed high street shopper this was perhaps the kind of store that I'd normally like to look at but might not actually ever enter. Beautifully organised racks holding delightful looking clothes that I wasn't entirely sure I would be able to make work for me personally. Yet upon entering the changing room I was pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed learning the intricacies of layering items I would probably never dream of layering and getting up close and personal with some of the softest and loveliest feeling clothes imaginable!

The brand plays with the unusual mix of smart and chic style and beautiful textures alongside a kind of edgier 'rock n roll' twist. It's this unusual mix that makes you stand out when putting the pieces together and creating a look. Pair a smart blazer with a sequin dress, edgy zipped up boots and throw a cashmere poncho style sweater over the top to act as both a jacket, a scarf, a piece to keep you warm and ultimately a statement in dressing with confidence. Not something I would ever dream of putting together but a lesson in experimenting with your style because you know what, it works!

 

Being in that changing room and putting together clothes that I might not normally pick up on a standard days shopping reminded me of my time studying theatre many years ago. At the time our drama teacher very wisely prompted us to go out that weekend and push ourselves to pick up and try on clothes that we would never normally dream of trying. For example if you were someone who always wore black go mad on the colour. If you would never be caught dead in a skirt then grab all of the skirts, dresses in all sorts of styles and lengths that you could find. Of course you could take this from the simple to the extreme but it was all about experimenting and mixing things up. Finding that different clothes and styles could make you move, act and feel like a different person - obviously very valuable for those studying character in a classroom - but also an immensely interesting task for everyone as far as I'm concerned.

That weekend my flatmate and I went out and did just that. Purposefully picking out items that we would never ever normally try. Going in to shops we would never usually go into. Matching pieces that we just wouldn't expect to go together. Doing so really gave us a new found confidence in ourselves and our personal style. Love 'em or hate 'em clothing can really define how you feel. Of course I'm not saying that the purely external is what finding yourself is all about. Yet a lesson in pushing out of your comfort zone is always an extremely useful one and starting with something simple such as the clothes you wear can really have a huge effect.

This experience kind of put me in mind of how I felt all those years ago at college. I would never go into a store and pick out a sequin dress, a cashmere sweater, a silk scarf with skulls on it and a pair of green zipped up boots and try and fashion any sort of wearable outfit for myself but I'm really glad that the lovely team at Zadig made me do so. It reminded me just how much you can express yourself through what you wear and just how great unexpected combinations can be.

The clothing and accessories are incredibly beautiful, made from the kinds of fabrics that you just can't stop stroking because they are so soft. Plus all the while being made for comfort. Clothes that you can wear to the office, out for dinner or to relax in at home. Interchangeable and useful, smart but with edgy little details such as their signature skull emblem or the burning butterfly motif. Under the lapel of a simple grey coat you may just find a little hint of unexpected leather or animal print. Something that just pushes the style that little bit further and makes it all the more exciting.

Everything is designed with function and comfort in mind. The bags were one of my favourite accessories, looking stylish but with plenty of room for all of your essentials. With a long strap for the day that can be removed for the evening and with button on pouches that can be separated giving you both a bag and a clutch in one. Perfect!

Talking of functionality, readers from the UK will know the terrors associated with a British winter where you want to look stylish and need to be smart for work but need to be warm and dry without having to bulk up like the Michelin Man. We all know that feeling, bundling up for the cold outside only to get on the tube and sweat ourselves silly. The over air conditioned office vs the one where they've turned up the heating far too high expecting it to be a much colder day than it turns out to be. Well this is where the super functional layering comes in handy, not only that but each layer is as chic and presentable as the next so it's not like you have to keep your jumper on and suffer because you've got an unsightly top underneath that's not suitable for the boardroom. Effortless usability!

Now of course as with all designer brands with unique and luxury items the products of course come with a matching price tag. Yet if I was going to invest in some pieces that would truly last me a lifetime both in quality and style then a brand like Zadig & Voltaire would certainly be a great option. The calibre of the fabrics and the way they have been cut and put together, the extremely wearable aspect and I do believe timeless designs would certainly make this a brand worth committing to.

I was very lucky to be gifted a beautiful candle from the collection by the Zadig team on my visit. If your pocket won't currently stretch quite as far as the beautiful clothing but you'd love to get a beginners taste of the brand and are a true candle lover, or if perhaps you're looking for a unique gift for a loved one this Christmas, then I recommend trying these out. I chose the beautiful Bleu Canard* candle which is not currently on the website from what I can see, but if you're near a store pop in and take a look. It smells truly divine, I don't think I've previously come across a scented candle with such a lovely and lasting scent as this. It's currently on my desk making me feel all lovely and happy as I write everyday. Take a look at the selection they currently have online here. Oh and the packaging is pretty special too!

So I hope that this insight into a brand that perhaps you may not have come across, I know I hadn't before now, comes in useful. If you're looking to treat yourself to some new items for the office and are after a look that just has that little extra something then Zadig & Voltaire might very well be the style for you. Take a peek and see what strikes your fancy.

Have a wonderful day all , stay warm, comfortable and stylish! See you again very soon.