Dressing for the Office Christmas Party

This is a tricky one, as you often want to let the hair down after a long year of work but you have to keep in the back of your mind (or in the front in some people’s cases) that this event is actually an extension of work.

With a few key thoughts in mind, you will glide through the event with your work reputation in tact and be able to face your work colleagues on Monday and spare yourself the blushes. After all, who wants to be the subject of the office gossip for the next several months?

  1. Choose an outfit that showcases your personality without being too revealing. This is not the event for low necklines, backless dresses or your new leather mini.
  2. Often times, the office party can be directly after work so you can glam up your work dress with  jewellery and high heels. Keep accessories simple and make sure they work with your outfit.
  3. A fitted, sleek tailored pants with a top is always a great option and might be just the perfect outfit. Avoid going too casual though. Jeans are probably not ideal, unless they are a dark wash and fitted.
  4. I highly recommend that you wear something comfortable  and something that you have worn before as mal functions at this type of event can be very embarrassing.
  5. If you are still concerned about what to wear, then you can always ask the organizer what the dress code is. You can also check with your colleagues what they plan to wear so you feel comfortable and fit in.
  6. Some etiquette tips to keep in mind
    • There may be an open bar for the event , so plan carefully so you don’t  end up too tipsy. Eat a snack before you arrive to the event so you are not drinking on an empty stomach and restrict yourself to one or two drinks . Alternate alcoholic drinks with sparkling water or a mineral.
    • Do make an effort to mingle with colleagues from other departments rather than sticking with your usual crowd.
    • Avoid being the first to leave and do make an effort to meet people and enjoy yourself.

I know, I know, everyone dreads it a bit because it takes us out of our comfort zone and people get to see us in a different light.

Take some time to plan and think it through and another office Christmas party will glide by without a blush in sight!

Change is freaking scary!

Change is freaking scary!

It’s stepping away from all that is familiar and comfortable and taking a chance on the great unknown.

I should know. I have gone through two major changes in my life in the past year and both have taken some time to get comfortable with.

The first was a continent move – I moved from Singapore to France after living there for 18 years.  The second big upheaval was that I went from working in my husband’s company to restarting my own business. There has been a lot of discomfort around these changes on so many levels, but I am just choosing to talk about my clothes today!

After living in the tropics for 18 years, I can tell you that none of my clothes prepared me for a winter in France, even if it is the South of France! Additionally, clothes that worked in a rather casual work environment in Singapore did not work for my new role as business owner and consultant.

I had to take a long hard look at my clothes and pretty much start from scratch and build a wardrobe that works with my life now.

Many of my clients come to me during these big changes in their lives. Moving country, moving job, starting a new business, growing a business, kids moving out, retiring … The list goes on. The commonality is that there is a big change happening for them. They need help to get comfortable with themselves and how they dress for their new life situation.

If you have gone through a big change or are currently going through a change in your life circumstances, then I may be the perfect person to help you.

My Online Colour Confidence Bootcamp will show you step by step how to get your wardrobe and your confidence back in sync.

Through live mentoring sessions, it will show you how you can look and feel fabulous within the next two weeks without having to change a single thing about your body.

You will discover your best colours so you look gorgeous and learn how to wear these colours, so you look stylish, more confident and happier in your own skin. You will learn how to incorporate colour into your wardrobe, so it becomes functional, fun and vibrant.

Getting dressed every morning will become an enjoyable experience because you can put a stylish and appropriate outfit together in minutes. You will have full confidence that you look terrific as you are wearing colours in a way that work for your colouring and your body shape

In addition to four solid hours of online mentoring, an ongoing support group , you get 4 invaluable bonuses.

One of these bonuses is a support call with me at any time during the program so that if you have any questions or concerns that you don’t want to bring to the group, you can address them directly with me (Value: €200). This alone almost covers the cost of the bootcamp.

For more details or a chat, email me at aileen@laneimageconsulting.com

Why Colour Analysis? What’s all the fuss?

Why Colour Analysis? Very good question. What’s all the fuss?

The fuss is that, it is one of the single simplest changes I can make to improve how you look and increase you confidence.

The right colour when worn near your face or indeed on your face in the case of glasses, makeup and accessories will make you look healthier and younger. Your skin will appear more even and any lines will appear softer. The amount of makeup you need to look healthy and fresh will be far less as the correct colours worn near your face will provide a soft glow that no makeup can replicate.

Knowing your colours also forms the basis of having a functional wardrobe and having a wardrobe that has items that mix and match. It is so much easier to put outfits together when colours go with each other.

When you come and have your colours done with me, I will show you:

  • Your best lightest neutrals and your best darkest neutrals. This information alone is worth a fortune as these colours provide the foundation for your wardrobe and this is where to invest your euros.
  • Your best jewellery and accessories colours. This information is critical and will help you wear colours which are not ideal for you.
  • Your best colours for different occassions e.g. professional, romantic etc.
  • Your best makeup colours including eyeshadows, blusher and lipsticks.
  • Tips on choosing haircolours. Invaluable information when visiting your hair stylist.

A personal colour consultation at my studio in Mougins costs €250. It takes 2 hours. Book now by dropping me an email at aileen@laneimageconsulting.com

The Perfect Work Jacket

Love it or hate it, nobody can deny that a jacket can add a certain authority and air of confidence in a work environment. My particular issue with jackets is finding one that is comfortable. I find the majority too stiff and unyielding for my curvy body type. The majority of womens professional jackets out there are designed with a straight body type in mind. Great for all the straight body types but what about the rest of us. Well here are a few tips that I have found work (pardon the pun!):

1. Search for jackets in fabrics that are not so tightly woven. I have found great jackets in jersey or wool that feel just like wearing a soft sweater.

2. The fit across the back and shoulders is critical. You should be able to cross your arms comfortably and move freely. The silky lining on the inside of the jacket should always be more than the fabric on the main jacket to allow this freedom of movement.

3. If you have a small waist, then you you may need to get the jacket tailored beneath the bust area, otherwise you will have excess fabric in this area, the jacket will be less than flattering and probably look sloppy.

4. Consider a peplum jacket (See picture above). These are my personal favourites, accomodating curved high hips and adding a feminine touch.

5. V neck single breasted jackets are universally flattering and allow you to wear most top styles beneath.

So there you go, no excuses now. The perfect jacket is out there waiting for you to upgrade your work wardrobe.

How to Weed out Your Wardrobe

Photo by Artem Bali on Pexels.com

Sorting out your wardrobe is marvellous therapy. You will feel so pleased with yourself when you’ve finished.

This is what you’re aiming for – a well-organised, sorted wardrobe that’s a pleasure to look through as you know you’re going to be able to find exactly what you’re looking for!

Part 1

Hopefully, before you begin, you will know which colours suit you – that is the major starter for ten that you must understand before you begin throwing things out right, left and centre.

If you don’t know your best colours, I suggest you book right now for your very own colour consultation. This will revolutionise your thinking and set you up for a fantastically rewarding wardrobe weed-out.

I strongly recommend locking yourself in your bedroom with a bottle of your favourite tipple and plan to go nowhere for the next couple of hours.

And be careful before planning to do this with a friend.

Ask yourself – can your friend really be objective about you? Will she be a help or a hindrance? If in doubt, trust your own judgement or call in expert help.

Put a big sign on the door, if necessary, that you are not be disturbed under any circumstances – not even if George Clooney arrives at the door with flowers and champagne…… Well, you get my drift, I’m sure.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it…

Your mission is to sort out the wheat from the chaff and the first step is to make three piles of clothes:

  1. clothes you only wear once a year (taffeta ball gown, bikini, etc.)
  2. clothes you haven’t worn for more than a year
  3. everything else

Don’t worry about whether the colours or styles are right at this point. Just make your decision based solely on the criteria above. We’ll cover specifics in Part 2.

At this point, you will probably be exhausted and need a refill.

Do not be distracted by the television, the cat who has been sick on the carpet, or the pile of ironing which beckons.

Be strong and return to the task in hand. It WILL be worth it.

Organza ballgown

1. Special items
Start with those items that you only wear once a year (like the organza ball gown shown here) and decide if you will definitely need them again this year.
If not, add them to the pile that you haven’t worn for more than a year.
If you reckon they are still useful items to keep, put them back in the wardrobe and give yourself a round of applause.

2. Items for removal
The second pile of clothes that you haven’t worn for more than a year should be considered as being destined for removal.
You’ve already spent time on these items so let’s move on. We’ll come back to them later but now it’s time to concentrate on the clothes that you actually wear.

3. Items to keep
Put them back into your wardrobe, checking each one for stains, missing buttons, loose threads, etc.

4. Items to clean or mend
Any of these should be put aside into a fourth pile for cleaning or mending. Do NOT put these back into the wardrobe until they are mended or clean.

Use decent hangers

Storing the items you are keeping

  • Hang all your jackets next to each other, separating them from the matching skirt and/or trousers
  • Hang all your skirts next to each other and repeat this with trousers, blouses, jumpers, etc.

Oh, and please – respect the clothes you have left – please use decent wooden or shaped, heavy plastic hangers. Wire hangers are cheap and nasty and will mark your clothes eventually. Add wire hangers to the pile for removal.

It is amazing how many people only ever wear suit items that match.

If you have the right mix of colours in your wardrobe, many of your skirts and/or trousers will go with a variety of your jackets.

In a nutshell, if everything in your wardrobe matches YOU, then each piece will match each other! You have more outfits in your wardrobe than you can imagine.

Take a break

Before launching into part 2 of this exercise, I would recommend a recess. You will probably have been in there for longer than you anticipated and be in urgent need of a lie-down in a darkened room.

If you still have any energy:

  1. bundle the clothes for removal into bin liners or carrier bags, ready for disposal and hide them in a cupboard – don’t get rid just yet
  2. sort out the remaining pile, separating out those that need repair and putting those with stains into the wash basket
  3. close the wardrobe doors
  4. congratulate yourself on a job well done

Part 2 of this mission will require more liquid intake, more time to yourself, and more energy. We’ll look at what to do with the pile for removal, how to decide what to finally keep and how to make the most of what’s left.

Part 2

If you managed to complete Part 1, you should be feeling particularly pleased with yourself. But there’s a bit more to do to achieve a wardrobe that works for every occasion. Don’t give up now. This is the start of an organised wardrobe and the psychological benefits cannot be too strongly stressed.

Items for repair/cleaning

It’s a good idea if you can get these items cleaned and / or repaired before you begin mixing and matching. You’ll only have to repeat some of the process below when they are.

Let’s put the most of your energy into the items in your wardrobe as these are the most important.

Prepare your reward now

  • Line up a special treat for yourself – a box of your favourite chocolates or ice cream, perhaps?
  • But, hold your horses, not just yet……

Trying on

Put on your favourite blouse

Put on your favourite blouse.

Look at yourself in the mirror and decide why it is your favourite. Does it make you look wonderful? If so, then more than likely it will be in the correct colour palette for your skin tone.

  • So, you are now looking for trousers, skirts, jackets, etc. that tone with or complement this blouse
  • Try on every skirt you have with this blouse. And while you’re there, try on all your jackets and cardigans with this skirt and blouse
  • If you have trousers in your wardrobe, try every pair of trousers on with the same blouse (and don’t forget to try all the jackets, too, with this same blouse and trousers combination)

Then move on to your next most favourite blouse or jumper.

  • Try on every skirt you have with this top and then try on all your jackets with this combination … and so it goes on

Soon, you should be able to see how useful your existing wardrobe really is. You will have a number of outfits in your wardrobe, not just a number of clothes.

Still finding things that just don’t work?

On this second pass through your wardrobe, you may discover one or two items that really don’t go with anything else anymore.

  • Maybe the colour just isn’t right for you
  • Perhaps the style doesn’t lend itself to other items you really feel comfortable in
  • You might have already discovered so many more outfits that work really well, that you just don’t need this item anymore

Whatever the reason, just add these to the removal pile.

Time for a treat

You can probably see now why I recommended a short break between parts 1 and 2.

This is tough work and I expect you’re pretty shattered by now. This is the time to indulge in your special treat – you deserve it.

Items for removal

Now, you can turn your attention to the items that you originally put away for removal. If you really have the energy and want to see if there is anything that could still be salvaged, this is your last chance to go through them.

If not, it is worth sorting them into anything that could be useful to your local charity shop or a friend or relation.

Please make sure these things are clean before you pass them on.

All the rest should just be binned or taken for recycling.

Well done!

You now have a wardrobe containing clothes that you know you are going to wear.

You know what looks good with what.

You’ve learnt to mix and match what you already have and you will make so much more use out of the items you have.