Fashion Stylist’s Tips On How To Dress For Work

Dressing for work can be daunting. So we went to Manhattans most sought after image consultant, Lori Silverstein for her advice on how to power dress. Lori offers her exclusive roster of private clients, many of which are high power executives advice on their personal appearance, image, grooming and wardrobe. I believe the best strategy for women dressing in todays work environment is to embrace a tailored silhouette which is feminine, classic and clean and modeled on the European approach to dressing, says Lori. We sat down with her to get her fabulous tips on how to dress for work in style.

lori-silverstein.jpgWhat are some of the essential items a woman should own in her work wardrobe?

I strongly encourage my clients to invest in classic but stylish pieces. Basic items in the fall wardrobe should include: streamlined cashmere coats which fall right at the knee and are perfect for skirts, dresses and trousers; pencil skirts in beautiful wools and cashmere or cashmere blends; fitted blazers with narrow shoulders with a cinched or defined waist; cashmere sweaters; beautifully tailored trousers and pantsuits with a well proportioned leg, paired with a beautiful silk blouse; and tailored shift dresses (both sleeveless and with sleeves) that follow the contours but are not too form fitting. Good fabrics are key and contribute to a rich, elegant and timeless look.

What types of accessories should a woman opt for when dressing for the office?

I believe accessories complete and enhance a look, and a good shoe, handbag, belt, scarf and jewelry are essential.

Shoes
For the work environment, I love a kitten heel or a 2-3 inch heel, and prefer a good classic pump with a bit of twist, as well as a sling back. My favorite shoe designers who have the perfect pump and sling are Manolo Blahnik and Christian Louboutin. The shoes are beautiful, sleek, classic and subtly sexy. They are absolutely worth every penny of the investment. A good suede or leather boot with a narrow toe box and a 2-3 inch heel is also beautiful and classic.

Handbags
Handbags you can never go wrong with the Prada leather tote which comes in a few basic colors such as black, brown and tan, and holds enough items without being oversized and cumbersome. I also love the Chanel classic handbag and tote.

Belts and Scarves
For belts, I steer my clients towards a black, chocolate brown or rich tan belt, preferably in leather or skin and for scarves I favor Hermes. They have so many wonderful designs and colors to choose from, and there are so many flattering ways to tie the scarves that will make every woman look chic, stylish and pulled together.

Jewlery
When it comes to jewelry, I emphasize that simple is best. For earrings, diamond studs or larger classic pearl studs look beautiful and there are some great copies out there that could fool anyone! Depending on the neckline, a scarf could look great, or perhaps a nice pendant or a pearl and gold necklace which is long enough to wrap a few times around the neck and sits up by the collar bone. I do like enamel bracelets (my favorites are designed by Hermes and come in different widths, design motifs and colors) and gold or silver link bracelets with a fob closure. I do stress that one thing to avoid at all costs is wearing large dangling earrings as well as glittery and over-sized pieces. Simplicity is key and contributes to a very polished and stylish look.

When it comes to hair and makeup, what works?
Regarding hair and makeup, the overall look should be neat, polished, well groomed and not overdone. I favor a soft palette for makeup. The first step is to ensure that one takes good care of their skin by using good products diligently (I love Biologique Recherche, La Prairie and Clarks Botanicals) and visiting an excellent facialist. My favorite facialist is Natalie at Yasmine Djerradine. A good, light foundation is important (such as Armani Face Fabric or the Fluid Sheer Foundation, or the new Guerlain Fundation) and a soft, neutral eye (mascara and lightly lined upper lid) combined with a soft cheek blush (the best colors are by Chanel) and a soft lip (Chanel lipsticks and glosses have the prettiest colors). Hair should be worn loose either straight or in soft waves, or held back in chic low ponytail or soft chignon. I strongly discourage hairstyles which are very exaggerated or messy. Everything should be soft and feminineno overpowering colors or heavy makeup application.

What are some things to keep in mind in terms of dress code for work?
Overall, when dressing for work, I advise my clients to dress in a clean, tailored and polished fashion that is very stylish and flattering. I discourage them from dressing in fashion trends that will detract from a polished look, and look inappropriate for the office. It is important not to wear anything that does not fit well and having access to a good tailor is essential to ensure that each piece fits perfectly. Another item to bear in mind is not to wear anything that is too short, too tight, too low cut, too clingy or too bright, glittery or overly patterned. Femininity is key. Lastly, its extremely important to be respected at work by clients and colleagues and a beautifully polished look will keep you on the right track!

For more information on image consultant Lori Silverstein please visit (http://lbsimageconsulting.com)

By Millissa Mathai

Symbols That Inspire Fashion Designers

The clothes we wear convey style, taste and state of mind. In portrayal of this end and maximising expenditure we tread wisely, avoiding the expensive dips and dives of high fashion. In a designer led society more emphasis is placed on style longevity and less on periodic fashion we identify through the symbols embodied in the branding.

Symbolizing is commonly used in fashion to create an anchor or unique identity for brands; depicts history and progress and characterizes their motives to differentiate from competitors. Some notable innovators include Malcolm Mcclarens use of computer game symbols in a range of childrens clothing.

This is cementing an epilogue in style that is influenced by technology, history in the making.

To keep pace with this convoluted industry there is the net to surf, high street stores for window shopping and business fashion weeklys to subscribe to. And a myriad of blog sites and social network channels to navigate and gather useful knowledge and information.

Gervaise an adroit caricature and great ambassador for the well loved Simon Carter brand. He can make paper planes, type, ride a scooter and direct, you immediately associate it with the brand as believable and trustworthy and faithful as a hound.

The iconic orb for Vivienne Westwood and her low tech simplistic approach to creating pattern using a potato stamp. It appears on every product produced, woven into silk ties, stamped into the stems of cufflinks, jewellery and clothing collections.

We are also bombarded with symbols every time we buy a fashion garment, the bar code. And the adoption of a symbol that is thousands of years old, the hour glass, which now appears on every computer screen attached to the cursor arrow.

Names have also been created to anchor brands and give a strong personal trustworthy appeal; Ted Baker: When Raymond S. Kelvin opened a men’s shirt shop called Ted Baker in Glasgow in 1988, he had big ambitions but not a lot of money. So rather than advertise, he relied on word of mouth and the creation of a personality to anchor the brand.

Enter Ted Baker, or Ted, as this mythical man is often called. He is a bit quirky and the embodiment of cool. Ted’s an English lad who likes fishing, travelling, dogs, and partying. He’s also the type that always knows what to wear and what to say. The Web site and some of the stores are set up so you feel you are in Ted’s house, complete with a dog (a statue, really). Even Kelvin’s mother, who helps out in the London stores, does her part to perpetuate the myth, wearing a name tag that reads: “Ted’s Mum.”

Ted has helped the company do big things. Kelvin, the company’s chief executive and, as he calls himself, “the closest man to Ted,” eschews traditional advertising. Instead, his business model relies on “quality products delivered with a strong brand image and personality,” he says.

Thomas pink: Pink was set up in 1984 by three Irish brothers James, Peter and John Mullen. Their idea was to reinvent the traditional Jermyn Street shirt, taking it to a wider, aspiration audience. The brand name Thomas Pink came from an 18th century London tailor known for making sought-after red hunting jackets. If you were lucky enough to own one, you were said to be in the pink.

Their first store opened in Chelsea, London, offering classic-cut shirts in stylish, bold weaves and colours. Further stores soon followed in the West End and City of London, their distinctive interiors, pink-and-black packaging, and much-admired shirts quickly attracting a loyal clientele.

The Bolo Tie And The Designer Tie

Have you ever seen Texans or Arizonians wearing what looks like a thin leather thong around their necks leading from a buckle at the shirt collar? If so youve probably thought it dates back to the Wild West. Thats what I thought until a little research revealed quite a different story. This neckwear is called a Bolo or Bola and proclaimed the official neckwear for Arizona, making it one of the most original American styles, the Converse All Star being another; ironically its advent was the outcome of an accident. Had it not been for the loss of a hat in the wind and a quick thinking Arizonian, the style would never have come to fruition? Its a bit like the story about the advent of the first school tie, another accidental style, which also involved hats and hat bands and covered in a previous article.

In the late 1940s, a silversmith named Victor Cedarstaff went riding with friends in the Bradshaw Mountains outside Wickenburg, Arizona. When the wind blew his hat off, Cedarstaff removed the hatband, which had a silver buckle he did not want to lose, and put it around his neck.

When his friends complemented him on the new apparel, Cedarstaff returned home, and wove a leather string. He added silver balls to the ends and ran it through a turquoise buckle.

Cedarstaff later patented the new neckwear, which was called the bolo because it resembled the lengths of rope used by Argentine gauchos to catch game or cattle.

Now mass-produced, bolos are usually made of leather cord, with a silver or turquoise buckle. They are common throughout the west and are often worn for business. In 1971 Arizona legislature named the bolo the official state neckwear.

Twenty years before the advent of the Bolo another innovation took shape, when a pioneering Paris fashion designer, Jean Patou, invented the designer tie. He made ties from women’s clothing material including patterns inspired by the latest art movements of the day, Cubism and Art Deco.

Targeted toward women purchasers, his expensive ties were highly successful. Today women buy 80 percent of ties sold in the US. Therefore ties are often displayed near the perfume or women’s clothing departments.

Designer ties made quite a splash in the 1960s, when designers from London’s Carnaby Street devised the Peacock Look and churned out wide, colourful ties in a variety of flowered, abstract and psychedelic patterns. Know mod (for modern) styles were the forerunners of the hippie movement, which often dispensed with neckties altogether, often favouring colourful scarves at the neck, or wearing open shirts with chains or medallions.

Today, designer ties abound. Designers create some themselves, while others are made by manufacturers under licensing agreements. Designer ties are also popular with women, who associate them with high fashion. In fact three out of four ties are bought by women.

These fascinating innovations are what make the evolution of style and the progress of fashion through the ages so unique. No experience necessary; a man creates neckwear after his hat blows off in the wind. Another man decides to make ties from womens clothing material and hey presto two everlasting styles are created.