All right, here we go. Back on professional attire - what is appropriate to wear in the workplace and what is not. I am here to tell you that apparently, women in the Human Resources field (not you "S" I promise) do not know what is appropriate. Let me clarify. I attended a health care conference last week for human resources professionals. This is an annual conference and you see the same faces year after year. Everyone is buddy buddy. That's all fine and dandy, but hello...you are still representing your company.

Would you like to know what I observed? Honestly, it was ridiculous. Some women were wearing shorts, tank tops, sandals and flip flops ... shall I remind you again that you are at a conference representing your company - and did you forget that you are in HR? I was astounded to see this form of dress code by HR professionals, but even more, the comfort level to follow through with it. I realize it's 100 degrees and I realize some office dress codes have relaxed a bit. But would you feel comfortable running into your CEO in that? Not everyone played this part, of course. Some women, very few mind you, dressed appropriately. More were in business casual attire. And for the most part, I am okay with that.

Of course, you would never catch me in anything but a suit (Elie Tahari shout out!) at a conference, where I am my company. I was impressed with the men (not their fashion sense, of course) ... the fact they donned suits or "golf attire." You did not see them wearing Tevas or Chacos or flip flops ... and thank you for that. You don't have to have a flair for fashion to know what is appropriate and what is not. It's called common sense. Shorts, tank tops and flip flops are to be worn outside of the workplace. Period.
We talk a lot about fashion and style. What is most important, though, is understanding what works for your body. Before you step out and splurg on the summer’s hottest trends, be sure you know who you are shopping for - YOU. What’s your body type? Though they are many components that go into dressing, and really six body types, we are going to cover just the four basic body types: hourglass, rectangle, triangle and inverted triangle. There are variables within each of these body types, such as long, short or proportionate. However, this should give you a good gauge.

scarlett_johansson.thumbnailHourglass Width of shoulders and hips/thighs are similar. Waist tends to be 8-10 inches smaller than hips or bust. Balanced body with emphasis on bust and hips. Your goal is to emphasize your shoulders and neckline to lead attention up toward your face. In addition, you should aim to minimize bust and hip fullness.

gwynethpaltrow.thumbnailRectangle Width of shoulders and hips/thighs are similar. No defined waist. Body lines are straight. Balanced body. Most manufacturers design clothes for the rectangle body type. Your goal is to minimize your waist and create curves. You will want to emphasize above your waist to lead attention inward and up toward your face.

jlovehTriangle Wider hips/thighs. Narrow shoulders. Bust size small to average which tends to be smaller than hips. The goal here is to minimize the hips/thighs and create fullness above the waist. Keep the fit smooth and loose on the bottom, while adding design details on top.

inverted-triangle.thumbnailInverted Triangle Shoulders are broad. Bust size average to large. Hips/thighs are narrow. Bust is prominent over hips. As expected, most models fit into this category. And if you are so lucky, your goal is to minimize your bust and shoulders while emphasizing your hips. You will want to lead attention inward at your shoulders toward your neck.

For more information on body types, especially if you fall into one that wasn't covered here (such as Oval and Figure-Eight), please reach out to me. No matter your body type, you are now enabled to look and feel your best. You go girl!
I recently commented on a blog with regard to our business casual workforce. Granted, our profession determines what is appropriate to wear, but companies can easily create confusion when they teeter back and forth about what is too casual for business casual. I, for one, am more in tune with and appreciative of the business suit (of sorts) workplace. I don't want to walk into an office and preview what everyone will be wearing to their weekend parties. Now, casual Fridays....that's cool. I have noticed, though, an interesting trend in the marketplace - more companies reversing their business casual attire policy to a business professional environment.

Love it! In fact, I was just in Jackson, MS consulting with a company that is doing just that. As a woman (and it's not just my opinion), I realize that in order to be taken seriously and get ahead, I not only need to act the part, but also look the part. A nice, fashionable suit that I feel like a million bucks in makes me feel powerful and strong - hear me roar! The power suit of today is different ... it's an ensemble - mix and match. You can build your suit wardrobe on matching coordinates. Quality suits matter, so invest. They should have modern and clean lines, and the fabric and buttons are dead giveaways for the overall look and longevity. You should easily be able to break up suits to wear separately with other key staples in your closet. In fact, I prefer the non-matchy matchy look. My favorite suits: Elie Tahari, Theory and Laundry By Shelli Segal.
If you are anything like I used to be, you hang onto clothes forever (and by that I mean, way past the expiration date). Part of it is the guilt factor – I paid for it, I am not going to get rid of it. The other part, sad but true, is that I think about when my children will have 90s or 00s day at school. Instant access to authentic vintage clothing! I know that is crazy…but platforms did come back in style last year and I had only to walk into my closet to hone in on the latest trend. The real question we all should be asking ourselves - how much of what is hanging in my closet am I actually wearing? Let’s be realistic here, we need our wardrobes to serve us, and serve us well. We truly do end up wearing the same things over and over, so simplifying is a good thing.

A fresh pair of eyes on the interworkings of your closet could result in a life changing lesson in how to pair different things together to get the most out of your wardrobe. The first thing to consider is your lifestyle. What you want and need out of your clothes. Then identify and develop your essentials wardrobe. This consists of quality pieces in your key neutrals (black, brown, white/off-white, olive, charcoal, navy). For example, everyone needs a pair or two (or three) of fabulous black pants that transcend season. Invest … these pieces should last a long time.

Once you have inventoried your essentials, stand back and take a long, hard look at what is left. Is it safe to say that what's left in your closet are non-essentials? Perhaps that's why you have a hard time coordinating outfits that work well for you and your body shape. Start purging items that no longer work by (1) consigning, (2) giving to good will, or (3) sharing the love by giving to a friend or family member. And don't forget, tailoring those keepers-but-not-serving-me-now pieces will completely change your look. It's eye opening! Each season, add colorful and modern pieces to freshen up your style. This allows you to add in some trend, while grounded by your essentials. If you don't know your color palette, reach out for help.

Be smarter about your purchases. I recommend shopping alone, as to not be influenced by others. However, if you must shop with others, bring an honest friend with you. I have a friend that is brutally honest (I compare her to shopping with my mom). Her opinion is transparent by look within 2 seconds and by mouth within 3. Gotta love a good friend. Remember, if you have any doubts about a purchase, it's not meant to be. If you think it might work, walk away. If you continue to dream about the item for days, go back and get it. New purchases should only be made in knowledge and love.