Hello SOTGC community,
While the “Golden Handcuffs” may have become a part of your permanent accessory wardrobe, at least for the time being, sleek wool and mohair suits in the summer don’t have to be. Though I broke free from those shiny golden handcuffs just a short while ago, I absolutely did not get to shed my professional look. In fact, now that I’m in the fashion and cosmetic industry, flawless hair and makeup with on-trend professional wear are required – even when it’s sweltering in the Texas heat.
There are a few simple and common sense tips that can help you move gracefully into a cooler and comfortable summer professional wardrobe and keep you from the collective groan of business people everywhere knowing that during the next three and a half months, you’ll be cool as a cucumber.
Because you are brilliant, you know that breathable fabrics like wrinkle free (or wrinkle-a-lot-less) linen, cotton and crepe in punchy shades of coral, lavender, turquoise and white are the fabrics from which you want your staples to be made. As women in business, we have so many more fantastically professional and fashionable options in dress and shoes for summer than do our male counterparts. But please, be extremely careful not to cross the line from cool professional into too-sexy-for-the-office.
A sleeveless color-block top under a solid white or natural linen jacket is a great combination. Going jacketless while driving to appointments and then sliding your jacket on before entering the next big meeting or presentation will help you remain comfortable and avoid overheating. Spaghetti strap camisoles or shells are an absolute no if you’re going to take off your jacket during the work day. Remember, a short sleeve jacket over a strappy shell is fabulous in the summer! Short Sleeve and 3/4 length sleeve lightweight blouses with unique and feminine touches are a great option if a jacket is not required. And dresses, we have loads of options for cool, professional dresses that require no jacket and minimal binding. Wear styles that are still tailored but fit slightly looser and have a nice drape so you don’t have layers of clothes pressed against your skin in the heat all day.
Shoes! Such a fun summer accessory. Wearing an all taupe or white ensemble in summer with the pop of color in your shoes and jewelry is a great way to remain professional and make a statement. So go find or pull out those T-Strap Heeled Sandals, Peep-Toe Pumps and Lightweight wedges. But before you slide them on your lovely feet, please make sure your heels are well conditioned and your piggies are perfectly primed with a neutral or bright color. Cracked heels, dry feet and chipped polish send the message that you’re not concerned with the details.
Finally, legs & hosiery… The great pantyhose debate! In current professional fashion, nylons are no longer a requirement and some may even consider them archaic. However, if you have many imperfections in your skin, struggle with varicose veins or just prefer the sleek silhouette and no tacky panty lines that nylons, control top nylons or some version of Spanx can provide then by all means slide those babies on! It’s your confidence that matters. Be sure and use natural colors and nothing too matte which looks corpse like or too 1980’s shiny. Keep current please – again, those pesky details make a statement without you saying a word. Try 65 Degree nylons from Silkies to help keep you “air-conditioned” in the summer: http://www.silkies.com/itemdy00.asp?T1=74&Cat=. If you’re just concerned that your reflectively white shins will cause a distraction, find a great sunless tanner to use daily and add a hint of sunkiss to your skin. Try Toma’s Tan brand Self-Tanning Airbrush Spray or Self-Tanning Lotion from your local beauty supply and Mary Kay’s Subtle Tanning Lotion from http://www.marykay.com/cobi . (Come back next time to find out how to use sunless tanners successfully and avoid orange hands and way too dark ankles and knee caps!)
Where to find these great summer pieces? Banana Republic, White House Black Market and Macy’s are always reliable sources who carry season appropriate fabrics in professional styles of clothes and shoes. And… (No scoffing my fashionista sisters!) if you haven’t perused the new boutique and women’s racks at JC Penney in the last 3 months, you are missing some fabulous finds! Penny’s finally got back in the game and brought in designer, fashion forward collections that are absolutely the best deals going! Quality fabrics, well designed styles and straight-off-the-runway colors for each season. So, before you turn your nose up at this suggestion, just trust me on this one; grab a girlfriend, wear your shades and sun hat inside if you must but step into your local JC Penny and see what grabs your eye and flatters your figure for under $50! Register with SOTGC to leave your comments for me & our readers and let me know your ultimate go-to store for well made, classic suiting as well as for less “spendy” seasonal pieces to update your look this year.
I know, I know, this is a lot of fluff for serious women on a mission to fulfill your calling and make your mark. Our image matters because we get one chance to make a great first impression as the face of our brand. Looking sharp and put together automatically draws others to us and makes people want to be in our space – a priceless commodity. It’s important to be noticed as we move to the top of our game and into CEO & Founder titles. To be great, we must set ourselves apart from mediocrity on all levels. Courage and confidence are the most beautiful things we can wear each day.
Today, keep your cool, make them take notice, earn the important contracts, and never let ’em see you sweat!
I can’t wait to meet you here again next time so we can keep your hair and makeup from melting with the ice in your cup!
Cheers to a sensational summer,