gmhTODAY 14 gmhToday May June 2017 - Page 90

manners MATTER The Visual Side of Manners Karen La Corte is an etiquette and manners expert trained and certi- fied by the Emily Post Institute in Vermont. She has been teaching eti- quette and manners to children and adults for over thirty years. She is also a certified image and fashion consultant. Karen is happy to answer any personal etiquette or image questions you may have by emailing her at [email protected] 90 BY KAREN LA CORTE B usiness fashion consultants say that one good way to dress for success is to dress for the “next” job. How we dress reflects our personality, defines our brand, and can be something fun instead of a challenge. Our appearance reflects who we are. It can give us confidence and self-respect. Learning what is appropriate and what is not, will set you apart from others. Your grooming habits and your judgement in fashion determines your success in today’s competitive world. Knowing when to wear jeans versus a suit is as important as know- ing when to wear makeup or a lesser made up look that I call a “make down.” Knowing what to wear for the office, an event, or a family picnic is the visual side of manners. How we dress can be a deal breaker when interviewing for a new job, can wow a room when attending a party, or can simply let folks in on your signature style. “Individuality and personal expres- sion have their place, but the principles of respect and consideration for others, plus a healthy dose of common sense, should underline all dressing and grooming deci- sions,” advises Peggy Post, a descendent of the famous etiquette guru, Emily Post. Dressing with consideration is also rooted in respect for cultural, religious, and regional customs. A teenager who wears well-pressed jeans to church may look pre- sentable, but some worshippers might feel that jeans are inappropriate in that setting. This attitude may seem unfair to some, but it’s reality. The message that clothes can send often matters more than the clothes themselves. At work, your appearance reflects your company. You are the company’s face to the outside world. Success starts from the top, beginning with your hair, to the bottom with your shoes. Smart wardrobe planning starts with seeing what you already have, weeding out the unwearable, and making a list of items you can add to extend the wearable life of your present wardrobe. Sometimes a new scarf or tie, a piece of jewelry or new buttons will make an old, but a good quality outfit look like new. I did a presentation for a school office in Morgan Hill. They wanted advice on a basic wardrobe for all seasons. We talked about budget and quality. I told them that good taste has nothing to do with money. I also told them that the office is not the place to make a fashion statement. GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN MAY/JUNE 2017 So here is my quick look at a basic wardrobe for both women and men. Women’s Basic Wardrobe • Dress (black, navy, brown, beige or gray) • Suit (solid color, conservative) • Jacket/Blazer (color of choice) • Skirt • Two pairs of dress pants (black, brown, navy or gray) • Jeans (casual and dress jeans) • Two Blouses • Nice tee, shell and/or sweater • Undergarments • Shoes (black or brown) • Purse • Accessories and Jewelry • Basic Coat • Bathing suit and cover-up A note on jewelry: silver, gold, or pearls are appropriate for business as well as going out to dinner. Men’s Basic Wardrobe • Suit (dark gray, navy or black) • Jacket/Blazer (color of choice) • Two pairs of dress pants (black, brown, navy or gray) • Jeans (casual and dress jeans) • Two pairs of casual pants (khakis) • Belts, ties, pocket squares • Two Shirts (collared) • Nice tee, polo, and/or button-down- the-front shirt • Undergarments and socks • Shoes (black or brown) • Basic Coat • Bathing Suit