Thursday, November 17, 2011

Five Common Executive Image Mistakes –And How to Avoid Them

As a new or even top executive, your image matters. In today’s business environment, judgments are made in the blink of an eye. Follow these five tips to avoid common executive image mistakes and ensure your effectiveness.

Clothing that Makes You Appear Invisible
You may want to be a dynamic executive. However, if you find the boardroom keeping you out, the first question to ask is: are you wearing your personal power colors that demand attention. Color is a powerful business tool that you do not want to overlook as you build your executive image. The fashion colors this season may or may not be your friends. Get your colors professionally done to ensure every bright, neutral or pastel color you put on is sending the message you want it to send. You will find that when you wear the colors that are best for you, you will get more attention, be taken more seriously and perhaps best of all, you will feel more confident.

Forgetting to Dress Office Appropriate
If you are wearing super low-rise pants and your underwear is peeking out of the back, what message is that sending? Other inappropriate dressing may include a too short skirt. Even if it is the trend, it is not appropriate in an office environment and some people will not take you seriously. No matter how proud you are of your chest, showing more than a hint of cleavage will work against you in a coed work environment.

Even in warmer climates open-toed shoes should be saved for the weekend, and opt for pants if you really cannot stand wearing nylons. Bare legs and arms send a casual message that may not serve your career goals.

Even on Casual Friday do not get too casual – skip the T-shirt and tattered jeans. If you are in a position of authority or if you want to be remembered, always wear a third piece: a jacket or a sweater or even a colored shawl should be worn over your blouse or dress. This is your authority piece and an important part of your wardrobe.

Falling Head First into the Fashion Trends
Do you find that you gravitate to the ‘have-to-haves’ of the season? This may be a challenge as time goes on because you will continually have to update your wardrobe. By choosing timeless pieces, you can bring in a new piece to mix-and-match with your current wardrobe without breaking the bank every season.

If you really want to be fashion forward from 9-5, consider wearing only one trend piece at a time. This way you will still look current and hip without looking like you care more about fashion than looking professional.

Overdoing Accessories…or No Accessories at All
At work, your accessories should complete and complement your outfit, not be attention grabbers themselves. Still, do not be afraid to wear one statement jewelry piece or bold accessory – just not several at the same time. A great handbag or briefcase can polish your outfit to perfection. However, four necklaces, six bracelets and a big buckle belt will be a bit much for any outfit, and will send the wrong message at the office.

This also applies to your makeup – wear makeup, but do not overdo it. Your makeup is also an accessory – it should be fresh and should polish your look. Keep the adventurous accessories and dramatic makeup for your evening activities.

A Dated Hairdo
Nothing says, “I am not on the cutting edge of my profession” quicker than an out-dated hairdo. Keep your hairstyle current. If you are donning a 1960s bob or 1970s flip style, it is probably time to update that look. Consult your hairstylist or an image consultant to find out the best possible looks for your face shape and skin tone. Try flipping through different magazines and find a style that you like. An updated hairdo can give you a whole new level of confidence.

Select one or two of the tips above to focus on over the next two weeks and make the necessary adjustments to your executive image. You will see results and garner the respect and attention you deserve, while having more confidence in your executive image.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Business Holiday Card Etiquette

In the season of giving and reflecting, many companies send holiday greeting cards to their colleagues and clients. This seasonal gesture is a nice way to let your recipients know that you are thinking about them and that you appreciate their business. Here are ten etiquette tips in sending a business greeting card that will help insure your good intentions:
  1. A holiday card is usually sent to someone to whom you do not give a gift.
  2. Send to Christian friends cards that show religious scenes, such as the Nativity scene or Christmas angels. Also appreciated are cards with Christmas trees, wreath, Santa, sleighs, candy canes, and Christmas bells. Christmas is always observed on December 25.
  3. Send to Jewish, Arab, Moslem, Hindu, or Buddhist friends greeting cards that wish everyone a "Happy New Year" or "Season Greetings" or any other non religious statement of good wishes. Many Jewish people also like cards for Hanukkah. Hanukkah is an eight-day celebration that begins on the 25th day of the Jewish calendar month of Kislev, which usually falls during the month of December. In 2011, Hanukkah is celebrated from sundown on December 20st through sundown on December 28th. Also good to remember around the holidays, is the Kwanzaa holiday. The Kwanzaa holiday is not intended to substitute for Christmas, but rather to provide a time to focus on and celebrate African-American culture and traditions. Kwanzaa is a seven-day holiday celebrated each year from December 26 through January 1. Kwanzaa is unique because it is a holiday with no religious, political or heroic associations.
  4. You can begin to send greeting cards as soon as Thanksgiving is over.
  5. Make sure your card is not too cute, overly funny or in poor taste.
  6. Most often when sending a business holiday card, it is sent to the office of the recipient, addressed in his/her name only. If you also know the person socially, it can be sent to his/her home. If you send it to someone's home, then it should be addressed to both the recipient and his/her spouse (even if you have never met the spouse).
  7. The address should be hand written (I suggest in black ink).
  8. Do not include a business card with the holiday greeting card. As your intentions are to offer holiday sentiments, they should not be overshadowed by the appearance of promotional activity. In general, you should always wait to be asked for your business card, rather than presenting it to the recipient.
  9. Use a postage stamp, preferable a holiday stamp... not the postage meter.
  10. Be sure to use the honorific when addressing an envelope... e.g., Ms. Jane Smith.

 How to properly place a card in the envelope: 
  • Insert the folded side into the envelope with the design face up toward the flap.  

Mailing notes:
  • Mail cards first class so they will be forwarded or returned to you if the address cannot be located.

  • Include your return address to comply with the U.S. Postal Service's request and to help your friends keep their mailing lists up to date. 
Sending greeting cards is a thoughtful way to send holiday cheer. In today's rushed world, taking the time to send a personalized note may be a wonderful way to also show appreciation for the recipient.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

How To Always Have Something To Wear

  • Find out once and for all what really suits you. Invest in a color and style consultation. 
  • Decide on a look that’s right for you, one that works with your personality, budget and lifestyle. 
  • Set a day aside to clean out your wardrobe. Eliminate everything that doesn't fit, you haven’t worn in a year or you no longer like. 
  • Put everything you can’t decide on or love-to-death but you do not wear in a box in another room. 
  • A few weeks later, go back to the box. Don’t go through it again. If you have not already retrieved anything by now, you don’t need it. Get rid of everything, box and all. 
  • Decide on three basic colors. These need to either match or coordinate with what you own. Buy only those three colors for your basic pieces. 
  • Make a list of all the items you need in your wardrobe, e.g., a solid blazer, wool pants, white shirt, etc. 
  • Think carefully about each purchase. Will it go with at least three other things in your wardrobe? Can it be dressed up and down? Is it trans-seasonal? Will it date quickly? 
  • Avoid trendy items, or, at least, spend very little on them. 
  • Buy clothing that will span two to three seasons – like wool crepe or matt jersey. 
  • Never compromise on fit, no matter how great a buy. If it can’t be altered or you are not prepared to spend the money on having it altered, pass it by. 
  • Add punchy color and fashion flair with accessories, shoes and handbags. 
  • Continually eliminate and replace essential wardrobe pieces once it is built up, so that you are never caught without a necessary item. 
  • Try to plan your wardrobe around three neutral colors like black, white, khaki, navy or brown. 
  • Buy more solids than prints. You won’t get tired of them as quickly. 

For you convenience you can create “Your Private Stylist” on-line at:
  1. My Professional Stylist
  2. My Private Stylist (Women)
  3. Men of Style

Each stylist comes with 2 months of unlimited on-line support from Exclusive Corporate Image. For questions or comments contact us at

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

How to Find The Best Hairstyle to Showcase Your Beautiful Face

Your hairstyle is an important part of your overall image. By getting your hair cut and styled to suit your face, you will get the look that is the most flattering for you. You might be surprised at how very different you can look with the right hairstyle. Finding the right hairstyle to suit your face is often challenging. You have to balance the current trends with what will look best on you. But how do you know what will make you look your best?

This article will help you discover which hairstyle is right for your face and how to choose a style that will enhance your looks and give you the absolute best look for you.

Figure Out Your Face Shape: In order to find the right hairstyle for your face, you first want to determine your face shape. Here is a brief guide:

  • Oval: This type of face is very oval-shaped and equal in size on top and bottom.
  • Heart: Wider at the temples and narrower at the chin.
  • Round: This face type is similar to the oval, but shorter.
  • Triangle: The opposite of the heart, this type of face is usually wide at the chin with a narrow forehead.
  • Square: A strong jaw and squared-off features are typical of this type.
  • Rectangle: A longer version of the square face.

Go Long to Slim the Face: For round faces, the worst thing you can do is to get a chin length cut. That will just draw attention to the roundness of the face. To make your face look longer and slimmer, keep hair long, at least shoulder length. While some layering at the bottom can work, it
is usually best to keep layers out of the face and below the jaw line. Longer styles also go very well with an oval-shaped face.

Use Bangs to Hide Flaws: Bangs camouflage a large forehead or are often used to soften a face. Bangs usually look best when they are not too full, so stick to just a light coverage. Bangs go well with heart-shaped faces to minimize the width of the forehead, and are also ideal for softening a square or rectangular face. Avoid using them with a round face shape, since this will cut off length and make the face look even shorter.

Layers Create Softness: When you have straight lines in your face, such as those with a square or rectangular face, some well-placed layers can really help soften your face and create a more feminine look. Be careful of having too many layers, since this can actually start to look frizzy and unkempt, but a handful of wisps looks great.

Short Hairstyles Add Width to the Jaw: Obviously, if you already have a naturally wide chin, you won´t want to opt for a bob or any other chin-length cut. However, for heart-shaped faces, this is the ideal hairstyle to balance out the wide forehead. Short hair can also be used successfully with a rectangular face, to create a shorter look, particularly if combined with a layered cut to add texture and softness to the face.

Add Some Curl For Extra Body: Not everyone is blessed with full hair and when you have a triangular or a rectangular face, a little extra volume can really help. Going with a light perm or curl can help add some volume to your hair and balance out these face types.

Now that you have a fairly good idea of what your face shape is and which hairstyles compliment it, you can take a look at a variety of hairstyles from magazines, the Internet or hairstylists’ style books and decide which is the right one for your face. Choosing the best hairstyle for you will
result in a great look that enhances your natural beauty and makes you feel your best everyday.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Hair, Makeup and Accessories that Enhance Your Executive Image

St. Patrick’s Day takes place just a few days before the first day of spring. One might say it has become the first green of spring; and a great time to think green when it comes to spring closet cleaning! So let’s think recycle!

As much as you realize the importance of investing in an executive wardrobe to enhance your image, recognize that the garments you select are only one part of your overall executive image equation. Your makeup, jewelry and other accessories are also influencing factors that deserve your attention so that you always look your best. Using them effectively will allow you to “recycle” wardrobe items.These important accents can complement or compete with your carefully selected, executive outfit.
Follow these ideas to ensure that what you decide to do with your accessories and jewelry is working for you at work every day.

Do Not Skip the Jewelry

Jewelry is important, as it finishes the look. Always wear earrings to frame your face. Also add at least a necklace or a bracelet, and always consider a watch. Without jewelry you look underdressed in the workplace – and underpaid. Invest in some good classic jewelry that will last a long time, and then each year add one or two more current pieces.

Any Old Necklace Will Not Do
Just because it is real gold does not mean it is working for you. It is important to wear jewelry in your colors, and proportion to your body size. Too many women wear very dainty necklaces in the workplace, and this does not enhance their authority. Pick jewelry that is a good size for you, and specifically complements the outfit you have on.

Keep Your Bags and Shoes Neutral
Choose suede or leather in neutral colors for your bags and shoes. Patent leather is a great way to add flair while still being neutral. Also, choose classic styles rather then the latest trends. Classic shoes and bags are good investments and will look great for seasons to come.

Do A Test Run
Take the time to do a “test run” on any new accessory or garment you add to your business wardrobe. Wear it first to run errands or to meet a friend for lunch before you wear it to work so you will not be surprised by an earring that keeps falling off or a necklace that keeps catching your hair. You want to be aware of any challenges and resolve them away from the office.

Do A Double Take
Take a good look at yourself in the mirror before you leave each morning. Are your clothes clean and pressed? Are your shoes clean and polished? Are your accessories simple and classic? If you do not look well put together, you are not conveying the professionalism that your colleagues expect of you.

Watch the Noise
While all shoes make noise, notice if yours are unusually loud. This can distract those around you and will be sure to make you uncomfortable. Also the same goes for jewelry. Save the bells and chimes for the holiday parties and keep them out of the office. Another important tip here is to remember to take off all but one bracelet if you are doing a presentation. You do not want your noisy bracelets to distract from your powerful message.

Choose a Purse or a Briefcase – Not Both
A big accessory mistake is to carry both a briefcase and a purse –this can get cumbersome. Instead opt for a stylish briefcase. Today many designers make feminine yet sophisticated cases that can serve as your purse and hold your papers, or even your laptop. You can always stick a small evening bag in the briefcase if you need to go from day to evening. Just leave the case in the office when you go out to that dinner or cocktail hour.

Accessories are a vital part of an effective executive wardrobe. Whatever your professional role follow these ideas to ensure you always feel confident, and look fantastic.
If, or when in doubt, the stylist services at Exclusive Corporate Image, LLC is happy to provide suggestions to ensure that you are always looking fabulous. Contact us at

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Building an Effective Executive Wardrobe

"In an era of corporate downsizing, is "down-dressing" a good idea? Might not managers, given a choice between two workers to retain, subconsciously choose to keep the one who looks more professional?"

--Marilyn Gardner

You have worked hard to achieve the success you have right now. In today's highly competitive world, putting attention on cultivating an executive wardrobe will accentuate the professional image that supports your objectives. While you know that you get only one chance to make the all-important first impression, it is equally imperative to make every day a day that you look your very best, even if you have no meetings except for the impromptu get-together you have in the lunchroom or around the water cooler.

Follow these tips to build an effective executive wardrobe that will convey confidence and competence throughout your workday.

Know the Environment

Office climates are continually changing. Knowing what is considered appropriate for your office environment will ensure that you do not make any expensive mistakes when building your wardrobe. Keep this in mind when visiting another office that might have a different business dress style than yours.

Consider What Activities You Will Be Doing 9-5

If you look uncomfortable doing whatever your job requires you to do because your wardrobe selection is out of place, you will not be taken seriously on the job. Be sure you build outfits into your wardrobe for each activity.

If you are an outside sales rep you will be doing a lot of driving around and pounding the pavement. You may want to select suiting made with natural fabrics, or wear less tailored styles that are easy to move around in.

Start With a Closet Audit

When starting to build an effective executive wardrobe, you need to start by being sure of exactly what you have already - before you make a list of what you need.

Pull out everything in your closet that could possibly be worn to work. Try everything on. Make sure it fits well, that it looks fantastic on you and that it is in good condition.

Build A Baker's Dozen

Your goal should be to have thirteen outfits in your closet. That does not mean thirteen suits. It means that with mixing and matching, your shirts, blouses, jackets, skirts and pants make up at least thirteen outfits that will comprise your executive wardrobe. You do not have to be at thirteen immediately, but it is what you want to work towards.

Start With Your Core Color

Start with at least one great suit that fits you perfectly, and in one of your neutral core colors. Your core colors are colors that are the same as your eyes or hair: black, brown, green, blue etc.

Keep Your Budget in Mind

Once you put together your shopping list, do not just go. Do some Internet research to see what is out there, look for sales and calculate what a realistic wardrobe budget might be. You will not feel good in your new clothes if you have gone into debt to pay for them.

When shopping, remember that quality is important and you are going to spend more for quality. Leave trendy clothes for your weekend activities. Start with clothes that will last for at least a few years.

When in Doubt, Hire a Professional

Consider hiring an image consultant to work with you to define your professional objectives and help you put together your best possible executive wardrobe.

You are now equipped with the knowledge and information to build a wardrobe that can clearly reflect your high level of professionalism. Keep this article with you while shopping or when considering if something is a must have for a wardrobe that will bring many rewards.

Look Great, Feel Great, Be Great

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Valuable Office Etiquette Tips

"Diplomacy is nothing but a lot of hot air," said a companion to French Statesman Georges Clemenceau as they rode to a peace conference. "All etiquette is hot air," said Clemenceau. "But that is what is in our automobile tires; notice how it eases the bumps"

If someone does not want to do business with you because he or she doesn't like your attitude or your habits, you'll never be told that's the reason. Poor business etiquette is a silent killer.

Let's be clear about what is meant by business etiquette. It has to do with how we treat one another - the accepted forms, manners, ceremonies, habits, protocols and rules required in conducting our business relations.

Business etiquette may be reflected in ways such as communication styles, dress modes and the atmosphere of the work setting. But the deeper purpose of business etiquette is to remove the obstacles and minimize the irritations that make doing business a pain rather that a pleasure.

Put these tips into action and they will get you where you want to go faster than a speeding BMW!


  • Dresses appropriately in business attire.
  • Greets visitor with a smile, asks who visitor is meeting, and informs the executive his/her appointment has arrived.
  • Offers refreshment, if your company follows this courtesy.
  • Offers use of telephone and magazines to read, if there is a delay.


  • Presents business card to receptionist, and gives pertinent information: name, company, and who he/she is meeting.
  • Sits in reception area until appointment.
  • Takes this time to collect thoughts and relax.
  • Stands and shakes hands when executive comes out to greet visitor.
  • Waits for executive to indicate where to sit in the office.
  • If initiated meeting, make several pleasantries, and then moves on to business.
  • Thanks receptionist on the way out.
  • If initiated meeting, write thank-you note to executive for his/her time.


  • Greets the visitor in the reception area, and shakes hands.
  • If there is a delay in the appointment, the executive meeting with the visitor should personally let the visitor know immediately.
  • Offer another appointment time if the delay will be long.
  • Walks the visitor to office.
  • Indicates where the visitor should sit.
  • Do not remain behind the desk because a desk acts as a barrier.
  • Sits in close proximity to visitor.
  • If initiated meeting, makes several pleasantries, and then moves on to business.
  • If initiated meeting, writes thanks-you note to person for his/her time.


  • Do respect each other's privacy and space.
  • An opened door does not mean you can enter it at will.
  • Stop at the door and wait to be asked in.
  • In some countries, i.e., Germany, office doors are closed.
  • If someone is on the telephone or working on a project, come back later or send a memo and set up an appointment.
  • If a senior executive walks into a room, stand up. If you are engrossed in a project with others, look up and acknowledge the person.
  • Off-colored jokes are not acceptable in a professional setting.

Etiquette for etiquette's sake is an empty activity and a meaningless ritual. But genuine good manners and a working knowledge of professional behavior are essential and productive business skills.

For answers to all your questions on Office Etiquette, International Protocol, Dining Skills and Professional Image Awareness, please contact us at (954) 782-6075 or email us at