Sunday, May 31, 2009

Accessories for Men & Women in Business

"It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important."
                                                                                                      -Sherlock Holmes

Accessories are the icing on your wardrobe cake. They transform your clothes into a personal statement that communicates your unique message. Top-notch accessories are a wise investment of wardrobe dollars, because they often have a longer life span than the garments with which they are worn.

Accessories for Men

In the subtle world of men's business attire, small accessory items play a key role. The fine details can make or break a successful look, upgrading or downgrading the impact of even a fine suit.
SHOES: Shoes should blend in with a man's total look rather than calling undue attention to themselves. Dark colors, such as black, dark brown, and cordovan, are most appropriate. Business shoes should have a lightweight look; with soles no more than ¼" thick and low, trim heels. The thinner the sole, the lighter and more elegant the look.
Besides cushioning the feet and absorbing perspiration, sock can enhance or detract from a polished appearance. They should always be dark or neutral-no light colors or loud, attention-getting patterns-and generally coordinate to the trouser.
A belt is essential to hold pants at the waistline and add definition to the overall look. Choose one about 1" wide with a subtle metal buckle. A properly fitted belt is long enough to fit your waist and fasten in the second hole. The belt color should relate to the color of the suit, the trouser and especially the shoes.
Handkerchiefs serve two distinct purposes-fashionable and functional. For functional application, choose white cotton and linen for softness and absorbency. Tucked into a breast pocket, a handkerchief is the least expensive way to polish and upgrade a business suite. The pocket square should coordinate with, but never match, your tie.
Men's jewelry adds subtle punctuation to the total look, but should never be a focal point. Watch, rings, cuff links, and collar pins should be elegant and subtle. There is no better business jewelry investment than a high quality-watch.
Frames that closely echo your hair color are nearly always flattering. Select a style that flatters your face shape and your features. As a general rule, they should follow the natural line of the eyebrows.
A trim, tailored 3" case looks far more stylish than a bulging, oversized one. Heavy leather is the best look. Black is the traditional color, followed by brown, burgundy, and tan.
WALLET: The wallet should be made of top-quality leather in black or brown. The oblong "secretary" styles has more presence than a traditional square and maintains a trim appearance in your inside jacket pocket. Never tuck a wallet in your back pants pocket where it creates an unsightly lump and can more easily be lost or stolen.

Accessories for Women

A modest outfit can triple its face value when worn with an excellent quality handbag, shoes, and jewelry. Accessories also sidestep the issue of weight fluctuation. When did you last hear a woman say, "I've gained so much weight I can't squeeze into my watch"?
Shoes are the foundation of your accessory wardrobe. Opt for shoes in black, navy, gray, or taupe and perhaps burgundy. Shoe color should match the hemline or be darker, so the entire look appears "grounded". White, ivory, and pastel shoes don't work in business. Strappy sandals show too much foot. They also inhibit the stride. Closed-toe pumps in leather are always correct in business.
Neutral-colored hosiery is the strongest and freshest look for business. The well dressed women should never, ever go bar-legged to the office, no matter how tan your legs or how hot and muggy the weather. The entire look is unfinished and un-businesslike.
A skirt or pant waistband is generally not a fashion focal point, but a structure that looks best covered by a good-looking belt. Buy leather, suede, or skin belts about 1" wide in the same neutral colors as your shoe. The belt should fit comfortably and securely over the garment's waistband when buckled in the second or third hole. Avoid wider styles if you have a thick waist, short torso or low, full bust-line. The wider the waistline, the narrower the belt.
A scarf can do wonders to coordinate a wardrobe. In a print scarf, select the primary color of the scarf based on the primary color of the suit. For business, wear a scarf in a subtle, tailored way, not tied into a giant flower pouf.
Many women have a small wardrobe of eyeglasses. Thin wire frames in tortoise shell with a smaller lens generally look updated and chic. Try selecting frames in the same color family as your hair for your everyday pair.
Carrying both a large purse and an oversized briefcase creates an overloaded, disorganized look, select one or the other. If you opt for a purse, carry business papers in a leather notepad or trim portfolio.
Some entrepreneurs and women in creative fields were hats as a personal trademark, but hats are inappropriate for the majority of businesswomen. The exception is in very cold weather, where a hat is essential to conserve body heat. Select whatever style provides maximum protection with minimum damage to your hairstyle.
Some of the most important accessories for a woman never see fashion daylight, but these supporting members of the wardrobe team can make or break a professional look. A properly fitted bra can shave years and pounds off a women's figure. Without exception, cheap handbags, acrylic scarves, plastic jewelry, and bargain-priced shoes, will diminish everything else that you own.
The best rule in purchasing accessories is that none of us can afford to buy cheaply.

Look Great, Feel Great, Be Great

Can you pass a person in the hallway and know what his or her career goals are?  

Of cause you can! Are your people aware of the message their appearance send to those who are capable of promoting them or propelling them forward in their chosen professions?

Exclusive Corporate Image provides educational programs to help men and women learn how to dress and act appropriately for professional environments. For the training your employees need ~ to ensure that their image at work will reflect their own self-confidence, inspire the respect of other professionals, and reassure clients and co-workers that they are committed to the goals of your company ~ Contact us us today at