Anna Soo Wildermuth

Welcome to Personal Images, Inc.!

Here I'll give you up to date tips on developing your personal and professional image to ensure your first impression will be your best impression. Also I will blog about current image and communication blunders. Feel free to join the discussion by leaving comments, and stay updated by subscribing to the RSS feed. Thanks for visiting my blog. – Anna

Change One Thing is a superb book that gives excellent advice to help jumpstart your engine." Stephen R. Covey, author, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

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Archive: Men’s Appearance

When is Casual Too Casual?

haircut disasterNot long ago, a major US airline stopped two young girls from boarding their plane because their attire did not conform to airline policy. The problem was their leggings.   There was some back and forth on social media, but libertarian impulses tended to dominate and the airline took the brunt of the social verdict. But every once in a while we should use an incident like this to reflect a bit more broadly on how far we have come, and where we are heading in the realm of casual dress. My answer to the first question is that we have come a bit too far and a bit too fast. For example, the time-worn rule of thumb, “No shirt, no shoes, no service” has been up for grabs for many years.   What qualifies as a shirt or blouse these days is not much more than a couple of square feet of strategically stitched fabric. What qualifies as shoes would be called a thong on any other part of the body. It will be difficult or impossible to reverse the trends we have experienced over the 30 to 40 years that casual dress has taken hold in the professional environment. But each of us can do our part to hold the line against future erosion of dignity and good taste.

Nails – What do they say?

Nails 2Women: Nails are a major element to grooming and come in on different shapes including pointed and square contours. Colors range from dark purple to multicolored to different colors for each nail! Nail shapes and colors should complement your hair and add a polished look to the rest of your image.

Men: Nails should be cut short and stay clean under the nail. However, I am seeing more men get lax by letting nails grow too long with jagged cuticles and dirt underneath the nail itself. Keep nails short (cut at least once a week). I recommend a manicure for a guideline on length and to keep cuticles neat. Nails too long and with rough cuticles are not acceptable if you want a polished elegant image.

Men and their shoes

brogues-and-jeans-730x500Polished leather shoes are becoming more commonplace with jeans for business casual. The rock stars and actors still favor the white or colorful athletic shoe. However, professionals have found that high gloss leather finished shoes gives elegance to their look.

Recently Marc Marion, a stand up comedian and podcast host, was featured in a well-known publication wearing very casual clothes with polished leather shoes. He looked very smart.

Do shoes make the man?

nike-esquire-sneakers-whiteA recent Tribune article asked if a man can wear gym shoes with a suit. In celebrity magazines, we see actor’s wearing funky shoes with suits and tuxedos. If you are in the fashion or marketing industry or a billionaire why not? For everyone else, if you want to be taken seriously and not be the focus of conversations about your shoes, stick with traditional footwear. For pizazz, mix it up with a different color leather (not red!).

Why is presence so important?

targetOften, I observe technically competent folks with reasonable communications skills rise up the ladder pretty quickly and then hit a wall. The C-Suite does not see them as the face of the organization. This usually is first impressions garnered on connecting with an audience. It is the way they carry themselves meaning posture, pace and how they look any audience in its collective eye.

Also, it’s putting together clothing choices, grooming and the key ingredient of style and confidently navigating situations. They can be cut some slack if it is noticed that confidence and communication skills promote steadiness. Can some develop the critical factor of presence to move into the C suite?  Yes, with the right coach, mentors and champions, the C-Suite is a possibility!

The tie speaks

tiesuntitledI am fascinated by ties worn by politicians, especially the color and widths while watching news channels and late night talk show hosts. It seems like every color of the rainbow and tie width is making an appearance! Folks who are in style, wear more narrow widths and venture into the lavender, purple and burgundy colors, rather than traditional tie colors that come in wider widths and in blues, reds and grays. The right tie with a complementary suit and jacket sets the tone needed to deliver their message. Smart, elegant or casual earthy tones should be consistent with a desired long term outcome.

Workout clothes

nike-esquire-sneakers-white
Many companies have gyms in their buildings for employees to conveniently work out during lunch or before / after work. While this is your private time, it does not mean that you should wear clothes that look like you are ready to clean your garage. You never know who you will bump into!

In fact, you can use working out as an informal way to network. You don’t have to wear the latest matching workout clothes and shoes (which I find a bit contrived but I do like the fun shoes men are wearing!).  Just look clean and smart. Also, make sure the clothing is not too small. I recently saw women wearing leggings that left nothing to the imagination – not an appealing sight.

Hair color

220px-Brian_Williams_2011_ShankboneGray will not age a man if he is wearing an age appropriate hair style. Brian Williams, the anchor on 11th Hour on MSNBC, has streaks of gray hair. It would age him if he tried to dye his hair.

Recently, I was at an event where a man looked older because the dye in his hair looked so fake it aged him. Once a man begins to color his hair it is hard to keep the color from fading. It ages instead of making him look younger.

Look the part

24Looking the part is the first step and a very important one. It is a combination of what and how something is worn. When an outfit does not fit properly or the color does not flatter you then the choice of the clothing is not appropriate for the occasion.

Look at the leaders in the organization to see what makes their look resonate. This will help you discover what creates the right look for the role.

Mix and match

3d human with a red question markClassic styling has dictated that shoes, belts and handbags match. Today’s trends are more in the mix and match category like wearing colors and patterns.
However, a man wearing a dark leather high gloss brown shoe would choose a dark brown leather belt in an high gloss finish like a lizard print. He would keep the same color scheme with different leather blend.

Women have gone in the opposite direction. A black shoe might be matched with a patterned purse in a totally different color. What makes it work is the clothing pieces worn to complement the black shoe. I still believe if you are more comfortable with matching then add a mixed pattern in the same color.
Whatever you choose to accessorize, make sure it is the best quality leather or fabric.