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: Wardrobe Fixes

Shop in your closet

shopping-bag-iconHow many times do we forget what is in our closets? Recently, I commented to a friend that I liked her jacket. She said she found it in her closet. The best way to remember what is in our closets is to reorganize and / or clean it out at least once a year.

Remove the clothes you don’t normally wear anymore. Consider donating the items that are in good shape and repairing the items you want to keep. The changing of the seasons is a good time to revisit the closet to rediscover items that to wear.

How often does an image need updating?

question_makrs_cutie_mark_by_rildraw-d4byewlIt is important to keep updated and fresh. Anna’s rule is at least once every two to three years to take a look at your hair style, eye wear and clothing choices. When was the last time you refreshed your hairstyle? As women age, makeup can either go lighter or need more color.

Men’s hairstyles change. A young man’s hair style can look foolish on a man over 50 unless he is updating his clothing choices appropriately. Jewelry styles change but good classic lines never become dated. Men’s pant styles rules get broken everyday based on the age, figure shape and industry.

We always want to stay contemporary, especially in a professional environment.

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.

The untucked shirt

_7467151The untucked shirt is a shirt hanging over men’s pants. Now, there is a shirt for men made especially to be worn outside. The overhang of the shirt is short and sports a finished even hem. My opinion of the untucked shirt is that the jury is still out.

I was just at a major store and younger-than-25-year-old sales person was assisting me in a purchase. The man possessed a stocky build and wore a plaid red shirt untucked. This person also had a fashion sense, wearing black glasses with a touch of red on the side with well pressed slacks and clean athletic shoes. I was impressed the shirt hit his body at the right place. It looked smart and casual and not in a manufactured way.

Do suits fit the man?

brown-shoes-blue-suitRecent articles in the New York Times and Chicago Tribune discussed how the suits for Sean Spicer and Stephen Colbert work or do not work. In the real world, suits for men seem to be evolving daily. That is because the fashion industry has been trying change the look of suit styles mainly to drive sales.

The current style for the slim and younger man is closer fitting jackets and stovepipe look pants. No pleat pants on the fuller body type or older men and lapels are back in vogue on the jackets for everyone.

Sean Spicer suits have a dated look because the jacket fit is too wide. He cannot wear the slimmer, youthful one. However, he can trim down the sides and bring in the jacket shoulder to sport a more fitted, smarter look.

Stephen Colbert finally got the message to wear flattering suits and say good riddance to the awful ones where the jacket and pants made him look like a stuffed sausage. Colbert now looks and moves with ease when performing his monologues.

Unfortunately, Spicer has not transitioned to the custom tailored suits that make him look more elegant and balance his rough speaking style.

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.

Outerwear – First Impression

IFun-Fur-Credit-Sandra-Semburg-Vogue_fr_ recently noticed a professional woman wearing an oversized mock faux coat walking toward her car. I love faux fur coats when they look either real faux or real in-between. A faux fur looks best when styled to look that way. There are colors and fur types that shout: I am not real! Even so, they make a fashion statement. A faux fur that tries to look real without having a contemporary style appears cheap and matronly.

My late mother had a mink coat that she stopped wearing because it became too big and heavy. We brought her a faux fur in deep forest green in the traditional style. It looked sharp, fun and she loved it!

 

How much is too much skin?

reject-stamp-showing-rejection-denied-or-refusalI understand the trend is sleeveless tops and dresses have become more acceptable for business and social occasions even in zero temperatures. Low cut tops are now on the forefront especially with actresses and some news anchors.

However, be careful not to get carried away. Recently at a 4-star, high visibility dining establishment, a patron was wearing a top that barely covered her breasts. It was unflattering because of way too much skin showing and because of the fact that her breasts kept sliding out of the top causing her to constantly try and adjust it! Cleavage can be attractive but only if there is a hint of it.

Framing your face

Stripe Shirts with TiesA very important but frequently underestimated sartorial consideration is the framing of one’s face. After you are finished donning your ensemble, but before you present yourself to the world, take one last look at your face in the mirror to see if it is appropriately complemented by your choice of clothes and jewelry. For example, a closed collar strengthens formality and authority attributes whereas an open collar signals approachability and connectivity. The color of your shirt, blouse or jacket is a critical choice as it can lend a powerful but subliminal highlighted quality to your face. A necklace can also be chosen to enhance your preferred projection, but be careful not to let it be a distraction. A recent choice by Barbra Streisand was particularly interesting. Her face was well framed by her hair. She used a long necklace to accentuate her body length for this particular concert occasion.

 

Out with the old

Purge20140607_132441_resizedRecently I have decided to give some of my beautiful suits away. I used to wear suits on a regular basis before slowly moving to business casual, really a more really professional casual.

When presenting to groups, I still wear a suit but it’s a much more relaxed version, containing no dark colors and in some cases, I like a mix and match (With the jacket as more of a companion color to the pants or slacks).

I’ve discovered that the most difficult part is giving away wonderful suits that have helped my business. I remember at an event, a colleague told me that I always look like a major company CEO. This proved to be very important when meeting with staff from Fortune 500 companies.

Now these suits must go to a worthy cause to women to help them in their work world. The guidelines below have helped me feel good about giving these friends away:

1. Keep one to three key suits to wear for presentations and pair them with all the companion pieces (shirts, ties, etc.).
2. Put the clothing in a plastic clear bag – marking the date. If you have not worn the clothes in one year, donate them.
3. Once you touch the item and bag it, do not touch it again.
4. Always try the item on before making any decisions. It is too romantic if you don’t. Old memories can cloud reality.