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

Cotton wool-rayon, polyester and silk favorable fabrics

colortwitpaperSkin sensitivity has been an issue for me, so relying on cotton, rayon, and silk in clothing choices has been a life saver. I stay away from wools and wear heavier cotton knits and layered items. I select dresses with a high-end polyester combination. Putting on cotton and silk blouses and tops with suits adds a layer of protection to keep wool from contacting the skin.  Touching fabric will help determine its quality. It should be soft, not scratchy, and of a good weight.

Clothing fit

treadsPeople watching is fun. Trend setters determine what styles are being worn and how the clothing is put together. In a location with high income earners versus lower income areas, clothing choices are different. Lately, however, the ill fit of too tight, too short hem lengths in pants, sleeves, and skirts and clothing either too short or long is showing up in all areas.

To ensure a fit is correct, stand in front of a mirror and look at all the hems. Sleeves hems should slightly skim the palm of the hand. On pants without pleats, the hem should dip before it hits the top of the shoe. Following these guidelines means that clothing will always look elegant.

How much color is too much?

womens-fashion-trends-springsummer-2016-3-620x531Use the rule of thumb about one wearing one dominant color with two companion choices. The new trend for impact is red with camel instead of black. The red shines and it has a more contemporary feel to it. Red with a complementary gray is another good choice.

I have seen red with pink or with orange which is dramatic and can make an intimidating statement. Yellow with gray is a favorite of mine. Yellow with black (the bumble bee look) will make a statement that can hit you over your head but yellow with gray projects a more elegant feel.

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!