When I lived in Belgium, I put my Cordon Bleu courses to good use and wrote monthly restaurant review columns for several publications. In Belgium there are several restaurant review magazines that come out yearly: beautiful glossy publications with eye-catching color photos of the restaurants and a review of the food and service below. These reviews were actually advertorials. Thus, the chef knew exactly when a journalist was coming to review his or her restaurant.
In spite of advance notice, on many an occasion, the food was so terrible that I had to dispose of it discretely, once in a potted plant close to my table. I’ve often wondered if the plant enjoyed the strong-tasting beef liver dish which was purported to be calves liver.
Here’s what I learned. If you are a chef but don’t have the necessary skills, experience, and/or training, you can work all day, but you won’t be able to turn out a wonderful meal. I expect the self-taught chef must have thought that there was no difference between beef liver and calves liver. The old adage “you don’t know what you don’t know” applies here.
It also applies to image.
Ellie Kemper, host of talk shows and sub-host for Ellen DeGeneres, was once asked what to wear on TV. She said, “Wear bright colors.” Good advice for the most part. However, some bright colors, like orange and lime green are harsh and difficult to wear.
Here are a few more “What Not to Wear” tips:
• Tops that look like lingerie
• Garments that are low cut, too short, or too tight
• Stilettos that look dangerous, and all shoes that look gaudy or make your feet look huge or clumsy
• Ruffly, frilly garments that look too “frou frou”
• Unimaginative blazer jackets in drab colors (they make you look drab)
• Brown lipstick (it makes you look drab)
• All neon or acid colors
• The same hairdo that you wore in college
• Shirts with stripes wider than a pencil - this is a sport shirt and should not be worn with a tie
• Shirts with stripes in multiple colors - one color plus white, please , or you’ll be thought to be in your pajamas
• Dark shirts with business suits, and all matching sets of pastel shirts and ties - ties must contrast with your shirt, not match it
• Ties with large, busy patterns and those with neon colors
• Jackets that are too large or ill fitting
• Khakis - khaki-colored dress trousers are fine
• All drab colors like olive green, most browns and beige
If you wish to look polished and professional, here’s what men and women should wear:
• Anything that makes you look both attractive and important. Take the time to discover the colors and styles that are flattering. Choose colors that make you look radiant and healthy. Resist drab colors like olive green, most browns and beiges; plus all neon or acid colors.
• Remember, the darker the color, the higher the authority. Take note of members of Congress who look particularly powerful. Do they wear light-colored suits or navy blue ones, for example? Women: in addition to navy blue or black, choose the darker versions of basic colors: royal blue instead of powder blue. Skip pastels entirely. They are powerless.
• Garments that fit well give a more successful appearance. Find a good tailor if your garments don’t fit you like a glove. Clothes that don’t fit well look sloppy, and this can lead others to believe that you are sloppy with work.
Lastly, if you always dress to impress, you’ll never go wrong.
Sandy Dumont is a speaker, author and expert in the field of professional attire. Her acclaimed e-book, “Color Me Correctly, Please,” is available at www.theimagearchitect.com. Reach Sandy at 757-621-9555.
Sandy Dumont, The Image Architect, is a sought-after stylist and image consultant in the arena of corporate, political and celebrity image and has spoken to audiences throughout the USA, Europe and Asia. Sandy is a prolific writer and has published numerous books, eBooks and DVDs. Her books and speaking style employ psychological insights into how we perceive color, judge wardrobes and incorporate (or don't) social norms into our daily lives.
Sandy is a member of the National Speakers Association (NSA) and Past President of NSA Virginia, and Past President of the SE Virginia chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO. She consults with individuals and corporations and also conducts corporate and individual image makeover workshops on the subject of impression management and image skills. Sandy is also a keynote speaker at conferences both nationally and in Europe and Asia. She also does online image consulting and image makeovers for individuals and groups.
Sandy Dumont has appeared on radio, TV and in print throughout the world. She was recently featured in a cover story with Money Magazine. In December 2009, she was the recipient of the Women in Business Achievement Award.
Sandy Dumont, The Image Architect, is MORE than an Image Consultant. For information, visit www.theimagearchitect.com or call 757-627-6669.Website: www.TheImageArchitect.com