How to Dress Things Down?

Is your wardrobe full of formal work wear from the time when business style was far more dressier than it nowadays is? Predominant IT and start-up culture have molded the way we dress to work a lot in the recent years and suddenly a suit with a pair of heels can feel somewhat stuffy. But throwing away fine tailoring just feels wrong, and if it still fits then perhaps you could just wear it in a less formal way.

Photo credits Rawpixel.com on Stocksnap.io

Here comes I on Image’s style guide on how to dress things down. You can mix up the elements listed below or just pick one powerful way to express yourself through your style.

  1. Add a casual shoe. This is the most practical dress-down effect there ever was and hence an all-time favorite of public transport commuters around the world. Your feet will thank you for swapping your vertiginous heels to a comfy sneaker or a cool loafer. There is no longer need to keep a pair of heels in your filing cabinet which I believe they got rid of anyway during the last office remodeling round.
  2. Add knitwear. I am a big fan of creating contrast by using different textures and playing with proportions. Typically I would use chiffon with tweed or cashmere with leather but the logic can also be applied with tailored pieces in a mid-weight fabric by adding a chunky cable knit jumper. Understated merino wool jumpers go literally with everything and are far more low maintenance than gorgeous cashmere that I would love if I didn’t have kids. Knitwear with a pop of colour combined with tailoring looks also very contemporary and is super wearable.
  3. Add denim. A high-low combo is a no-brainer that does apply for evening wear too. The contrast between something dressy and cool denim remains a classic styling trick favored by the best dressed everywhere. Easy, practical and stylish way to wear your tailored separates or dresses.
  4. Add leather. This is just like the tip above but dressier and a more powerful statement. My favorite is to throw a biker jacket on a feminine dress.
  5. Add a T-shirt. T-shirts with a print or a slogan have been popular for quite some time now and they will make any tailored piece look casual and cool. Just check the appropriateness of the picture/text and that it doesn’t spell something else when worn with a jacket. A safe fail-proof alternative is a stripy or plain, yet well,-cut T-shirt.

These 5 ways to dress your outfits down will help you get more out of your existing wardrobe without having to transform your style completely. They will also allow you to own less items while having more style -every single day.

Is your problem actually the other way around? Then read my blog about How to Dress Things Up

If you still feel that your formal suits and dresses no longer have a future in your style narrative then consider donating them to your local Dress for Success®, a global movement that aims to “empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life”. In The Netherlands you can approach www.dressforsuccess.nl.

-Jenni

Your image consultant with an eye for detail

How to Dress Things Up?

Is your trusted daily uniform of a plain shirt and basic denim making you yawn of boredom when catching a glimpse of yourself in a mirror? Do you feel that it doesn’t look interesting enough so people would remember you for right reasons? Or could a more lively outfit express your dynamic personal brand better? Don’t go ditching an otherwise great combo right away as I think it could be easily saved for a round two by just adding a little oomph into it.

Photo credits Rawpixel.com on Stocksnap.io

Here comes I on Image’s style guide on how to dress things up. You can mix up the elements listed below or just pick one remarkable way to inject some well-deserved energy into your look.

  1. Add a tailored jacket. Nothing says business better than sleek tailoring. If the look feels too stiff for your taste then play it down by rolling the sleeves and popping the collar up for relaxed cool.
  2. Add a fancy shoe. What a perfect opportunity to get some use of the shoe that makes your heart skip a beat but which you keep 364 days a year stored neatly in their box. Let’s go live a little and wear them to work.
  3. Add statement jewelry but don’t go piling it all on at once. One signature piece is enough to wake up the room. Another idea is to go full-on Iris Apfel and wear every single piece of jewelry you have ever owned in one single look.
  4. Add a scarf in a stylish print or in your signature colour. My favorites are small silk squares tied elegantly on a simple knot in the front and large squares folded loosely around the neck.
  5. Tuck your shirt in and add a belt. This look is a classic structured way to make you look more polished without actually having to do anything. I love pleated leather belts and chunky belts with a statement buckle.

These 5 ways to dress up your otherwise plain or basic outfits can also help you navigate your style on days when you have an event right after work and no time to change, decrease the amount of luggage during business travel and allow you to own less items while having more style -every single day.

Is your problem actually the other way around? Then read my blog about How to Dress Things Down

-Jenni

Your image consultant with an eye for detail

 

 

Chasing Perfect

Us humans have a natural tendency to aim for perfection. We admire it’s sublime beauty in architecture, literature, music and very much in science like mathematics. But when it comes to natural sciences like biology of psychology, suddenly the exceptions becomes more interesting than perfection.

There is no charisma in the absoluteness of black and white but in lies in the various shades of the rainbow somewhere in between.

Chasing perfection in your appearance is a futile attempt because once you have reached it, you have already lost the game. There is nothing tangible in perfection and we can’t relate to it. We put it on a pedestal -and just look at it. It becomes an object of admiration. But there is no development and thus no future. Time freezes in perfection, and while it’s an amazing experience to look into Mona Lisa’s 500 year old eyes, for enjoyable life and a successful career there needs to be a journey with a past, present and future.

Perfection is possible in brief passing moments but the beauty of life comes in it’s imperfections and the hiccups on the road. There is no charisma in the absoluteness of black and white but in lies in the various shades of the rainbow somewhere in between. Same applies to you. You are the unique YOU and that is what makes you magnetic. Everyone has their own story and the ability to tell that story through their image. My job is to give it a visual form.

Photo credits Greg Raines on Stocksnap.io

Photo credits Greg Raines on Stocksnap.io


I must admit that I actually dislike the current body positivity movement because it draws the attention to the female body sacrificing their wonderful skills and radiating charisma. It also implies that there was something wrong about the body in the first place that we now need to suddenly love despite it’s imperfections. Actually the body itself is nothing but a shell and it was always perfect as it was. Your story is the one that lives long after you. When you allow yourself to admit your dreams, you are taking a major leap towards the person you want to be -and the way you look like will communicate this to others. You can find some handy tips from me on how to enhance your appearance.

Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak.
-Rachel Zoe 

Style is indeed a great way to express yourself, but without a connection to the real you, it remains vague. So keep on looking for that connection. Just like you, your style should evolve and move on. It should never be 100% ready. It is not meant to be perfect.

Perfection is just… boring.
You are… everything.

 

This article was originally published on 16th April 2016 on I on Image’s blog and updated on 29th March 2018.

-Jenni
Your image consultant with an eye for detail

Field Notes About Ageism

Ageism means stereotyping and discriminating against individuals or groups on the basis of their age. Recent studies in the US and in UK show that especially women are facing persistent age discrimination at the workplace as they get older.

A wonderful line of spectacular women who I am proud to call my friends are turning 40 this year, and it feels impossible to imagine that our beautiful mischievous gang is approaching a point in life where we are no longer considered valuable, desirable or worth investing in. Ageism is a real problem for women, and men, in the workplace but I am pleased to see a wind of change blowing the dust away and giving space to a more diverse and more skilled than ever workforce. Empowering women over (and below!) a certain age, mothers, ethnic minorities is an absolute must in order to prep your business for the approaching new decade. Women have never been more capable than they are today and reducing them to a product with an expiry date is just an utter waste of fabulous resources.

Photo credits Ryan McGuire at Stocksnap.io

Photo credits Ryan McGuire at Stocksnap.io


My clients often ask for a fresher, younger and more dynamic look. They have come to the right address because I love to create strong signature looks that work for my client, instead of my client working for the look. You can read more about my approach in my blog FAQ at I on Image. I am myself unapologetic about my age, and I want to inject that confidence in my clients instead of Botox.

I always advice to be open and honest about your age, just as you would be honest about your skills. Think about you the courses you have taken, seminars and conferences you have attended, things that interest you so much that you find yourself wanting to read more and more about the topic. These are all great assets to have and you may have not have had them when you were 20. Certainly you didn’t know then all that you know today. Every year you are more wiser and more experienced. You just need to stay curious and keep that spark in your eye going on. As a result of your experience and learning you are an improved version of yourself today. This is the image you want to show to the outer world regardless of your age.

Thinking about your digital presence, we have been blessed with a myriad of tools that put us right on the edge of the latest technology without actually being incredibly tech savvy. Use that in your advantage and take the best of all features that your relevant social media platforms offer. Have a professional business head shot taken and add a couple of items in your wardrobe that are a logical part of your narrative. Read also my handy tips on how to enhance your appearance.

Photo credits David Marcu at Stocksnap.io

Photo credits David Marcu at Stocksnap.io

Regarding your personal style, allow yourself to live a little of your dreams. If you love a certain style or item, go for it. Life is too short to think if you can pull it off. If it makes you heart skip a beat, it’s probably the right item for you. I give advice regarding the most common body shapes and very often I notice that women already know what suits them. They just unsure on how to incorporate it in their every day life. Many also ask if they can wear certain items past a certain age. I loved the list of “20 things no woman should wear after 30“compiled by Twitter user Molly Manglewood that went viral for the right reasons. Don’t let the title fool you, it is a hilarious list (I agree that wearing a “meat tunic in feral dog country” is undoubtedly a very bad idea) and it’s message is loud and clear:

Age-appropriate dressing is officially dead.

We wear what we love to wear. Increased confidence is one of the best things about aging and it’s the key to your natural charisma. This is what people will initially find the most fascinating about you. Your age is really just a number, and the world is about to see what you are made of!

This article was originally published on 20th March 2016 on I on Image’s blog and updated on 22nd March 2018.

-Jenni
Your image consultant with an eye for detail

 

How to Make a Great First Impression

I find the whole science of first impressions so fascinating. When a person meets you for the first time their brain makes several snap decisions about you in just 7 seconds. Actually it takes only a tenth of a second to decide if the person is trustworthy but as long as 30 seconds to make judgements of a persons attractiveness and intelligence. However a myriad of other decisions are made within 7 seconds, such as judgements about your age, competence, education level, lifestyle, income, social class, to mention a few. Latest studies have shown that we can work our way out of a bad first impression but, as it is with so many other things, it takes a lot more energy and time than just to make it right the first time. I made this collection of tips that will help you take your personal brand on a next level that exudes confidence and professionalism.

Photo credits RawPixel.com at Stocksnap.io

  1. Get to know people in advance through social media. They will be doing the same so make sure that you too are making a good first impression throughout your social media. Read more about digital presence here.
  2. Smile. People who smile appear more likeable and trustworthy than their poker-faced counterparts. Don’t over-do it though. No grinning and no awkward or deranged smiles.
  3. Maintain good personal hygiene. I can’t stress enough the importance of this! There is simply no excuse to neglect your personal hygiene in any possible situation.
  4. Dress for the part. Read more about your appearance here.
  5. Offer a firm handshake. Make it last about 3-4 seconds because you want to engage with people without appearing creepy. At this point you have already made a first impression and people have not even heard you speak yet!
  6. Avoid using fillers such as um, ah and like. They show immaturity and hesitation.
  7. Make it all about the other person. Ask questions and let people tell about themselves.
  8. Polish your listening skills. Read more about brushing your communication skills here.
  9. Maintain normal eye contact throughout the conversation but under no circumstances stare at people. Loosing eye contact mid-conversation implies that the other person is making you bored or you have something more important in your mind.
  10. Avoid at all cost sizing up people from head to toe, peeking at cleavages, or letting your mind wander while looking at someone. It’s creepy, rude and it paves way for you to become the next #metoo headline.
  11. Allow people to have their personal space. In general people feel uncomfortable when someone in breathing down their neck or being too close. See also 10.
  12. Be mindful about your body language. Keep a good posture and resist the urge to cross your arms or legs. Keep your hands visible, unless you want people to think that you have something to hide.
  13. Be aware of your nervous tics such as drumming, scratching yourself, clicking your knuckles, playing with your hair etc. They make you appear awkward and uncomfortable, which may make other people feel uncomfortable too.
  14. Learn to control your facial expressions. Avoid squinting your eyes, wrinkling your nose and keep your mouth closed when you are not talking.
  15. Use confident, friendly and positive language. Have an upbeat attitude. Let your energy and zest for life be contagious!

Photo credits RawPixel.com at Stocksnap.io

 

Let me know how I can help you make a great first impression. I would love to hear from you!

  • Let’s have a talk! I am offering you a 15min complementary telephone call prior to our meeting to set expectations and get to know each other better. Book your appointment here!

I am looking forward to working with you!

-Jenni
Your image consultant with an eye for detail

Your Personal Image Is Everything PART 2/3: Appearance

This 3-part image consulting blog series inspects your personal image from 3 different angles: Your communication, your appearance and your digital presence. In the second part we look at your appearance as the most visible part of your personal image.

Fashion designer, stylist and editor-in-chief Rachel Zoe said: “Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak.” This resonated strongly with me as it captures perfectly the essence of the importance of your personal image. People sum you up in seconds and sometimes they already have an opinion about you before you have even uttered a word. It doesn’t sound very fair, does it, but it’s important to remember that you have full control of your image. I am not saying that you have to look like someone else, actually on the contrary, looking like yourself is always the best idea. Just look like the best possible version of yourself -and you’d be surprised how little it actually takes.

Style is a way to say who you are

Consider the following elements of your appearance

  • Clothes. Clean, neat and pressed should be your key words here. Add items with more flair only when your basics are sorted. Learn to make small repairs yourself or get to know a good tailor in your area. Many high-street pieces will look better on you with small alterations.
  • Hair. Get a haircut that flatters your features. A good hair stylist can take years off your look and make you look more contemporary in a flash. Balding can be done gracefully and it can actually increase your image of leadership.
  • Makeup (if applicable). Use makeup to enhance your look but don’t go overboard. Get professional advice at beauty counters or follow vlogs and blogs online. What works for your favorite celebrity may not work for you. Save wild brush strokes for a night out.
  • Perfume/Cologne (if applicable). Your scent should not arrive before you so use sparingly. Some offices have a no-scent policy that should be respected.
  • Nails. You don’t need an expensive manicure to have good nails. Keep your nails shaped and clean. Short is always is fashion and a simple buffer and a hand cream can do miracles.
  • Jewelry & watch (if applicable). These are the statement pieces that say the most about you. If you are going to invest, go for understated, classic and sophisticated pieces.
  • Shoes. Keep them clean at all times. Keep a shoe sponge handy and polish your shoes regularly. Opt for styles that you feel comfortable in and that match your life style and job description.
  • Bag (if applicable). This is another status item along your watch and your jewelry. Good quality leather is worth investing in. Polish regularly and keep it’s contents neat.
  • Accessories (if applicable). You can compliment your look with these seemingly insignificant items that still tell loads about you. Choose classic items or go for conversation starters.
  • Personal hygiene. I can’t stress enough the importance of this! There is simply no excuse to neglect your personal hygiene in any possible situation.

Look The Part

What’s in it for you?

We would like to think that appearances don’t matter, but they really do. People will expect you to look the part and the higher you climb the higher the expectations. Putting your best foot forward is not about being vain. It’s about investing in self-improvement -and allowing yourself to deserve it! Getting an image revamp can help you in many ways:

  • Huge boost to your confidence
  • Clearer self-image
  • Learn to appreciate your worth
  • Increase your executive presence for better job opportunities
  • Send the right message with your style

Your Style is Your Visual Resume

Your style is your visual resume. Never underestimate the power of your personal image and start investing in it now. It doesn’t necessarily mean expensive as we well know that money doesn’t always bring you style nor authenticity. Start with the items you already own and plan your purchases carefully.

How to get started?

  • Create a personal style that reflects your personal brand. Search inspiration from magazines, start an Instagram collection or make your own Pinterest style board.
  • The real you needs to shine through in all it’s aspects. Imitations last only for so long so better be authentic. It will also help you enjoy your style more and to feel more confident.
  • Take in consideration your unique body shape and the colours that suit you the best.
  • Go through every single item in your wardrobe. Do you see certain styles and colours appear one after another?
  • Ask for a second opinion. Invite a friend who has good style to go shopping with you or come and help you go through your wardrobe.
  • Buy only items that will complement the items that you already have. The size of your wardrobe doesn’t guarantee it’s functionality.
  • Utilize free personal shopping services at department stores, malls and shops. Bear in mind though that their job is still to sell you items from their store. With I on Image you can shop all brands from Primark to Prada.
  • Forget about the trends and concentrate on building a life-long style that tells your story.

Your appearance is the part of you that you can’t possibly hide. Do you look the part? Here at I on Image I help you discover the power of your personal style that flatters your best features. Gain more confidence and want to be the best dressed person in the room. Book your appointment already today here.

-Jenni
Your image consultant with an eye for detail

Why Your Image Matters

Your personal image is the perception that people have about you. It affects your success in every aspect of your life. When a person meets you for the first time their brain makes several snap decisions about you in just 7 seconds. Learn to make the most of them and take your personal brand on a next level that exudes confidence and professionalism.

First Impression

People are programmed to make a quick opinion about you based on your appearance, your body language, your gravitas and your style. No matter how much is then later learn about the person we tend to trust our first impressions above all. According to Harvard Business School professor Amy Cuddy these rapid decisions that people make within seconds from seeing you for the first time come down to two boiling questions:

1. Can I trust this person?

and

2. Can I respect this person?

She continues: “If someone you’re trying to influence doesn’t trust you, you’re not going to get very far; in fact, you might even elicit suspicion because you come across as manipulative. A warm, trustworthy person who is also strong elicits admiration, but only after you’ve established trust does your strength become a gift rather than a threat.”

Image is about trust and respect

Make sure people are judging you accurately and not being confused or distracted about your image. This includes, but is not limited to, simplifying things. Have less but be more powerful. People want and should see the real you but it doesn’t have to mean spilling all your secrets out there. You can control what you are giving away and what you are keeping to yourself. Center for Talent and Innovation (CTI) declared in their report about personal image: “How you look, how you speak, and how you act turn out to be critical to your success, our report concludes, at every step in your career journey.” So be mindful about your personal image. It may be all you really have.

Are people judging you accurately

Your personal image is one of the few aspects of your life that you have a full control of and I am delighted to help you to invest in yourself. I am passionate about business wear, first impressions (live and on social medial) and I want to help you to be at your very best in the current competitive business environment. Let me worry about the looks, it saves you your valuable time and helps you to focus on the very essential: your fantastic skills and amazing knowledge.

Need more convincing? I got you covered. Read my blog 3 Reasons to Hire Me here.

Take control of your image

When building a successful image it’s important to remember to remain as authentic as possible. Your personal image should be a conscious decision for your own profit but it should still look like you. Think of the following qualities of your image:

  • Inspiring: Create enthusiasm and make people feel empowered.
  • Memorable: Stand out from the crowd for the right reasons.
  • Approachable: Be open, communicate clearly and make people feel comfortable around you.
  • Genuine: Remember to be the unique charming you.
  • Engaging: Create lasting relationships and allow people to commit to you.

 

Your Image Should Be...

 

Let me know how I can help you enhance your image. I would love to hear from you!

  • Let’s have a talk! I am offering you a 15min complementary telephone call prior to our meeting to set expectations and get to know each other better. Book your appointment here!

 

Make The Most Of Your 7 Seconds

I am looking forward to help you enhance your image!

-Jenni
Your image consultant with an eye for detail