A Fresh Romance
Create a softly feminine look-use floral prints, chiffon, silk, lace, layering, tone on tone nudes and loose-tailored garments. For work don’t do light colors from head-to-toe-rather combine with charcoal or darker pants. Team up a ruffled blouse or lacy camisole with a relaxed jacket. This way you will look feminine and credible at the same time. Warning: over-doing this look could make you come across as too “girly” and you will not be taken seriously enough.
Back in the Wild
Neutral, earthy tones, trench dresses, gladiator sandals, a tribal beaded necklace, gold accessories, animal and ethnic prints. Anchor prints with a utility khaki jacket. Invest in a bag or shoe with a touch of animal print-it’s a classic print. Warning: animal print from head to toe-will make you the laughing stock of the office.
Strong and Simple
Sleek tailoring and chic elegance. Choose jackets in classic styles; Monochrome Mixes – combinations of dove grey, black, ash and white. Warning: if lines are too severe you can appear to be too serious or unapproachable.
Mix stripes with polka dots and add bold colour to update the classic nautical look. Use combinations of black, white, red and navy. Warning: avoid horizontal stripes over the widest parts of your body, as this will draw attention to any “problem” areas.
Hot Colours for Summer:
The Brights Palette-inject your wardrobe with colour energy-try neon green, acid yellow, coral, aqua, tangerine, fire-engine red, electric blue, vivid purple. So as not to shock the office staff, anchor with a neutral. Remember that you can wear any colour of the rainbow-what’s important is what intensity, hue and tone suits you best
Candyfloss Pastels-blush pink, soft peach, banana, lemon, lilac, powder blue, mint, jade and aqua.
The Nudes-café latté, beige, cream, taupe, stone and soft khaki.
Nudes go well when combined with other colors in an outfit or as a canvas to display a great piece of jewelry. Pick the correct nude fabric-nothing too body hugging. The fabric should drape and float away from the body.
Sensational Must-Have Items:
• The Dress-this is the season of the dress. If you are a busy woman, there’s nothing easier than a dress in the correct style and colour to suit you. A Shift dress is understated, elegant and contoured. A Maxi dress is comfortable and kind to curves. The Grecian draped dress is very flattering. For work- make sure your cleavage and arms are not over-exposed.
• The White Shirt-update yours every season. Choose one with enough flair to carry a whole outfit.
• The Jumpsuit-select a neutral colour-grey, camel or black. Choose softly, draped simple styles and fabrics. Worn with belts, jackets, stacked heels and bold accessories.
• Bib and multi-row necklaces.
• Drawstring toggle bags and mini bags.
• Strappy, cut-out, stacked stilettos & wedges- nude, printed or floral, bows and buckle detail. Invest in a neutral pair of heels that matches your skin color-it will visually extend the line of your leg-instantly making you appear taller when showing off your legs.
• A striking arm cuff in brass, silver or wood.
•Oversized glasses-printed and tinted in your favourite Summer shade.
Trends to avoid-don’t waste your money:
• Rock a sock-wearing socks with your sandals..ughhh!
• The Utility Trend-looks like you are going to work on the plumbing of your house. Zips, ties, slouchy pockets. Too casual for work.
• Thigh-baring minis/shorts-beware of anything that is super-short, you will be remembered for all the wrong reasons. If you have good legs opt for the just-above-the knee pencil skirt.
• Lingerie as Outerwear-corsets, lacy camis on their own.”I believe in the 9 to 5 girl-not the 5 p.m. to 9 a.m. girl.” Adam Glassman. Rather make use of smart layering.
• Mixing multi prints & patterns-very few people can pull off this mix ‘n match so rather keep to one major print per outfit.
• The Western look-faded denim, fringing, suede, cowboy boots. Your manager will put you on your horse and ask you to go back to the ranch!
• Casual, flat gladiator sandals or pumps for the office.
The Latest Fashion for Men:
Suits-the cut this season is narrow and fitted. If you are not the athletic build, opt for a semi-fitted suit instead. Two button, single vent and single breasted suits are in. The new black is gun metal grey. In Summer you can choose a lighter colour neutral suit eg chocolate brown or stone. Don’t go lighter than mid-tone if you want to be taken seriously.
Shirts & Ties-it’s all in the understated detail e.g. contrast stitching, to contrast piping and contrast under collars. Shirt collars are double and exaggerated. Cuffs with piped edging. Multi striped shirts for a more casual look. Self-striped shirts and ties. Prints-subtle florals or paisleys. Ties are narrower this season. The tie and pocket square are an important part of the look.
Pants-the trend is to wear them ankle length. If you wish to do this use it for your more casual, non-work pants. Pleatless and looser wide-legged trousers are popular this season.
Fabrics-linen rears its head again-seen in black, stone and white. More appropriate for a relaxed environment or casual event. If you wish to introduce it to the office select it in luxury mixes with wool, cashmere or silk.
Colours-shades of the earth, sand, dark- brown and khaki-green, combined with white, and Chinese red and teal blue as highlights. Different shades of blue, mixed with beige and white, with accents of lilac and soft pink. High summer opens with lemon yellow, white and brown, followed by fire shades of burnt orange, fuchsia with white or metallic grey. The colour of the season is purple from lavender to bright purple,as well as all tones of green; from mint to neon-green.
Remember, it’s not about what you wear-it’s how you wear it. Make sure it’s appropriate for the situation, accentuates your assets and makes you feel confident.
Haydee Antezana, CEO of Professional Impressions, is an Internationally certified Impression Management Specialist personal brand strategist and author and has 19 years of experience in this field. Haydee represents South Africa on the Board of Advisors of the Professional Women Network (based in the USA) and is a past president of the Association of Professional Image Consultants of South Africa. email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.profimpressions.co.za