Friday, June 22, 2007

When Bad Hair Happens to Good People

You wait four months before getting a new haircut, so excited are you for this change that you're giddy about it all day! You visit your hairstylist, and lo and behold: you leave looking like Dudley Moore.

What happened!? How can this be fixed!?

First, let's talk about the consultation.

If you can, bring pictures. If you can't scour the salon for pictures of what you are hoping for. This is particularly important if you are seeing a stylist for the first time.
If the stylists believe your hopes are not in sync with your hair type or features, they should let you know. Be clear about your desires - are you a wash & go? do you require that your hair fit into a ponytail? Let the stylist know your experiences with your hair - you know it best, regardless of the amount of experience the stylist has. If you are not sure what kind of change you are looking for - wait for the haircut until you do.

Second, if you do not feel comfortable with the stylist, please feel entitled to leave and visit others. This is your hair, it's important to you, you must feel comfortable with the result!

Third, if you are seeing a stylist for the first time, go for a trim not a drastic change. This way you'll be able to gauge their skills (both technical and interpersonal) safely.

During the cut:

The scissors are raised and a chunk of hair falls to the floor.....if it frightens you and you're not sure you're ready for the change, do not be afraid to stop now. It is much easier to disguise one chopped piece than a whole head of chopped pieces...step back and change the plan of action.

If the cut ends up uneven, too short, or otherwise far off from what you had agreed on, speak to the manager or owner and politely, but immediately, let them know how unhappy you are. Ask that they suggest to you what might be done to make the situation better. Solutions could include a free cut with a more senior stylist, a refund, or another form of credit. A reputable salon will do whatever they can to ensure a happier client.

If you are still unhappy seek consultations from other reputable salons - choose ones that you have seen the work on people with similar hair textures to yours, and ensure that you bring your pictures to your visit. If they can help to fix the problem ask for a detailed description of steps before committing to the change. Sometimes a bad short hair cut might have to go a little shorter to make it livable, but it will grow out more gracefully or your stylist can show you ways to style what you have to give you the best look possible. Use hair accessories, especially lovely make up or your favourite outfits to help raise your confidence as you live through these stages.

If you choose a more involved fix such as hair extensions, you may open yourself up to other future, more serious problems if they are not applied and removed with expert care. Ensure you visit a well known artist whose work you have seen in person.

Finally: hair is as much about attitude as it is about technical greatness. If you are suffering the aftermath of a bad hair experience, style it into the most funky or sleek way possible and put a big confident smile on. Consider it a test of your mettle! You will rise above the bad hair - and trust me, when you saunter down the street head held high, your confident, carefree attitude is all anyone will notice.

Good luck all! May great hair days be yours!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Summer Wedding Style

As summer events fill our calendars, the number of weddings we attend seem to increase exponentially. While dress codes used to be clear cut and easy to decipher, today's couples often prefer not to indicate a dress code at all or choose a dress code of their own unique design (how does one accommodate a 'sophisticated creative city casual' dress code, what does that mean?).

Use the nature of the invitation and event details as your cues to choosing an appropriate
outfit for a special occasion . For summer weddings, note the formality of the invitation, and the event time and location as guides. An invite made of layers of beautiful textured papers with embossed printing and caligraphy indicates higher formality than an evite or self-printed invite. Similarly, an evening (if the event begins after 5PM) or banquet hall affair indicates more formality than a daytime or outdoor affair which are more casual.

Daytime or Outdoor Weddings:
  • Choose daytime fabrics such as cotton eyelet, silk jersey, layered chiffon or linen for a daytime dress or non-corporate pant combinations.
  • If the ceremony is taking place in a house of worship, remember to maintain respect for the traditions there. It is customary to keep shoulders covered with a pashmina or delicate cardigan and to keep skin exposure discreet and tasteful.
  • Keep heels lower, or, if you are attending a garden or outdoor ceremony, choose wedges or flats that will keep you from sinking into the ground.
  • Glitter and sheen are generally reserved for evening purposes.
  • Make up should look polished and natural, dramatic make up should be reserved for nights out on the town.
  • Day suits of cotton poplin or cotton blends (with silk or linen) in lighter colours are always appropriate.
  • Have fun with your shirt, this is a great time to wear that patterned shirt that's just a bit too much for the office!
  • Keep shoes polished and fashionable. Monk straps, or a casual cap toe or slip on style in burgundy, honey or cognac...brown and black are just too staid for this type of affair!
  • Ties may be unnecessary for a casual affair, having a suit or sports jacket will complete your look and take you into the cooler weather nicely.
After 5 and Formal Weddings

  • Formal affairs call for formal attire. Classy, fun cocktail and formal gowns (if the invitation stipulates black or white tie) rule here. Keep skin exposure tasteful.
  • Shoes evening shoes (pumps or open toe) go with evening dresses. Flip flops, slip ons and sneakers should be left at home!
  • A small evening bag and delicate shawl or wrap complete your evening look. This is not the place for hoodies, jean jackets or backpacks.
  • Lightweight dark or dressy suits are appropriate for evening, tuxedos if black tie is stipulated exchanging your dinner jacket for a tail-coat with white bow tie and waistcoat if white tie is required (these code of dress are increasingly rare and occur in evening only).
  • Shoes should be more formal, black laceups or tuxedo shoes.
  • Grooming should be neat and clean
Most important is that your attire is suitable as well as comfortable. Make sure that you not only look great, but that you feel confident and happy - and able to dance!

With these notes, it will be easy to enjoy your summer wedding affairs.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Talking Image on Fairchild TV

This week my press included an afternoon taping for Timeline Magazine on Fairchild TV, the largest Chinese TV network in Canada.

The focus: new moms and parents returning to work after parental leave.

The question: Why would a stay-at-home mom need an image consultant? Implicit in the question: aren't they just at home?

Stay-at-home parents (I prefer Domestic Goddess and Domicile King) often concentrate so much on the details of running a home and keeping a family healthy, safe and happy, that they often forget to care for themselves. It can get to a stage where it no longer feels important! Imagine the affect that has on one's emotional wellbeing, on a subconscious level. More and more research shows that those who care for themselves are able to provide more and better care to others. Still, where's the time?

Working with an image consultant can help put hours back into your day by helping you define your style, weeding out items or habits that no longer serve you, and making the shopping process simpler, faster and more satisfying. An image consultant doesn't only help you understand your best colours and silhouettes so that shopping is easier and faster, but they can also help you discover new combinations of clothing, demystify fabric care instructions and shop FOR you so that you have great items, chosen with your lifestyle needs, body type and personality in mind, leaving you free to tend to the other more important things in your busy day. Not having time will become less of an excuse, and feeling great about yourself each day will make your job easier to enjoy! Can it be any better than that?

Friday, June 8, 2007

CBC's Metro Morning with Andy Barrie and Trademark Image Consulting

This morning marked the start of a mini-media blitz for Trademark Image Consulting as I was given the opportunity to spend some time with Toronto's most listened to morning radio show: Metro Morning on CBC.

The McGuinty government has declared that Ontario government offices will do their part to reduce the energy strain this summer by keeping their thermostats set to 26 degrees Celsius. The question posed to Trademark: How do you keep cool and professional when the temperatures soar?

While our personal summer plans may be chock full of trips to the cottage, our business image should never go on vacation. As offices relax their dress codes to accommodate rising temps, employees see an opportunity to break free from the layers worn in cooler months. No matter the weather, our appearance always influences people's perception of our credibility and authority.

Office Dress Rule of Thumb: Always dress for work with your professional goals in mind. Are you in management? A jacket will continue to portray the authority required. Desire a promotion? Remaining consistent in your professional attire shows your intent to succeed.

Hot Weather "GO FOR ITS!"
  • Go for suits of cotton poplin, tropical/superlightweight wools, or cotton blends
  • Go for polished and professional footwear
  • Go for brightening your shirts, blouses and accessories
  • Go for trade in blazers for light cardigans/fashion jackets for women or dress shirts/pressed polos for men
  • Go for enjoy the new dress/jacket or city short/blazer combos with corporate accessories - treat them as a suit and wear with office pumps & accessories
  • Go for maintaining elegant grooming that accommodates heat (if your hair has personality in humidity find simple ways to sleekly pull it back or tame it down)
  • Go for a pedicure! Pay extra attention to your feet and legs if your office permits open toe shoes and bare legs (ladies only please!)

Hot Weather "PASSES"
  • Pass on cleavage (no amount of cleavage is ever appropriate in the office, but you knew that already!)
  • Pass on using casual dress codes to don weekend or athletic gear
  • Pass on suits with short-shorts or mini-skirts. They may be in stores, but I assure you they should not be in the office.
  • Pass on letting evening or weekend plans determine your work attire. Day-to-evening outfits always require tweaking to make them appropriate for each event.
  • Pass on unlayered tank tops in the office. If bare shoulders are acceptable in your workplace be mindful - spaghetti straps, halter and tube tops are never appropriate, but more sophisticated sleeveless blouses or shells may work with a jacket on hand.
  • Pass on the following:
    • Logo/Promotional clothing (particularly from other companies),
    • Oversized or Tight clothing, both read as unprofessional
    • Midriffs
    • Cleavage
    • Short-shorts
    • Mini-skirts
    • Flip Flops/Sandals
    • Athletic clothing (unless you are in an athletic environment)
    • Tube/Spaghetti Strap/Halter tops
Avoiding simple mistakes can make the difference between summer slob or sleek professional. Enjoy your summer dressing!