A polished appearance for women

Part One: A polished appearance has many benefits, including opportunities of being chosen in an interview competition over other job candidates who have equal education and equal experience.

In the first three minutes, others decide if they want to get to know you better; this may be the only chance that you have. It is of critical importance that "first impressions" be recognized as a necessary reason to have an education on how to create a positive presence with wardrobe selections, etiquette and communication skills.

The corporate industry is more conservative than the entertainment or communication industries. However, good taste carries into any area. A powerful presence helps in any business. I have been asked to present seminars to corporations about professional image and business etiquette. The complaints from the financial, legal and insurance industries are that clothing has become ultra casual and tasteless. Manners are lax and often rude.

When a client chooses someone to handle their finances, they want someone who looks and acts trustworthy. A suit and tie will create more trust than jeans, T-shirts and sneakers. High-fashion trends do not belong in a corporate atmosphere. A proper handshake along with communication skills results in a great advantage toward building a positive relationship.

In an interview, dress for the person's job that you would like to have. Be educated about the company that you are interviewing. Go online to study their culture. Be educated in dress, poise, and the ability to communicate. Because corporations currently need more help in dealing with the ultra casual attitude of our country, I will concentrate here on success in a corporate environment.

Clothing choices: Choose clothing that shows efficiency, objectivity and good taste: Straight-lined suits with soft edges, chiffon or a silk scarf; coat dresses with a pocket scarf; a simple dress with soft lines and tasteful, modest neckline; versatile two-piece dresses that coordinate with a separate jacket. One may choose a fitted, straight, or A-line linen, silk or wool dress.

Executive presence: Choose dark and rich neutrals. For lighter skin, one may use lighter colored blouses or scarves near the face; simple understated styles; medium-weight fabric; closed toe or slightly-closed toe shoes; and good quality handbags.

Power suit: Soften the "power suit by mixing and matching; draped fabrics; softer shoulders; and different combinations with the same suit. Dresses with jackets are smart.

Makeup: Always wear tasteful cosmetic applications keyed to the skin, hair and eyes. An absence of makeup implies "Hippy" era and not caring about themselves or anyone else. A bare look with nude lipstick might work for those under 30 years of age or if in an exercise routine. Makeup creates a warmer, more approachable look and a feeling of self-confidence.

DIANA OLSON, MA, AICI, CIP, is an image stylist/etiquette and civility specialist. Reach her at (626) 584-9761 or go online to http://www.dianaolson.com.

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