Dress for Success, Good Fit, Men in Business, Men's Style, Trousers

Men’s Style: Trousers

Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 18.22.59I was recently sitting at the train station awaiting the arrival of my train to London.  I’d done the obligatory check of my email and texts and was sitting patiently sipping my coffee.  My eyes cast around and I happened to notice that every man waiting for the train had ill-fitting trousers on.  There was one gent in particular that caught my attention.  He was impeccably dressed – a lovely overcoat, good quality shoes, the fabric of his trousers looked to be of a very good standard, but they were too-long.  It totally spoiled his look.  As I glanced around, all the men’s trousers were either  too long, too short, too worn, too baggy or too tight.

The ideal pair of trousers should have a single break on the front of the shoe and the back of the trouser should end where the shoe leather meets the heel of the shoe.  Any shorter and too much leg will be exposed, any longer and they will crease around the shoe looking unattractive.  Trousers that are too long often then become worn at the hem – another image breaker.

The fashion for tighter leg trousers means that the above does not work – the trouser needs to be slightly shorter as the width of the hem is not enough to break over the shoe.  Depending on the width of the hem, either half a break or no break at all.  Beware of them being too short as this just looks ridiculous and can also spoil a man’s image.  Too tight is pretty repulsive too, it’s similar to a woman wearing a top that it too tight – nobody knows where to look!

Men do not have as many style choices as women, so it is paramount to pay attention to the details.  Good cloth will make all the difference, so go for the best you can afford – if you are aiming to make a good impression, this will really set you apart.

Key things to bear in mind when choosing trousers:

  • A good fit at the waist – too tight or too loose are just as bad as each other – too big and it looks like you have borrowed your Dad’s trousers!  It will also mean that your shirt will not stay tucked in, adding to your untidiness.
  • Consider the fit of the leg – if you are fuller figured, a straight or looser leg will be best, if you are slimmer a slim fit will work well
  • The hem – do you have long legs?  If so a turn-up is fine, if not, just a plain hem will work
  • Don’t fill your pockets – it spoils the line of your trousers
  • Do keep them clean – regular washing or dry-cleaning to keep them sharp

The key is good fit – there is no excuse for the leg length being incorrect – every high street has an alteration shop and it is worth an extra few pounds to create a more polished appearance.

Lyn Bromley MFIPI, ACMA –  Managing Director, First Impressions  Lyn Bromley is Managing Director of First Impressions Training Ltd and a Master of The Federation of Image Professionals International. (FIPI)  She is also Director of Regional Events at FIPI and a leader of Achiever’s Academy for Women. Please contact us if you would like to know more about our programmes, bespoke training and workshops or one-to-one coaching.  First Impressions have a network of over 150 consultants working across the UK and in 20 countries around the world– to find one in your area visit the website and take a look at the consultant map. Telephone: +44 (0)1926 623038 Email: enquiries@firstimpressions.uk.com Website: www.firstimpressions.uk.com

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Dress for Success, Member Monday, Women in business

Member’s Monday – Dressing Expectations by Joanna Gaudoin

Every Monday we are giving the opportunity to our trained consultants to showcase their blogs.  This first week we have a blog from Joanna Gaudoin of Inside Outlarge-man-woman-bathroom-sign-md

Dressing Expectations – Are expectations of how to dress higher for women in the workplace?

What’s your reaction to this question? Have you ever thought about ‘dressing expectations’ in this way before? If you’re a woman, perhaps you feel a bit indignant, if a man perhaps puzzlement… I have been asked this question several times in the last few weeks, in different scenarios and by different types of people- during a radio interview, at a speaking event and during some one-to- one conversations. I think the fact that I have been asked it so many times in a matter of weeks alludes to an answer. It is a tricky question in these times of supposed equality. I have to admit it does make me bristle a little…However, I do think that there are greater expectations of women to present themselves better in the workplace. This means that they are judged more harshly when they don’t dress according to the expectations of those around them; and that is the expectations of both men and women! One event participant was very honest in a comment he made recently, although I appreciate it may annoy many of you at this point…He explained that what men appreciate a woman wearing on a date or in another social setting is frowned upon by men in the workplace. Date or social wear are not seen as appropriate for professional women in the work environment but for a post work outing men do expect more effort, not just office wear. On the other hand, formal office wear worn by men is widely accepted and even actively appreciated by women on an evening out. So this begs the question, why are there greater expectations of women? I believe the first reason is women are expected to know how to dress well and look good. After all, all women are into clothes, shopping and have an eye for these things, right? In reality, this is not the case, many women don’t want to spend time thinking about clothes and shoes and dread shopping! With more and more time pressure too, trying to balance being partner, mother and career woman, there just isn’t the time. Fewer women than men dislike clothes and shopping but more than the media and magazines would like us to believe. Many women I work with berate themselves as they feel they ‘should’ know by now how to look good even though they struggle with the inclination and the time. However, why should women ‘know’? We don’t all have an eye for what looks good on us. If it’s not a natural skill, then it’s like any other, we need help to develop it! Secondly, whilst being female provides more opportunities to dress interestingly and be more individual, the increased scope and availability of accessories and more colourful items does provide more scope for mistakes and harsh subjective judgements. Men will almost always notice something less than ideal on a woman and women will almost certainly do the same of their peers so I guess you could say that’s a double whammy!  Whilst women are likely to notice a badly dressed man, other men are less likely to unless there is something drastically out of kilter! ‘Dressing expectations’ are what they are but what is important to remember is whilst not everyone is always going to appreciate our specific choices most people can appreciate when others look good even if it wouldn’t be their personal choice. Looking good means:

  • Appropriate for the occasion and the environment
  • The right clothing and accessories for our body shape, colouring and personal style.

So some tips to remember:

  • Consider the appropriate dress code not just for your job role but the environment and situation for a given day. Being over or under dressed can leave you feeling very uncomfortable and unfocused on the work task
  • Try to bring out some personality in your outfit in an appropriate way so you are positively memorable; men can do this via ties, cuff links, a patterned shirt. For women there are many options – jewellery, scarf, shoes, handbag
  • For women, think about altering an outfit for a post work event – use different accessories and shoes. TIP: One designer Manifattura Donna, available at www.pinstripeandpearls.com  has detachable elements that come with some of their shirts and dresses such as ribbons and necklaces that fix neatly to the garment; allowing you to relax the feel of the item for evening wear or a less formal meeting.
  • Avoid anything that distracts someone so they are more focused on that element than what you are saying. Examples include cartoon socks for men, jangly bracelets for women
  • Ensure your clothes fit you well and they flatter you. The better you look, the better you will feel meaning you will exude greater confidence and positivity to others, which can only be a plus.

Let me know what you think as it would be great to get some more opinions. Thank you Joanna!

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