Category Archives: Reality

Dress for success

Sometime in the last 20 years as business professionals, we have gone from paying a dollar to a local charity to wear jeans on Friday, to business casual being the norm. Ther is a wide definition of what is considered business casual. Is it dressing jeans up with dress shoes and a jacket? For men, is it slacks and an open-collared shirt? What about the golf shirt and khakis? Ladies, our business casual options have always been a little wonky. I guess a most basic example would be slacks and a sweater, or blouse with no jacket, and flat shoes.

There are those in the up-and-coming generation of professionals who say it doesn’t matter what you wear, you should be judged on your work. While it’s a good thought, let’s face it, the rule of thumb around first impressions is in our human nature. They are lasting, and like it or not begin to form our opinion of a person. There have been studies done to support what I recently tested on my own.

The first three days of the workweek, I dressed business casual. One of the days was a blue jean day at work, so I took full advantage of the option. Every day, I went to work, out to lunch encountered salespeople in shops. It was ok. No one was rude to me, but I definitely got a few looks. The last two days of the week, I dressed in typical business attire. When I wore slacks, I did so with a button blouse, jacket, and a slight heel. My hair and make-up were a little more put together.

I went through my same routine, out to lunch, the same route from the garage to my office, etc. There was a notable difference in the way people (even co-workers) addressed me, looked at me, and interacted. Elevator doors were held, other people walking into the building commented on my outfit or purse. There was a higher level of respect offered. The friendly lady at the sandwich shop even asked if I’d gotten a promotion.

When I started my career, dressing for success, and dressing for the position you were working toward was very much part of the professional culture. Depending on where you work, there may still be something to that. To be honest, I sort of miss it. It was easier to know what was appropriate to wear. I owned 4 or 5 skirt suits and 3 or 4 pantsuits. Blouses in several styles and colors, and pumps in navy, black, and grey.

I’m not saying judging people by what they wear is right, but our clothes make a statement about ourselves. What we wear sends a message to those we come in contact with. This may even provide us the opportunity to learn something of the other person’s situation; to elicit sympathy or compassion. Most of the time, someone who is well put together, be it business casual, Saturday casual(which in my book may or may not include lipstick or makeup), or professionally dressed has taken time to care about how they look.

Taking time to dress neatly and appropriately for the activity boosts confidence and comfort in a situation. You send the message, “I am here, and I am ready.” Dressing appropriately for the situation is a sign of respect to the person in charge, or of the person who invited you.

Lookin’ sharp.

KK

#dressforsuccess #clothes

Advertisements

Leggings are NOT Pants

leggings not pantsWell ladies (young and old) this Maxine cartoon pretty much says it all. Leggings are NOT pants, nor were they EVER intended to be. I’ve been watching this phenomenon for months. Every time I see one of these fashion emergencies I just shake my head in disappointment. My judgement isn’t limited to those with robust bums or the aged, it is cast on the young and skinny as well.

I’m no couture expert, but I do know a couple of rules about what not to wear and how to wear clothing that looks good. Your outfit should complement your shape. It’s the difference between someone saying “I really like that outfit” and someone saying “That outfit looks great on you.” You make the outfit. If you are one to wear your leggings as pants, next time you don a pair, look in the mirror. Do they really flatter your figure or just give it smooth lines?

Leggings look cute with a skirt or dress. I sometimes wear them under my workout shorts in the winter. The styles with color or designs can really add some flare to your outfit. But they absolutely do not look good by themselves as a means of covering your lower extremities. The fashion industry confused some when they added pockets and tried to call them jeggings. Let me help you out — they are NOT pants.

Would love to hear from you on this one.

KK

 

One of Those Winters

dreary dayWe haven’t had any significant snow since November. The winter grey that Kentucky usually experiences in January and February moved in early this year — December. It has out-stayed its welcome. The good news that in my fight to keep my mood from falling into a putty-colored state, I’ve exercised more. Just to keep moving, there have been a couple of home projects marked off the list.

The bad news is that my electric bill has increased in my attempt to turn on enough lights to keep the dreariness out of the house. About every three days the sun comes out. It makes me want to shove the dog out of the single beam to soak up enough to carry me through the next several days of dullness.

Our friends in the Northeast have been hammered with snow and ice. Many of them are probably wishing they could see the dead grass in their yards. Know that my heart goes out to them. I wish Mother Nature could have just split the difference this year so we could share in some of the snow fun. While I may be guilty of doing the “snow day” dance for the schools to close with my high school, for the most part I’ve graduated from snow days and look forward to enjoying a beautiful snow that can break up the winter.

spring flowersAs of this post there are 39 days until spring. Anything is possible with our Kentucky/Ohio valley weather. There still may be a good snow in our future. In the meantime, what are you doing to ward off the winter blah?

All the best,

KK

Pretend, Imagination and Other Lies

praying santaAmong young parents there is a growing number who have adopted the “we aren’t going to lie to our children” approach to parenting. This feeling is hovering around the issue of Santa Claus and his friends, the Easter bunny and Tooth Fairy. This mantra makes me wonder about how far this “honesty” goes. There are times when it is not appropriate to tell children the FULL truth. Many times we skirt the question, knowing they are too young for the answer. Where do babies come from?

What made me really think about lying to our kids was that there is no Santa Claus at Christmas and Easter bunny at Easter. Let me say here that I believe that Christmas and Easter were the most important events in human history. Both turned the hope of the world to the Eternal.

Ok, so the Easter bunny is a little odd, but Santa Claus comes from a real story of a priest who made sure that the hungry were fed. He did so out of selflessness and in anonymity; modeling our Savior’s example. I don’t understand why letting a child believe in this saint visit them for a few years is so wrong. And why not mix a little wonder in a time of miracles? Why not let a child know the fun of Christmas while learning the reverence?

If we aren’t going to lie about Santa, Easter bunnies and tooth fairies, then do we take away playing pretend and imaginary friends? There is no tea in that pot, you know. And the cookies taste like nothing because they aren’t really there. Really, you didn’t steal my nose… no imaginary friends; and oh, and Elf on the shelf isn’t really running around the house wreaking havoc. Where do we draw the line between truth and imagination with our children? Where is the light-heartedness and dreaminess of childhood?

Maybe Santa and the Bunny do add something else to Christmas and Easter that needs to be managed with children. Making sure they don’t outshine the birth of Jesus; and certainly being naughty or nice shouldn’t be the threat of the month. But if handled in the proper perspective, they add a little something to the holidays and a child’s innocent heart.

Reality and truth will come along soon enough and shove playing pretend, imagination and fantasy to the background.

Think about it…

KK

What are you afraid of?

never afraid

What is the worst thing that can happen?

Ladies, Pay Attention

Many of us have experienced having a teenager in the house and what that can mean to getting dressed to go somewhere. They camp out in the bathroom for what seems hours and then there is a thunderstorm of clothing whirling around their room. But when they are ready, they are ready!

For the appropriately dressed teenage young lady (#momofgirls), the outfit is well put together with hair and makeup complete. They leave the house looking sharp and feeling good about the way they present themselves.

Recently while having lunch at a fast food restaurant on a Sunday, I watched families come in. For some it was obvious they were coming from church. The daughters were well dressed with hair and make-up. Just behind them were their mothers dressed in what I can only guess were clothes they had tripped over when getting out of bed and hair haphazardly pulled back in a ponytail (#styleover40). Important note, these were not families with small children that needed tending to get everyone out the door on time. Sadly, it was same for several families I observed. Please understand my thought wasn’t about why the mothers weren’t dressed to the nines, it was more about taking a little pride in what they were wearing and how they presented themselves.

Middle-age moms take note. Now is NOT the time to let yourself go. I get it, you are either married and don’t think you need to impress anyone, or you are tired of trying to figure out what fits and what doesn’t. You are right, our bodies aren’t young and firm like the teenager or twenty-something sitting across from you at work. There are two reasons I can see for a middle-aged woman to decide to make a few changes.

First, we don’t feel as young and spry as we once did. Energy levels can droop as much as our [choose body part]. There are a few more lines around our eyes and our moisturizer is our best friend. These things don’t go away under frumpy over-sized clothing. In fact, they get worse. This is your opportunity to “fake it till you feel it”. Get yourself ready to leave the house feeling complete and ready to take on the day. If your clothing is looking aged or faded, take a few minutes and clean out your wardrobe. Consignment shopping can help with budgeting for new outfits.

Second, if you are married, consider this: are you being the best you can be for your husband? Think about it, in a few years when the kids are grown and gone, it’s going to be time for just the two of you. Time for holding on to each other and enjoying the life you have built and watching your children build their own lives. Why not continue to be the “beautiful bride” of years past?
20140724-081657-29817704.jpg

You may be thinking, “have you seen my middle-aged husband?” That’s not the point. You can’t control him, but you have complete control over yourself and your choice to age gracefully.

If you aren’t married and have a husband to consider, you are probably living a life filled with friends, work, and adventures that you still want to look and feel your best at.

Ladies, we have the choice to let ourselves go and let the aging process take over. I’ve not even mentioned diet and exercise. You tell me. After 30 days of getting up and really taking time to put yourself together for the day is there more motivation for healthier eating?

Ponder this and let me know.
KK

P.S. — please use the teenage reference as an example of how much to care about our appearance not WHAT we should be wearing. It may be worse to go from frumpy middle-aged lady to “scary lady wearing her daughter’s clothing”.  Age appropriate, please.

Farewell 2013

It’s half past three in the afternoon on New Year’s Eve.  I’ve spent some time in the office taking care of a few things – organizing.  The January calendar is set up and ready for the appointments I have in the first two weeks.  The whiteboard has project priorities.  There is order to my work space.

On a personal note, the checkbook is balanced (yes, I do this at least once a month and recommend it for others).  The big home projects for the coming year have been discussed and prioritized.  To close 2013, I feel the completion of 365 full and rich days. Even those with tears and challenges brought something.

It was a good year personally and professionally.  I am so proud of my son and husband for their accomplishments and letting me be on their journey just as they have rooted me on during mine.

There were goals achieved and others still undone.  Will I recommit to the unfinished?  We will see.

I have grown personally in knowledge and wisdom.  Sometimes I feel my age and sometimes my life experience. One truth is that I will never stop learning.

As we turn the last page of the calendar, may we do so with all of the optimism a new year brings.  May we breathe in the freshness of 365 blank days and look forward to all of the activities and people who will fill them.  God bless you and carry you through each one of them.

All the best,

KK