As winter draws to a close we find that time seems to be speeding up. For some of us, we may feel that we are hurtling uncontrollably towards another summer, Christmas time and the end of yet another year. For some, this may be a joyful thought, but for others this simply highlights the disappointments and unachieved goals they may have had this year.
“Business Casual”
Business Casual is a merger of the professionalism and credibility of the business look with the comfort and creativity of the casual look.
As today´s corporate environment has become more individualistic and informal the concept of Business Casual has been embraced by more and more S.A. companies. The idea is to celebrate our freedom and uniqueness while bridging the gap between different positions within the corporate environment.
Business Casual is also perfectly suited for the S.A. climate as a formal suit on a sweltering summer´s day in Natal would be enough to make anyone change careers! In fact, our own ex–president Mr. Nelson Mandela has demonstrated that a well–tailored print shirt can look as presentable as a suit in certain situations.
Unfortunately this trend of “dressing down” in the office has left many of us confused as to what exactly the new standards in corporate attire are. As a result some companies have reverted back to traditional dress as their employees have misinterpreted and misused the new Business Casual Dress Code. Staff suffer from ‘Casual Confusion Syndrome´. Weekend wear finds its way into the office (people begin showing up on ‘casual Friday’ dressed for Saturday) and employees begin creating a negative impression of themselves and the company they represent
Understanding the Dress Code Policy
Whether you are dressed up or down it is impossible to ignore the fact that your attire is a powerful business tool. It is important to remember that the work environment demands a certain level of professionalism at all times. Being well dressed will open doors and set the stage for success in your life.
You are the face of your business to the world and the mirror of your future.
3 Common Dress Codes in SA Business Today
Smart Business Attire
Definition “Smart & Classical” This level of dressing is best suited for presentations, client business lunches and formal business meetings
tailored suits in dark to mid–toned neutral colours, working shirt and tie
a mismatched skirt suit or a matching pants suit
for both men and women, discreet use of colour, print and texture in shirts, ties and other accessories. Good quality fabric, well fitted, structured lines

Smart Casual Attire
Definition “Contemporary & Comfortable” This level is appropriate for all semi–formal business interactions such as being office bound or attending impromptu meetings.
sports jacket, with or without a tie, working shirt and tailored trousers
soft, de–constructed suitsa smart tailored or boot leg pants/ skirt worn with a twin–set / tailored cotton shirt
More ‘mixing and matching’ is introduced for both men and women while a jacket becomes optional. The items are trendier in cut, style, print, colour As a whole the outfit needs to look more smart than casual

Casual Smart Business Attire
Definition “Individual & Informal” This level is ideal for Casual Friday
golf shirts, neat, soft collared shirt, chinos, smart denim
soft draping or more fitted shirts, summer dresses, fashionable pants eg palazzo, capri
Bolder, brighter print, colour, more textured fabics. More detail eg slits, pleats, unstructured Denim items can be worn at this level, they need to be neat looking, darker indigo or black with no major pocket/zip details
Why is there Casual Confusion?

  • Absence of clear, detailed guidelines
  • Too many choices
  • Retailers and magazine sending mixed messages
  • No knowledge of ‘mix and match’.
TIP: If you find yourself challenged between balancing casual dress with professionalism – always remember that the rule is Business First – Casual Second

 
Do you sometimes walk down the passage in horror and say – “Does she/he possess a mirror?”. We have all seen those Workplace Warts – see if any of these sound familiar:
Men Women
  • Scruffy denim pants and shirts
  • T–shirts with large slogans
  • Sweatshirts
  • Creased clothing
  • Afternoon shadow
  • Beer boep hanging out from shirt
  • Bad fitting jackets
  • Pants under waist–plumber’s crack
  • Leather bomber jackets
  • Big, bulky jerseys
  • Creased and un–tucked shirts
  • Unpolished shoes, dirty takkies
  • Greasy hair and dirty nails
  • Visible tattoo’s and piercings
  • Cartoon socks & ties
  • White or mismatched socks
  • Grey belt
  • Too much after shave
  • Shoe string, strappy tops
  • Leggings, gym wear
  • Sports wear such as tracksuits
  • Visible underwear
  • Scruffy shoes and heels
  • Leather pants or skirts
  • Mini skirts
  • Bare midriff, belly rings
  • Tongue, toe rings
  • Nylon windbreakers
  • Large prints, florals, prints
  • Wrong colour or exposed underwear
  • Low cut, revealing clothing
  • Plastic shoes
  • Flat, thong–type sandals
  • Big, bulky platform shoes
  • Skin tight, faded denims
  • 10 rings and bracelets per hand
  • Sandals worn with un–pedicured toes
“You cannot fly like an eagle with wings of a wren”
– William Henry Hudson
Image and presence are the most immediate and tangible methods for a company to gain credibility and a competitive advantage.
If the Workplace Warts are familiar in your office,
it may be time for your company to establish a clear dress code policy.

Based on our extensive research and experience, Professional Impressions is well equipped in assisting you in:
  • Evaluating your company’s current dress situation vs the ideal one
  • Determining the appropriate level of dress for your environment
  • Defining the minimum dress standards
  • Compiling and writing an illustrated policy with clear guidelines
  • Conducting dress guideline workshops for employees
Defining what is professional, appropriate and comfortable is our area of specialty and expertise.
For more information contact Professional Impressions
Tel: (011) 679–3036    Cell: 082 895 7924    email: prof–imp@webmail.co.za
Abundant Life
There are two ways to live your life:
One is though as nothing is a miracle
The other is as though everything
is a miracle
– Albert Einstein
Have you ever fully considered all that you have? In what is now yours, there is a connection to all you could ever desire.
The lack and limitation you sense are borne mostly out of your own denial of what is truly important. Abundance is here and now, yet when your focus is on the trivial, fleeting superficial things, that abundance is obscured.
Challenge yourself to define success and achievement without reference to anything financial or material. Begin to see wealth not as a number, but as an attitude and an approach to living each moment.
Be truly thankful for the abundance of life. And there will indeed be much to be thankful for. put your energy into gratitude and appreciation. And a world of abundance will open up to you.
“With our thoughts we make the world.”
– Buddha
Many people today live their lives with what is known as a “Scarcity Consciousness”. They are always thinking to themselves, “I wish I had more time, then I’d do the things I enjoy” or “If only things weren’t so expensive ...”
Ever wondered why the rich get richer while the poor get poorer? If you focus on what you don’t have you will never have enough – if you concentrate on what you have you will always end up having more. Now is the time to stop whiling away the present with wishful thinking of the future. It is time to surrender your desire for security and seek serenity instead. Stop and take stock of who you are and what you have today and you will soon realise how much simple abundance exists in your life.
Ask yourself:
  • Are my basic needs met?
  • Do I have a home?
  • Do I have food on the table and clothes to wear?
  • Do I have my health?
  • Do I have family and friends who love me?
  • Do I have my dreams?
Now pause for a moment and give thanks. Beginning today, accept and bless the things you have in your life. Real life is not always perfect, nor does it always go our way, so stop waiting for it to be perfect and start working with what you’ve got. By acknowledging the good things in our lives, we are able not only to survive but to surmount anything that life brings our way.
“It is by spending oneself that we become rich.”
– Sarah Bernhardt
TIP: To realise the Preciousness of Simple Abundance make sure you read Sarah Ban Breathnach’s book ‘Simple Abundance’ – a reminder of the everyday abundance in our life’s
Imagine your life as a ledger, with a Debit and a Credit column.

In the Debit column, list all the things in your life that you are not grateful for.
    eg: debt, jealousy or even traffic.

Now, in the Credit column, list all those things for which you are grateful for.
    eg: family, friendships or a sunny climate.

When you are done, sit back and compare the columns. Which is longer?

Start a Daily Gratitude Journal
Begin by selecting the nicest, most inviting blank book for your journal. Each night, before you go to bed write down 5 things that you can be grateful for about that day.
eg.
  1. My son’s bright, awesome smile when I kissed him awake this morning
  2. Being able to spend my lunch break sitting in the sunshine reading the latest magazine
  3. My understanding and supportive colleagues
  4. Listening to Mozart while preparing dinner and reminding myself how much I love classical music
  5. One of the mum’s at school telling me how much my new hairstyle suits me
“It is in the small details that the flavour of life is savoured.”
– Sarah Ban Breathnach
Secretary’s Day (1 Sept) is once again just around the corner and for those of you who wish to do something different this year, why not consider a powerful and enriching workshop, presented by Professional Impressions?
For more information contact Professional Impressions
Tel: (011) 679–3036    Cell: 082 895 7924    email: prof–imp@webmail.co.za
Professional Impressions would like to credit the following for information used in this article:
Business Casual Made EasyIlene Amiel & Angie Michael
Casual PowerSherry Maysonave
Simple AbundanceSarah Ban Breathnach
Dress Code ImagesNordstroms, Macy's, Ralph Marston-Daily Motivator
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