Why is it that the minute Spring Day arrives, temperatures rise and employees all over SA get more casual? Maybe the thought that our summer holiday is nearer makes us more relaxed in appearance. Work doesn’t stop in the summer months – why should your professional image?

If you already haven’t been inundated by all the new trends in the shops and magazines–just wait, your mind is soon going to be boggled by all the latest Spring/Summer choices. As was mine– when I was in Bangkok last week (new meaning to shop till you drop!) To make it easier for you I have highlighted the top trends, fabrics and colours for this season.
Seasonal Sneak Peek

  • Want to know more about the 2007 Summer trends?

  • Avoid the seasonal pitfalls.

  • Learn the colours, fabrics, styles which will suit you best.

  • De–clutter and update your working wardrobe appropriately.

  • Ask us about our lunch time session for you and your colleagues

    Tel: 011 467 5126   Email: prof–imp@mweb.co.za   Web: www.profimpressions.co.za
    When is Business Casual too Casual?
    Have you seen how sometimes Casual Friday starts making an appearance on Monday…then Tuesday and before you know it everyone at the office looks like they are off to a picnic at the beach instead of to meet a new client.
    Business Casual is a merger of the professionalism and credibility of the business look with the comfort and creativity of the casual look.
    Do you know where to draw the line?
    Know the company dress code. Before buying the latest Summer trends, review your office dress code to be sure what you select is appropriate for where you work. Certain companies allow men to wear open necked shirts without ties. However when meeting with more conservative clients a tie and a jacket may be deemed necessary to command their respect. Women may be allowed to wear sandals–is this a slip on sandal or a slingback? If no one knows always err on the conservative side.
    Think business first, casual second. No matter the weather, always think business first, casual second — remember the 70:30% ratio. You can’t go wrong with neutral colours, light weight suiting, coordinated with conservative necklines and hemlines, mix ‘n match garments, tops and discreet accessories.
    Connect with your “image intuition.” You know which clothes make you feel most powerful, credible and business–like. What colours, styles do people compliment you on? Make sure you look professional in these and not “sexy”.
    Get Summer Groomed. Don’t let your personal grooming go on holiday while you’re still expected at work. The following sends out messages of unprofessionalism and laziness–Chipped nail polish, five o’clock shadow, unpolished shoes, greasy hair, dirty nails, too much after shave, too much/too little make–up, bad breath, body odour.
    Be consistent all year–round. No matter where you work or what season of the year it is, you need to be consistent. If on one day colleagues ask you “are you going for an interview, today?” it simply means your image is inconsistent.
    Use your image to brand yourself as a product of quality, professionalism and excellence.
    Image and presence are the most immediate and tangible methods for a company and staff to gain credibility and a competitive advantage.
    If you feel there is a need for more clear, defined dress guidelines, it may be time for your company to establish a clear image policy.
    Based on our extensive research and experience, we are 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 speciality and expertise.
    For more information contact us on:
    Tel: 011 467 5126   Email: prof–imp@mweb.co.za   Web: www.profimpressions.co.za
    “Summer Shoe Pledge.”
    Raise your big toes and repeat this pledge. Remember, no matter how high the temperature soars, putting your best foot forward is always in style:
    As a member of the "Toe–Exposing Sisterhood", I pledge to follow these rules when wearing sandals and open–toe shoes:
    “I promise to always wear sandals that fit. My toes will not hang over and touch the ground, nor will my heels spill over the back. The sides and top of my feet will not "pudge–out" between the straps.
    I will go polish–free or vow to keep the polish fresh, intact and chip–free. I will not cheat and just touch up my big toe.
    I will sand down any mounds of skin before they turn hard and yellow.
    I will shave the hairs off my big toe.
    I won't wear pantyhose even if my misinformed girlfriend, co–worker, mother or sister tells me the toe seam really will stay under my toes if I tuck it there.
    If a strap breaks, I won't duct–tape, pin, glue or tuck it back into place hoping it will stay put. I will get my shoe fixed or toss it.
    I will not live in corn denial. Rather, I will lean on my good friend, Dr. Scholl's, if my feet need him.
    I will take my toe rings off during working hours–specially if my toes swell and begin to look like Vienna sausages.
    I will be brutally honest with my girlfriend, sister and co–worker when she asks me if her feet are too ugly to wear sandals. Someone has to tell her that her toes are as long as my fingers and no sandal makes creepy feet look good!”
    — Anonymous
    New Season, New look
    These top items are the ones to consider most when choosing from fashion trends to add to your existing wardrobe for Spring/Summer 2007.
    The Dress.
    This season select your dress styles from the tunic, empire line, a–line, belted and wrap dresses – one of them will suit you. My ongoing favourite is the wrap–its slimming and flattering for all figure types.
    Flowing full length, maxi dresses in empire line or halter neck styles sweep the floor as exotic prints and Pucci style abstract patterns all vie for attention.
    For weekend wear team your choice of dress with skinny trousers, leggings or coloured tights (if it suits you, is occasion and age appropriate of course).

    Graphic Prints.
    Fabrics are decorated with 70’s abstract and bold graphic, Pucci prints
    Botanical, florals, butterflies, exotic, tropical prints are hot this season. Graphic monochrome and retro futuristic print designs are also popular.
    Seeing Dots–Polka dots of all sizes and shapes are a favorite this time of year.
    The classic animal theme rears its head again this summer. Giraffe, zebra, leopard prints dominate the catwalk.
    When using prints at work always opt for smaller prints in conservative quantities eg in a scarf, top, or headband. The brighter, the bolder the print the lower the dress level you go.
    Fabulous Fabrics
    Shiny sumptuous fabrics that gleam with dusted sheen or have sheer qualities. Raw silk, glistening brocades, taffetas and chiffons with luminous qualities reign supreme. Satin jeweled coloured, blouses. Be sure to check your appearance in a 2 or 3 way mirror when you buy any satin garments. Satin has no mercy when it comes to lumps and bumps. Keep shiny fabrics to a minimum at work.
    The romantic theme makes an appearance in the form of ruffles, lace appliqués, embellishments, vintage beading and frills on garments. Please do not over use these–you will come across as to “girlie” and you will tend to lose credibility.
    Short and long/skinny and wide.
    Knee–length, fitted shorts with romantic blouses, tunics, fitted collared shirts, waistcoats or empire waist tops. Pair wide legged, palazzo type pants with cropped (bolero) jackets or other short tops to create a popular silhouette this season. Tailored androgynous silhouettes that are lean and long (the borrowed from the boyfriend look.)
    Hipsters have been replaced by the high waisted pant.
    Volume has made a comeback in the form of supersized sleeves, teamed with tailored pants.

    Vivid Colour
    Gold, silver and bronze are the new neutrals this season. Introduce the metallic hues of silver, gunmetal grey, pewter (for the cool palettes) or gold, golden apricot, bronze (for the warm palettes) in the form of a scarf, top, handbag or shoe.
    Choose suits/jackets in the softer neutrals in opal grey, cream, white, flesh, cocoas, cappuccinos, coffees, sands, ivories and taupes.
    Sharp Black and White combinations–pair black with white to create a sensational statement. For travelling, this is a great way to get many looks from minimal pieces for both day and evening activities.
    Look out for the 80's neon brights of yellow, tangerine, coral, scarlet red, violet, cobalt blue, ultramarine, lime green, emerald sea green, and hot bright fuchsia pink.
    Use strawberry ice, red chilly, tangerine, ochre and terracotta for mix and match combinations.
    Do you have a limited budget? Choose universal colours which will suit all complexions and that you will be able to wear in winter as well. These are colours such as electric blue, turquoise, jade.

    The oversized handbag.
    The bigger –the more glam. Chain handles, tassle and lock details. Choose from bright, acid colours to metallics. Long clutches are another must this season.

    Let it Shine.
    Let it Shine. High–gloss patent is the material for accessories this summer. Red patent flats or stilettos with black and white Capri pants, and oversized white patent bags.
    Wide cinched waisted patent leather belts are still hot.
    Peek–A–Boo Stilettos, wedges and flats.
    Whether for work or play, peek–a–boo pumps and flats can help you lighten your look without being too over exposed. Wedges are very chic this season. Wear ballet pumps on casual Fridays or weekends.
    Trend Pitfalls
    Before running out and spending your salary on these–think twice.
    Consider carefully whether you should be wearing this season’s leggings or skinny jeans. Very few women look good in them (even if you have great legs) and they definitely do not belong in a professional work environment. Not even for Casual Friday.
    Linen is always out there in Summer–stay clear from it–you tend to look like an unmade bed or if you have just crawled out of the wash basket.
    Crocs – you know the plastic clogs in bright colours. Strictly for wandering on cobbled beaches. Not for shopping and most definitely not for work.
    Romantic look–too many ruffles, frills, too transparent–keep to minimum.
    The bubble skirt, trapeze dress – adds volume in all the wrong places.
    Whatever look you choose this summer, be sure you accentuate your assets and downplay your flaws.
    For the Boys…
    Blazer trail
    The most popular look is the two buttoned, fish tailed lapel jacket with a single vent. Silver grey and black are prominent teamed with a vibrant coloured shirt underneath. Play with colour this hot season – try the latest pinks, reds, oranges and lime greens to brighten up your look.
    Self stripe and striped suits still abound. The linen suit is prominent and colours are powder blues, beiges, creams.
    When you buy a suit, button the jacket and check to see if it lies comfortably yet snugly against your chest. It's wise to buy a sports blazer slightly on the large side so it can be worn over a jersey. The sleeves should fall between your thumb cleavage and your wrists.

    The Shirt and Tie
    Silk ties in bold colours and prints (gingham checks and stripes still reign supreme). Self pattern and florals are also big.
    Shirts make strong colour and stripe statements (lime, orange, pink, turquoise). Contrast white collar and cuffs with bright colours. Try keep the pants and outerwear neutral. Bright stripes are better on under 40's. If over 50 and you work in a more conservative field keep your bold colours and prints for casual wear. Lots of linen shirts in bright colours as well.
    Get the snip
    We see it all the time: well–dressed guys walking around with tags hanging from their designer jackets. This is a style no–no that too many men (and women) make. Designers sew labels with their names on the sleeves of suits and overcoats to identify them on clothing racks in stores. Just because it is sewn on with thread doesn't mean it is permanent. Any tag attached to the exterior of a garment must go. Those on the inside can stay.
    Sleeveless knits have become a style staple for Summer. Remember, the finer the knit and the tighter the fit, the more it will cling to both your muscles and your fat.
    Horsing around
    Polo–type golf shirts never go out of fashion. Layer it over a long–sleeved crew neck T–shirt for a casual weekend look. Team it up with a houndstooth jacket and a dark smart denim jean.

    Professional Impressions would like to credit the following for information and images used in this article:
    www.fashion–era.com–2007 New Fashion Trends
    – Wardrobe Tips Spring Summer 2007
    – Spring 2007 Image Planning
    2007 Organization By Design, Inc. Wardrobe Management & Fashion Consulting
    Colour me beautifulMarch 2007
    Get It Sept 2007
    Sharon BeckerElle Fashion Editor
    Suellen EmaryQueenspark Executive manager
    Queenspark Spring Summer 2007 catalogue
    Grays, Sandton City
    Woman & HomeSept 2007
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