In this e-letter we look at the human gift of thinking without thinking, known as intuition. We also take the guess work out of what’s hot and what’s not for Summer in the office

This month we cover the
A & C of Impression Management

Are you trusting your instincts?

·         The power of thinking without thinking

Capture the Latest Summer trends

·         The Themes ...

·         Seasonal Prints ...

·         Go Colour

·         For Men ...

It’s Bosses Day on 14 October so club together and give your boss the ultimate gift – a Personalised Image Consultation.

Contact us for further details
Tel: 011 467 5126    Cell: 082 895 7924    email: prof–

Are you trusting your instincts?

It’s called 6th sense, intuition, gut feel. We all have this unique gift which we underutilize. Part of our brain processes masses of data, acts quickly, making accurate judgments based on very little information. You start doing business with a new client-you have a gut feeling that he is going to be "difficult" or he is not going to end up taking the deal. This intuitive feeling you have may manifest itself as instinctive thought in your mind or as a sinking feeling in the stomach. Malcom Gladwell in his book “blink” calls this ability “thin slicing”, our ability to size up the world in nanoseconds

Intuition is often not logical, nor reasonable and often unpredictable. We are therefore suspicious of its validity. We prefer to believe that all decisions need time and effort to be accurate. “Look before you leap” we tell ourselves. We gather as much information as possible and spend hours deliberating. Sometimes too much thinking or information can confuse the issue, even undermining the accuracy of a decision.


“To be a great decision maker we need to edit”

Malcom Gladwell

Decisions made very quickly are often as good if not better than those made cautiously and deliberately. We cannot live only in a world of reason, it is important to balance intuition with intellect

Listening to your subconscious voice can be highly effective in judging others. Ever felt that your manager wasn’t really listening to you? was talking down to you?

Snap judgments happen quickly often relying on the thinnest slice of experience. They have enormous worth but it must be noted that they can be influenced by the following factors which may impede their accuracy:

·         Innate prejudices and preconceptions will alter the validity of your response. Your unconscious (not what you verbalize) feelings on gender, race, appearance, can effect your judgment e.g. we equate height with power, authority and the ability to command. Become aware that our experiences, situations, surroundings condition us. Knowing this will allow you to filter your judgments more effectively

·         Don’t try to verbalize or explain to others your instinctive feeling. Explaining often makes us “second guess” ourselves and then change our decision to one that sounds more plausible

·         In a field that you have expertise, passion or experience your judgments are especially valid. However in a field where you have little in depth knowledge your judgment may not be as accurate e.g. being asked to comment on a marketing strategy when you work in the IT department

·         Limited time or when you are being pushed or pressurized by time e.g. in a test situation, can also give you a low quality reaction. You stop relying on your senses and fall back on stereotypes, prejudices and past experiences

Intuition can sharpen our responses; we can increase our awareness of how to best serve ourselves and others, by listening and heeding it. To help develop your intuition when dealing with others:

·         Focus entirely on the person when they speak

·         Don’t adapt a hurried approach

·         Try and avoid preconceptions and your own personal biases

·         Ask open ended questions

·         Listen between the lines. Observe the person’s body language eg facial gestures, hand, feet movements

·         If you feel something intuitively, consider sharing it “I get the sense that you are not comfortable.” This may help the other person relax and “open up”

·         Trust your inner voice, give it credit when it is due and it will soon become a valuable and effective tool

Body Language is a great example of using intuition. Why not learn how to “mind read” by attending Professional Impressions Power Etiquette presentation. This workshop will also equip you to become a 'mover and shaker' in a way that is dynamic and relevant to today's working world.

For more information please contact us Tel: 011 467 5126    Cell: 082 895 7924    email: prof–

Capture the Latest Summer trends

The Themes ...

Indian Spice: This style is flamboyant, opulent and ornate – straight from the East
Yay: Kaftans/tunics are back – lavished and in jeweled toned colours. Wear yours as a more fitted style over something narrow e.g. a straight skirt or narrow pants. If they are too flowing you could look like a Dennis Roussos impersonator. Experiment with vivid colour and contrasting textures
Nay: Kaftans shouldn’t be worn below the knee. Fabrics are often fairly sheer and you need to wear a camisole or strappy top underneath. Be careful of too many embellishments which are too distracting for office wear

Nouveau Nautical: This look is chic and clean. Cropped pants; use two toned red, white or blue prints in polka dots, zig zags. Cropped blazer jackets with gold buttons, braiding, culottes abound
Yay: Nautical colours are crisp and timeless and suitable for work. Use a “flavor” of the trend than overdo it from head to toe. A navy and red striped sweater, crisp white shirt, culotte navy pants
Nay: Don’t go overboard. Avoid the shorter length jackets, especially those emblazoned with gold buttons. Use vertical striping rather than too many horizontals – unless you want to make that area of your body appear larger

Bohemian Chic: Don’t pull out your old bell bottoms just yet as this is a new take on the 70’s flower power generation. It’s more trendy, less hippy. Fabrics are light and floaty; patterns are florals, paisley, pop art. All combined with large accessories, flat or wedged sandals. Note this look is for a more “creative, relaxed” type environment
Yay: Long, full circle skirts. Look for crafty details – tiers, beading, embroidery and sequined borders. Crocheted cardigans in a tight weave
Nay: These gypsy skirts need to be teamed with a fitted top. Wearing anything too big or floaty on the top will ensure you look like a circus tent. Avoid too many patterns and mixes of colours. This is a layering look – keep it soft and delicate

Urban Safari: Think Meryl Streep in “Out Of Africa”. This classic and versatile look is great for the office. Twill fabrics, belted military – type safari jackets, the abundance of khaki and a smattering of animal print
Yay: “Soften” the military jacket with a chiffon skirt or floral print. Team up with a pencil skirt or tailored cut bermudas. Use unexpected colour combinations eg khaki with purple. Accessories are chunky and natural – wood, stone, beads, raffia, handwoven belts
Nay: Use animal print cautiously, a leopard print scarf, a zebra belt, a snakeskin camisole – too much and the local zoo will be hunting you down

“Fashion can be bought – style one must possess”

Edna Woolman Chase

Seasonal Prints

Blooming Marvelous: Daffodils to Violets, Oriental Blossoms to English Petals, there is a print for you. Flower prints are both bold and bright, or fine and fragile. Pick one to suit your mood
Yay: Dresses are back and look pretty and feminine – choose the flattering empire style dress in a flowering floral Another great option is the popular wrap top
Nay: Choose your print scale carefully. Petite women need more delicate florals/prints, more voluptuous women look better in the larger, bolder florals/prints. Avoid too much floral it can look too busy and distracting

Animal Instinct: Prints have gone wild this season – python, zebra, giraffe. Use in small doses
Yay: Small elements, a trim, a detail or an accessory
Nay: Too much of a good thing especially for work – unless you are a game ranger of course!

Fabrics: Luxurious, touchable textures. Sheer, floaty fabrics. Slinky satins and silks. Billowy chiffon. Muslin and linens abound. Crochet gives a wonderful textured feel.
Yay: Team up a heavier fabric with a lighter one for contrast. For evening wear the shinier fabrics in the metallics look great
Nay: Linen is a bad choice for work, unless you stand all day. Always crush test any new clothing purchase – to avoid the “unmade bed” look. Choose tighter weaves and thinner yarn for your crocheted items, otherwise they can look handmade as well as be too see – through

Go Colour Crazy and Accessories

Go Colour Crazy: Give yourself a colour injection. From every shade of blue – azure to teal, aqua to saphmarine. Cool shades of green – emerald and jade. Pinks from the softest roses to peachy corals. Brights add zing to the season – cerise, lime, yellow and orange. Subdued pales – peaches, soft creams, white on white (best for the very petite). Metallics – gold silver and bronze work well in the evening
Chocolate is the hottest neutral this summer. Team it with aqua or orange. Other new neutrals – kelp, cinnamon, slate grey, white and straw

Accessories: Jewellery is larger and chunkier than ever before, so focus on one area to adorn – necklace or earrings or bracelets, not all at once. Natural elements abound – wood, stone and bone. Longer necklaces elongate the body especially when worn with the longer skirts. Embossed, bejeweled wide belts with large buckles
Shoes – wedges – they look gorgeous and are very comfortable, as it evenly distributes body weight. Ballerina pumps Embellished, beaded sandals. Metallic colours to team up with whites/neutrals

And for the Men ...

·         The big news is the comeback of the business suit and tie in all business capitals. The 2 or 1 buttonned suits look great on the shorter men

·         Silk ties in bold colours and prints (stripes still reign supreme)

·         Shirts make strong colour and stripe statements (lime, orange, pink, turquoise). 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

·         If your frame is thick set be careful with using too bold a stripe. Thinner men should use darker stripes, to avoid looking like a candy stick

·         A great friday casual look is the combination of a velvet jacket with denims and a white crisp shirt or t-shirt

Don’t miss out !!!

Seasonal Style Workshops


Want to:

·         Avoid the seasonal pitfalls?

·         Update your working wardrobe appropriately?

Ask us about our 30 minute lunch time session for you and your colleagues

Tel: 011 467 5126    Cell: 082 895 7924    email: prof–

In next month´s E–letter we look at:

Be Gifted!

·         The art of giving and receiving gifts/compliments

·         Gift Wrapping

Create your ultimate self-packaging

·         Best accessories, make-up

·         Glitz and glamour yourself for that cocktail function-straight from the office

Professional Impressions would like to credit the following for information and images used in this article:

BlinkMalcolm Gladwell
The Self esteem WorkbookLynda Field
Learn to Power ThinkCaterina Rando
CosmopolitanSeptember 2005
Fair LadyF & B Summer 2005
Marie ClaireSeptember 2005
ElleSeptember 2005
EssentialsSeptember 2005
QueensparkSpring 2005 catalogue
Woman&HomeSeptember 2005
Men's Health StyleOctober 2005

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