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Image Making
by Victoria Seitz, Ph.D., Lamas Beauty Magazine Contributor

Minimal, Comfortable, and Professional:
Today’s Business Dress

*A monthly column devoted to helping women and men be their best and most confident in any situation.

Topics include dress, body language, attitude and etiquette.

Victoria Seitz, PhD
Image Expert

Business dress has come a long way from the tailored, tied up looks of the 80’s. The next generation of CEOs are the ones to thank for a professional look that is affordable, easy-to-care for and comfortable.

The new business attire for women includes suits blended with spandex or lycra in Tencel, polyester or washable rayon. Looks are simple yet tailored and come in business savvy colors of black, taupe, navy, olive, and gray. Gray pinstripes suits are feminized with rose colored satin shirts. It seems as well, that the pantsuit or trouser and jacket separates are the mainstay for women’s wardrobes. Here are some other looks to keep an eye on for your business wardrobe that is comfortable to work in.

  • Fabrics such as wool, polyester, and Tencel that are blended with lycra or spandex with two way stretch will be a delight to wear rather than clothes that don’t move with the body.

  • Jackets that have high collars, welt pockets as well as inside pockets (like men’s jackets) allow you to work effectively and go places without a handbag.

  • Look for the new neutrals that include semi dark chocolate, dark purple, black, olive, and taupe.

  • Shirts that also have two-way stretch are great for work or play. Focus on tailored styles either cuffed or ¾ length.

  • More and more apparel brands are offering business attire that is washable, stain and wrinkle resistant. That saves lots of dough at the cleaners and time ironing.

  • Contour elasticized waists don’t require restricting belts and allow you to breathe with ease. Land’s End and Talbot’s are great places to find these comfortable styles.

  • Accessories are minimal with no or small sized earrings and either a necklace or kerchief around the neck.

  • Look for classic patterns such as houndstooth, tweed, glen plaids in lightweight stretch fabrics that are easy to care for and travel well.

  • Knits are now very acceptable at the workplace. Choose a good weight for jackets or cardigans, skirts or pants.

  • Shoes are comfortable too with more rounded toes, shock absorbent heels and stretch panels to avoid pinching and aching backs. Try Munro, Easy spirit, Van Eli, and Naturalizer for professional loafer and pump styles that have enough heel to keep you standing tall comfortably.

  • There are now some companies that are offering pants with tummy control that take off 10 pounds and give you a sleeker silhouette. Try Blair, Comfort Corner, LL. Bean, and the Tog Shop for tummy control top pants.

  • Elasticized waists that don’t appear so are becoming common among some of today clothing brands. Chico’s, a women’s specialty store is a great place to find comfortable and fun clothing for work that also spell business.

  • For men, the message is the same: comfort is the key, yet this message has not translated in all parts of a man’s wardrobe.

  • For pants Norm Thompson offers both men and women pants that grow with you without anyone noticing. Pants that are elasticized in the back helps to provide comfort for a full day’s work.

  • Shoes for men have also taken a comfortable turn to shock absorbent soles to more pliable leathers that are not as stiff.

  • For more casual corporate cultures, mock turtlenecks, and blazers with two-way stretch communicate a professional message without giving up comfort.

Thank goodness that manufacturers and retailers are getting the message that professionalism is a look that should be comfortable to wear. For many companies, business casual has been eliminated since it became business sloppy and employee productivity fell as well as the quality of it. Easy care and easy wear is now being produced by manufacturers. And thanks to the generation of future CEO’s professional attire can be minimal and comfortable.

Your Executive Image - BUY YOUR COPY NOW
By Victoria Seitz, PhD
An easy-to-read, practical, resource for your total image!
• Learn how body language influences your image and how to avoid sending the WRONG message!
• Learn the Elements for Success in creating your own professional wardrobe within the confines of what is appropriate for your profession, corporate culture, where you live and who you are.
• Learn how to travel light but right for business.
• Learn how color can work for you rather than against you. Learn the right colors for your skin tone.
• Learn how to be comfortable at office parties rather than destroying your career.
• Learn the art of conversation and entertaining so that you can be remembered by all that meet you.
• Learn how to communicate effectively on paper or email for business correspondence.
• Learn how to handle foreign guest and avoid being the ugly American abroad.
A Must-Have for Business Owners and Individuals who want the whole package so that they can put their best foot forward and feel comfortable in any situation!

Victoria Seitz, PhD is a professor of Marketing at California State University, San Bernardino and is author of Your Executive Image, AdamsMedia, Inc, 2000 and Power Dressing, DonJon Publishing, 1991. In addition to teaching, Dr. Seitz was a fashion coordinator for Burdines, Florida and in retail management for Saks Fifth Avenue, Phoenix, AZ. Clients of Dr. Seitz have included Abbott Laboratories, Northern Telecom, Texas Instruments, Yellow Freight Systems, Sally Beauty Company, the United States Armed Forces, Travellife magazine, YWCA and Accountants Overload, in addition to law firms, hotels, newspapers, universities, banks, credit unions, national and local community and professional organizations nationwide.

To learn more about Dr. Seitz please visit her website at www.cbpa.csusb.edu/vseitz.

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