By Angela Marshall, 3rd Dec 2013
It will soon be the time for office parties and a good time to give you a few reminders on how important it is not to let yourself down during the celebrations. Some of us love Christmas parties whilst others wish they didn’t have to go. Think positively and remember it is a good time to socialise with your colleagues and get to know them in a more relaxed atmosphere.
10 tips to consider:
- Ensure you leave your work at the office, avoid talking about it
- Make an effort to look good and dress appropriately for the event e.g. casual informal, formal evening, cocktail
- Make conversation with people you don’t know or normally don’t chat to
- Turn your mobile off or put it on silent and avoid looking at it in public!
- If partners are included ensure you introduce them and help them to enjoy it and feel part of the event
- Avoid taking photos of embarrassing situations of colleagues, it is not in good spirit or polite
- Remember other people take photos!
- As a boss ensure you mingle with all staff
- As a member of staff do talk to your bosses, it’s a good time to show your social skills
- Thank the organisers as they will appreciate it and it shows good manners
The days of people getting roaring drunk are not really acceptable any more. In fact they have never been a good idea. People who do not drink very much, particularly in normal circumstances, can make the mistake of not noticing how big a glass of wine is and the alcohol strength of the wine. It is important to be careful in checking out the strength and volume of your drink. If you start to feel light headed then slow down or stop and ensure you eat something. There is nothing worse than drinking alcohol on an empty stomach.
Finally, to enjoy yourself, start by looking and feeling good. Go home at the end of the event knowing you did a good job at socialsing with your bosses and colleagues and that you can face the next day with confidence. If you make an error then ensure you apologise to the person or people the next day and move on.
By Angela Marshall, 26th Nov 2013
Often people think good manners and etiquette are about using the correct utensils when eating and knowing which plates and glasses go where. Good manners include table manners but more importantly they are about being considerate and thoughtful to others. When we are polite it influences all our working relationships whether it is with our bosses, colleagues or our clients. It can also influence people we deal with in our everyday lives. Being polite and having good manners makes a positive impression on others, it makes people feel warmer towards you and gives a wonderful first impression.
Good Communication Skills
Good manners includes communicating with other people and interacting face to face. It is important to show interest in other people and to listen to what others have to say. When we talk, we need to ask open questions so we learn more about others. It helps us to build up a good relationship both in our personal and business lives.
Social Media & Technology
With new technology it is so easy to communicate with people via text or social media which can save a lot of time and is instant. However, it is very important to also have face to face communication as visually seeing a person communicates very important messages that helps build good relationships.
7 Tips – How to have good manners and communication skills
- Regularly make conversation and practise your skills
- Ensure you have positive body language e.g. good eye contact, upright posture, good handshake and Smile!
- Actively use your listening skills and avoid interrupting
- Be thoughtful and considerate when you express your views and opinions
- Keep a positive attitude
- Ask and answer open ended questions
- When you or others make mistakes make an apology or accept theirs
We all have busy lives but too many people forget to include friends, family or other people into their world and learn what others are doing or achieving. By showing interest in others it is not only good manners but helps us to broaden our outlook in life. Think after you have visited or seen clients, colleagues, family or friends what did you find out about them and how much interest did you show them to let them know that you care.
By Angela Marshall, 19th Nov 2013
A common concern many people have in obtaining a job or promotion at work is their lack of confidence which they feel will hold them back in a competitive job market.
10 tips on how to overcome this:
- Visualise yourself in the job and how good you will be. Think positive!
- Dress well to suit the position and ensure you feel as well as look good (be comfortable in your clothes). Dress for the job you want not the one you’ve got!
- Think positively and imagine yourself in the role.
- Good Body Language – Stand, walk and sit with upright posture, hold your head up high and give a firm and positive handshake.
- Smile! It relaxes the face and helps you feel more relaxed plus it helps build rapport with the person/s you are seeing
- Speak clearly, concisely and with confidence.
- Practise in front of a mirror.
- Remember to use 2 ears and 1 mouth, so listen attentively to what the interviewer or bosses say, but ask questions.
- Don’t be overwhelmed by the person’s position, remember they are human and can make mistakes just like you.
- Be yourself!
Finally, if you don’t know the answer to questions, don’t be afraid to say so or ask them to clarify what they mean. Sometimes it is the company jargon or their explanation that you haven’t understood.
Have some Goals
It is important to set yourself some goals, so that your self esteem and confidence grows. When you achieve your goals continue to give yourself some more. If you fail at anything put it down to experience, try again or move on. Regularly look at your goals, and if needed identify what skills you’ll need to achieve them and check out how you can obtain these skills. Most importantly believe in yourself and your abilities and you will be surprised how well you will achieve them!
By Angela Marshall, 11th Nov 2013
What to wear to a wedding is no longer simple, as it is becoming increasingly popular to get married on a beach, at a hotel, in the country. The wedding could be bohemian, vintage or a traditional style in a church.
What to consider
Firstly, consider what type of wedding this is – formal, ultra formal, traditional or themed e.g. Celtic with kilts. Secondly is it in a hot climate, in the city or the country?
Where is it being held - in a church, a hotel, on the beach or abroad.
What time of day – do you need a hat if it’s a formal mid-day wedding or if early evening then no hat but possibly a fascinator.
Whatever the type of event – think of maximum impact with minimal spend. Don’t overspend on an outfit you will not wear again. Tip: Quality accessories make an average outfit more expensive plus can jazz up an outfit.
How to look good whatever the occasion:
- Be well groomed – clean and well pressed clothes, manicured nails, hair neat and tidy, perfectly polished shoes
- Fits well - ensure the outfit fits you and suits your shape and colouring. Have alterations where needed.
- Quality Accessories – hat, jewellery, shoes, bag, cufflinks. Adds quality to a less expensive outfit.
- Prepare – Ensure you outfit is comfortable for sitting, dancing, day to evening
- Look feminine for women and a gentleman for men – something appropriate that shows respect for your hosts and that suits you
- Try everything on before the day and check out it all tones in
- Extras – ensure you have extra hosiery for emergency
Finally look in the mirror before you leave and when you attend the conveniences during the event.
What not to Wear
- Wearing all white if the bride is wearing white or all black outfit if during the day
- Too short or too sexy
- Too revealing – no bra and plunging neckline, thong or underwear on show
- Too casual or sloppy – wear appropriate fabrics e.g. no jeans, linen that creases and looks like a rag
- If a formal event – no short sleeve shirt
- Avoid sequins and sparkle in the daytime as you will look overdressed
- Poorly groomed – poor nails, unkempt hair, dirty or scuffed shoes
Ideas for outfits:
- Beach - Women – colourful dress, short or maxi. Men - a smart shirt, with colour, possibly a jacket or tuxedo depending on occasion and time of day
- Informal Daytime: Women – short dress, trouser outfit. Men – suit, smart trousers and shirt with a jacket
- Semi-Formal Daytime: Women – short dress, skirt or trouser suit. Men – smart suit or trousers and jacket and tie
- Formal Daytime: Women – short dress and coat or suit, hat & gloves. Men – dark suit, white or coloured shirt with toning smart tie
- Informal Evening: Women – short cocktail or maxi dress. Men – suit or jacket, coloured shirt with no tie
- Semi-formal Evening: Women – cocktail or maxi dress and smart jewellery. Men – smart coloured shirt, dark suit and coloured tie
- Formal Evening or Black-Tie: Women – glamorous long or short cocktail with sparkly accessories and a wrap. Men – a dark suit or a black tux with white shirt and black bow tie
- Ultra-formal or White Tie: Women – long evening gown, quality sparkle jewellery (especially diamonds). A glamorous wrap or furs. Men - a black tuxedo, white shirt, possibly white waistcoat and white tie, cumberband ( not with waistcoat) and patent shoes.
By Angela Marshall, 5th Nov 2013
Buying a Wedding Dress
Buying a wedding dress can be an exciting experience, but choosing the right dress can also be a stressful and overwhelming time. Think about the type of dress you want, have some idea, check out magazines.
Here are 10 tips for buying a dress:
- Set the Budget - start a budget plan for the wedding and allow for what you think is the price for your dress, then avoid looking at dresses that are well out of your price range.
- Be open minded - try dresses on that you may not like on the hanger or other people.
- Shop early - plan ahead, 6-9 months if possible; allow time so that the other items will blend in e.g. accessories, bridesmaids, flowers, shoes.
- Theme – Do you want to be romantic, classic, elegant, funky or glamorous?
- Dress code – time of day, classic in church or on a beach?
- Shopping Time – make an appointment and avoid weekends.
- Style and shape - buy a dress to suit your shape and one that compliments your best points e.g. waist, legs (long with a slit), chest, shoulders.
- Lingerie – wear good underwear and correct height shoes when trying on to get an accurate idea.
- Shopping friends - have friends or family with you who you trust and understand your taste and personality.
- Feel good – ensure you feel comfortable in the dress and that you can imagine feeling good all day in it.
Ideas for what to wear for a second wedding:
A second wedding is just as important to you; after all it is a celebration of two people committing themselves to each other. You may have the money for a big wedding that you didn’t have before or you may just want a ‘low key’ wedding. This is your wedding and you can decide. You may well feel you want a big traditional wedding dress which you didn’t have the first time or a contemporary look such as a coloured dress or a flamboyant suit. Perhaps a perfect wedding for you is on the beach if you want to escape to a sunnier climate. It’s a great opportunity to wear something that really suits your style and personality.
It’s also wise to avoid anything similar to your first wedding – whether it’s the hair, accessories, flowers or cake decoration . You don’t want guests comparing the two weddings, so make it a very different day for them and you.
Who to invite? Do you want a quiet or big wedding? The guest list requires a lot of consideration. You may well choose close friends and family or want to add your new friends and relatives.
These days there are no rules whatever your age and circumstances. Although pure white can be harder on your face and most women do not have quite the figure or youth of a young bride, but that doesn’t mean you cannot and should not look absolutely fabulous. Choose a style and shade of colour that compliments your shape and skin tone and most importantly that makes you feel as well as look a million dollars! Also, ensure your make-up compliments your outfit and skintone.
Whatever the accessory, whether it’s a tiara, veil, necklace, brooch, bracelet, earrings or hair pieces ensure you match or tone in colours, style, length and shape. Jewellery – diamonds and pearls are always classy and timeless for a wedding.
Ensure you wear the appropriate undergarments. Wearing tights? Then ensure you have extra, at least three pairs as accidents can happen on the day. To avoid the inevitable panty line, consider wearing pantyhose with sewn-in cotton crotch or thong underwear. Again, if you’ve never worn a thong, try it first – this barely-there item is not for everyone, and some women find the experience most uncomfortable.
Whatever your choice of day, your style of dress or the colour of your accessories, be true to yourself and your wardrobe personality and you are sure to look and feel fabulous.
Next week – Tips on what to wear to a wedding
By Angela Marshall, 1st Nov 2013
I have stopped attending concerts, in certain places, as there doesn’t seem to be any control on ensuring people sit down for the ones behind them to see the show. Take for example when I went to see Janet Jackson at The Royal Albert Hall. I paid for the best seats and was 6 rows from the front. Usually stages are raised, but on this occasion it was set too low and then the people in front of us put their phones or cameras on video and held them up. The result was we couldn’t see the performance.
I can understand people standing up and dancing with the music, towards the end of the show, but regularly blocking people’s view behind is not good. Even when you ask them politely to hold cameras low or sit they just ignore you. You paid to see the performance but remember so did other people.
7 tips on What To Do:
- Respect other people’s space and view
- Turn off your phone unless taking photos
- Avoid blocking other people’s view, at least for more than a few seconds, when taking photos
- When taking a video ensure you are not spoiling other people enjoying the performance
- Don’t make a noise with food wrappers, particularly in the cinema or at a quiet performance
- Do not talk, whisper if needed
- If you’re tall, be aware of how high you sit in your seat as you need to be conscious of others behind you
It is a great pleasure seeing a live performance or going to the cinema, you want to enjoy it, but ensure you do not spoil it for others.
By Angela Marshall, 29th Oct 2013
I find it quite interesting what messages people give out with their body language when travelling in a lift with other people, particularly when people arrive first thing in the morning for work.
A few years ago I ran workshops for an outplacement agency and they were mostly run on a Monday. It was a large building and I would arrive early to prepare for the day and many of the staff would join me in the lift. Some looked like they had a hangover, others full of energy to start the day whilst others were in their cycle kit and looked either fit or worn out. What was particularly interesting was who said “Good morning”, who avoided eye contact, who looked at their mobile phones or had their ear plugs in.
There are many reasons that people behave differently in a lift: some do not like being in a small space with others and feel restricted; others prefer not to communicate at all.
The ability to socialize, communicate and interact in the office is more important than ever. It is a great opportunity to take advantage of networking and to socialise with other colleagues in the company. You never know when it will become useful to know what is going on in the company or when there is an opportunity for promotion. It also creates a friendly atmosphere so that people will remember you in a positive way.
Even just eye contact and a smile can make a great difference and it is better to be known as a warm friendly person. People will remember you in a favourable way and it can improve business relationships and improve your interaction with other people. If you are a boss, take the opportunity to show you are a warm friendly person. It will pay dividends.
By Angela Marshall, 28th Oct 2013
Over the last few days we have had very wet weather in the UK and high winds. Several people are walking around town or waiting for transport wearing inappropriate attire. Always dress for the weather, particularly in Britain as the climate can change from day to day, so check out the forecast.
When travelling ensure you dress to suit the temperature and take added clothes if necessary. Always prepare and dress for the rain and cold weather, wear several layers. In the wet and wind wear wind proof and rain proof outerwear and footwear.
Tips to consider:
- Invest in a quality raincoat e.g. classic trench coat. It will last for years and well worth the cost (CPR – cost per wear)
- Avoid wearing leather or suede clothes, water will ruin them
- Rain boots are ideal for walking, there are so many fun colours on the market
- Footwear such as Doc Martens can be trendy to wear on the way to office or for your casual time
- Wear a scarf and gloves in cold weather or when the weather is varied as they can easily be taken on and off.
Take care of your shoes, when you get home put shoe trees or newspaper in them to keep their shape and ensure you clean them when they are dry. Use protective spray or cream to keep your leather in good condition. Use on suede shoes but avoid wearing them on wet days.
Cycling or Jogging in the Rain
My husband enjoys running in the rain, not my idea of fun!
Here are some tips to think of:
- Again it is best to wear a couple of layers
- Outerwear – important to wear wind- and water-resistant jacket or vest, preferably with vents
- Close to your body – wear your high-visibility rain jacket. Technical fabrics such as Gortex that breathe or CoollMax, which takes the sweat away from your skin, you do not want boil-in-the bag effect.
- Avoid wearing a waterproof rain jacket because it will trap moisture and heat.
- Avoid cotton socks and tops, as they are uncomfortable and sticks to you when wet.
- Gloves are essential on cold days – below 50F
- Consider long underwear for the very cold months, if cycling
Colour for brightness
Finally, it can be depressing in the rain and cold so why not wear something colourful or use a colourful umbrella.
By Angela Marshall, 26th Oct 2013
The poppy is a nationally treasured emblem, in commemoration of those who lost their lives in conflict, and following tradition, in support of the Royal British Legion’s appeal, it is worn annually in the days leading up to Armistice Day.
Each year the nation shows its support for their work through the Poppy Appeal. Every poppy helps support the British Armed Forces past and present, and their families. The Royal family, politicians and television presenters amongst many of the public, will all be seen wearing poppies.
When to Wear a Poppy
Generally poppies should be worn from November 1 until Remembrance Day (traditionally referred to as Armistice Day) on November 11. However there has been a debate for the last few years as politicians and television presenters seem to be wearing them earlier. The main point is that they should not be worn before The Royal British Legion Launch them as it will show it has not been purchased this year. This year The Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal was launched nationally on Thursday October 24. Poppies should be removed by November 12, which makes the official Remembrance Day the last day you wear them – November 11.
Which side to Wear the Poppy
The poppy is traditionally worn on the left-hand side of your jacket, coat, shirt or top. This means that the poppy is on the same side as your heart. Both the Royal Canadian Legion and the Royal British Legion have stated that the side on which you wear the poppy does not matter, merely that you wear it shows respect. However, I recommend the left side, if possible, not to offend anyone. A poppy has become a great tradition as a lasting symbol of remembrance to those who have fallen in conflict. It is a wonderful way of showing our support to those who have served in the British Armed Forces. It should be worn with pride.
Poppies and various products can be obtained from the Royal British Legion Shop
By Angela Marshall, 17th Oct 2013
Knowing the Best Time to Shop
Since becoming a trained image consultant and helping people to shop I have recognised the best time to shop isn’t always the same for everyone. Understanding when is the best time to shop can save you time, money and get you a better choice. The time to shop can vary according to your wardrobe personality and lifestyle. A casual personality type does not like spending and will always try to go when they hear there are sales. Fashion fads will go all the time looking for the latest fashion, resulting in too many clothes that they do not wear.
I myself, for example, like to shop in September and April/May. Why? It is easier to find my colours in these seasons, especially Autumn. I have very warm toned skin and my colouring is also soft and light, so bright cool colours plus dark colours are not best for me. I avoid winter and summer when buying key and classic items for my wardrobe.
Fabrics – My favourite fabrics are available in Autumn – jersey, cashmere, wool mix, cotton. They are not too heavy or too light, keep me warm as I feel the cold and do not crease. I can also wear them most of the year. You may prefer linen, light cotton, in which case summer is a better season for you to shop in.
Many people shop when they need something or have an event and often it is the end of season, so they cannot find their size and there is very little choice. It is much better to plan your wardrobe for each season and know what you need. Check out my blogs on How to have a great Wardrobe for Everyday Needs.
Small budget – for business clothes, especially men, you can buy shirts, ties, shoes, accessories (belts, cufflinks, and scarves) and suits in the sale. For women – shoes, tops, extra items to add to your existing wardrobe plus accessories (scarves, jewellery, and lingerie) are good sale items. The ideal time for buying better quality, than you would normally afford. Do not wait until then if you know you need items during the main season. You will not get the choice you normally can early in the season.
CPW – think cost per wear, if you bought something early in the season at full price but by the sale have worn it loads then cost per wear may well work out cheaper.
New season clothes vary and seem to be arriving earlier and earlier in the shops, but in general the autumn and in between season arrives end of August/early September; winter items arrive October; spring- March/April and summer the end of April/May.
Sales – due to the difficult time for the retail industry there have been mid season sales and all types of offers. The main season usually starts 26th December – mid January and Mid June and July. The very end of sales is always worth looking at for items you cannot afford at full price. You may well get a bargain. I often purchase jackets that I know will go with lots of items and are more expensive than I wish to pay, at the end of sales.
On Line Shopping – this is a quick and easy way to shop and signing up for my newsletter will keep you informed about when they have offers and sales. Often brands will give a discount for 24 hours. It is also a good way to check out items you would like to add to your wardrobe and then be prepared to wait for the offers.
- Know the season for the best colours that suit you.
- What season of clothes you like the best.
- What brands and shops you like and sign up for their newsletter.
- Keep a note or ask the sales people when they generally have sales.