Hard to believe that it’s that time of year again— the season to start showing your gratitude by shopping for presents that may or may not be appreciated. Personally, this year with Hurricane Sandy taking over eleven of my dimmest days and gas prices going through the roof, I am most concerned with saving money via the comfort of my computer. While I’ve promised myself to keep my shopping to the people on my holiday list, I am (as usual) tempted to place a thing or to in my shopping cart in the names of my children. I suppose that is why I’m particularly drawn to deals that require multiple purchases of the same item (one for me and one for you). Below are my 10 favorite Cyber Monday ‘go to’ sites with ideal deals for YOU and me. Happy shopping…and remember to shop responsibly.
1. www.BraSmyth.com offers some of the most beautiful intimate apparel for women looking for comfort, support and sensual appeal. Spend $125, Get $30, PLUS other great deals including $10 off all Bra Smyth Black Label bras, bottoms & bodysuits.
Promo Code: LOVEMYBRA
2. www.DVF.com is the home to the universal wrap dress as well as a myriad of feminine wardrobe pieces. Take advantage of an additional 30% off online and in store sale pieces. Inside Tip: If you don’t find the size you are looking for online, call the SOHO store and ask for Courtney Almeida @ 212.542.5754 and she will gladly locate the size for you.
Promo Code: HOLIDAYSALE
3. www.Intermixonline.com is a multi-brand boutique of some of the trendiest and most exclusive fashion brands around, including one-of-a-kind and hard to find ‘it’ items. Enjoy 15% full price purchases that will surely make you stand out in any crowd.
Promo Code: Cyber15
4. www.SundanceCatalog.com is Robert Redford’s gift to the lifestyle consumer, with its vintage-inspired home décor, handmade jewelry and ‘no-fuss’ comfort style. Take 20% off orders over $100.
Promo Code: N/A
5. www.Papyrusonline.com carries some of my favorite stationery, greeting cards, personalized invitations, wrapping paper, picture frames, scented candles and other beautiful gift items. Enjoy 25% off your entire order, plus free shipping on all order over $75
Promo Code: CMONDAY
6. www.NeimanMarcus.com is a luxury department store that is not available to everyone at a moment’s drive, though I am lucky enough to be able to whiz over to the White Plains store within 20 minutes time. Enjoy purchasing regular priced women & men’s apparel, accessories, beauty, jewelry, corporate gifts and earn up to $500 gift card when you spend $200-$2000 or more.
Promo Code: GC4YOU
7. www.Sephora.com offers the latest and greatest in makeup, fragrance, hair products, tools/accessories, gift sets. They are offering a Free Mystery Gift online only. Enjoy a secret assortment of their top Holiday Beauty Picks—all housed in a Little Black Bag.
Promo Code1: UNDERWRAPS
Promo Code2: SHIPNOW
8. www.LillianAugust.com has some of the most exquisite home furnishing and accessories available for women who enjoy beauty and style apart from their office and in addition to their wardrobe. Take advantage of 15% off all gifts and accessories
Promo Code: N/A
9. www.6pm.com is an exclusive online designer outlet of shoes, apparel, handbags, and accessories for women and men with deals 70%-80% off, plus Free Shipping on all Orders.
Promo Code: N/A
10. www.Bluefly.com is one of the original online retailers to sell fashion in a sophisticated manner and it is still my all-time favorite ‘go to’ off-price sites. They have taken 10%-40% off their entire site, plus free standard shipping.
Promo Code1: FALL40 ($200+ purchases)
Promo Code2: GET25OFF ($100 purchase)
Most promo codes are valid through mid-night! Don’t miss out…though I’m sure they’ll be some other type of marketing ploy to entice you to shop some more between now and December 25th.
Have you ever had one of those panic-stricken mornings when you feel like you own absolutely nothing to wear to work? It hardly seems possible given the countless pieces you’ve acquired throughout the years. Aren’t those treasures just waiting to be delved from the deep black hole you call your closet? Maybe, you’re a recent college graduate or back-to-work mom who’s lived in t-shirts and jeans for the last five years. Where do you begin to figure out your career wardrobe? It’s costly to go on an aimless shopping spree before you’ve even set eyes on your first paycheck. For those of you who’ve remained employed and active career wear shoppers, there may be too many unfitting choices in your closet. Luckily, building a practical workplace wardrobe need not be expensive or overwhelming. In fact, the key is to invest in fundamental garment pieces that will support your wooziest, dreariest, or hastiest morning ever. Some of my picks may already live in your closet. You’ll just need to breathe new life into those items you identify as your “go to” pieces. Regardless of whether you’re building or revamping a business wardrobe, let this post serve as your career style navigation system. Shop online, a boutique, a mall, or in your closet. Done purposefully it will be the best source of ‘retail therapy’ you’ll ever experience.
✓ White Collared Shirt
A blank canvas waiting to be painted is what a white collared shirt is within your wardrobe. It instantly brightens your eyes, skin, and teeth; and it epitomizes meticulous grooming when worn pressed and stain-free. The white collar of a shirt highlights your face the way a picture frame accentuates a beautiful painting. On its own or layered under a jacket, cardigan, or colorful scarf, a white collared shirt is the universal staple of every career wardrobe.
✓ Sheath Dress
Classic and chic, with a simple silhouette and tailored fit, the sheath dress is an indispensable piece that magnificently transitions from daywear to after work cocktails wear in a flash. Choose one with a neckline that compliments your face shape. “V” and cowl necklines elongate a round face and short neck. Round, mock, and turtle necklines camouflage a long neck. Bateau necklines balance oblong faces. Accentuate with an oblong scarf to kick up the style factor. Works well under a suit jacket for a formal office look.
✓ Suit Jacket
Impeccable fit, construction, and fabric are essential to this focal point garment in your wardrobe. The suit jacket formalizes any outfit and transforms it into a professional ‘power’ look. A suit jacket worn over your shirt, collared shirt, or camisole commands status and attention. Solid colors and tone-on-tone patterns are most practical as your first or only suit jacket option. Since it is the most ‘influential’ career wardrobe staple, you should invest in the most timeless and well-constructed one you can afford.
A-line skirts for women with rounder derrieres and stomachs work best, while pencil or straight skirts compliment sleeker physiques. Matching a skirt with your suit jacket works well for a job interview, but choosing a skirt in a complimentary color and fabric will give you a polished look with a modern edge. Reveal a youthful image with a hemline that brushes the top of your knee cap. Show a more conservative appearance with a hemline that falls right below your knee cap. Look for one with a front, back, or side slit for a hint of feminine flair.
Find a pair of ready-to-wear slacks that fit well and you will live in them (a hint of spandex—about 2%—often helps with proper fit). Choose a straight leg for a traditional look, tapered leg for a contemporary look, or a wide leg for more a glamorous look. Vertical patterns lengthen your legs, while plaids shorten your legs. Select slacks that match your suit jacket so you have the flexibility of wearing them as a suit or as separate pieces.
✓ Cardigan Sweater
What’s not to love about the cardigan sweater? It is your ‘all-occasion’ friend. Select a cotton or cashmere cardigan over your collared shirt or camisole for a polished year-round look. Add energy and excitement to your wardrobe with a vibrant-hued cardigan that becomes your favorite transitional garment. As a layered piece or on its own, the knit cardigan sweater withstands the test of stretch-n-grow; especially if you’re one whose weight tends to fluctuate with office picnics and holiday parties.
✓ Camisole Top
Camisole tops are a necessity in your wardrobe regardless of your size, age, or style. I really can’t say enough about them since I own one (or more) in just about every color. For the purpose of this blog post, we’re trying to keep it simple so one will have to do. Camisoles are amazing as they add a layer of support, comfort, protection, texture, and color. Sport one under your white collared shirt, cardigan sweater, or use a dressy silk one under your suit jacket. Select a ‘cami’ with compression qualities to smoothen and slim your bust line and midriff area.
✓ Mid-heel Pump Shoes
Invest in quality mid-heel pump shoes that you can presumably wear every single day. When it comes to a work shoe, comfort trumps glamour. Think of shoes as you would car tires—they must fit and be in great condition for reliability and speed. I can’t stress the importance of being able to walk gracefully in heels. Observe yourself or ask an honest friend to watch how you walk in up to 3 inch heels. If you feel wobbly or insecure, reduce the height by half inch increments. Your confidence and poise should be communicated through your gait. Therefore, avoid awkwardness. A note about color: regardless of the color the value (referring to the lightness or darkness of the color) should be similar to the value of your hair. Think of your hair and shoes as bookends which securely hold the complete you.
✓ Tote Bag
A roomy tote is your cost-effective answer to staying organized with one main bag for work and play. Totes come in a variety of styles, shapes, materials, and price points. Also, in case you were wondering, tote bags needn’t match your shoes, belt, or other accessories. Totes are sort of an upgraded retail store shopping bag so they don’t really have to even match your outfit. Show your artistic side with a mixed media tote or your conservative side with a traditional choice.
✓ Oblong Scarf
Even if you’re normally intimidated or can’t be bothered with scarves, you should incorporate at least one into your wardrobe essentials. An oblong scarf can easily replace a belt, a long necklace, or tote bag charm. In addition, a scarf will add flush, flair, and fusion to any dull outfit in need of a jolt. Scarves with geometric patterns will offset curvy body types, while scarves with swirl motif designs will balance angular body types. If you prefer to accentuate your body type, choose a pattern that replicates your natural body lines.
Refer to this list of career style essentials whenever you need guidance on assembling or replenishing your mainstay wardrobe items. If you’re downsizing your overloaded closet, these 10 fundamental pieces will turn your morning dressing into a worry-free practice you’ll never dread again.
You’ve spent weeks researching potential hiring companies, fine-tuning your résumé, and mentally preparing yourself for the interview challenge. You’ve quickly realized that the “dates” are not happening as often as they once did. Then an e-mail arrives from a Human Resources Director—not a Manager—a Director inviting you to interview for just the type of position you’ve been looking for. You’re so there, and your mind is saying, “This job IS mine!” After all, you’ve got the experience, the credentials, the degree(s), plus extra certifications to boot. The interview day is here and you are pumped. Yet, inexplicably your chances of landing the job are quickly deflated before you even set foot inside the interview room. Were you mistaken for a similar candidate? Has the job been put on hold? Why does the recruiter seem so lukewarm on you before you’ve even had a chance to ‘strut’ your stuff?
Commonly, recruiters and hiring managers become privy to clues you inadvertently display during the pre-interview stage—raising suspicion as to the type of employee you would be (if you were hired). When such “questionable” behavior is exhibited, there is little (if any) chance of turning it around. So before you go on your next job interview, prevent yourself from making one or more of these ten blunders, which quite possibly could end your interview before it begins.
1. Risqué Social Media Profiles/Photos: The first thing corporate and executive recruiters do these days after they’ve identified a viable candidate online is to look at their social media profile. Sometimes recruiters will wait to take a quick peek at your social media profile/photo right before they greet you in the reception area (so that it’s fresh in their mind). A client took a pass on a “stellar” candidate who had recently added on Facebook that she “loved smoking pot and taking bi-swings every once in a while.” The candidate had also uploaded a new profile photo of her weekend partying while snuggling suggestively against a bottle of Bud Light. We were lucky not to lose the client, but the candidate lost the job opportunity.
2. Inappropriate Dress: Job seekers will often under-dress, over-dress, or partially-dress for the interview and those are definite reasons why they don’t land the job. Under-dressing in skimpy outfits, over-dressing in sequined “Saturday Date-Night Wear,” or partially-dressing and finishing up in the reception area (change shoes outside) are sure indicators of your poor judgment. Even if you’re interviewing within a creative environment or in 90 degree weather, flaunting your cleavage, shoulders, bare legs, and toes may be more than the recruiter wants to see and they certainly don’t need you as the office trend-setter.
3. Rude to the receptionist: If you are rude to my receptionist, I know you will be rude to me, clients, fellow employees, etc. Rude is rude! There is no combating such impoliteness. You may want to unload your frustrations on the receptionist, but front desk receptionists are the eyes and ears of a company. News travels fast in an interoffice e-mail from the receptionist to the Human Resources Director alerting him/her that the candidate he/she is about to see is ill-mannered and brash. So be particularly respectful and gracious to the receptionist—he or she has more input on your candidacy than you think.
4. Neglecting to bring a résumé: If I hear one more job candidate use the “I want to save trees” excuse for not bringing a résumé with them I’m going to lose it. Of all the lame excuses for not being diligent enough to supply a recruiter with a résumé, this is the one that most gets my blood boiling. You want to save a tree so you put me through the trouble of printing a copy of your résumé (making me endanger a tree)? It comes across as neglectful and/or forgetful—qualities not highly regarded in the workplace. Let me make this perfectly clear. Even if you have e-mailed your résumé electronically, refrain from making the assumption that the recruiter will have it handy to refer to it during your live interview. It is recommended that you bring between 5-10 copies of your résumé on every interview.
5. Refusing to fill out an application: Nothing screams “BAD ATTITUDE” as much as refusing to fill out a job application/questionnaire. When you write “See Résumé” instead of filling out the information that is being asked of you, you are basically saying that you dislike complying with rules, like to make your own, or you’re just plain lazy. Personally, that is the “writing on the wall” for future arrogant behavior.
6. Punctuality (arriving either more than 15 minutes early or late): You may think that arriving to a job interview 30 minutes early earns you brownie points, but this is not the case. If you arrive more than 15 minutes earlier than your scheduled time you may be perceived as overly aggressive, desperate, or as someone who is not in high demand. If you are travelling from far away and you do arrive extra early (and want to use the restroom and fix yourself up), ask the receptionist not to announce your early arrival. Still, that doesn’t guarantee that he/she will follow your instructions, and your premature arrival might be announced anyway. If you are going to be more than 5 minutes late, you must call. Expect a rescheduled interview or waiting for the recruiter’s next time slot.
7. Accepting/initiating cell phone conversations in the reception area: Keep your babysitting issues, boyfriend troubles, and other interview appointments under wraps. If you must make a phone call or accept an urgent call excuse yourself from the reception area. Make a point of being discreet. You are being watched and listened to before your official interview begins. In fact, your official interview starts when you enter the office building’s lobby and elevators (especially when there are cameras that can be played back).
8. Rescheduling an interview more than once: Emergencies do happen, but typically not more than once during one interviewing cycle. If something pressing in your life comes up where you must reschedule an interview, make sure you wait until the situation has cleared before you put it back on the calendar (even if it means losing out on that particular opportunity). The recruiter will appreciate your respect for his/her busy work schedule. Deferring an interview appointment more than once makes you seem unreliable and flippant about your interest in the company and the position.
9. Social awkwardness: Big “WARNING” signs go up for being socially awkward. Some of the most common social awkwardness faux pas I’m warned about by my receptionist (“on the DL”) are: nervous laughter, fidgeting, close-talking, self-talking, and self-touching. Refusing to hang up your overcoat, unloading a wet umbrella or saying “no” to a glass of water may also come across as ungracious and awkward. My recommendation on the glass of water is to always say “yes” even if you’re not thirsty. It makes you seem amenable to a kind gesture and water is both cooling and relaxing for your nerves. A side note to this suggestion: avoid popping meds with your water.
10. Bringing a buddy along for support: This is such a no-no! You wouldn’t believe how many people go on interviews with a roommate, parent, husband, baby, out-of-town guest, or parole officer (that one I sort of understood) and it is absolutely an interview killer. If you don’t have the sense and/or confidence to go on a job interview without a sidekick, then maybe you’re not ready for a lot of other challenges the work environment will present. You want to come across as an independent individual rather than one who relies on co-dependency. Coming with your baby in a carriage says you do not have the right childcare system in place and you may therefore come to work with your child on a regular basis (unproductive for an employer).
Avoid shooting yourself in the foot before you even get that foot in the interview room. Carefully assess your pre-interview actions and behavioral choices—factors that weigh in to your candidacy as much (or more so) than your professional qualifications, education, recommendations, and affiliations.
It happens every January of every New Year. We make a time-consuming list of resolutions (usually the same ones from the prior year) and by the third week in January, we gradually go back to our old ways. In fact, by the time March rolls around, we can’t even remember our top 5 New Year’s Resolutions unless we go back to the place where they were once faithfully written down. My theory on keeping resolutions is to tie them to an aspect of our life that is meaningful, such as our health, wealth, relationship, or career. Keeping each resolution simple and with a clear purpose is essential. Opt for a collection of small resolutions to accomplish one result in order to keep them from seeming insurmountable.
Today, I’ll share a cluster of 5 easy-to-keep New Year’s resolutions to help you spark, sustain, and succeed in your career. Remember—they’re short and sweet— but collectively they will have a long-lasting effect not only on this year’s career achievements, but on your career success for years to come.
1. Organize Your Closet:
An organized closet is essential for job seekers and those of us who want to succeed in our careers. Think of all the time and brain cells you’ll save in the morning if you don’t have to give what you are wearing that day a second thought. Also, when your closet is organized you’ll be inspired to add accessories and coordinate outfits that are more interesting and intricate— all portraying a more upscale and sophisticated image of yourself.
2. Wash Your Hair the Night Before:
Bad hair mornings are the source of much anxiety in the morning, missed trains, and lateness for meetings and interviews. Washing your hair in the evening not only frees up time for you in the morning, but massaging your scalp before you go to bed will aid in a more pleasant and restful night’s sleep. You will feel more alert in the morning and ready to take on even the most difficult of bosses or work challenges. In addition, hair that’s been washed the night before has less static and is less slippery for styling. Use the extra time you’d normally spend fussing with your hair in the morning to plan and strategize your day’s work.
3. Go Into Your Archive of Friends & Acquaintances:
We tend to be creatures of habit. We eat the same things, wear the same things, and reach out to the same people. We stay within our comfort zones just because it feels safe. You’ll be surprised how much you’ll learn and grow by reaching out to more than the same five friends you’ve called within the past year. Go through your holiday cards (both personal and professional) and make a stack of people who you haven’t seen face-to-face in a year. Reach out to at least five people every month throughout this year: that’s sixty “new” people who can feed leads and information to help propel your career or job search.
4. Reward Yourself Without Breaking the Bank:
The holiday season can really be a rat race to send cards, bake cookies, entertain, shop, and wrap presents until wee hour of the night. Feeling depleted will absolutely show on your face and in your performance at work. So it’s important to pamper and reward yourself in ways that will invigorate you without breaking the bank. A simple manicure ($10-$12 + tip) will restore your nails and cuticles post holiday cooking and gift-wrapping. Treat yourself to an at-home aroma therapy bath and spa night after kids and/or significant other have gone to sleep. Indulge with a friend, co-worker, or partner on breakfast, coffee/tea, or after-dinner dessert instead of lunch and dinner—meals which tend to be more expensive social dining options.
5. Be Genuinely Open to Change:
Yes, we desire change. We hope for change. But are we really genuinely open and ready to change? Embrace small changes that will collectively make a difference to the big picture in your life. Choose colors, patterns, and textures in your wardrobe that you may have overlooked in the past. Change your walking or driving route to work, even if it means walking on the other side of the street. Change your lipstick color or the handbag you’ve neglected to clean out all year. Even these small changes will influence you to have an extra little hop in your step. That extra bit of positive energy is sure to fuel your disposition at work. An upbeat disposition is often rewarded with bonuses, promotions or other types of recognition in the workplace.
Make 2012 the year of your career!