Category Archives for "Dress & Image"

Mar 14

Tips to Update Your Brand

By Joanne Blake | Dress & Image , ShowCase , Showcase Sidebar

Image makeover - before and after

Does your image need an overhaul?

Style for Success - Before and after photo of personal image and update your brand tips and advice.

A few years ago, an engineering client gave us some good image advice. He said you need to update your brand, your website doesn’t represent how good you actually are. (Terry was a bit hurt because he designed our first website but we realized the client was right.) Our site was part of our brand and it didn’t create a great first impression of us. So we hired a professional to update our site.

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Mar 06

Is Office Wear Getting Too Casual?

By Joanne Blake | Dress & Image , ShowCase , Showcase Sidebar

How do your customers see you?

What’s your opinion on office attire?

Stylefor Success - Casual office wear tips and advice

I was recently asked to offer my thoughts on this question for the Costco Connection Magazine. Here’s my advice. (Click here to read the full article Has office attire become too casual – with yea and nay opinions)

Most of our clients say… Yes!

As a corporate image consultant, I work with industries ranging from accountants to construction to veterinarians. Most of my clients tell me that office attire has become far too casual.Continue reading

Aug 07

Casual Friday – Dressing Down Tips for Summer

By Joanne Blake | Dress & Image

Tips & Advice for Casual Office Wear

“Summertime and the living is easy”

Casual Friday and the living is easy

To paraphrase Ella Fitzgerald and George Gershwin

“Fish are jumpin’ and the cotton is high.
You want to look rich and good looking.
So focus on your brand & you won’t cry.”

Ok, not as good as the original (click here to see Ella belt it out.)

But here are some tips and advice to keep your summertime and casual Friday office wear consistant with your brand.

First – what is your brand?

The secret to successfully taking your office wear down a notch is to think of the brand adjectives you want people to associate with you and ensure your summertime or casual Friday wear still conveys those adjectives.

Your traits

In our branding and image seminars, we ask participants to write down 5 or 6 adjectives or traits they would like people to associate with them. Here are a few common ones:

Professional, warm, detail oriented, competent, reliable, creative, personable, thorough, credible, trustworthy, savvy…

What about you?

Write your traits down. Now think of all your client and colleague interactions, from emails to dress and demeanor.  Do they support your chosen traits and personal brand? If your standard office dress conveys your traits, what about your casual wear?

More Casual Friday Summer Office Wear Tips

Investment Executive magazine interviewed me as a corporate image consultant on this topic and covered the following:

1. How to be comfortable and presentable

2. Taking cues from peers and clients

3. The details count

4. Picking a focal point

5. Why you need to update your look

Here is the link to Casual Friday – Dressing Down for Summer advice article by Beatrice Paez

Yes, summertime and the living is easy. Follow the article’s advice and your casual wear branding will be easy too.

BTW, if your team wants to learn how to express their personal style and still support your professional brand, bring us in for an engaging image seminar.

Posted by Joanne Blake – the Canadian corporate image consultant and personal brand expert
Jun 28

How to Look Smooth When Dining Out

By Joanne Blake | Dining , Dress & Image , Etiquette & Manners

Tips to hold your knife and fork
without looking awkward

Brought up in a barn?


Ever heard someone say “Were you born in a barn?” While it’s safe to say that very few of us were barn babies, that doesn’t mean that we were brought up with good table manners.

Handsome is, as handsome does

Nowadays the majority of people don’t know all the dining etiquette rules (and even fewer know the rules of business dining). Most people will not notice when you make a table manners faux pas.
BUT one thing almost everybody knows is what awkward looks like.

How to look classy & smooth at the table

What makes you look awkward at the table? Well, holding your knife and fork in an unusual way when you cut your food, is probably top of the list.

Four weird ways to hold your cutlery

Here are four examples of strange (but sadly common) ways people hold their knife and fork and what that signals.

The Kiddie Grip:

Table Manners Kiddie Grip

Goo-goo, ga-ga. I can’t help it. I’ve held my knife and fork like this since I was liddle.

The Prison Grip:

Table Manners Kiddie Grip

Orange is the new black and I’m gonna bust out of this joint tonight.

The Drummer Grip:

Table Manners Drummer Grip

I’m banging out a tune cause I’m going to be the next Buddy Rich or Dave Grohl.

The Airline Passenger Grip:

Table Manners Airline Grip

Yeah, it’s a bit cramped but I’m too cheap to pay for business class.


The right moves

Table Manners Classy Grip

So if you want to look smooth at the dining table try to hold your knife and fork as illustrated in the photo below.
Your index or pointing fingers should extend down the handles. Your forearms and wrists should not be cocked at a sharp angle but should be held fairly straight. Your right and left hand should look similar.

Practice makes perfect

Unfortunately, bad habits for holding your cutlery have been ingrained an awful long time, basically since you’ve been eating at your highchair. So you’re not going to change overnight.
But if you’re eating regularly you have plenty of opportunities to practice..At every meal, pretend that you are dining out, even when you’re sitting with the TV tray and watching Game of Thrones over supper. Practice, like they say, makes perfect.

Looking smooth the easy way

For more dining tips and an easy way to learn all you really need about business dining etiquette or smooth table manners, check out our 40 minute online video dining course (rated #1 by the Wall Street Journal) or take one of our dining etiquette classes.
Or give your children a head start  in life at one of our Social Skills for Kids or Teens classes.

Posted by Joanne Blake – the Canadian business etiquette expert and classy smooth eater
Jun 20

Tips For Giving Feedback

By Joanne Blake | Dress & Image , Etiquette & Manners

Should You Sugar-coat Feedback?Tips and advice on giving feedback or criticism

Managers and team leaders often shy away from giving feedback, especially when it comes to clothing or behaviour. They don’t want to jeopardize working relationships.

They may not feel skilled in giving constructive criticism. They also know that honest feedback, no matter how well-intentioned, often feels personal. So it’s becoming common practice to hire image consultants, etiquette experts, and performance coaches to address problems or situations that were previously handled by managers.

Some Tips

I was recently interviewed by Canadian Business magazine for an article entitled Why You Should Stop Sugar-coating All Your Feedback by Rosemary Counter. Click here to read the short article for a few tips from various experts. Remember, it’s not just what you say, but how you say it.

The four way test

When I was a member of Rotary, we were taught to ask ourselves four questions regarding things we think, do or say.

It is called The Four Way Test.

  1. Is it the truth?
  2. Is it fair to all concerned?
  3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
  4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

When contemplating giving honest feedback, ask yourself, is it necessary, is it kind, will it help them improve the situation or performance.

Friendly advice?

This is even more important if you are not in a supervisory position and you are planning to give a colleague some free advice.

Free advice isn’t always free

Free advice sometimes has a cost. When it comes to colleagues and friends, you really have to ask yourself test #3 – Will it build goodwill and better friendships?

Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and ask yourself, would I want to know?

Posted by Joanne Blake – the Canadian business etiquette expert and 4 way test believer
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