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Dress for Your Image: Thoughts from a Hollywood Costume Designer

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Dress for Your Image

Thoughts from a Hollywood Costume Designer

I’ve discussed before: people “judge” us (and form a lasting impression about us) within the first 7-seconds of observing how we dress, our outward appearance, and our body language.

As a former model and cable network anchor, I remember all the clothing changes we went through to make sure our clothing presented the image they wanted to send. And even then, it wasn’t good enough as modeling pictures were always Photoshopped!

I’ve worked with politicians, stay-at-home-moms, and business women to change a few things about what they wear to present a specific outward image — or personal brand -- based exclusively on what they’re wearing and how they use their body language.

Much of it is subconscious. Some of it is obvious!

And if people still don’t agree that how we dress matters, think about why Hollywood spends so much time and effort in costume design. A costume designer is hired specifically to use wardrobe selection to support the character’s personality as well as the entire story. This is an example we can all learn from!

Girls’ Costume Designer (Jenn Rogien) explains why they made sure one character (Hannah) dressed in ill-fitting clothing:

How Hannah Horvath will Dress on Girls this season

Lena Dunham (Hannah Horvath) in ‘Girls.’
Photo: Via HBO’s ‘Girls’ Facebook page

“…we were paying a lot of attention to reflecting how scattered Hannah was very much through the fit of her clothes. And sometimes that was reflected in a hem length: too short, too long, hit at an awkward place on the leg or we’d play with or drop the waist line to make them hit at not quite the right places, that literally just looks rumpled and off. And on top of that we would also not do very much craft of the costume that would go into the trim. So not a lot of steaming, not a lot of ironing.

So, if we want people to think we’re ‘scattered’, dress in ill-fitting clothing that isn’t ironed. So now we know “what not to wear”!

In addition to clothing, hair styles will determine not only the outfit, but the whole “vibe” of a person, too:

“I was much more careful about earrings because they could either become distracting or so much part of the look that it became overwhelming. With Shoshanna’s hair, her long hair was often up and when her hair was shorter you could still see her ears so it was just more about her whole jewelry look overall. A hairstyle or haircut is part of the whole look and it definitely informs fashion choices.

Or, an outfit can reflect an “all over the place feeling”:

Jessa is starting this season with choices thrust upon her and she’s not quite sure how to deal with them and her wardrobe definitely reflects that — the long dress or gown worn in the daytime. There’s just a little bit more of an all over the place feeling that we haven’t really seen. She wore these great gowns and weird ensembles…

We need to dress in outfits that are specific for the occasion. No full-length ball gowns in the daytime, club-wear at the office, or exercise outfits at an elegant restaurant for starters.

Since Hollywood spends so much time and effort on “what to wear”, doesn’t it make sense that what we wear matters, too?

How do you feel about what you (or others) wear? Does it effect your image, income, or mental state? Please comment below!

 

The Power of “NOT YET”

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Brain scans of fixed mindset and power growth mindset students

Fixed mindset students (L) run from the error. Growth mindset students (R) engage deeply, learn, and adapt.

The Power of NOT YET

Helping People Believe They Can Improve

This is a very powerful ten-minute video that shows the most recent studies in the failing ‘self-esteem’ movement. You know the one: “There are no losers, only second winners”, and, “Congratulations! You’re the last winner!”

Now, don’t get me wrong. I feel very strongly about raising children with strong morals, virtues, and table manners.

But new studies have shown that–no surprise–the self-esteem movement isn’t doing our children any favors. They end up being “gripped in the tyranny of now” and they will “probably cheat the next time instead of studying more”.

Children have become obsessed with getting A’s and have developed a need for constant pats on the back and awards. My husband Dennis and I were talking last night about this new generation of workers that want praise, applause, and kudos for just doing what they’re being paid to do.

So how do we raise a generation of self-starters who have personal dignity, are hardy, and resilient?

By rewarding the “not yet”. By praising wisely–not their God-given intelligence or talent, but recognizing and appreciating their effort, strategies, focus, perseverance, and improvement. In other words, praise their process. Their striving. Their determination.

Studies have also show that even the words “yet” or “not yet” give children not only hope and a feeling of power, but generate greater confidence. Applying effort  and overcoming difficulty caused the neurons in their brains form new, stronger connections and over time they were smarter.

I’m not recommending tossing the A, B, C system of grading in the trash. Rather, as a parent, I’m going to focus on rewarding our children’s sincere effort, stick-to-itiveness, and their improvement. When presented with a challenge, I want our children to embrace it hopefully with an attitude of, “I love a challenge,” or, “You know, I was hoping this would be informative.” That, to me, is true personal power.

After decades of my life, I have learned one thing for sure: It’s not talent that wins out in the end, but perseverance.

What are your thoughts about focusing on children’s efforts instead of their grades? Please share in the comments section below!

The Power of Believing You Can Improve (Prof Carol Dweck)

Party Etiquette: How to be a Great Guest

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Party Etiquette

How to be a Great Guest!

Hold your drink in your left hand, and only set it down on a coaster.

Hold your drink in your left hand, and only set it down on a coaster.

Invitations, how to hold your drink, participating in games, what to do about mistletoe, and when to leave… Navigating these ‘once a year’ holiday events can be daunting. Here is a cheat sheet for how to be a spectacular guest!

  1. Take the invitation seriously. An RSVP (from the French phrase répondez s’il vous plaît) is a request from the host/hostess to “reply, please” and let them know whether or not you’ll be attending. Even if no RSVP is indicated on an invitation, it is still thoughtful to let them know as food and seating requirements are based on the number of invitations sent. And if something comes up at the last minute, do let your host(ess) know of your change in plans. And don’t bring a guest with you unless you’ve cleared it with the host(ess) first, or your invitation includes a “plus one”.
  2. No matter how spectacular a party promises to be, don’t attend if you are sick. (Regretfully, this needs to be mentioned. Can you guess why…?)
  3. Arrive on time (no later than 15-minutes past the time listed on the invitation), never early, and bring the host(ess) a gift! Flowers are always appropriate, but be sure to bring them in a vase–don’t cause extra work for your host(ess)! If you know them well enough, feel free to bring a bottle of their favorite libation, a gastronomic contribution that would add to the celebration, a scented candle or soap, book, or a gift card to their favorite restaurant which would be a charming gesture.
  4. If the host(ess) wasn’t available to greet you upon your arrival, find them immediately to say hello and present your gift.
  5. Don’t use your phone. Keep your devices stowed and muted, unless you need it available for emergencies. If one arises, apologize and excuse yourself from the party to take care of it in private before returning to the festivities.
  6. Mingle! And make sure to hold your drink in your left hand. That way, your right hand is warm and dry when greeting people and shaking their hand.
  7. As a guest, it is your moral obligation to be agreeable, flexible, and pleasant. Participate in all arranged activities (even if charades, sing-a-longs, or party games aren’t “your thing”), and keep your hands off the television controls.
  8. Be cautious of overindulging–whether in food or drink.
  9. Use excellent eating manners.
  10. Mind the mistletoe–it’s meant to be a peck on the cheek.
  11. If you spill or break something, let the host know immediately. Offer to pay for damages.
  12. Be diligent about observing the host(ess) and be willing to pitch in and help. Instead of a vague, “Is there something I can do?” ask specifically, “What can I do to help?” But know when to get out of the way. If your offer to help is rebuffed, remember that “no means no the first time”. When orchestrating an event, there’s nothing worse than too many cooks in the kitchen.
  13. Always use a coaster for your drink. Improvise if no coaster is available.
  14. Don’t snoop. What’s behind closed doors, in medicine cabinets, or in cupboards is none of your business. Doors are closed for a reason. Respect their privacy.
  15. When to leave: if you were a dinner guest, stay for one hour after the meal. If there was a time on the invitation, leave a few minutes before the ‘ending’ time. If no ‘ending’ time was indicated, look for clues:
              -Are others leaving?
              -Did the host/hostess mention ‘last call’ or ‘one last drink’?
              -Has the host/hostess started to clean up?
  16. Always say goodbye to the host/hostess when leaving, and thank them effusively for their hospitality. Make sure to follow up with a handwritten Thank You note.

Question: What are your party pet-peeves or suggestions? Share in the comments!  

Holiday Party Outfits: Ten Tips on What to Wear

Holiday Party Outfits

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An article I wrote for Dynamic Women of Faith. Please visit their website to read other inspiring articles written by amazing women who are on a mission to do good for God!

Holiday Party Outfits

Top Ten Tips for keeping it classy!

Tis the season for holiday parties — and the stress of what to wear to them. Sometimes those bells you hear aren’t the Salvation Army, but warning bells of panic that accompany that alarmed feeling of making a fashion faux pas.

The goal? Dress festive but not tacky. You don’t want to be so over-blingy that you look like a garish Christmas tree, and you don’t want to don the same outfit you’d wear to the grocery store. Fashion is fun, which matches the joy of the Christmas season!

Here are some basic tips:

  1. There’s no need to dress in anything outlandish or revealing. To keep it classy and dignified, avoid low cut tops, and make sure your kneecaps and upper arms are covered. To be comfortable all night, don’t wear anything tight, clingy, or sheer. No need to have the discomfort of tugging, pulling, and ‘wondering’ all night long.
  2. The “Little Black Dress” (LBD) is always de rigueur (as long as it isn’t too “L”). This simple, black dress can be dressed up or down for any occasion and ought to be a staple in every wardrobe. However, if you have a unembellished jewel tone dress that you can bedeck, that is also perfectly acceptable–and sometimes preferable.
  3. Have you noticed that many dresses are either strapless, short sleeved, or capped sleeved? (And let’s face it–cap sleeves only look good on arms that are skinny and need a cap sleeve to make their arms look fuller). Faux fur wraps are chic and affordable. Boleros are a nice option. Or, you can search your closet, fabric store, or thrift store for an inexpensive wrap in lace, organza, or some other elegant fabric. Wrapped and flung artfully over your shoulders, you’ll look like Audrey Hepburn or Maureen O’Hara.
  4. Holiday fashions are all about sparkly accessories! Find a clutch purse in gold, or a silver satin, or something glittery. Yes, I know they’re small, but seriously–for a few hours, what do you really need to carry in it? Plus it has the added advantage of giving your hands something to do in awkward moments at your husband’s office Christmas party.
    Dangle Earrings

    Dangle Earrings

  5. Next, statement earrings. This is where cheap, costume jewelry comes in. Look for earrings with tons of smaller stones set in gold or silver plated metal, as they look better than earrings with a few very large ‘gems’. It’s an added bonus if you can find a bracelet to match. Slim earrings longer than chin-length will flatter a round face. Square faces can handle tear-drop (but nothing geometric). Classic Tear-drops and round stones soften the chin of a heart-shaped face, and oval faces have their pick of just about anything.
  6. If you can’t find earrings and a bracelet you like, consider a statement necklace. But don’t do all three together!
    Bling Back Shoe Accessory

    Bling Back Shoe Accessory

  7. Splurge on some fun shoes, although a holiday party may be the only night of the year you wear them (unless you have a wedding coming up). You can also attach sparkly clip-on earrings to your shoes to decorate them–either on the toe or the back of the heel. Yes, the back of the heel! Trust me, it looks spectacular! But be warned: it may rub your Achilles all night. So plan ahead. If you’ll be seated most of the time, consider the heel application.
  8. Hair: the key here is to wear your hair differently than you normally do. Up or down. Curls or straight. It all works! A small glitzy hairpiece or a bit of sparkle hair spray can be fun, too. Just don’t overdo it or you’ll look like Effie Trinket from The Hunger Games.
  9. Makeup is where some people panic. The easiest thing to do is wear a strong lip color with a soft eye color application. If you’re going with a strong, smokey eye, then balance it with a gentle lip color. For blush, a bronzer is best. Ditch the bright cheek color, unless you want to look like the Nutcracker King.
    Crystal Hair Comb

    Crystal Hair Comb

  10. Don’t overdo the perfume. Fun fact: if someone has been wearing the same perfume daily for more than a few weeks, they can’t smell it anymore. That’s why they tend to over-apply it. (Have you ever been on the leading edge of a cloud of perfume of “smelled someone coming”?) If you wear any perfume at all, remember only one spritz is required–use it to dab your wrists and neck. Or, use the old trick of spraying it in the air and walking through it.

If you’re attending your husband’s office party, there are a few more things to remember: Don’t wear anything that lights up or requires a battery, no bells (which lose their cuteness after a few minutes and rapidly become annoying), and no costumes. Save the Mrs. Claus hat or elf-ears for a family gathering.

Most of all, wear a smile that radiates the joyful and peaceful holiday spirit of the Christ child. He is, after all, the reason for the Season. Merry Christmas!

 

Colleen is the founder of Total Image Institute, and author of the International Bestseller Dressing with Dignity. Join Colleen’s mailing list for more fashion tips, video instructions, live events, and more.

 

 

Dress Code?

Dress Code: What You Wear Matters

By | Business, Image | 3 Comments

Dress Code: What You Wear Matters

What you wear matters: increase mental acuity and form a lasting first impression

What you wear matters: increase mental acuity and form a lasting first impression

Thoughts on Montana

Politicians in Montana buckled under critical editorials and social media attention and adapted a softer dress code. The first draft was a full, one-page detailed dress code that condemned jeans, sweatshirts, open-toed sandals, and flip-flops for all members. However, the new one-liner is much less specific and has now been reduced to this:

“We ask that members of the House and other professionals working on the floor dress in professional business attire that is befitting the honor of the institution of the Montana House of Representatives.”

Just a quick thought for today: why is it that when someone is looking for a job, detailed help on “what not to wear” is welcomed, but when you have a job a dress code is suddenly rejected?

Like it or not, people access us and form a lasting impression within the first 7-seconds of observing our outward appearance and body language. Do you want that impression to be positive on a daily basis?

Studies have also shown that what we wear has an effect on our job performance. In the study, participants were given identical white coats to wear. Those who were told it was a doctor’s jacket showed a marked increase in their mental acuity, carefulness, and end outcomes. Those who were told it was a painter’s jacket did not. If we feel empowered by what we’re wearing, our mental state and physical actions change accordingly–increasing or decreasing our execution and final outcome.

What we wear impacts not only whether or not someone is hired but what salary they are offered, impacts our mental state, and dictates the instant impression people form about us. Doesn’t it make sense to dress with that in mind?

Photo: Photl.com

 

 

hallelujah christmas

Hallelujah Christmas

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Hallelujah Christmas

This Hallelujah Christmas story by Cloverton recounts the birth of Christ (lyrics below).

I’ve heard about this Baby Boy
Who’s come to earth to bring us joy
And I just want to sing this song to you
It goes like this, the fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
With every breath I’m singing Hallelujah
Hallelujah

A couple came to Bethlehem
Expecting Child, they searched the inn
To find a place for You were coming soon
There was no room for them to stay
So in a manger filled with hay
God’s only Son was born, oh Hallelujah
Hallelujah

The shepherds left their flocks by night
To see this Baby wrapped in light
A host of angels led them all to You
It was just as the angels said
You’ll find Him in a manger bed
Immanuel and Savior, Hallelujah
Hallelujah

A star shown bright up in the east
To Bethlehem, the wisemen three
Came many miles and journeyed long for You
And to the place at which You were
Their frankincense and gold and myrrh
They gave to You and cried out Hallelujah
Hallelujah

I know You came to rescue me
This baby Boy would grow to be
A Man and one day die for me and you
My sins would drive the nails in You
That rugged cross was my cross, too
Still every breath You drew was Hallelujah
Hallelujah

NFL Player Leaves Field for Farming

NFL Player Leaves Field for Farming

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NFL Player Leaves Field for Farming

Former NFL Player Jason Brown left a $37M contract with the St. Louis Rams for another “field”–to serve God as a farmer.

Jason learned to farm with…YouTube videos!

You can learn more about First Fruit Farms here. A bit from Jason himself:

 In April 2012, I decided to step out on faith and walk away from my career in the NFL.  God revealed to me that he had something greater in store for me and that my family should move back to my home state of North Carolina and start a farm.  This really caught us by surprise because we knew nothing about farming.  Yet, out of obedience, we started looking for available farmland.  This is when Tay and I made a covenant with God and told Him that whatever place He blessed us with, we would name it FirstFruits Farm and that his people would receive the FirstFruits of whatever is produced from the land. (Read more….)

Place Setting for a Formal Dinner

Table Manners: A Top Ten List

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Table Manners Aren’t Just About Making Your Mother Happy!!!

Whether care to acknowledge it or not, how we eat is an outward sign of our inner personality and character. By teaching table manners early and often, they’ll become second nature.

Has you family mastered these basic table manners?

Table Manners

“Don’t blow bubbles…”

Rule Number One

Before beginning your meal, store all electronic devices.

Rule Number Two

As soon as you sit down at the table, put your napkin in your lap – and don’t forget to use it during the meal if you need to blot your lips or wipe your fingers. After the meal, the napkin is to be loosely folded (soiled parts hidden and placed left of your plate.

Rule Number Three

Wait until everyone is served before picking up your cutler and beginning to eat.

Rule Number Four

Cut one bite of food at a time, sit up strait, and bring your food up to your mouth ratheer than lowering your head to the food, and never talk with food in your mouth.

Read more of my guest Blog post for DYNAMIC WOMEN OF FAITH here!

Photo courtesy Photl.com

Screen Shot 2014-11-18 at 12.11.22 PM

It’s All About That BASTE

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I love this song, and the parody is excellent too!

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Lyrics:
I’m all about that baste bout that baste more butter
I’m all about that baste bout that baste more butter

On Thanksgiving day… I think its pretty true
us dads cant make it make it… like we’re supposed to do
the dining room room… we have no taste
we put all the wrong forks in all the wrong places
I see the magazines.. with all the recipes…
my daughter she could make it.. but me.. daddy please
so mommy hands me this and says you gotta sop….
till every inch of it is perfect
from the bottom to the top…
yeah momma just told me don’t worry about the pies…
she said I’d burn em and screw up everything I try
she said your stuffing is dry and your casserole’s made all wrong…
so take this baster and timer and go ahead and move along….

and so I’m all about that baste bout that baste more butter
I’m all about that baste bout that baste more butter
I’m all about that baste bout that baste more butter

I’m bringing butter back….
don’t try to wear those skinny britches nah…
cause I’m’a pour this all over that…
and I’m hear to tell you every inch of it is perfect from the bottom to the top….

Tim Hawkins: Atheist Mega-Churches (Worship Songs)

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Atheist Mega-churches: a New Religion?

atheist mega-churches

Tim Hawkins

Atheist mega-churches do exist!

I have some friends that are agnostic and some atheist. They like to sleep in on Sunday. So I am perplexed by these mega-churches that socialize based on a negative proof — what they don’t believe.

Why are groups of atheists popping up all over the country that get together on Sunday morning to sing, read inspirational material, engage in some quiet reflection, and then bond in fellowship afterwards? Aren’t there other ways to socialize?

I’m not going to try to figure it out, other than wonder if they’re looking for something unseen that binds them (us?) together. God bless them in their search for Truth.

For the deeper theology, I’ll turn to comedian Tim Hawkins. In this short bit, he sings some suggested atheist mega-church kids’ songs, based in part on “Jesus Loves the Little Children”, “Deep and Wide”, and “Jesus Loves Me, This I Know”.

Brand new from “That’s the Worst”, Tim’s new concert DVD available at http://www.timhawkins.net/


 

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