Leveraging Your Weekly Opportunity to Shine Creatively – Casual Fridays

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Leveraging Your Weekly Opportunity to Shine Creatively – Casual Fridays

“A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.” 

― Francis BaconThe Essays

Think about the things you aspire your colleagues would say about you when you’re not there.  You would hope its things like “fearless”, “a leader not a follower”, “creative”, ”not afraid to push the envelope” and  “practices good hygiene”. 

Now think about all the things you could do to make people think this about you.  Landing the big account, successfully launching a new product, implementing the new process that several others before you weren’t able to, etc... Chances are opportunities like that come by once in a blue moon. 

How about an opportunity to show off your creative chops and stand out from the crowd on a weekly basis?  Yes, I’m talking about Casual Fridays.  Use your wardrobe as your vehicle to demonstrate your creativity, individuality and fearlessness.  Be bold and use the combination of fit, colour and emerging brands to show off how connected and edgy you are.

Usually in a corporate environment people show off how street savvy and hip they are through pop culture references and familiarity with social media or whatever it is millennials are perceived to be immersed in.  Think about how you cringed when “twerking” was force fit as a segue into a long ass PowerPoint presentation that, not surprisingly, had nothing to do with “twerking”.  Or when you have to fake applaud when your CEO drops “hashtag” anything as an acknowledgement of how “with it” they are.  Using this approach as opposed to your wardrobe is dangerous ground since you’ll always have some 20-somethings who tired of your clips and references 6 months ago.  Also, these 20-somethings also lack the tact and diplomacy to not pass judgement on how outdated your content is to other colleagues.

 This is also your chance to get known for something  that sets you apart from the others.  I mean, something other than your current claim to fame, the misunderstanding with your younger female colleague at the last open-bar holiday party.  Its called the last open-bar holiday party not because it was the most recent but because, thanks to you and your violations of several HR codes, open-bar holiday parties are no longer. 

To better understand how to start taking advantage of Casual Friday, here are some simple Do’s and Don’ts around understanding how colour, fit and brand selection can work for you:

DO’s:

  • A golf shirt isn’t revolutionary but sporting a more modern athletic fit and some vibrant colours will turn some heads.  Resorting to the one you’ve had in your closet for years will just make you like someone’s dad with the sleeves hanging below the elbows
  • Use layering to achieve a different look – a golf shirt by itself for some environments may be too casual but using a slim fitting cardigan as a layering piece allows you to add that bit of professionalism and client readiness when needed.  Plus, in the summertime the AC in the office is usually blasting, keeping a cardigan as a layering piece will most likely come in handy
  • A Henley top (no collars, buttons ¼ of the way down your front).   Depending on the culture of your office, a Henley makes a solid alternative to a golf or sport shirt.  As the weather gets chillier, a slimmer fitting Henley makes a great layering piece underneath and provides a different look than the traditional crew or V-neck people sport underneath
  • Invest in some bright or light coloured khakis or linen pants.  You can get creative with some plaid pants, just remember to go solid on top or else it comes across as too Mr. Furley  
  • Get some colour.  Still as uncomfortable going all the way like the way you were in Grade 10?  Get a brightly coloured belt, socks or shoelaces to ease into it.  Any why wouldn’t you?  Think that guy who tormented you in public school is going to show up at your job asking why you’re wearing your sister’s clothes?  Think about where he is now and splash that colour on with confidence
  • Wear a casual blazer with jeans and casual shoes as an option.  This look became the uniform for external consultants who adopted this look as a way of conveying the message, “look how different we are”, which worked until they all started doing it.  This could be something for later on down the road when you’re comfortable with colour and pattern mixing to put together something OEC (Office Eye Candy) worthy
  • You wouldn’t repeat what someone else says at a meeting for fear of being a follower and not having an independent thought.  Its all about establishing your identity and niche and bringing that perspective that no else is bringing.  You may get taken more seriously if your attire reflects a unique perspective.  So try to find some stores that are off the beaten path that not everyone else is aware of and shops at.  Chances are you’ll find some great one of a-kind pieces that aren’t experiencing overkill.  In our “Love Toronto” section on our site, you’ll find a handful of small stores that are selling some great under the radar brands that are not widely available
  • If you’re really gunshy, there are accessories you can use to show you’re really cut from a different cloth without immersing yourself in flowery shirts, pink pants and fedoras.  Think about that beaten up, black and boring wheelie you pull around.  Invest in a cooler version with some funky coloured stitching, bright wheels or a distinct looking handle.  It will be a conversation starter and you won’t have to worry about being taunted about wearing your sister’s clothes

DON’Ts:

  • Treat Casual Friday as a way to show which sports team you root for
  • Just add running shoes to your Monday to Thursday ensemble
  • Assume Casual Friday means Jeans Day.  Leave the Mom & Dad jeans for your Mom & Dad 
  • Bring Black and Greys to the dance.  That’s what Mondays to Thursdays and funerals are for
  • Try Graphic or T-shirts.  Leave them at home for cutting the lawn or going out to watch a playoff game (if you live in Toronto, regular season game) 

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Adding a dash of colour to my outfit (Men's)

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Adding a dash of colour to my outfit (Men's)

I’ve been wearing Black, Blues and Grays my whole life?  How and where do I inject some colour?

 Let’s be honest about the world we live in.  In most places, there are a select few that can’t pass up the chance to make a comment if you deviate from the power, “manly” colours.  Some of the other pet peeves of this group of people are men who take paternity leave and European hockey players.  You can spend your life trying to stay within the confines of this fraternity or branch out ...slowly.

Don’t want to commit to a funky coloured pair of shoes, you don’t have to.  You can get similar results by adding a splash of colour to:

  • Shoelaces - Stolen Riches Laces.  Available at Harry Rosen and GotStyle.  Add some flare to your kicks for less than $20.  
  • Belt – As your shoe collection grows in number and variety, your belt collection should keep up.  Use your belts to add some additional pop into your outfit and orchestrating the double hit with shoes and belt demonstrates you didn’t do it by accident and know what you’re doing.  Colourful Belt Collection  
  • Pocket Square – Imagine you’re attired in your go-to Black/Grey suit, white shirt, dark tie, dark shoes and belt.  One brightly coloured patterned pocket square.  Guess what people will notice first and remember about you.  
  • Socks - Happy Socks.  Hudson’s Bay is one of the many shops you’ll find these at now.  A very subtle way to splash some colour into your wardrobe.  I’ll pay for these if you don’t get a reaction when you’re seated and cross your legs revealing these bad boys.  
  • Watchband - Smart Turnout Watch Straps.  UK based website, have some cool patterned watch straps at a reasonable price.  For the truly daring, see if you can match a belt and watch strap for a truly eye-catching combination that you don’t come across every day.
  • Manbag – A manbag/satchel/messenger bag is a worthwhile investment to wear considering you don’t leave home without your keys, wallet, smartphone, tablet, etc…  Its not only functional to ensure these bulky items don’t get lost and/or throw your silhouette out of whack, but it’s a fun way to add some colour and personality.  Here’s one I found at acool shop in Barcelona (Vaho) made from brightly coloured recyclable material.  Vaho Messenger Bag

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Men and their Awkwardness with the L-word

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Men and their Awkwardness with the L-word

some guys are uncomfortable with the L-word. Love?  Good guess, but no.  Lesbians?  Yes, another well-thought out guess, but no.  Not saying you're wrong, but not the L-word in mind.   Yes, I mean linen. Here's a summertime combo for work, weddings and the patio. Why it works: 1) Orange is always eye catching 2) Solid jacket and solid pant give you more leeway with patterns for your shirt, pocket square, etc... 3) Black top and light pant combo is always a winner in the summer, linen blazer is just gravy 4) Turn the cuffs up for additional contrast to the blazer Linen blazer.  You could even push the cuffs of your jacket up for an even more relaxed look but try to find the sweet spot between your own sense of style and looking like Don Johnson in Miami Vice. 

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Let Style Counsel introduce you to ...yourself. Knowing your why behind your buy.

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Let Style Counsel introduce you to ...yourself. Knowing your why behind your buy.

Let Style Counsel introduce you to ...yourself.   Knowing your why behind your buy.  I have extensive experience in understanding consumer behaviour and motivation.  It all started for me as that annoying little kid that always asked “Why?” to appease my insatiable curiosity.   It continued to post-secondary as I studied neuroscience, and then started my career in market research and where I was understanding and interpreting shopper behaviour studies and complex data sets on shopper purchasing patterns.Our objective at Style Counsel is to wow our client base with exemplary client service, including presenting outfit combinations you never thought of and paying thorough attention to detail to make your ensemble complete, all of which would require minimal time and effort out of your busy day.  To do this, we’ll rely on our keen fashion sense and also our ability to understand your specific needs.  We all have different motivations that drive our desire to be office eye-candy.  It could be to convey status, be loyal to a designer that’s worked for us or just get the occasional compliment (guilty).   While most of us shop on auto-pilot and most likely never put that much thought into the science behind our buying, its tremendously insightful for us to know what makes you tick.  In other words, what’s the “why” behind your buy?So bring that type of information to the table and you’ll be pleased with how that knowledge magically transforms into a customized look for you.  After all, we’re not trying to get everyone to wear that suit the 19-year old model in the magazine is wearing.  We’re trying to understand the real you and create the look and persona that accompanies that real person.

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