Complaining with Grace

complaints-buttonIt is important to be able to voice your opinion when issues or concerns arise. The main point to consider here is how you deliver your opinion or complaint. On one hand, a complaint can be constructive and help to solve a problem. But when poorly executed, a complaint can damage relationships, create tension, and reflect negatively on the person behind the opinion.


Here are some points to consider before lodging a complaint of your own.

Complaining on the Internet

  • Social Media
    If you are ready to launch into a tirade on a public forum on the web through a LinkedIn post, a tweet, or a Facebook status update, consider your motives first. Will a public complaint on social media reach its intended ears and solve the issue that bothers you? Or are you simply venting frustration, sending out your woes to anyone who will listen – whether or not they are your intended audience?

    Posting general complaints on social media always have the latter effect. This approach could lead to an array of negative impacts on the individual who posts directionless and unfiltered complaints. With such a wide audience, there are bound to be users who will see such thoughtless complaining as poor form. This will hinder the reputation of the individual who launched the criticism.

    Further, venting online means that other users in the future can see this negative attitude broadcast on social media. If this happens to be a prospective client or employer who hopes to connect with a positive, constructive individual, it could damage chances of future business or employment.

  • Private Email to Appropriate Contact
    If you hope to solve an issue using the Internet, an email to the right contact – whether that is the person at the root of the problem or an appropriate intermediary, like the HR department – is the safest way to go. Keep in mind, however, that an email also is never a completely private forum, as it can be forwarded, printed, or made public. In this case, write an email using facts – not feelings – to describe the issue, and send it with a goal in mind. Problem solving, not venting, is the objective.

Complaining in the Office

  • Loud Tirades in Public Spaces
    Just like posting woes recklessly on social media, loudly expressing frustration in an open area of the office or another public space will never have a constructive effect. This is a monologue that others will inevitably overhear – whether or not a complainer can see them in the vicinity.

    Especially if a complaint is about a person or a group of people, this usually will be perceived as gossip. This type of information is much more sensitive than technical or operational issues, as others’ feelings and reputations are at stake. If you have a complaint about an individual’s conduct or behaviour, do not express it in an open space for others to hear.

  • Private Meetings
    Instead of a monologue toward anyone who will listen, opt for a dialogue. Meet privately with the individual who is at the root of the issue. It also helps to have an unbiased third party, such as an HR professional, who can mediate the conversation and ensure that it does not escalate into petty arguing.

Even if someone or something distresses you, remember that how you express your frustration always reflects back on you. Protect your reputation and complain with grace.

Make 2015 the Year You Develop Executive Presence

executive presenceIf you have considered developing your Executive Presence, elevating your career, or acquiring highly rated credentials, 2015 may be your year to do it. It is a big year for Corporate Class Inc. and Executive Presence – not only are our public-enrollment programs and seminars back by popular demand, but also we are offering a brand new intensive certification program based on feedback of current and potential participants.

With the breadth and depth of our programs, we continue to cater to professionals with a variety of goals. Read about our upcoming sessions below and see which one could be right for you.

  • Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) 2015 Conference
    Toronto, January 21-23, 2015

    As in previous years, I am delighted to once again present at the annual HRPA conference. This year I will deliver two sessions. On January 21, join Christine Felgueiras, Corporate Class Inc.’s Associate Director of Programs, and me for “First Impression: Here’s Your Second Chance!” Learn about the important factors that contribute to a winning first impression, so you can start every professional relationship off on the right foot.

    On January 22, together with corporate training consultant Marjorie Malpass, we address “The Power of Yes and Levity in Conversation”: a discussion where you learn how to become a great conversationalist and find out the useful – and sometimes surprising – advantages of using levity in professional conversations.

  • Executive Presence Workshop for Leaders and Executives
    Toronto, March 26-27, 2015
    Top leaders, corporate executives, and HR managers: this program is designed for you. For those who have already advanced within a career or a company, this workshop will give you even more of an edge and allow for continued personal advancement.

    Back by popular demand, our 2-day program in March will enable you to demonstrate the multi-dimensional aspects of Executive Presence with interactive classes and small group sessions. Among other topics, I will address powerful first impressions, crafting a memorable personal brand, effective communication in any context, and exuding confidence and poise.

  • Executive Presence System Atlanta Certification Training Program
    Atlanta, April 20-24, 2015

    After receiving much feedback for a fast-track program to the world of corporate training, we have designed the Executive Presence System Certification Training Program in Atlanta – the newest program from Corporate Class Inc.

This 5-day intensive training program will be your entryway into becoming a recognized Executive Presence trainer. During the interactive sessions, you will learn how to master your own Executive Presence, then develop the skills to train a diverse range of clients. By the end of the program, you will acquire the credentials that will lend you an edge in the corporate training industry.

Click here to read more about the program and to register. Mark your calendar: our early bird registration special ends on January 23.

With the diverse range of upcoming programs and opportunities, we hope to address your specific objectives when it comes to enhancing Executive Presence. Register for one of our programs today!


Multitasking Can Hinder Your Executive Presence

55777753In recent years, several studies have suggested that it is actually impossible for the human brain to multitask. Yet we continue to persist in our attempts: every day many of us juggle simultaneous responsibilities at work and an endless to-do list at home, all while managing alerts and messages on multiple devices.

Not only is your brain truly incapable of multitasking, but also trying to multitasking constantly can hinder your Executive Presence. In this post, I discuss how multitasking can weaken your presence and I provide some suggestions for cutting back on this habit.

First, imagine yourself working a room – you walk into a space and instantly feel confident, at ease, and ready to make a great impression. You are prepared to connect with others in a meaningful and sincere manner. With this approach and attitude, you exhibit great presence.

Now imagine yourself trying to work a room while simultaneously sending texts and emails from your smartphone. It’s impossible! Your body language will show that you are more interested in your phone than the situation at hand, and in your distraction you will remain disconnected and isolated from the individuals in the room. In other words, you will have no presence.

Constantly attempting to multitask can hinder other aspects of work life that contribute to your Executive Presence as well. For example, it can impact the effectiveness of your communication. Have you ever tried to work on a task or write an email while talking on the phone? Chances are, all results from this type of multitasking will turn out sloppily. On the phone you will sound distracted, and your task or email may contain careless mistakes. A combination of these elements over time will begin to reflect poorly on your overall presence.

If this is the case, how can you reduce multitasking to improve your Executive Presence? At the pace of today’s corporate culture, it is incredibly difficult to prevent yourself from multitasking. Our working environments and tools are designed for it. However, use this idea as motivation: you will improve your presence as well as become more productive when focusing on a single task at a time.

A few tips for staying focused and directed in your work:

  • Start your day focused. Do not wake up and immediately check your email or phone. Instead, leave enough time in the morning to have a quiet moment or a brief walk outside. This can be refreshing and help you to take on one task at a time throughout the day with renewed energy.
  • During meetings, leave technology behind. Do not try to catch up on emails when others are leading a meeting. It will show disrespect to your colleagues, and you will not retain any of the information exchanged. Additionally, you will not be able to contribute anything of value if you remain distracted throughout the meeting.
  • Allocate set amounts of time to each of your tasks. For example, if you allow yourself one hour to complete a single task, chances are you will be much more productive and efficient in that single hour than if you worked on it throughout the afternoon while getting distracted by other things.
  • What are your tactics for staying focused and dedicated to the task at hand? For more on the disadvantages of multitasking, see Time’s “Don’t Multitask: Your Brain Will Thank You” or “Why Multitasking Doesn’t Work” from Forbes.

“How do I look?” – The Value of a Second Opinion

When we go shopping, many of us bring along a friend or two to weigh in on our fashion choices, to provide a second look at a flattering (or not) pair of pants, or simply to say “yes” or “no” when we try on an outfit. Like a friend tagging along on a shopping trip, an image consultant similarly can offer a second opinion on fashion choices – but this professional opinion can give you so much more, including an edge in the workplace.

An image consultant not only can tell you whether your outfit looks good, but also if it is appropriate for your corporate culture and whether it is the best choice for your body. An image consultant can also help you determine which professional clothes fit your personal style and your budget. Most importantly, an image consultant can help you dress for success. At Corporate Class Inc., we offer unique Personal Image Enhancement services for both women and men that cater to the individual’s needs alone. How can you benefit from image consulting?

Dressing for Success in the Right Context
Professional image consulting does not mean selecting only formal business suits. We can help you determine the best outfit choices based on the corporate culture of your office: whether you work in a business casual or business formal environment, subtle details in your dress can set you apart – for better or for worse.

In addition to your office culture, we’ll help you to accommodate all the needs of your professional schedule year-round, from the high-pressure presentations and board meetings to casual Fridays and staff picnics.

Flatter Your Body
It’s not what you wear but how you wear it: this is never truer than in a professional setting. A presenter in a well-fitted suit can capture you with the force of his or her words, but someone onstage swimming in a baggy suit or squeezed into something too tight can be distracting from the content of their presentation.

Not only can we help you choose a wardrobe that fits your personal body type, but also give you the tools to know what types of cut and fabric to buy in the future, and to determine if and what kind of alterations a suit or outfit may need.

Colour, texture, print, and weight of a fabric all come in to play here too: each of these elements works with the individual’s body and skin tone, as well as in the context of place and season. We will show you what works together, what doesn’t, and namely, what works for you.

The Full Package: Not Just Clothes
Dressing for success isn’t just about wearing a good outfit. It’s about constructing an entire, unified image that makes you feel confident and look poised. For women, this includes hair grooming and style, hair colour, and makeup. Again, we help you find the right colours and types of makeup for you, then ensure that you can properly apply it on your own.

For men and women, we help you determine the habits of proper grooming, choosing flattering eyewear, and matching with appropriate accessories – all of which contribute to the overall success of your look.

All about YOU
Do not assume that image consulting will limit you to a single set of grey or black suits and will stifle your self-expression. Our unique approach to image enhancement works in conjunction with your personal style, so that your own fashion sense and style choices will be reflected in your professional attire.

Not only do we consider your style, but also what fits into your budget. In setting you up for success, we do so in a sustainable way that will help you make fashion choices that align with your financial ones, too.

Developing your professional image will give you confidence in the workplace and will allow you to present your best self to clients, partners, and colleagues. Our approach to image consulting will give you a foundational wardrobe, as well as the tools to make choices and determine the best look for you in the future. Are you ready to step up your image in the workplace?

Learn about what’s involved by reading our personal journey blog series:
• Style Analysis
 Colour Analysis
• Wardrobe Planning
• Shopping: Step 1
 Shopping: Step 2
• Shopping: Glasses
• Hair
• Make-up
• Grand Finale

Fashion, Image and Politics: Can Dress Sway Voters?

Bookmark this on Delicious
View our profile on LinkedInFind us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter

Presidential Candidates Wives’ dresses

Image and dress has been a major part of this year’s Presidential election. According to an article in, “a focus on image in elections is nothing new.”

Even before a sweating Richard M. Nixon faced the handsome, cool John F. Kennedy in the first televised presidential debate in 1960, image mattered to the public.

Is it then fair to say that how the Romneys and the Obamas dress, will make an impact on how they are perceived which consciously or unconsciously could hold the power to sway a vote?

Many argue it is unfortunate that Americans seem to be more preoccupied with image than with foreign policy. Even the candidates – who say they care about substance over style – were practicing rehearsed zingers before the debates. That’s more about appearances than budgets.

A good example of this is the “fashion politics” played by the candidates’ wives.

“The women’s vote became more and more crucial as election season has progressed,” said Susan Mackey-Kallis, associate professor of politics, media, and culture at Villanova University. “The wives are really key in courting the women’s vote, and the wives show a stark contrast to the candidates’ different visions.”

Michelle Obama has always been viewed as somewhat of a fashion icon making the “recycled Thom Browne dress she wore Monday night send a subliminal message that she, and therefore her husband, embrace new and innovative ideas.”

As for Ann Romney, her striking red Oscar de la Renta dress that she wore at the GOP convention sent out the most interesting message – that “she thinks she’s fit for the White House.”

“This is really a very close election,” said Villanova’s Mackey-Kallis. “The candidates’ images are factors that can really change the outcome of an election.”

And if fashion can sway a vote, maybe we should stop treating it like a passing fancy.

Image consultants the world over understand the importance of image, fashion and business dress. Image helps build executive presence in politics or on the job.

So whether you want to win an election or get the next promotion, start by polishing your image today:


Entrepreneurs, Consultants and Those Who Pursued a Professional Dream: Why Do You Love What You Do?

For entrepreneurs choosing to follow their professional passion, starting a business from the ground up can be risky and daunting. Yet pure excitement and enthusiasm combined with experience from previous jobs can help to jump-start a business. The key to maintaining a successful business is to continue to grow and develop skills and offerings in new and unique ways.

How did you get into your business? Why do you love what you do? There are many reasons – and benefits – to transitioning careers in mid-life and going out on a limb for your own entrepreneurial pursuits.

You know your passion – and your objectives.
It can take years to define your career passions and what is important to you. Once you have an idea of your long-term goals, it is easier to turn these into concrete objectives. Your years of experience in another profession can help to shape and guide these plans.

You have experience and skills to support you.
Not only can your initial career path help you to determine your overarching career goals, it can also give you a strong foundation of professional skills and experience. Skills you have used previously in other career contexts can be surprisingly interchangeable and universal.

You define your professional future.
In your own business venture, you can steer the company in the direction you want it to go. You have the flexibility to grow – and to determine how much and where it will grow; you also have control over the product, concept and look of your business.

Once your business is up and running, passion for the job and a serious work ethic will keep you at a steady pace. But a successful entrepreneur also must expand and develop; proactively learning and seeking new ways to grow is also then key.


A corporate training program can revitalize your brand and vastly enrich your material. Corporate Class Inc.’s Executive Presence License Program, developed and taught by image and professional development expert Diane Craig, is a gold standard for executive training.

For personal and professional development consultants and coaches, or for those ready to launch their own consulting businesses, the Executive Presence License Program includes a robust package of materials and techniques that will either further expand your existing program or help to build the foundations of a new venture:

–       Learn how to have a recognizable brand to fuel marketing

–       Connect with people in the organizations you want to work with, break into the corporate world, and do business with Fortune 500 companies

–       Build Executive Presence program material, including:

  • Executive Presence System Participant Manual
  • Executive Presence System Trainer’s Guide
  • Slides, downloadable Executive Dining Etiquette program, access to self-assessment tool and STEP profile, and more (includes all exercises developed by Corporate Class Inc.)
  • And more

–       Train for over 50 hours with Diane Craig, with the opportunity to be privately coached by Diane on a monthly basis

Passion for your profession is what helps to get your venture off the ground. Now, allow your business to thrive by becoming a licensed expert!


Share this blog post with others!

It’s Not Just What You Wear, It’s How You Wear It

Follow us on TwitterFind us on FacebookView our profile on LinkedIn


As much as having a sense of style and knowledge of the latest fashions can help you look great, the reality is that it’s not just what you wear – it’s how you wear it that creates your best image. Many years ago I presented regularly on The Art of Accessorizing.  When it came to hats, many women said they couldn’t wear a hat.  I always believed that we all can wear a hat.  You have to find the one that suits your face shape, height, personality and wear it with the right “Hattitude”.  If you think you look silly in it, you will walk awkwardly and indeed look silly.  Wear it with confidence!

What determines an image goes far beyond the clothes themselves; the cut, fit, and colour of your clothes, as well as complementary accessories all contribute to how you appear. No matter if you are wearing a stunning designer dress, if it is two sizes too small or paired with mismatched accessories, your image will not reach its full potential. So how can you make your clothing choices work for you?

Fit and Cut of Clothing

Every body is different – and so a suit that looks perfect on a mannequin might not be the best cut for you. It is important both to know how a suit or dress should fit, as well as to know your own body type.

First, for standard business suits: any suit jacket should feel comfortable while both standing and sitting, as well as when you reach your hands over your head, without extra tightness or sagging. The shoulder of the jacket should lie straight; straining indicates the jacket is too small. The sleeves should fall to the top of your hands when arms are at rest.

Suit bottoms, whether pants or skirt, should allow you to fit your finger between the waistband and your body. When trying on suit bottoms, make sure to walk around and try sitting, so that all movements are comfortable and flexible. No suit bottoms should feel too tight when you sit down.

If your work environment allows your clothing options to extend beyond the standard suit, pay extra attention to your body type and what cuts and types of fabrics best fit your shape. For example, for women with wider hips might choose high-waisted pants as bottoms, as they emphasize a slimmer waist instead of the hips. Real Simple’s article “The Right Clothes for Your Body Type” is an excellent resource, as it addresses four common shapes for women and features tips on clothing choices from fashion gurus Isaac Mizrahi, Simon Kneen and Bridgette Raes.

Clothing Colour

Clothing colours can make (or break) an outfit, and colour choices are especially important to consider in business, when you want to dress appropriately professional for your surroundings.

For business attire, your outfit should be limited to around three colours, using a standard solid and neutral colour such as black, navy, beige or grey as a foundation. It is certainly acceptable to have a bright colour as part of your outfit, but too much colour or an overly vibrant combination can be distracting, and can detract from an image of professionalism. Add a splash of colour to a business outfit with a subtler component, such as a scarf or a blouse under a suit jacket. This will allow you to give your outfit a bit of flair without being too flashy.


Colour choice is again important when choosing accessories. Accessories should complement the colours of your outfit; similarly, they should go well with each other (for example, matching your shoes and jewellery will create a harmonious colour balance in the outfit). As mentioned above, well-chosen accessories can let you incorporate your personality into professional attire – a bold red bracelet will brighten your whole outfit. That said, limit the amount of colour in accessories: don’t mix the red bracelet with a sunny yellow scarf, for example.

Accessories should also follow a professional style code. Choose accessories that are tasteful. In most circumstances jewellery should be minimal and elegant, instead of dangling or sparkly costume jewellery. (You may find an occasion such as the office holiday party to bring out a glitzy necklace, however!) Likewise, a purse can be sleek and stylish yet professional when it is a reasonable size and a subtle pattern – shy away from oversized totes and metallic purses when composing a professional outfit.

The bottom line is, though a dress may seems fabulous on its own pulled right from the store rack, it’s important to remember all the elements that build a great look so you can maximize your presence!

Share this blog post with others!


Hats and Fascinators: Style and Etiquette Tips

Follow us on TwitterFind us on FacebookView our profile on LinkedIn


Once a wardrobe staple for men and women alike, hats and fascinators have become less of an everyday accoutrement and more of an occasional accessory. But when you know when and how to wear them, they can make for a creative yet classic addition to an outfit. And such headpieces are certainly still present on special occasions, especially more formal and traditional affairs – just look at the extraordinary display of hats and fascinators during last year’s marriage of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, or the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee just a few days ago. If you need inspiration from the royals themselves, take a look at this slideshow of the Queen’s hats spanning her monarchy, courtesy of Vanity Fair.


Style Guide

If you’re not used to donning a hat daily, it can be hard to determine how to incorporate it into your outfit and appropriately balance it with your other accessories. Here are a few tips to make it work:

  • A hat’s colour should be lighter than or the same colour as your outfit.
  • Earrings and a neat hairstyle are a must. The hat or the hair should frame the face, but not both.
  • Button-style or stud earrings are preferable with a hat; dangly earrings are too much and risk detracting from the total look.
  • When trying on a hat, always observe it from the front and the sides, to ensure that it is not too large for you.
  • Put a hat on from front to back.
  • Almost everyone can wear a hat! If you are not used to it, it may feel awkward at first – but wear a hat with the right “Hattitude”: walk tall and beautifully!

Another staple headpiece for women is the fascinator. Less weight than a full hat, yet can still be the eye-catching centerpiece of an outfit, the fascinator is a timeless accessory. It certainly has found its place in current fashion; contemporary designers and milliners use materials from lace, feathers, wool, beads, even straw – anything to create an imaginative and original headpiece. When I spoke at the Rostie Group’s 2012 High Tea this June, all the ladies were sporting either a hat or a fascinator. I also wore my favourite fascinator, compliments of the Necessities shop in Toronto, which I bought originally for an evening soiree. Besides its captivating look, the beauty of a fascinator lies in its versatility: they can be worn during an afternoon tea, an elegant evening party, a morning ceremony – nearly any formal occasion that merits a dashing headpiece to match.


Etiquette Guide

Hat etiquette for men and women vary greatly. There is also some debate about best practices for men’s hat etiquette in current times; for example, it is no longer considered necessary to for a man to remove his hat in the presence of women. Still, some hat-wearing guidelines remain relevant:

For Men

  • No hats of any kind should be worn at the dinner table, whether at home or in a restaurant. (At a restaurant, ask the host or server where to temporarily store a hat, if there is not hat rack.)
  • Excluding hats worn for religious purposes, hats should be removed as signs of respect during national anthems, the passing of funeral processions and flag-raisings.
  • Hats can be kept on indoors in larger public common spaces, such as a lobby or elevator.

For Women

  • If the hat is small and worn as a complementary accessory, it can be kept on during dinner. However, if it is a functional hat worn for outdoors, remove the hat once inside a restaurant or home.
  • Wide-brimmed hats should only be worn outside, not inside during dinner or events – mostly for the practical reason that you could block the view of a fellow patron during a movie or show.
  • Hats do not accompany formal evening gowns.
  • Women should remove their hats while at work in an office.

If you’re just beginning to integrate hats into your attire, perhaps the eccentric hats and fascinators worn by Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice at the royal wedding last year may not be the first place to look for inspiration. Instead, check out’s hats from the 2012 runway. The selection ranges from colourful to classic to contemporary – something for everyone!


Share this blog post with others!


The Fundamentals of Style: What We Can Learn from AMC’s Mad Men

Follow us on TwitterFind us on FacebookView our profile on LinkedIn

As AMC’s Mad Men concludes its latest season, the show has now spanned five years from the early to mid-1960’s – and five seasons of sleek 60’s fashions in the boardroom and out. Even though the employees of Mad Men’s feature ad agency Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce have much to learn about business etiquette, the office style is certainly on pointe. The men and women of Mad Men all have distinctive and varied tastes, yet each character seems to master the basic fundamentals of a great outfit. Here are a few style tips from Mad Men that go beyond the 1960’s setting of the show – and that you can take back to the office.


The Men: Don Draper, Roger Sterling

As the men of the ad agency stride through its halls and on the streets of Manhattan, their sleek suits paired with their confidence contribute to their suaveness and authority. Though the outfit looks effortless, there are many details to consider to make a simple suit look its finest:

Cut and Fit of a Suit.

Much of the polished look of the ad men comes from the cut and fit of their suits: each character wears his suit tailored to a perfect fit. The sleeves rest just at the base of the thumb; there is no excess fabric at the bottom of the trousers or in the suit jacket.

A tip from Mad Men’s costume designer Janie Bryant to men shopping for suits: Keep trying suits smaller and smaller (often smaller than you think!) until you get the perfect fit.

The Subtle Elements.

The finer details truly complete the outfit. Don Draper would never leave home without his pocket square, watch, cufflinks, tie clip, hat, and of course, a great tie. Investing in high-quality yet simple accessories is a great idea for the well-dressed businessman: a pair of fine, basic cufflinks or a classic watch will never go out of style.

Be Prepared to Look Fresh.

The ad men always sport a crisp, white shirt under their suit jackets. So how do those shirts stay so sharp? Cut to a scene of Don Draper reaching for a fresh white shirt from a stack in his desk drawer. This is where the motto “be prepared” comes in handy – especially if you need to make a smooth transition from a long day at the office to an evening out on the town.


The Women: Joan Harris, Peggy Olson, Betty Francis

Even under moments of extreme pressure, the women of Mad Men seem to be nearly always put-together. Like their male counterparts, the harmony of their looks lies in the details and the versatility between different contexts.

f the dress fits, wear it.
For both men and women, how your clothes fit is a major influence on how they look. AMC costume designer Janie Bryant notes that what makes Joan Harris such a Mad Men style icon is how her clothes work for her: “I always saw [Joan] as a character who knew what shapes work for her body.”

(View the full interview with Janie Bryant here.)

Don’t forget your overcoat.
The women’s mod 1960’s outfits look great inside the boardroom. But when they travel outside in the chilly Manhattan fall or winter, they pay close attention to their outwear, too. A fine hat is essential, paired with tailored gloves and a trim overcoat of wool or another fine yet heavy fabric.

On light weather days, Betty can be seen with a silk scarf over her trench coat and leather driving gloves.

Marry form with function.

Office manager Joan Harris nearly always appears with her signature long necklace with a gold pen attached. The delicate gold chain adds elegance to her outfit, and this Women’s Day article notes its ability to make one look taller and slimmer by creating a vertical line down the body. Yet the same necklace never fails to come in handy when it’s time to take notes at a partners meeting.

To be sure, the partners of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce have a lot to learn about treating their employees equally and with respect – perhaps they might benefit from a business etiquette seminar? Nevertheless, the characters of Mad Men never fail to look suave and confident – a credit to their mastery of the fundamental elements of style!


Share this blog post with others!


Putting Your Best Foot Forward: Three Top Professional Shoe Styles

Shoes can make or break an outfit. They can also have a huge impact on your professional presence: a sleek pair of heels can construct an image of sophistication and authority; alternatively, donning a pair of worn sneakers or overarching stilettos can make you look unprofessional and invite colleagues or clients to take you less seriously. Additionally, as footwear greatly influences mobility and comfort, executive women must choose their shoes wisely. Outlined here are three top styles for professional shoe choices – and tips on how to make them work for you.

Pumps are a classic high-heeled choice for executive women. Often they go best matched with the colour of a woman’s suit, though coordinating colours with another prominent accessory, such as a purse, also works well. In a professional setting, pumps are generally the highest heel appropriate: extremely high heeled shoes like stilettos risk looking too flashy in the office, not to mention can be very uncomfortable when worn all day.

An example of a sophisticated yet simple pump is one from Gianvito Rossi’s spring 2012 collection (see image), courtesy of the Harper’s Bazaar article “12 Perfect Spring Pumps.”

Kitten Heels
This low-heeled shoe, popular in the 1950’s and 60’s, has been revived in the last few years on runways and in the boardroom. Many credit this style return to Michelle Obama, who at 6 feet tall chooses a lower heel, so that she does not tower over whomever she stands near. (See this previous Look of Success blog post for more on what you can learn from the First Lady’s professional clothing choices.)

The kitten heel is certainly the best option for tall women who do not want to add extra height yet seek the formality of heels. It is also an ideal heel for women who, like Mrs. Obama, must spend long hours on their feet.

If you work in a business casual office where heels are not a daily requirement, ballet flats are an excellent alternative – just stick to the more polished versions that project professionalism. A recent article from Bloomberg Businessweek depicts “The Season’s Best Ballet Flats” that are at once office-ready, comfortable and warm-weather appropriate. J. Crew’s Ballet Boutique also speaks to the popularity of ballet flats while providing a spectrum of colours and styles within the ballet genre. Like heels, flats can pair with both slacks and skirts.

If comfort remains an issue but you can’t bear the idea of parting with high heels, check out this blog post on Canadian designer Ron White and his All Day Heels® shoe – which has proven to be a top choice for both celebrities and politicians on their feet in prominent places. Remember, the key to the best executive footwear is finding a balance between professionalism, comfort and style!


Share this blog post with others!