Are You A Gracious Holiday Guest?

With the holidays near at hand, invites to a party in the home of a friend or colleague presents an occasion to celebrate the season with a group. Is your holiday etiquette ready to shine this season?  Are you a gracious holiday guest? Our tips below may help if you need a refresh:

  1. RSVP! Be sure to RSVP to your host in the manner they’ve requested (in writing, via phone call, etc.) Once you accept an invitation, hold the commitment and make sure to be on time.  If a schedule conflict looks unavoidable, let your host know as early as possible to allow for proper planning and adjustments.
  2. Dress for the occasion – Check with your host or hostess for the dress code if it hasn’t been specified in the invitation. Formal, casual, or theme parties may require extra shopping and preparation on your part.
  3. Be prepared for both warm and cool indoor temperatures – If your jacket is the show piece of your outfit, be sure you can take it off and still look appropriate in the layer that’s underneath the jacket. Prepare for a chilly room or the outdoors by bringing a festive shawl or a nice-looking cardigan.
  4. Don’t be a Pepe Le Pew! When preparing for an intimate gathering, go light on perfume, or even better, avoid the perfume altogether. Many people are allergic to scents or turned off by heavy colognes and perfumes.
  5. Be prepared for parties in a house that has a “no-shoes” rule. Make sure you feel confident with your pedicure, and that you’re comfortable in your outfit without shoes. Always be sure to wear clean socks or hose with no holes in them.
  6. If you have food allergies, don’t make it a problem for the already overworked host or hostess. Eat before the party, or offer to bring a dish to share. If you have pet allergies, bring your allergy medicine with you. Look for a chair that’s wooden or leather and avoid sitting on the upholstered chair.
  7. Keep your mobile phone use to a minimum, and ask people nearby before you take a group photo. If you need to check in with the babysitter, step outside to make the call.
  8. Watch the host or hostess for signs of fatigue. If either of them starts yawning, gets up to clean, or stops pouring wine, take the hint and wrap up the evening by giving your thanks and offering one last time to help with cleaning up.
  9. Send a note within 24 hours to thank your host or hostess for the special event.

Now go out, have fun, and be merry this Holiday Season!

Shanna Wu Pecoraro

For more information please visit

Existing Structure + Innovation / Challenge = Demand

What makes us want to do better?  For companies, it’s often the need for efficiency, bigger profits, or if nothing else, a need to make things easy and effortless.  Creators in the worlds of fashion design have tremendous examples to find inspiration in.  We’ll keep the spirit from the following examples in mind as we move into 2015.

Christian Dior stirred a good deal of controversy across Europe and the Americas in the late 1940’s with the introduction of the Bar Suit in Paris.  The pleated skirt and curved edges of the paired morning coat created what eventually became known as The New Look revolution, keeping women across the world baited in anticipation for similar looks becoming available from their local retailer.  The spirit of the New Look revolution continues to inspire the creative team at Dior on an ongoing basis.

Dior -Bar Suit

ASICS, the beloved shoe for runners, has remained dedicated to causes centered on  teamwork, exercise, and the environment since the company’s founder formed the company in the challenging culture of postwar Japan.  This dedication has likely aided the company in building lifelong relationships with runners and sports enthusiasts, while simultaneously helping philanthropic organizations.

And CITIZEN, the watchmaker, has been consistently acclaimed for its devotion to function and style matched with innovation.  This became especially apparent in the mid-1990’s after CITIZEN developed the Eco-Drive technology – an invention that enabled electrical power to be converted from light sources, eliminating the need for most watches to ever have their batteries replaced.  The brand’s recent ad campaign, called Better Starts Now (complete with a historical video) captures this mentality beautifully.

These are but a few examples of innovative brands we admire, and will look to as we look to the future of image consulting and the needs of the dreamers, creators, wives and husbands, children, and professionals our collective industry serves. Watch for more in January, with a regular look at innovation in our own industry and beyond.

Shanna Wu Pecoraro

For more information please visit

Gifting, Re-gifting, and Giving in Your 2015

Plenty of people, it seems, stress about holiday gifts.  From the inscription on the card to delivery methods, to the actual gift or service (or gift card, as the case seems to increasingly include), we worry whether what we’re gifting is appropriate and will be received with delight.

What we don’t speak about as often is the challenge of what to do with that gift you didn’t ask for, or that doesn’t fit, or that just doesn’t work.   As a receiver, do you politely return or exchange your gift, and as a gift giver, how can you reduce the likelihood of giving a bad gift in the future?

Happy New Year!

We suggest a few tips as a gifting best practice, here:

  • Re-gifting is recycling. It’s actually a fairly innovative practice, but should be used sparingly and with as much thoughtfulness as you would expend in purchasing a brand new gift.
  • Re-gifted items should always include their original box from the store or site, and original manufacturer wrapping if at all possible.
  • Don’t re-gift something that you know the receiver would never desire. It is better not to gift at all than to place your host/friend in an awkward situation.
  • Do not re-gift items like fresh food, or personal items that involve size and color (like hats, gloves, scarfs or clothing). If something is vintage or truly retro, note it in the message inside your card.
  • Whether it’s a re-gift or an original purchase, if you think your gift’s receiver may not understand the intent behind the gift, write a nice sentence or two about your idea for its use in the corresponding card. Or, if you’re going to exchange gifts in-person and the timing is appropriate, nudge the person and explain your intention. This can help to eliminate questions and ease your anxious “Gifter” mind.

It may seem like long away, but the 2015 Holidays will be here before we know it.  To avoid gifter’s anxiety, start to designate a section of a drawer or closet as your “Gift Storage” to save a few unisex or last minute gifts that could be appreciated by most anyone.  Use this place to store items you’ve received that are unused and worthy of a possible re-gift.  Include a few roles of wrapping paper (solid colors without a holiday theme are best) as well as a few gift bags with handles, a few blank cards, and a pair of scissors and tape.  This will help you be prepared for any unexpected situations – and come out ahead.

Here’s to your season of giving in 2015!

Shanna Wu Pecoraro

For more information please visit

This Season, Let Your Suit Speak For You

Some of us put on a suit daily, while some of us wear one occasionally and some of us only “pull out the old suit” every few years to attend a wedding or a funeral. Male executives tend to fall into the former category, and often tell us how they’ve slipped into the same routine of “is it the grey, blue, or black suit today”?

Regardless of what your day-to-day look requires or if you actually put on “a suit” there are ways to own “the suit” you wear while holding true to your personality.  Whether you’re inherently sporty, creative, or super polished – you can use a suit to enhance and extend your personality along with your professional influence.

If you’re in finance, legal, or a profession where you handle people’s money and life choices, it’s imperative that your look reflects a sense of competence and trustworthiness. When choosing the color of a suit, go for something dark (navy, charcoal, or black). Go with a solid or pinstripe pattern, and style your suit to be classic and appropriate.

Classic ensemble

If you’re in fashion, advertising, or a similar field, your suit’s color should be more sophisticated: blue grey, burgundy, or even a blue-brown. Mixing and matching your patterns makes more sense here, and to enhance your individual style, you can play with different colors and fabrics to bring out your natural personality.

Suit with personality

If you’re in a customer-service oriented business, you’ll want to go for a friendly and helpful tone in your look.  Go for a solid-colored suit, but add a warm color for any accessories; a pocket square, tie, or watch will do nicely. Keep the pattern of your shirt and tie friendly – checks and plaids often go best, and keep the styling and fit comfortable and relaxed.

If in doubt, always think about the objective you’re trying to achieve and the traits you want to be known for.  Based on those traits, your suit should portray you as professional, befitting your personality and your lifestyle.

© 2015 by Shanna Wu Pecoraro, NYC Image Consultant Academy

For permission requests, write an email to Shanna Pecoraro at

Shanna Wu Pecoraro

For more information please visit

Is color “the most important thing for a woman”?

“Color is the most important thing for a woman” – Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, in The New Yorker, December 2014

Which blue is your blue

Color is more than science, and it’s more than aesthetics. To those we encounter on a daily basis, color communicates different qualities to which emotions are assigned on various levels. Some of these are temporary hints of emotion; some result in being long-term signifiers of your personality.

Fascination with color is everywhere. Think of paintings. Think about your favorite logos – would they still be your favorites if they were shaded in a different color?

Last year, The Atlantic Monthly gave a great nod to the importance of color and its study, and highlighted the brilliantly laid-out app called Interaction of Color, which is based on a book by Josef Albers.
Colors can make us feel older or younger than we are. They can make us feel energetic, or quite the opposite. They can make us feel happy, sad, or indifferent. Colors can physically make our bodies feel hot (ever worn black in the heat of summer?), or cold (ever worn a white jacket in winter, and been asked if you’re warm enough?). Colors can be tested while dressing, to enhance a mood of sweetness or bitterness, which naturally affect the way you perceive yourself, visually and psychologically.

There is much to be studied about color, and stylists should always think of color as more than just variations on a theme in a client’s wardrobe. (In fact, here at SP Image Consulting, our Personal Color Palette reference tool contains 20 personal palettes with color combination charts, and 4 reference color palettes.)

Here are a few pointers to think about when deciding how to interpret color variations that work for you or your clients:

  • Light colors are perceived to be more friendly and approachable, while dark colors are stronger and more dynamic
  • Light colors move visually outward, and darker colors move visually inward
  • Generally, light colors are more gentle while dark colors are perceived to be more severe
  • Bright colors send a message of enthusiasm, fun, and excitement
  • Dark colors absorb light, and can sometimes seem formal or conservative
  • Colors in the middle range (think of “cream”) are perceived as classic and more neutral
  • Warm colors are thought of as earthy, friendly, and approachable. Cool colors are thought of as classic, authoritative, and refined.

There’s much more to say about color. What color looks best on you? Why?

Shanna Wu Pecoraro

For more information please visit

4 Easy Steps to Organizing Your Closet and Simplifying Your Life

Imagine: you walk into your closet, and everything looks interesting and inviting.  You can’t wait for tomorrow to get dressed. Wait — is this a dream? Is such a feeling even possible?

Yes, with plenty of assurance, we can say that it is possible to live with a clean and organized closet on a regular basis.

Follow the steps below (as a checklist) to make your closet as inviting as you can imagine. The results of an organized closet will make your life simpler and more enjoyable, and getting dressed in the morning will never be the same!

Closet space 1

Step 1.  De-clutter 

  • Remove all dry cleaning plastic bags
  • Get rid of mismatched hangers
  • Choose one hanger style that suits you and will look good in your pretty closet
  • Find a separate place for items unrelated to getting dressed.

Your closet is not a place to store golf bags, old clothes, or other people’s   belongings: out with the excess baggage, and in with the things you actually wear!

Step 2.  Decorate

  • Start with color. Give your closet a lift by taking everything out of it and repainting. A softer, lighter color is often a good place to start
  • Place overhead lights in the far left corner, or install light fixtures so that every item in your closet gets an equal spotlight

Step 3.  Display

  • Keep everything as visible to the eye as possible:
  • Sweaters, jeans and T-shirts can be folded neatly on open shelves
  • Use a jewelry stand or add hooks to the wall to hold necklaces
  • Scarf and belt racks help you see what you have
  • When you walk into your closest and see all possibilities, getting dressed will soon become easier and fun

Step 4.  De-stress

  • Add a wonderful scent that you enjoy. Cedar or lavender sachets will help keep your closet and drawers smelling fresh, not stale.

Now that life and energy has been brought into your closet, ask yourself: does your wardrobe need more attention? No problem! We are here to help you perform these tasks and more, in order to create ease within your personal wardrobe.  We’ll help you make your closet look fabulous for the season, and many seasons to come.

With best wishes until next time,

Shanna Wu Pecoraro and the NYC Image Consultant Academy team!

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