Becoming Culturally-Fluent Before Your Business Trip

For many of us, there comes the point where you need to travel internationally to conduct business. Whether your travels will be for research, sales meetings, conferences, or to check in on partners and suppliers – you should jump to take advantage of the opportunity. International travel can teach us a lot about ourselves, and the planning ahead for the travel is often a fantastic exercise in learning and creative thinking.

Here are a few tips to consider when planning for (and during) your visit.

 

  1. Be flexible and respectful. Consider your hosts’ needs and expectations, and be as open minded as possible. Be careful not to make a constant comparison with your home country. For example, if you are in Italy and order a coffee, be flexible with the cup size that is returned to you (if it’s not enough after drinking it, you may ask for a second cup).
  2. Do not take things personally. Some things people do may be frustrating to you, but try to put yourself in their shoes. An example of this is when you speak with someone, and she does not look back at you, remember that in some cultures this is not a sign of disrespect – it’s their cultural norm.
  3. Be patient. Some country’s foods and customs may be new to you, but “new” doesn’t mean it’s being done “wrong.” Try to eat a portion of the meal that you’ve never tried before, just for the experience. Try not to talk about business while you’re at the dining table; save it for another conversation.
  4. Strive to learn language basics as a sign of respect. If English is not predominantly spoken where you’re headed, try to learn a handful of basics as a sign of respect. “Good morning” and “Good evening,” “Hello,” “How are you,” “Thank you,” “Yes,” “No” and “Please” are most important.
  5. Be a good listener. Your host or colleague will hopefully explain the way things are done early in your visit. Listen closely and openly, and be sure to ask lots of thoughtful questions!
  6. Know that your perceptions are relative, not absolute. You should try to avoid stereotyping and remember that the way you view an experience is always colored by your own upbringing and culture. Try to eat new foods when they are offered to you. Try to go to the restroom when there is one (in case it won’t be convenient again for some time). Finally, be sure to keep your smartphone use to a minimum as much as possible, enjoying the moments and being present in the fascinating space that you’re in!

Tips for Men Wearing Shorts in Summer

Finally, Summer is upon us. For adult men, summer shots often create questions bigger than “should I wear a sweater over this” and “will I be warm enough in shorts, or should I wear jeans?” For many, a casual-yet-styled summer look creates conflict between being too casual and just “too much.”

Here are a few tips that have worked well with guys we’ve worked.

Tip 1:

Shorts do not belong in any formal setting or professional office unless you are in the Bahamas. Shorts should only be used for outdoor functions, vacations, beaches, or weekend road trip.

Tip 2:

Do not wear visible socks with shorts unless they are part of a uniform or you are headed to the gym.

Tip 3:

Beware of the color of your underwear and pattern if you are wearing white or light-colored shorts. Blues, reds, and purples often show through and create unwanted distractions!

Tip 4:

Avoid wearing athletic shorts, biking shorts, or anything beyond their intended function.

Tip 5:

The shorts length you choose should be based on your body and proportions. The length is better, not shorter than an inch above the knee.

 

What do you think? How do you style the guys in your life for summer? Let us know…

Picking the Right Pair of Glasses

choosing-eye-glasses

Last week, we were just about to move past the “back to school” sales and promotions that have created lines in stores and on e-commerce sites for the past 5-6 weeks. While working with a client on seasonal wardrobe update, he asked for help with selecting a new pair of eyeglasses. After two years of the same pair, he was ready for a change.

 

Our client’s primary interest was to create more definition around his eyes – using the frames to make his blue eyes pop while quite literally framing his face. We ended up spending several hours on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, testing frames and having lots of laughs while trying on various sunglasses, eyeglasses, and other in-store accessories. We narrowed it down to 2 pairs: a stunning midnight blue pair from Face à Face at Occhiali’s store, as well as a cobalt blue pair from Warby Parker, at their upper eastside shop.

 

In case you are looking to refresh your fall look, a new pair of eyeglasses can make a huge difference – and sometimes, a faster and more distinctive difference than shopping for new fall eye colors or lip liners. Here are a few tips that can help you with eyeglass selection:

  • Consider your face shape before choosing glasses. For example: If you like to balance your round face, go for glasses with an angular shape. It is always flattering
  • A wide bridge between the lenses often fits better for the person with wider set eyes.
  • Consider the weight of frames you currently have and think about an adjustment period if you end up finding frames that are heavier
  • Consider other glasses you have. Assuming your prescription hasn’t changed, ask yourself what color and glasses “look” will best communicate the image you hope to portray next season.
  • If you wear contacts daily (or have perfect eyesight – lucky devil!), consider finding a pair of eyeglasses with no prescription. Style-only glasses are fun to shop for, and can make you appear smarter, sexier, and more confident in all sorts of instances.

 

By the way, our client ends up snagging the midnight blue pair which made his blue eyes pop. Let us know your eyeglass finds and selections below, or via our Twitter handle @nycimageacademy

#eye-glasses, #image-consulting, #image-tips, #mens-styling, #personal-shopping, #shanna-pecoraro, #style-advice

Are You A Gracious 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?  Our tips below may help if you need a refresh:

House guests

House guests

  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.

10.  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, AICI CIP & the team of NYC Image Consultant Academy

For more info www.nycimageconsultantacademy.com

How to Dress as a Modern Man

Man with blue formal suit and tie

With the mass amount of dress options men have, it has become very difficult for them to correctly style themselves. Let’s walk through some of the details of a man’s outfit to highlight what exactly needs to go where and what should be focused on.

The suit:

The pocket is not always just a functional piece of a suit. Flap pockets are considered stylish; the little pocket above the primary front pockets on the suit jacket is called a ticket pocket. It comes from British influence and is a great place for business cards. When it comes to the fit of the suit, it should contour to your body. Sleeves should be slim and tailored to form your figure, ending just above your wrists. Around half of an inch of your collared dress shirt should show past the jacket sleeve. The jacket should hug your shoulders. Nothing should be loose or baggy, a modern suit is meant to be slim. The lapels of a modern suit should be no wider than two inches at its widest point. To create a slimmer look, two buttons positioned low on the suit can help. These lower buttons should be buttoned. A back vent is okay; a jacket can have either a center vent, side vents, or (most often for tuxedos) be vent-less. Like the rest of the suit, the pants should be slim and have a flat front. They should touch the tops of your shoes and not bunch together.

Fabric:

A light colored linen is perfect for the summer as it is breathable. For the winter, heavy flannel is able to be worn. Wool is great for all seasons while cotton is great for every season but winter. Men have a lot of ‘fabric freedom.’ It’s important, however, to remember that colors are crucial to a successful styling. Typically, the brighter it is outside, the brighter the clothing should be. Bright colors are for the summer, earth tones are for the winter.

Timing:

For casual events like cocktail get-togethers, men can wear either a suit with a dress shirt and dress pants or a tuxedo jacket with a light-colored shirt and no tie. Fortunately, casual settings are pretty forgiving. It’s better to be overdressed than underdressed. For formal events, a suit with a nice shirt, tie, waistcoat and trousers works very well. Lighter colors should be worn in the daytime along with suit variants like blazers. Tuxedos are best for ultra-formal gatherings.

Ties, shoes, and pocket squares:

The tip of the tie should land at the top of your beltline. No lower, no higher. They should, obviously, match the fabric of the suit and shirt, the level of formality of the event, and the season. Bow ties are most often worn for formal events, although, in recent times, men have been increasingly wearing bright-colored bow ties casually. The bow tie should not be broader than your neck and should never extend past the tips of your shirt collar.

Pocket squares should be folded up to have a square, triangle, or flowering shape and should be placed in the high front pocket of the suit jacket. The more formal the event, the more elaborate the folding of the pocket square.

The shoes must match the belt. Wingtips and Derbys are best for casual outfits while Loafers and Oxfords are best for formal outfits.

What is your favorite fabric? Tell us on Twitter @nycimageacademy.

Shanna Wu Pecoraro, AICI CIP

For more information visit www.nycimageconsultantacademy.com

Dressing in Europe

le métro se lèveEurope is a popular destination for American travelers. Whether it is a business trip or one for the purpose of tourism, Europe is full of places and events to attend which are sure to keep your agenda filled. As a business person, however, it is important to always distinguish between American and European cultures, while it is also important to remember that Europe is comprised of 50 different countries. Dressing in a different continent involves dressing differently, in order to account for different factors, such as climate, culture, on-going events, and activities planned for the trip. In order to check for some of these factors, you can search up in the internet travel guidebooks or official tourism websites that can give you information on the weather and many other factors that may affect your trip.

It is generally believed (in America, anyway) that Europeans dress ‘better’ than Americans. This is because Americans focus more on a casual comfort type of attire, which gives us a better general rule for dressing in Europe. You should always aim to dress better than you would for the same occasion in the United States. The article “Europeans dress better than Americans: Fact” for the bangsandabun.com website, the views are shared by the writer on why this notion is accepted. Now, let’s look at some relevant situations to be taken into consideration for choosing an attire while traveling in Europe.

Winter Weather

Scandinavian countries have very harsh winters. For example, in Sweden it gets down into the 20-30 degrees Fahrenheit in the south and to less than 10 degrees Fahrenheit in the north. Coastal cities can be humid, making the winters feel even colder. If you’re visiting in winter, you will need thick insulated jackets, thermal long underwear, waterproof gloves and scarves and hats.

Summers in Europe

As you move toward the south of the continent, the winters get warmer. If you’re traveling to Greece or Spain, you can expect winters with temperatures in the 50s or higher and little to no snow. Summers are cooler in northern Europe and hotter and more humid as you move south. If you’re visiting during the summer, bring a light jacket and some long pants with you in case the temperatures drop in the evening.

Casual Attire

Casual attire is common in Europe, but you might need to follow special rules when visiting churches, cathedrals, the Vatican Museums and certain palaces and castles. In many of those places, sleeveless tops and shorts are not allowed. Women must wear skirts long enough to cover their knees, and keep their shoulders covered. A large shawl draped over the shoulders should be enough if you’re wearing a summer dress or tank top and don’t want to change. Jeans are considered very casual in Europe. They’re fine for a day out touring the town, but not for dinner at a nice restaurant, even if you pair it up with a nice shirt.

Formal Attire

When dining out or trying to gain entry to posh clubs, cabaret shows, and other formal venues, you will need formal attire. For men, this could be something as simple as wearing a blazer on top of your shirt. Some five-star restaurants, especially in big cities like Paris or London, might also require a tie. Moulin Rouge, in Paris, for example, requires a minimum of a business attire: no flip-flops, no jeans, no shorts or T-shirts.

Do Europeans dress better than Americans? Tell us on Twitter @nycimageacademy.

Shanna Wu Pecoraro, AICI CIP

For more information visit http://www.nycimageconsultantacademy.com

Cross-Culture Etiquette

All cultures are different, and these differences are evident in many aspects of society. From customs to attires, cultural differences are part of everyday life. For business, these differences are to always be taken account for, as they can limit the expansion of any industry as much as they can open its frontiers. For business people, it is important to always acknowledge cultural differences, in order to leave the correct impression. Etiquette is also a part of a country’s culture, and it can vary greatly. This article will focus on some of the main differences of cross-cultural etiquette and how to account for them, in order to give the best image of yourself possible.

Dressing correctly:

One of the most evident differences among cultures is clothing. The proper attire can help in leaving the best first impression, and you should always make sure to be dressed as sharp as possible for any occasion. Since clothing is the first thing people notice about you, your attire will set the tone for how you will be noticed throughout the rest of the interaction. Always make sure to not only follow the dress code for your industry, but also for the place you are visiting. For example, in some countries in the Middle East suit jackets and ties are not usually worn, however, it is always expected for a man to dress sharp. For women, jewelry, makeup, dress/skirt length, and hair style are acity-houses-village-buildingslways factors to consider when visiting a foreign land. Make sure to always do your research on the appropriate dress code for the place you visit, and when in doubt, make sure to dress conservatively.

Interactions:

On a business trip, you will always be interacting with people, and in many occasions, people native to the place you are visiting. Greeting others can vary in different cultures, as an example, it is widely accepted in countries like Colombia or Argentina to greet and meet others with a kiss on the cheek. Local customs can vary greatly, and it is up to you to do some research beforehand in order to accommodate to them. If you are visiting a country where their first language is different from yours but they can still communicate with you, make sure to do your best to understand without correcting their mistakes, as this can be deemed impolite and lead to misunderstandings. When considering topics of conversation do some research beforehand in order to assess what topics people usually discuss. It is always a good idea to learn some history of the place you are visiting and some cultural facts, as they can always be great conversation starters. Make sure to always give out your business card properly when contact information is brought up, and treat your and his/her business card with respect. 

Personal space is also part of interacting with others. Always respect the views of other cultures when it comes to personal space. For example, patting someone on the back is okay in most Latin American countries, but it is frowned upon in China. Always be informed on these type of customs when interacting with people from another culture.
Punctuality is a factor that can vary from place to place. Being on time is not always expected, so it is always better to be prepared for your colleagues or customers to show up late. You, however, should always make sure to be early.

What is your favorite country to visit on business? Tell us on Twitter @nycimageacademy.

Shanna Wu Pecoraro

For more information visit http://www.nycimageconsultantacademy.com