Your Personal Style

photo-1446214814726-e6074845b4ceYour image is so much more than the clothing you wear and the way you walk. Your image is the relationship between your outfit, your poise, and your personality. Similarly, color psychology does not necessarily say that including red in a color palette automatically makes it passionate or energetic. What’s important in a color palette is the red, the gray, the black, and the blue’s relationships together. Gestaltism says that the sum is other than the parts. We notice the relationship between red and blue before we notice the colors red and blue individually.

This observation carries to your personal image. A $10,000 suit means nothing if a man is slouching. The fine details of your image must all be coherent and consistent in order to effectively portray your image.

Although there are guidelines to follow when trying to appear a certain way, every person should have their own style. Many different looks can communicate the same message to others. This ‘margin for error’ is the room for your creativity, your personal style, to flourish.

Being an individual is an extremely important piece of the puzzle that is often overlooked. Utilize research-backed strategies to portray the right image, but do so in a unique way. This is why it is so important for professionals to understand the philosophy and thought behind personal image and not just the shallow elements. Actually understanding it is the key to adapt, at any given time, to market and industry changes. If, one day, the way people perceived the color red changed, you must be able to identify that and find a new way to communicate what you were trying to.

Your personal style allows for some buffer through consumer trend volatility, so don’t worry. Just keep in mind that things change and, with it, so should your style. Accurately communicate who you are to others and everything else will follow.

Who has influenced your style the most? Tell us on Twitter @nycimageacademy.

Shanna Wu Pecoraro, AICI CIP

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

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Budapest Taxis

Budapest taxisTaxi services are so widespread and common it seems that the taxi industry should have itself figured out and under control. Obviously, this isn’t the case. Sure, new startup companies like Über and Lyft are starting to innovate and revolutionize the marketplace, but traditional taxi providers are still extremely relevant and act as such.

The difference between taxis in Budapest and New York City is dramatic. New York City’s taxis are driven by (excuse the generalizations) frustrated, often unfriendly people. There are few dress requirements – it’s always a surprise. The taxi experience in New York is different every time one steps foot in a taxi. Sometimes there’s music, sometimes there’s a fresh scent, sometimes the seats are comfortable. This gives traditional companies a bad image. Nothing is standardized so they are being replaced by companies that are successfully standardizing a difficult to standardize industry. Consumers want what they expect – nothing less.

Budapest taxis are much better standardized. Every time you step into one of these taxis, the cars smell good, drivers are well dressed, and are polite. Even further, they understand English enough to professionally communicate with western tourists.

Budapest churchAs you step into a taxi in Budapest, you will be greeted and asked if you would like to listen to music. If you don’t want to listen, they won’t make you listen the music they like. As a passenger you are entitled to travel in an environment free of disturbing such as the radio, honking, and mobile phone by the driver.

Perhaps this is why these standardized companies like Über and Lyft have had less success integrating into Budapest than they did integrating into New York City. Budapest’s taxi experience is far superior to that of New York’s.

What has is your most favorite taxi experience? Tell us on Twitter @nycimageacademy.

Shanna Wu Pecoraro, AICI CIP

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

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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

Everyday Manners

black-and-white-city-man-peopleEtiquette and manners can be expressed through all times of the day when interacting with others. If you are trying to improve your image, whether it is to improve your business or personal relations, learning proper etiquette and manners for the average day will prove to be of help. Here are some tips to improve your personal image with everyday manners:

Be nice

Being friendly and polite can often lead others to reciprocate this behavior. Phrases such as “thank you,” “please,” “you’re welcome,” and “excuse me” are always welcome and show politeness – which will always impress any person you come in contact with. Smiles are also always to be included in our interactions. Even when we are not feeling great, a smile may help us in lifting up the mood of not only ourselves but also whoever we come in contact with. Being polite and nice is always rewarding in any type of relationships.

Punctuality is always key

Whether it is a doctor appointment, a job interview, a meeting with a friend, always aim to be on time, as this is a sign of respect for the other party. By making others wait you are making them waste their time, and everyone gets bothered when their time is being taken away for no reason.

Philanthropy is not only volunteering projects

Always be willing to help others. Opening the door for someone who’s busy carrying packages, or helping out someone who is looking for a store at the mall, are equally great situations in which to help others. These actions will show a great image of who you are, and could lead to great interpersonal relationships.

Be respectful

Respect is always implied in any interaction with people. Tolerance for others’ opinions and arguments goes along with showing others respect. Always use yourself as an example in these situations, for you would like to be given a personal space and respect in any situation, therefore doing it for others should be just logical. The old saying “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything” is wise and should be followed in most social situations.

You should be last

Let others go before you. It could be at a grocery store or when both of you reach a door at the same time. Gesturing others to go ahead before you is a great way of showing respect for others. Not many people do this, and you will stand out for sure among others when doing this.

Dining etiquette

Even in the smallest of situations, you should always eat as politely as possible. Table manners were created in order to create a more pleasant experience for all participants, therefore. everyone expects you – just as you expect others – to follow basic guidelines for dining etiquette. You can check our other articles on dining etiquettes for different situations and places.

Introduce the new one

If you know the parties participating in a gathering, but they don’t know each other, take your time to introduce them. Expressing something they may have a common might be a great ice breaker and your friends will most likely be grateful you were able to give them a piece of information with which to get a conversation started.

Do you have manners? Tell us on Twitter @nycimageacademy.

Shanna Wu Pecoraro, AICI CIP

For more information visit http://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

European Etiquette

Traveling to a foreign country for work is exciting, but it can be just as enjoyable as it can be stressful. In business it is important to always have some knowledge of local customs, in order to always be giving the best personal image we can of ourselves. Learning etiquette is the best way to not only be proper during social events or meetings, but it also helps to show respect and gratitude for the culture in which one is at the moment, hence why etiquette can vary from place to place and why it is relevant to know the specific rules for each culture one has to participate in. Here are the general etiquette guidelines for three of the most known countries in Europe: France, Germany, and Italy.

Euro Dining

France- 5 things to watch out for dinner: Your voice, the bread, the substitutions, the silverware, and your hands and elbows. A common complaint from restaurants in France regarding Americans is that they speak too loudly, so try to always keep your tone soft, subtle, and the volume low. For the bread, you should not be surprised if it is not served before the main dish as it happens in the United States. The bread it is served along the main course, and you should not worry about having to put your bread on your table if you do not have a plate to put it on; this is sometimes expected. For the substitutions, they should not happen. It is better to stick with the dishes you asked for in the first place, as French restaurants expect the customers to defer their expertise of the chef. For the silverware, remember that the knife goes in the right hand while the fork goes on the left hand. Make sure that between breaks you cross your knife and fork on your plate, with the fork on top, otherwise the server may assume you are done with your food. For your hands and elbows always keep your elbows off the table and your hands visible throughout the meal.

Germany- 5 things to watch out for dinner: Your food, the water, your napkin, where you pass to, and your plate. For your food, utensils are used even for food such as pizza. However, Germans use knives only when absolutely necessary, cutting their food with the side of the fork when they can. For the water, always ask for it, since servers do not bring water unless you ask for it, and they usually charge for it. Always make sure to place your napkin to the left side of your plate when you’re done and folded when you are just leaving for a moment. When passing a dish to someone to the table, always pass it to the left, but if it is something like the salt or the pepper, pass it directly to the person who requested it. For your plate, always make sure to finish your food, as hosts assume that something was wrong if you do not finish the food served to you.

Italy- 5 things to watch out for dinner: Punctuality, your pace, silverware use, coffee. Always arrive on time, and be prepared to wait for your colleagues. Slow down your pace, as Italians eat much slower than us Americans do, and dinners can last from 3 to 4 hours. For silverware use, the same guidelines are used as in Germany and France; always eat with your silverware.