The Do’s and Don’ts of Public Transport

As city dwellers, most of us find ourselves frequently sitting or standing on a crowded bus, subway, or in a busy transit station en route to or from somewhere. In these situations, our team tends to take an extra moment and engage in one of our favorite pastimes: people watching. This can be as entertaining as any film, TV show or podcast can deliver – but transit etiquette (and lack thereof) also reminds us the importance of maintaining ourselves in public spaces.

 

 

Here are a few tips you’ll want to consider for your next train or subway ride!

 

Listen to the conductor. Tips provided over loudspeakers are made to alert you to schedule and route changes, as well as urgent alerts. Pay attention, and lower your voice when the conductor’s voice comes on, so that others around you can hear as well.

 

Hold onto your trash until you can throw it away. No one likes a litterbug, and plus, holding your items until you can recycle / dispose of them properly saves transit staff from cleanup efforts (which cost everyone in the long run).

 

Stand back from the edge of the platform. Don’t risk your personal safety by being an inch too close to a train barreling toward you. Stand at least one foot back from the edge.

 

Board and de-board the train efficiently. When your train arrives, the correct procedure is to stand aside and queue at either door to allow exiting passengers off first, therein creating much-needed space. Doing the opposite delays everyone – including subsequent train arrivals.

 

Have your ticket/tokens ready before you enter the ticketed area. Don’t wait until you’re halfway through the turnstile to dig out your ticket. This slows you down, and everyone who might be behind you.

 

Being aware and considerate will make you a much happier rider, which you can pass on to your fellow riders.

 

What are your top tips for subway riders?  Tell us on Twitter, or tag us in your next post on Instagram!  https://bit.ly/1OROobY

Shopping For “Your Colors”

We all have a color palette that works best with our complexion and hue.

 

Light colors tend to go best for those with a fair & whiter skin tone. Toned colors tend to work best for the person with a soft over all look. Deep colors work best for a pigment-rich person. Bright colors work best for the person who has clear skin, bright eyes and silky hair, and of course we have to consider the person who may have warm, cool or neutral undertones.

 

While it may not be apparent on the runway or in the pages of fashion magazines, the real reason that looks often stand out, or “pop” to us, is that the colors chosen for the models work really well with their tone and hue. Mass-market brands would do well to pay more attention to this, by marketing & packaging their clothes to specific “color personalities” who can then become unofficial “endorsers” of their brands.

 

 

A recent trip to the new ARKET store in Munich, Germany, showcased impressive skill at pairing colors together on the rack to simplify ease. (And it would be shameful not to mention that the layout of the store was impressive, with each block of colourful garments visually appearing like a utilitarian art piece!)

 

With an ever-increasing shift to online retail, brick-and-mortar stores would do well to follow ARKET’s lead in pairing function and style with colors and tone. We think this will increase the likelihood of customer delight while shopping, which is also likely to result in increased sales at the register.

 

Are you a designer, or a fashion retailer? Could this work for you?  Tell us. …

#PeopleWatching: Finding the Fun in Observation

Traveling abroad creates opportunities for many adventures. New sights, sounds, smells and tastes are hopefully woven into each visit overseas.

 

Some of our favorite moments traveling abroad have involved people watching. That’s right: sitting quietly and just observing the interactions, body language, and overall humanity of the characters crossing near us, this way and that.

 

When it comes to personal style, in general and through #peoplewatching, we have observed that American fashion is more casual overall, European fashion is more “everyday elegant”, and Asian fashion is a fascinating mix of “Designer and Street”.

 

 

To expand: Americans love to travel in comfort, so a lot of the clothing seen is geared towards that. Fabric choices lean a bit more toward washable and more ‘forgiving’ cuts. Even for the professional traveling on business – for many, casual seems to be key when going abroad.

 

Europeans have a more ‘proper’ sense of style, which is not nearly as casual as Americans. Euros tend to dress properly for nearly all occasions. Quality over Quantity seems to be the mantra, with solid, long-lasting fabrics used in professional attire and for the everyday outfit.

 

Finally, Asian style seems to be driven by celebrities, influencers, and film/TV culture. Trending outfits appear in every occasion and type of profession. Many European & American Designers and fashion brands have considerable influence in Asian buying powers.

 

Do you ever sit near a crossroads and people watch? What’s your favorite place to go #peoplewatching? How does #peoplewatching influence your decisions as a shopper, or in your career? Tell us …

Local Holidays and Customs Prepareness

Many of us can think of a time we’ve traveled to a new place, excited to visit a specific venue or museum or shop – and arrived to discover that the special place was closed that day due to a local Holiday! This happens more than you might think, to clients and travelers we’ve talked to.

A savvy traveler can get annoyed from time to time in these scenarios, but the test of a true traveler is flexibility and preparedness. Travelers also can be surprised by local customs in many regions. Here are a few examples of scenarios that folks we know have encountered, and how they rose above frustration and were able to make the most of it!

  • Looking ahead to online listings and calendars in the locale you’re about to visit is a good practice, always. In Germany, for instance, we recently learned about Reformation Day, a holiday that is typically observed in the southern-most states of the country. 2017 marked the 500-year anniversary of the holiday, and as such it was observed nationally, where nearly every public institution and business was closed. Considering this date also fell on Halloween, many tourists were surprised by the empty streets and closed establishments. Many found beauty and tranquility, however, in the amazing public parks featuring stunning Autumn foliage!
  • Prepare yourself for customs in business, always. In Japan, for example, it is considered rude to display cash in public; using an envelope is strongly preferred. In business, your preparedness to customs like this shows your sense of integrity and may win you deeper business connections as a result.
  • Be prepared to smile and embrace a practice that seems a bit, well, foreign! Take kids in Greece, as well as many children in Bulgaria and Albania. When they lose a tooth, they throw the tooth on the roof of their house and say a little poem to encourage strong adult-tooth return. Embracing this while visiting, especially if you see it happening, will earn you accolades from your host.

Guidebooks, online searches and brief Q&A with friends or acquaintances who’ve traveled where you’re going, are all solid resources to consider before traveling. And just remember – keeping an open mind and a flexible schedule will allow you to see the beauty in everything!

Invitation Etiquette Essentials

About a month ago, I received an invitation (via email) to an intimate wine and cheese party, hosted by a good friend I’ve known for a year or so. I responded quickly (for 2), and on the eve of the event brought my husband along to enjoy a lovely pre-dinner party with the host and a few of her friends. After such a delightful evening, I was dismayed the next morning when said host informed me privately that several invitees had never responded to her invite – and to top it off, that out of nine individuals who registered “yes”, two of them did not show up to the event!

Clients and friends often ask us about what’s proper in these scenarios, so we wanted to share a few basic reminders to help you keep courtesy top of mind, at all times – and for anything special you’ve been invited to.

 

Invitations: Always acknowledge that you’ve received an invitation within 24 hours. If you need a few days to consider or arrange your schedule, that’s ok – but letting your host know that you’re in receipt of the message is the right thing to do.

 

Respond in kind: If you receive an invitation via postal mail, respond via postal mail. If you receive an invitation via phone call, respond via phone call or voicemail. If you receive an invitation via email, respond via email (in the same thread). If you receive an invite via social media it is ok to RSVP publicly but you should always send a private “thank you” to the host, showing your gratitude for including you.

 

Stuck? Need to Cancel?: It occasionally happens to us all – our kid gets sick, we get stuck at work. As soon as you know you’ll be late or have to cancel, reach out to the host yourself (don’t make your assistant do it). And remember, unless a local official has declared a state of emergency, “it’s raining/snowing outside” is never an appropriate reason to skip attending an invited event. Suck it up and head over, just as you’d want your friends to show up for you.

 

Saying Thank-You: Within 24 hours, send a brief thank-you note to your host via postal mail. If getting to the post isn’t possible within a day or so, an email is also acceptable (but not as delightful as receiving a physical, personal thank-you).

 

Relationships take work, and maintaining them requires effort on both parts. Even when you’re in a busy period of life, remembering to take a few minutes out to show gratitude to those who’ve included you will pay off later in life.

Armrest Wars: Who has the right to rest an arm?!

Traveling internationally can generate feelings that are equal parts disappointment and excitement, annoyance and joy. Few things frustrate our friends and clients more than getting into an armrest war with a fellow passenger on a plane or train!

 

Here are a few best practices we follow to avoid such situations, whether we’re traveling for work or not:

 

  • When your flight is full, the person in the middle seat gets both armrests. They are likely feeling the most squished and should be allowed the extra comfort – and this makes things fair for the two passengers on the sides.
  • If you are boarding and see that things may get tight, observe the rest of the plane. If it’s not a full flight, ask your fellow passenger if she/he minds spreading to the sides and leaving the middle seat open. Or, ask a flight attendant to help you move to another row.
  • On a train, where it’s typically 2-seats by 2-seats, the person on the window gets the middle armrest because the passenger on the aisle already has an armrest. If someone isn’t cooperating, try to move to a different row. If seats are assigned, ask the conductor to help you transfer to another car with an officially empty seat.

 

The most important thing to remember is your sense of patience – and if someone is exceptionally difficult, ask an attendant to help you! They are trained in conflict resolution among passengers and can often provide help quickly so that you don’t have to get worked up. And remember to take a deep breath.. no flight or train ride lasts forever; it will be over sooner than you think!

 

In case you are feeling alone in your armrest frustrations – fear not, and for a knowing laugh about what NOT to do on a plane, check out the Instagram account of @passengershaming (not for tender eyes!)

 

How do you share the armrest when you travel?

Tips for Looking Better in Photos

Nowadays, it seems we are constantly being included in photos. At the dinner table, outside restaurants, between sessions at a conference, and now, especially, on our once-sacred “lounge days” during vacation. We document the people we’re with while we’re at the places we love!

 

The catch to all this documentation is that few of us can afford to bring a professional lighting crew and “glam squad” around at all times to accentuate our best assets! You don’t have to have the resources of an A-lister, however, to be prepared and look your best in nearly every photo taken.

 

Here are a few tips we’ve shared with clients this year:

 

  1. If you anticipate that you’ll be photographed in advance of an outing, apply your makeup according to the lighting you expect
  2. Try to stand with the sun/light source behind the camera, so that you are front lit. It’s much easier to filter a photo later that’s been front lit than the opposite; check out Afterlight as a great app to correct great backlit shots (available for IOS, Android and Windows phones)h
  3. If you’ll be outside, try to avoid sparkle in foundations and eye makeup. Glitter often accentuates your fine lines and will age you
  4. Avoid wearing too much blush, and when you do, blend it in well
  5. Use a light-reflecting concealer to combat dark circles under the eyes
  6. Use an anti-shine crème to keep your skin matte
  7. It’s ok to cheat the camera. Stand sideways, cross your legs to slim the body, and always try to twist your shoulders to face the photographer
  8. Do not chew gum, and always mind your posture
  9. If you’ll be with friends, politely ask to be photographed from your “better side,” if it feels appropriate
  10. Do not ask waiters or strangers to take additional rounds after the first shot(s). They have not been hired to help you document your evening; be ok with a shot or two, and then let it be.

And, in case you need to get ready for photos in a pinch, here are a few tricks for the ladies:

 

  1. Create subtle, smoky eyes with eye shadow and your fingertips
  2. Smooth out flyaways with your hands
  3. Plump up your eyelash volume with a curler or volumizing mascara
  4. Bonus: always check your teeth for spinach and other delights!

How do you get ready for photos? Share with us ……