The Do’s and Don’ts to looking your best.
Beware clunky athletic shoes with sleekly professional office attire. Smart flat boots or sandals – anything but flip flops – do the job just as well. Carry those fetching Guccis in a smart shoulder bag until you arrive.
Flash Isn’t Dash
Keep hemlines and accessories modest by day. Save the Lady Gaga look for late-night romping. Advertising one’s jewel collection – or shapely gams – is risky in the marketplace. Glitter does not always glamour make.
Don’t stay wed to that old dictum mandating monochrome wardrobes (blue shoes with blue suits, blue bags, etc.) The new rules are challenging but lots more fun: mix elements, patterns even, and do it with enough panache to make an individual statement. Tweeds go with floral prints when done with discretion.
Formal Isn’t Always Fancy
Beware the “black-tie” code. It doesn’t always signal the need for a long evening gown with a low neckline; a simple cocktail dress will usually do nicely. If you see “gala” or “ball,” haul out the finery and up the ante.
Don’t parade those impressive White House credentials outside the office. You won’t win friends or influence people unless they are of the sort who would never rate access in the first place.
Anyone who thinks a bra should be visible probably never wore one in the first place. Straps are messy and distracting. And fulsome as your bosom may be, keep the cleavage covered during the day. It’s totally inappropriate in the workplace – even though our Secretary of State slipped up a bit recently. An accident, surely!
Too Tight Or Too Loose
Check those rump lines before going out the door. All bottoms are not equal! A tight skirt limits motion but also can reveal unsightly panty lines and invite a stomach pouch above the waist. There is a fine line between casual and careless. Save hunting jackets for the field.
Watch Out Below
It’s great that women are liberated enough to wear trousers and pants suits. Those forgoing pantyhose, however, should put on extra-long socks so as not to expose unsightly flesh below the hemline.
Shoes Too High/Hems Too Short
There is nothing wrong with high heels and trousers, but the trouser hem should hit the top of the heel and not lower. Otherwise you risk tripping over yourself and others.
Sports Watch with French Cuffs
You’re dying to show off that snazzy Rolex Chronometer you just paid ten grand for, but it’s going to clash big time with the Cartier cufflinks. Try concealing an elegantly slim Patek-Philippe underneath your shirtsleeve if you simply must know the time.
Black-tie and Heavy Medals
Only the most gauche arriviste adorns his dinner jacket with diplomatic orders. On rare occasions where a black-tie invitation specifically calls for decorations, they should be limited to a simple star on the left breast of the jacket, small rosettes worn on a metal bar on the left lapel, or one badge on a miniature ribbon below the bow tie. Save the Lord Mountbatten look – sash, collier, medals, stars – for strictly white-tie affairs.
Ties need to reach the belt buckle and should display a dimple in the center of the knot.
Buttoned-down Shirts with a Suit
Save the Brooks Brothers buttoned-down look for informal wear, i.e., a sports jacket.
Slip-ons with a Suit
Lace-ups look better with all but the trendiest suits; loafers with a double-breasted suit are a major mistake.
Improper Sleeve Length
One half to one inch of cuff should extend below the coat sleeves. Remember to order shirts with the sleeve length at least one half inch too long to account for inevitable shrinkage.
Trousers Too Long or Short
Cuffed trousers should touch the top of the heel but no lower. Socks must be high enough to cover unsightly leg flesh when seated.
Save the muscle shirts and crotch-huggers for the gym and nightclub – if you’ve got the bod to carry it off, that is. And remember, nothing is worse than the apple-on-a-stick effect: a big belly atop severely tapered pants.
White Dinner Jackets
You’ll stand out like a sore thumb unless you’re making the scene at the Washington National Opera Ball on a 95-degree night or a summer dinner dance at the Chevy Chase Club.
Unibrows and Ear Hair
Cut through the brush at least once a week to avoid unsightly facial attributes. A few laser sessions will solve these problems for good.