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Thursday January 8, 2009 5:57 pm

Style Yourself Successful: Four looks that show you how

Marc by Marc Jacobs Totally Turnlock Teri shoulderbag I have an unstylish little secret: Since I work from home, it’s not unusual for my husband to arrive in the afternoon and see me in the same clothes I woke up in that morning. In fact, yesterday he came home early and caught me in my pajamas, on the couch, cup of coffee in hand and watching the end of a Lifetime drama. It was three p.m. “I swear, I didn’t just wake up, and I haven’t been doing this all day!” I announced before I’d even said hello. My immediately defensiveness wasn’t because I thought he’d judge me. It was because I was kinda judging myself a little. What am I , I thought, some slobby kid home from college for the holidays? No. I own a business. I’ve published books. I write about beauty and health, for God’s sake!

This morning, I woke up, went straight into my closet, and pulled on a little red jersey dress. I did the fresh-face routine, brushed and styled my hair, and then made my cup of coffee and got to work. Fifteen minutes of my time, quite a simple look, and I suddenly felt like a professional again. The point is this: You can style yourself successful. The psychology is simple—looking good makes us feel good. Knowing that we appear put-together gives us confidence, with which we’re more apt to take on new projects, invite the boss to lunch, and impress clients. And it works both ways. The people around us take subtle cues about our personalities, capabilities, and desires from the clothes we wear—and they act on those cues. So, read on for a few looks that will help you achieve your daily goals.

If you’re… interviewing for your dream job (or your “it’ll do for now” job), think classic but contemporary. How about this feminine-but-powerful suit from Nanette Lepore (who makes a damn fine pencil skirt, I might add)? Pair with this Nine West hobo in Mystic Bordeaux and, to keep the look from being too serious, add an interesting necklace, like this Poseidon by Free People pendant. Finish with a chic pair of lace-up oxfords with a stacked heel.

If you’re… giving a presentation to some higher-ups at work (or simply e-mailing a PowerPoint to your finicky supervisor), nothing says “Take me seriously” like tailoring. Go for clean lines in clothes that follow—but aren’t glued to—your body’s curves. For extra presence, wear one piece in a bold color or pattern, but keep the rest of the look simple. Try a slim black and white dress, like this Tahari by Arthur S. Levine. Pair with opaque tights and some trendy booties.

If you’re… tackling your first parent-teacher conference (and your child has been less than the model student), assert casual control with these brown slim cut “Anita” linen flare slacks by BCBQ Maxazria, paired with a dressier top. Add a cropped jacket and some boots, and call it a day.

If you’re… trying to catch that cute guy’s eye (and just in time for some alternative Valentine’s Day plans), I have one word for you: miniskirt. Try this beauty from Theory and take a hint from Saks: Wear with a casual, almost sporty tank top. Since most of us still have a few months of winter (and winter legs) before spring’s big reveal, throw on a pair of opaque or knit tights and finish with a playful pair of pumps in a contrasting color, like these Miu Miu lovelies. Combat all the femininity with a long boyfriend cardigan.

Hopefully you’ve found some inspiration from these ideas. ‘Cause take it from me: An oversized t-shirt and mismatched sweats midday? Not getting us anywhere but the fridge for that leftover cheesecake.



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