When you're assessing your job options this new year, don't forget the obvious: style. Chicago fashion stylist and personal shopper Eric Himel went to Bloomingdale's in Chicago to offer a few, inexpensive tips for the professional ladder climber. Here, Himel turns the gray suit into a power suit. Chicago Tribune
Women: Bring the shoes in your bag. Boots and sneakers are fine for walking in the cold, but at the office, the idea is to look "done." Himel picked muted, purple suede heels.
Men: Ditch the slip-ons and opt for patina lace-ups. Just because your office allows you to be casual doesn't mean you should be.
Women: You can be feminine and appropriate. Swap the button-up shirt for a shell with a scoop neck.
Men: Try a spread collar instead of a "collegiate" button collar.
Women: Save the soft "hobo" style bag for weekends and go for a bag with structure (think purse chain with briefcase-like bag).
Men: Clutch a briefcase instead of strapping on a messenger bag (too casual for an aspiring boss).
Women: A thin black belt at the waist adds a feminine cinch to a tired suit. Instead of playing it safe with a string of pearls, try a triple-stringed necklace in a conservative color. But wear studs, not dangling earrings. "Sometimes women get caught up in 'Oh, it's fun,' " Himel said.
Men: Tell a joke, but not with your tie. "The tie isn't a place to express your sense of humor," Himel said. Play with color with a subtle pocket square (folded to peek out of a pocket in a straight line instead of a triangle) or slip on a pair of argyle socks.
If you're going to spend money anywhere, spend it on a good tailor. If your clothes are well-fitted, you will look more put together in the clothes you own and won't need to buy new clothes.
For more about Eric Himel, go to erichimel.com.