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Fashion & Finance: Headshots and the holidays

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November 30, 2012

Looking to build a credible, professional style? Here are some tips to keep in mind, especially as the holiday season begins.

Headshots: Your professional image captured in just one picture
I recently came across a funny post on Buzzfeed, one of the pop culture websites I read often. Back in the early ’90s may have been the heyday of Glamour Shots, but they are certainly not the look you should be going for when you have your formal headshot taken for business purposes.

Whether for a firm website, client/prospect proposal or speaking engagement, a formal headshot is a necessary part of your professional style arsenal. While the photos on Buzzfeed are fun to laugh at, the poses, outfits and expressions are all terrible ideas for your formal headshot!

Here’s a few simple pointers:

•    Dress conservatively for your formal portrait. Your formal portrait will be used in marketing collateral, proposals, on the web and for many other uses to represent you and your firm. Wear clothing that would be appropriate in the office and in front of clients, and avoid the “Glamour Shots” look or anything that may look dated in a few seasons.

•    SMILE! It’s OK to smile in your business portrait. You want to look relaxed, trustworthy and approachable. Often times an unsmiling photo subject creates too stern of an expression. Special note: A drug store teeth whitening kit can help out a bit too!

•    Choose solid colors and flattering makeup. Patterns can be distracting or look out of fashion after a few years. Keep it simple, clean and professional. Choose colors that work best with your skin tone and hair, and wear work appropriate makeup to bring out your best features without looking too “made up.” Check out your own management group’s portraits to see what works best on each subject, and to gain ideas and best practices.

•    Use a professional photographer who can offer basic re-touching. A polished image can be created by altering small details such as blemishes, lint on clothes or stray hairs… just don’t go overboard!

Holidays
Now that we’ve covered headshots, it’s on to the holidays. It’s that time of year again! With Thanksgiving over and the winter holidays quickly on their way, here are a few timely pointers.

Gift giving
Unsure of who to buy for, what to spend, or what type of gifts may be appropriate for your office mates? Look no further than this incredibly helpful guide from Ladies Home Journal. There is some great information there, including the useful rule of thumb to not spend more per gift than the IRS allows ($25 tax deduction for each professional gift). But also check to see if your firm has any gift-giving policies, or if there is a local charity or company gift-giving program in place to give to those in need in your area.

The holiday party
I’ll keep this short and sweet… Here are three key “don’ts” when it comes to celebrating the holidays with your colleagues.

1)    Don’t drink too much. It’s an office event/work function, so have fun, relax and enjoy yourself—but don’t conduct yourself in a way that could reflect badly on your reputation at work. Also, don’t forget to ask for a ride home or a cab if you have had too much to drink. Be cautious and aware that drinking and driving can destroy your own life or those of others on the road.

2)    Don’t wear your club gear. A few sequins, a pretty party dress or something special is OK, but leave the club wear at home! Too tight, too short, or ill-fitting clothing at the company party will look out of place on just about anyone. If you would not wear it to work, don’t wear it to the party (but feel free to get a bit festive if the occasion calls for more of an evening wear look).

3)    Choose a guest wisely. Don’t underestimate the importance of your guest’s behavior, so choose carefully if you are bringing someone along with you to your work event. They should also follow the rules above!

Gifts
I’m always trying to think of creative gifts for my coworkers and friends at work, so here are a few interesting sites and ideas that you may want to explore for cool stuff to give during the holidays.

Uncommongoods: Check out their corporate gifts section, containing some unusual items that are really cool and quirky!

Etsy: I have found so many wonderful home décor items and gifts on this site, and also been inspired to create my own DIY-style. Check them out for everything from artwork to vintage gifts.

Support your local shops! As many holiday shoppers did on #SmallBusinesssaturday around the country, consider checking out your local shops and boutiques instead of the big box or chain stores for gifts. You will be supporting your local economy and hopefully will find something out of the ordinary or uniquely special!

Emily Burns Perryman is a State University of New York Fashion Institute of Technology graduate and started her career in New York City working for companies including Giorgio Armani Le Collezioni, Christian Dior and Jones Apparel Group. She is now e-Marketing Communications Specialist for Freed Maxick CPAs in Buffalo, N.Y., and was named the Association for Accounting Marketing's 2011 "Rookie of the Year." Follow her on Twitter @FreedMaxickCPAs or email her at emily.burns@freedmaxick.com.

 

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