The Elegant Executive Blog

Nancy Mitchell Joins Neels & Company

Nancy Mitchell is now Chief of Protocol and the go-to source for etiquette education at Neels & Company. With over 25 years of experience, Nancy serves as protocol and special events consultant to the Library of Congress, the world’s largest library and cultural center, where she was director of special events and protocol for more than two decades. In her former position at the Library of Congress, Nancy and her staff were responsible for planning and managing more than 400 events each year. She coordinated the institution’s major special events, visits of heads of state and other foreign dignitaries, fundraising…

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Style Workshop

Yesterday we had the pleasure of facilitating our fun and informative Style Workshop at the law offices of Winston & Strawn. The ladies enjoyed seeing what we recommend they wear for a business casual setting, how to shop on a budget and what kinds of items they should splurge on this fall. Determining one’s figure types and color “temperatures” (cool or warm) engaged audience members, giving each new ideas and a better understanding of how to dress, always accenting the positive. Here is some of the feedback we received: “I really learned so much about what to wear and how to wear it. My favorite…

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Fall Accessories – The Neiman Marcus Show

Last week I went to not one but two fabulous fashion shows; lucky me! I blogged about the Lafayette show at Nordstrom’s earlier. Wednesday I was invited to a lovely fashion luncheon featuring the must-have accessories for fall. Lots of glamor, stiletto heels, fur and leather. Oversized jewelry in gold and gorgeous stones, ropes of pearls, matching cuff bracelets (one on each wrist), and I learned that at least at Neiman’s the color of the season is Bordeaux and all shades thereof. I wouldn’t recommend to my clients that they wear much of what I saw Wednesday to work. Too much of a good…

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Upscale Women’s Wool Suiting – Lafayette 148 New York

Yesterday I attended a very fun and festive Lafayette 148 New York fashion show at Nordstrom’s Pentagon City store where there were many great looks for stylish working women. I especially like Lafayette’s stretch wool garments for their drape, ease and wearability and recommend them highly to new professionals and seasoned execs. You’ll pay a little more upfront, but believe me when I tell you this wool suiting is very comfortable and will last and last. If you are going to invest in a suit this fall, buy a jacket (pictured is the Gavin jacket for $548) and matching skirt and…

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Wasn’t Asked? Don’t Tell

Unsolicited advice is rarely about the person receiving the “help” and almost always about the giver. It’s natural for some of us to criticize another person’s actions, demeanor, dress, posture, the list goes on, but without being specifically asked, the advice usually goes in one ear and out the other. (I’m not speaking about performance reviews, however, where it’s incumbent upon managers to accent the positive while coaching on the negative.) The fact is, unless you are directly asked about one’s actions, demeanor, dress, posture, etc., zip it. In rare cases, the other person will be grateful for and act upon…

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Total Image Management® Seminars

Many readers have asked when I will offer my Total Image Management® seminar this year. I’m happy to announce that it will be held Wednesday, May 4th, at The Ritz-Carlton, Pentagon City (and will be repeated Monday, October 3). Total Image Management® is a systematic process that helps professional women project their very best selves to the world, and manage that image as they build long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with co-workers, clients and customers. Back in 2009, I took this seminar on the road and had the chance to work with a number of women who wanted to accelerate their professional development and find more…

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A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words

I love helping people prepare for professional headshots. Because a picture is worth a thousand words, it’s very important to make every effort to shine when in the spotlight! By managing the details of hair, make-up, clothing and accessories, you can turn an average photo into something more – something that will actually convey your confidence and competence to others in an instant. In the last few months, I’ve had the pleasure to work with two dynamic women who needed publicity photos. Below is a great shot of Roberta Matuson, author of “Suddenly in Charge, Managing Up, Managing Down, Succeeding All Around.” I knew we needed to…

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Sex, Politics and Religion

We’ve all been taught to steer clear of the topics of sex, politics and religion in polite conversation. However, in Washington, DC, it’s simply a matter of time (three seconds?) before someone let’s you know where they stand politically. When a person at a networking event let’s me know within minutes she is pro-choice or vegan or ultra-conservative or a supporter/non-supporter of drilling/nuclear/wind/solar energy, I usually move on rather quickly to someone else to discuss business, the networking event itself, or maybe even the weather, rather than where we stand on controversial issues (that can come later when we know the other person better). The beauty of working…

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Big Girl Panties

You’ve heard the expression, “Pull on your big girl panties,” haven’t you? It’s a call to act like an adult in a given situation, usually directed toward a woman. “Come on, Gretchen,” my husband might encourage as we scale a major hill on a bike ride, “pull on your big girl panties and shift into low gear – you can do it!” Today, however, I mean “big girl panties” in the literal sense. If you’re over 16 years old and anywhere past the 125 pound mark on the scale, you need serious foundation garments if you’re going to look like an adult with…

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Complimentary Business Etiquette 101 Booklet

We continue to get requests for the booklet, “Business Etiquette 101 – 30 Absolutely, Never Evers for Business, Dining & First Impressions.” This tiny book is filled with great advice for new professionals and seasoned execs, such as: Absolutely never ever appear too casual for a business situation. This means no flip-flops, sneakers, jeans or t-shirts. This includes any “casual day” – remember, you’re at WORK. Absolutely never ever lose your cool. Keeping your emotions in check at all times makes you a professional. Readers of this blog may get a free copy ($6.00 value) by sending an email request…

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