#SWAAYthenarrative

The Wardrobe Essentials Every Professional Woman Needs

3 min read
Lifestyle

The perfect closet—one you love—is this possible? Yes! All it takes is three simple concepts: basics, timelessness, and silhouette.

I know it's a struggle...every blessed morning. Staring into the closet, staring, staring. Hoping something will look different to you or that you'll have a clothing epiphany. However, just like yesterday and the day before that, you have the same stagnant, two-dimensional wardrobe, with a lackluster assortment of tops, trousers, and shoes. Your frustration level is climbing.

Life is short, so buy the shoes.

So, how do you pull together outfits that you love to wear that can coordinate easily with other pieces of clothing? Two words: closet essentials.

Basics

One of the easiest ways to get the most out of your wardrobe is to fill it with basic pieces. Why? Because core essentials are the basis of your closet. You can't bake or cook without basic ingredients, right? Same idea.

Once you have rounded out your assortment of basics you can add trendier items. Ultimately making it super easy for you to pull outfits together.

Here are just a few of the closet essentials:

  • A beige or blush pump
  • A black pump
  • A shoe-boot
  • A leather jacket
  • A denim jacket
  • A pencil skirt
  • A cropped trouser
  • Blazers in a solid navy, black, and one with a texture or pattern

Of course, you need to keep in mind what your industry deems as acceptable dress-code. Some industries expect suits and blazers, while others have a more relaxed dress-code policy. You can review what I recommend for your industry in my article, "Outfits to Fit Every Industry."

Timelessness

A wonderful way to make the most out of your closet is to fill it with timeless pieces. I am not talking about "dated" or "old" clothing. I am most certainly not condoning hanging on to workwear from the early 2000s either or from the 1990s as some of my clients have. I am talking about well-made garments that rarely go out of style—items that are made of sustainable material and good quality fabrics that will last. Usually, these kinds of pieces cost a bit more, but because of the care that goes into making them and their timeless style, you will be wearing them for many years to come, which ultimately saves you money.

Arianna Huffington has written an article on Thrive Global about the importance of having a simple, classic wardrobe that is easy to manage. She explains how this will open up more time for productivity, creativity, and recharging:

" At the core of Thrive Style is the belief that, when we're able to reclaim all the time and energy lost to picking out clothes and getting ready, we'll gain a serious competitive advantage."

Save money and time.

Silhouette

What makes this an important element in how clothes look on you? Think of the outline of your body. Picture yourself in an outfit, then in terms of the garments drape and fit, envision the outline of your body. What does it look like? Is it flattering? Does the outfit accentuate the best part of you?

Clothing should not be too baggy or oversized for your frame.

When you purchase clothing that is made from quality fabric and is sewn nicely, it should fall beautifully over your body. Your clothes should have some structure to accentuate your shape and create an illusion of a waist and a long leg-line.

I want to point out that I am not speaking of clingy fabrics or tight clothes.

I am merely saying that your body shouldn't be lost in your clothes…you may think baggy clothes will cover up your problem areas. It will, in fact, do the opposite. Wearing baggy clothes will only give you the potato sack effect and add pounds. And, yeah, we don't want that!

Curating a wardrobe that you feel fantastic in will take time. There are budgets to think about, setting aside time for shopping, and life's general craziness.

Just be patient, be true to yourself, and don't forget…

Life is short, so buy the shoes.

Fashion is Confidence, Expressed Through Style~ FJ

3 Min Read
Business

Five Essential Lessons to Keep in Mind When You're Starting Your Own Business

"How did you ever get into a business like that?" people ask me. They're confounded to hear that my product is industrial baler wire—a very unfeminine pursuit, especially in 1975 when I founded my company in the midst of a machismo man's world. It's a long story, but I'll try to shorten it.

I'd never been interested to enter the "man's" world of business, but when I discovered a lucrative opportunity to become my own boss, I couldn't pass it up—even if it involved a non-glamorous product. I'd been fired from my previous job working to become a ladies' clothing buyer and was told at my dismissal, "You just aren't management or corporate material." My primary goal then was to find a career in which nobody had the power to fire me and that provided a comfortable living for my two little girls and myself.

Over the years, I've learned quite a few tough lessons about how to successfully run a business. Below are five essential elements to keep in mind, as well as my story on how I learned them.

Find A Need And Fill It

I gradually became successful at selling various products, which unfortunately weren't profitable enough to get me off the ground, so I asked people what they needed that they couldn't seem to get. One man said, "Honey, I need baler wire. Even the farmers can't get it." I saw happy dollar signs as he talked on and dedicated myself to figuring out the baler wire industry.

I'd never been interested to enter the "man's" world of business, but when I discovered a lucrative opportunity to become my own boss, I couldn't pass it up.

Now forty-five years later, I'm proud to be the founder of Vulcan Wire, Inc., an industrial baler wire company with $10 million of annual sales.

Have Working Capital And Credit

There were many pitfalls along the way to my eventual success. My daughters and I were subsisting from my unemployment checks, erratic alimony and child-support payments, and food stamps. I had no money stashed up to start up a business.

I paid for the first wire with a check for which I had no funds, an illegal act, but I thought it wouldn't matter as long as I made a deposit to cover the deficit before the bank received the check. My expectation was that I'd receive payment immediately upon delivery, for which I used a rented truck.

Little did I know that this Fortune 500 company's modus operandi was to pay all bills thirty or more days after receipts. My customer initially refused to pay on the spot. I told him I would consequently have to return the wire, so he reluctantly decided to call corporate headquarters for this unusual request.

My stomach was in knots the whole time he was gone, because he said it was iffy that corporate would come through. Fifty minutes later, however, he emerged with a check in hand, resentful of the time away from his busy schedule. Stressed, he told me to never again expect another C.O.D. and that any future sale must be on credit. Luckily, I made it to the bank with a few minutes to spare.

Know Your Product Thoroughly

I received a disheartening phone call shortly thereafter: my wire was breaking. This horrible news fueled the fire of my fears. Would I have to reimburse my customer? Would my vendor refuse to reimburse me?

My customer told me to come over and take samples of his good wire to see if I might duplicate it. I did that and educated myself on the necessary qualities.

My primary goal then was to find a career in which nobody had the power to fire me and that provided a comfortable living for my two little girls and myself.

Voila! I found another wire supplier that had the right specifications. By then, I was savvy enough to act as though they would naturally give me thirty-day terms. They did!

More good news: My customer merely threw away all the bad wire I'd sold him, and the new wire worked perfectly; he then gave me leads and a good endorsement. I rapidly gained more wire customers.

Anticipate The Dangers Of Exponential Growth

I had made a depressing discovery. My working capital was inadequate. After I purchased the wire, I had to wait ten to thirty days for a fabricator to get it reconfigured, which became a looming problem. It meant that to maintain a good credit standing, I had to pay for the wire ten to thirty days before my customers paid me.

I was successful on paper but was incredibly cash deprived. In other words, my exponentially growing business was about to implode due to too many sales. Eventually, my increasing sales grew at a slower rate, solving my cash flow problem.

Delegate From The Bottom Up

I learned how to delegate and eventually delegated myself out of the top jobs of CEO, President, CFO, and Vice President of Finance. Now, at seventy-eight years old, I've sold all but a third of Vulcan's stock and am semi-retired with my only job currently serving as Vice President of Stock and Consultant.

In the interim, I survived many obstacles and learned many other lessons, but hopefully these five will get you started and help prevent some of you from having the same struggles that I did. And in the end, I figured it all out, just like you will.