The "CASUAL" CONUNDRUM MADE SIMPLE
WITH THE STYLE SCALE®
Fashion-by-the-numbers primer offers workable information on what to wear
and how to dress appropriately for a variety of situations.
PROVO, UTAH - Help is finally here for people who either forgot-or never really learned-how to dress with style and integrity for the boardroom, the ballgame, and everywhere in between. And, it's here in the form of the Personal/Professional Style Scale®. Developed by Judith Rasband, director of the Conselle Institute of Image Management, and available as a one-page, fashion-by-the-numbers primer, The Style Scale® succinctly defines the four levels of dress and offers practical solutions to the conflict and controversy concerning the business casual phenomenon.
Conselle's publication of The Style Scale® coincides with the release of results of an independent survey indicating that a representative portion of Corporate America is restating and reinforcing formal business dress codes in an effort to recapture lost productivity. The American Industry Dress Code Survey based its report on 200 American corporations with revenue over $500 million.
According to the report, approximately one in five corporations with dress codes in effect has reinstated its policy within the past year. Previous research by Dr. Jeffery L. Magee, research psychologist, had revealed that among 500 corporations surveyed, "... casual dress policies resulted in a decrease in productivity and overall quality of work, decrease in ethical behavior, and decrease in commitment and company loyalty." Simply stated, business might have thought twice before abandoning the "dress-for-success" attitude.
Judith Rasband is a published author and distinguished lecturer. She is a recognized expert in the social, psychological, and artistic aspects of dress and image, she holds an advanced degree, and her texts are used at colleges and universities nationwide, including New York's Fashion Institute of Technology. (Copies of The Style Scale®, for individual, educational and corporate use, are available from the Institute at 801-224-1207 or via the internet, email@example.com.)
Here's how The Style Scale® works, top to bottom.
Level 4: Tailored - Suit dressing is typical at the top of The Style Scale®, the most formal of the four levels of dress. Looks range from a crisp, dark, dressy suit worn with a sharp-looking shirt and tie, to soft suiting worn with a silk tee. In addition to suits for women, a coatdress packs power. The clothes communicate authority, confidence, capability, and stability and are appropriate for the front office and at top-level meetings or presentations.
Level 3: Softly Tailored - Jacket dressing is key to this level of dress for men and women. The classic and sportive navy blue blazer is the linchpin of this less-formal business outfit, although jacket styles are endless. For men, the sport coat is worn with dress slacks, dress or sport shirt, with or without a tie, and ranges to a leather jacket worn with a knit shirt. This is what business casual was always intended to be. The clothes say accessible, influential and dependable, yet more receptive, and are appropriate and comfortable for preliminary meetings, presentations and general sales calls.
Level 2: Casual Tailored - Collared shirt dressing for men, jumpers and skirts for women, are key here, communicating approachable, helpful, and conscientious, yet less influential. More comfortable in hot weather, this mode is well served by more attention to detail and quality in sport shirts, casual pants and shoes. Sweaters and vests are at home here, layered over shirts for a look of somewhat more authority. This look is perfect for preparatory projects and "working" meetings, and in the back office.
Level 1: Untailored - A shirt without a collar signals this level of casual dress, and is often characteristic of after-business attire. Here is the home of T-shirts and jeans or shorts. These very casual clothes communicate available, unofficial, simply responsive and often temporary. Unless hybridized in some way, this look is usually too relaxed for the typical office situation, and it is the look that most often degrades into slovenly. However, a high-quality collarless knit tee or silk shell can be teamed with a jacket or suit to lift the look.
Elegant in its simplicity, The Style Scale® has been hailed by numerous fashion industry groups, including the Men's Apparel Alliance, as a genuinely seminal work, that for the first time, systematically demystifies the concept of dressing appropriately for almost any occasion.
"With The Style Scale®, which summarizes these concepts for both men and women, almost anyone can establish a fashion frequency that fits," says Rasband. "Choices of fabrics, colors and patterns are virtually limitless, and there is a great deal of flexibility and mixing possible among the four levels," she says. Rasband points out that clothes at all levels can be totally comfortable, affordable, and attractive, as well as authentic, classic or creative according to personal style, mood, role and occasion.
If that "I-don't-know-what-to-wear" mantra is all too familiar, Conselle's Style Scale®, summarized and illustrated, on one 8.5" x 11" card that is easily tacked to the wall of your closet, may make dressing for career and social success a lot easier. The Style Scale®, available only from Conselle, is $8.00 per copy, including postage and handling, with discounts on quantities of 10 or more sent to the same address.
Founded in 1982, the Conselle Institute of Image Management assists individuals and corporations in defining and managing their image through appropriate dress based upon a demonstrated link between manner of dress, how people behave, and their measure of success. Private consultation and group seminars are available.
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