Your Image is Her Business

Your Image is Her Business

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Flip flops at the office: We’ve all thought about it, or are even – gasp! – guilty of pairing poolside footwear with a pencil skirt. Yet our outfits, image and etiquette can affect our overall career success. So what’s a girl to do when she can’t tell the dinner fork from the salad fork?


Enter LisaMarie Luccioni, who has taught business etiquette and professional image at the University of Cincinnati for almost 20 years and is the only certified image professional in the state of Ohio. She, too, faced an etiquette dilemma as a 27-year-old political intern at a high-profile dinner in Washington D.C.


“I was seated with some very fascinating people,” Luccioni says. “But rather than focus on networking and enjoying the moment, I couldn’t enjoy myself because I wasn’t sure of the dining etiquette. I think a lot of people can understand that frustration. This stuff was never really taught in schools.”


So she went back to UC and developed a professional etiquette seminar at the College of Business. Her students learn valuable tips to succeed in their careers, such as making a favorable first impression, e-mail etiquette, interview and networking skills. Like investing in a leather-bound portfolio, quality pens and sending a thank-you note note afterward. (Think of it as a 42-cent investment plan.)


Picking out resume paper is one thing, but what you wear to the interview (and once you land the job!) is also important. Luccioni says women who are already in the workforce want to refine their skills. “They’re already in the trenches,” she says.”They want to know how to speak better, to feel more comfortable with their thoughts and how to put together a professional wardrobe. Nobody teaches clothes.”


Luckily, Luccioni does.


0208GIBBERMAN.gif “People assume because it’s in the magazines, it’s OK to wear on the job,” Luccioni says. “With women, it’s showcasing too much cleavage or too much leg. Raise the necklines, and lower the hemlines.”


Office fashion faux pas include pajamas, Crocs and distracting jewelry. “I will never wear an earring that twirls when I’m teaching a class,” she says.


Those adorable red pumps? Perhaps best saved for cocktail hour.


“God love Hillary and Sarah Palin. Peep toe shoes are very popular, but would I necessarily wear those at an interview in a conservative place? In a more creative field, that might be expected.”


When it comes to networking, Luccioni says women prefer one-on-one time. But you gotta work that room! Stick to five to 10 minutes with each person. And a quick tip: place nametags on your right side. When shaking hands, the other person’s eyes follow the arm and end up at your name.


And lose the clunky cocktail ring. Bust that out the night after you score the big promotion.


Photo: Courtesy of AWIS Beauty