For those in the midst of a career transition, re-examining your personal style and curating a professional wardrobe is part of the process. We know this can be overwhelming especially after a career break, but it doesn't have to be. We had the pleasure of getting the scoop on the intersection of style and confidence from Michele Roque (Tarazi), founder and owner of You Can Do Better Than That, a personal shopping and style business.
VT: Tell us about yourself.
MR:I have over 13 years of retail buying and personal shopping experience for companies such as;Polo Jeans, A/X Armani Exchange, Henri Bendel, Lord & Taylor, J. Crew Group, Inc, and Bergdorf Goodman.I not only decided what were the next greatest fashion items, but also helped some of the rich and famous decide what they would wear to casual and formal events. I live in Westchester county with my husband and 2 boys. I began my business six years ago when my younger son entered 1st grade.
VT: What's your favorite inspirational quote?
MR: Funny enough, the quote is , "Oh, honey, you can do better than that." Fresh out of college and still trying to find my footing int he world, I became an assistant to the most exclusive personal shopper in Bergdorf Goodman, and in NYC. She used that saying when working with a customer who might not look her best in something she was trying on,t in order to encourage her to try on more and achieve a better look.. But the statement bears true in so many situations and encourages me to even do better even when I think might be my best at that moment.
VT: This month we are focused on Communicating with Confidence, how does your style impact confidence?
MR: I do not know anyone who does not feel great when they look great. When you feel great and look great, confidence oozes out. If you believe you can, so will everyone else!
VT: Workplace wardrobe trends have changed in the past few years. What are some trends/tips our career returnees need to know?
MR: The biggest tip I can offer is do not try to wear your previous work wardrobe. You must buy something which is out in stores now to look current. I don't believe in saying what's in and what's out. There are so many different types of people and what is right for one may not be right for another
VT: In working with clients who are re-entering the workforce, what particular challenges do they face?
MR: Getting comfortable with investing resources in a wardrobe for work. Interviews for employment do not always lead to securing a job, but investing in a few good pieces to wear to the interview certainly will increase your chances. You may not see the long range benefits when you make your purchase because your looming credit card bill is in the way, but a few glances in the mirror will allow even you to see the how well suited (no pun intended) you are for the big change on which you are about to embark.
VT: When you think about staples of a wardrobe as you return back to work, what do you recommend?
MR: I'd start with a great jacket. A jacket really ties together a look and also, when tailored correctly, frames your figure beautifully. Clean, appropriate shoes would be next. These shoes should be walk-able and not higher than 3" . Finally, a well fitting pair of black pants in a lightweight wool with some degree of stretch. These pants can be worn all year.
VT: What do you recommend for those who are going out on their first interview after a career break?
MR: Relax and enjoy the experience. There is something to learn every day of our lives, be open and relaxed so you will be able to learn it. Err on the side of being more formal than less. Always wear , at the very least, a jacket to an interview but preferably a suit.
VT: How do you work with individuals & how can people get in touch with you?
MR: I really enjoy meeting new people and I have had the opportunity to meet so many through my work. There might be some initial awkwardness when working with a new client, but that dissolves rather quickly. My goal is to make you feel comfortable and know that I am determined to make you feel and look your best.. My customers are able to sense my commitment to them and that security helps them relax and enjoy the process. Also, I try to bring levity into the dressing room, those mirrors can be formidable!
For more information, you can contact Michele at (917) 804-0093 or at http://www.youcandobetterthanthat.com