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Dianne Whitelocke tackles office wear
Dianne Whitelocke is Trini-born and raised but she left these shores to study in the USA and ended up building her life there. Now married to a Jamaican engineer and raising two young girls, that life has brought an unexpected twist. This focused, accomplished career woman, wife & mother has earned herself another title: author. Dianne was recently appointed as Regional Director of Physician and Medical Staff Administration at Broward General Medical Center (BGMC). Her role involves overseeing medical staff administration, providing leadership for regional medical staff services, directing the development, implementation and ongoing administration of physician initiatives and providing management support for medical staff analysis and recruitment.
Always very conscious of the vitally important role of proper attire when it comes to the image one wants to portray, she recalls instances where she felt compelled to hire one job seeker over another equally qualified one based quite simply on a bad first impression from the way they were dressed. Even from her own personal experience she recalled an instance where she followed office custom and dressed down for ‘Casual Friday’, only to be called into an impromptu meeting with her CEO and managers to deliver a status report on a project and was left feeling awkward and embarrassed at her ‘hippie’ skirt and top in the face of the proper business suits that greeted her. These learning experiences led to her always noticing when women were, to her mind, inappropriately dressed for the office, to the point where she would be commenting and ‘re-dressing’ them so much that her husband eventually said “you should just write a book!”
So, she did.
‘Pumps and Pencil Skirts – What to Wear to Work’ was published in June this year by Trafford Publishing and is now available on Amazon. The book is a fun and easy read, with whimsical illustrations by Andrea Clement, but the advice is serious & effective: dress for work! In one chapter, ‘Going Over The Top’, she advises that you should never dress so that everyone is so busy absorbing your outfit they don’t hear a word you’re saying. You want to command your look, not have your look command you. There’s nothing wrong with a fabulous jacquard skirt, a bold tie-front blouse & really fierce leopard shoes – just not all at once! Shoes, she says, are the ‘ultimate accessory’. In ‘Shoes Set The Stage’, she advises that if you find a great outfit but don’t have the right shoes, don’t take off the tags until you find them!
There’s advice on fabric, colour and pattern combinations, on pairing top and bottom pieces, on mixing and coordinating and juxtaposing. There is also a very firm ‘What Never Works!’ chapter that pulls no punches. The book is eye-catching and light-hearted and a great resource, especially for college/university graduates now entering the corporate world and makes for a great and thoughtful gift. As Thomas Fuller (British clergyman & author, 1608-1661) once said, “Good clothes open all doors”.
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