Tag Archives: casual

Fashion In Business Settings

April 13, 2018 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

The worst thing I saw someone wear in a professional setting was a mini skirt with a backless blouse and tattoos showing when accepting an award,” says Gretchen Twohig, a lawyer at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska.

Many executives would agree. Tales of skintight leggings, flip-flops, and ripped jeans appearing in a professional office abound. Some reports blame millennials while others consider the cause to be the rise of tech startup culture, but the rules are clearly not as black and white as they were in the Mad Men era.

JP Morgan formally embraced the informal trend in 2016 when they created new guidelines that took their offices from being full of suits and ties to ones that allow “Casual pants, capri pants, business-appropriate casual shirts, and polo shirts,” among other trends.

The variety even happens within industries. Nicole Seckman Jilek, a trial attorney at Abrahams Kaslow & Cassman law firm, wears a suit and pantyhose every day. If she wants to add a personal touch to her workwear, she uses accessories, especially black high-heeled pumps.

“If I’m going to be appearing in front of a judge or a jury, I’m probably going to choose a more conservative suit in a more conservative color: black, navy blue, some sort of neutral color,” she says. “But I do have a few of what I call ‘power suits’ that are emerald green and a couple of red suits. So depending on the circumstances, sometimes those red suits can project a more confident image than an all-black suit.” 

Jilek works in a setting that requires her to speak with a variety of clients.

“If I’m going to cross-examine or depose a difficult male witness, I may not want to wear certain colors because I want to come across stronger and bolder and more confident.”

Her personal preference to wear pantyhose every day doesn’t mean she finds it unprofessional if other women don’t. Jilek considers being too casually or youthfully dressed as crossing the line in a business formal setting.

Color choice can push the boundaries of acceptable business formal attire, too.

“There are certain circumstances that are the utmost professional setting, such as a jury trial, so I stay away from wearing a lot of color [in those instances],” Jilek says.

Twohig, on the other hand, works at a business casual workplace. She often wears accessories like jewelry, or brightly colored or patterned shoes.

She deems short skirts, anything with holes, or faded jeans as inappropriate for the workplace. Even dark jeans are pushing it.

Jeans, incidentally, are on the rise again, in terms of their prevalence and their waistlines. The 2018 spring fashion trends show everything from higher-waisted jeans paired with fuchsia blazers to jeans-style pants in sequined materials.

Michael Curry, a customer service training specialist and coworker of Twohig at Blue Cross Blue Shield, is known for having a playful sense of style.

Curry’s favorite way to express his personal style is with a boldly colored watch, belt, or shoes for that pop of color. He enjoys having more fashion options in a business casual environment like dressing down his outfit with a pair of white sneakers if he wants. But Curry also loves the polished look a tie can give when he needs to be at his best.

“My go-to work outfit when I need to feel confident is a cardigan over a button-up and tie with a tie clip, fitted slacks, leather band watch, eyeglass frames, and my signature fragrance,” he says. “I feel unstoppable.”

As workwear becomes more open to interpretation, the idea of acceptable fashion in business differs for each individual, and is only going to get more complicated, as millennials, who value personal expression over formality, rise to upper management and the conversations about gender identity and equal pay continue.

“Even at my office, there’s different dress codes,” Jilek says. “I wear different things depending on what I have on my calendar that day. I have a bunch of colleagues that also don’t meet with clients. They generally only see the people that we work with. So sometimes that can also justify a different look for them, but even under those situations, I always dress like I’m going to end up having a surprise important appointment or have to run down to the courthouse.”

And there’s another factor people sometimes don’t consider when hiring younger employees —those coming right out of college may not have much of a wardrobe budget.

“Early in my career, I didn’t have a lot of clothes to wear to work or the money to buy a lot of new things all at once,” says Twohig. “Now that I’ve been working for a long time, I have built a wardrobe.”

Even though Curry thinks jewelry should be minimal at work, he views a small eyebrow piercing or lip ring as still looking professional. Jilek sees fashion trends as a major influencer of what is considered acceptable business fashion.

“Ten years ago, you probably wouldn’t have seen any double-breasted jackets or suits in a store, but, in fact, I just saw a very successful, well-dressed evening news anchor wearing a double-breasted suit last week, and she looked great,” Jilek says.

Jilek, however, keeps her attention on the fact that she works in a professional setting.

“I’ve always kind of followed the mantra: dress for the job you want not the job you have,” Jilek says. “So if you want to be perceived as strong, confident, and capable—you need to dress like it.”

Nicole Seckman Jilek

This article was printed in the April/May 2018 edition of B2B.

Taxi’s Grille and Bar

October 24, 2014 by and
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Veteran Omaha restaurateur and chef Malcolm (Mac) Thompson opened Taxi’s in 2002 with the late Bill Johnette after their successful run at the much-celebrated Neon Goose. Over the years Taxis’s has also enjoyed considerable achievement and now Mac’s godson, Chase Thomsen, has taken over as Executive Chef. I had not been to Taxi’s for a while, so I decided to make a trip over there and see what’s cooking.

From the outside Taxi’s is not overly impressive, just another Omaha strip mall restaurant. Once inside it becomes obvious that great care is taken to keep this restaurant in top condition with a comfortable, casual, friendly, neighborhood vibe. All of the artwork, tables, chairs, serviceware, and other furnishings are above average quality and look much newer than the dozen years the restaurant has been open. The restrooms are also very impressive and clean. It may sound a little strange to a lay reader, but foodies know you can tell a lot about a restaurant and its operators by the condition of the restrooms.

Now for the best part of Taxi’s…the food! While many of the dishes on the menu spark memories from past dinners at Taxi’s, Chef Chase’s influence on the menu can be seen with several new dishes and some really creative specials. The wine list is well curated. Not too big. Not too small. There are some real gems on that list, and since I was in on Wednesday, all bottles were half price!

I went with the Troublemaker Blend from Paso Robles, Calif. ($20). It was excellent and went pretty well with everything I tried. They also have a full bar and nice beer selections. The service at Taxi’s has always been top-notch, and this visit was no exception.

 

 

 

My dining partner and I started off with the Waffle Fries ($8) and the Dijon Shrimp ($10). The Waffle Fries are basically a creative take on a poutine with a creamy chipotle sauce and melted Gorgonzola cheese. I can sum this one up in one word. Yum! The Dijon Shrimp is served escargot-style in a rich garlic butter topped with bubbling cheese and a crusty French baguette to sop up the butter.

I love this dish because it gives people a chance to see how divine a traditional escargot tastes without having to eat snails in the process, which is a put-off for many people.

I couldn’t have a meal at Taxi’s without having some of their Cabbage and Blue Cheese Soup ($4). This dish never ceases to amaze me. For an entrée, I tried one of the three specials in ordering Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp ($22). These large, grilled shrimp were stuffed with a sliver of jalapeno and wrapped with thick, crispy bacon before being served over Spanish-style rice and topped with a fresh mango salsa.

It was a fantastic combination.

My dining partner went the more traditional route and ordered the Beef Pot Roast ($16) off the menu. This is covered in a rich gravy and is served with Yukon Gold mashed potatoes, sauteed zucchini, carrots, and squash. This could very well be the best pot roast in Omaha. For dessert we sampled the Wild Berry Cobbler ($6). This scratch-made cobbler was served à la mode and was the perfect ending to another stellar meal at Taxi’s.

Many years ago when I was new in town someone told me that Taxi’s is the best neighborhood restaurant in Omaha. That’s a pretty tall order, but in my experience there is a lot of truth to that statement.

Go give it a try and see for yourself! Cheers!

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Dressing for the Holidays

November 21, 2013 by
Photography by Jim Scholz

‘Tis the season to celebrate the holidays! A time to decorate your home, your office, even your car with personal style. Then comes you, wondering what’s best to wear for your own family feasts and to holiday parties of all kinds.

When I was a child, dressing up for the holidays was very important in my family. We wore dressy clothes for family dinners and parties, and we dressed the table and the house according to the theme of the season. I loved the holidays and was impressed by what a difference dressing up for them made.

The holidays are no time to be lazy about what you wear. Three common events during the holidays are family gatherings, office parties, and glitzy celebrations. You want to be well dressed for all of them, and that requires special attention to detail.

For Family Gatherings

Dress to show respect for the event and each other. Remember, if your host says the event is casual, it doesn’t mean warm-ups and pilled, fleece sportswear. It can mean jeans, but only clean and fashionable ones worn with shirts and sweaters that are several notches above what you wear to relax on weekends. Even in your own home, a family celebration that shows effort and style will have a nicer feel for all if everyone is well dressed and well groomed.

For Office Parties

Office and company parties can present a quandary. Pay attention to the invitation and to the location of the party. Sometimes the invitation specifies the attire. Respect that and remember that you’re with co-workers and executives. It’s not your time to dress hot and sexy. Low cut and very short dresses do not belong. Too much cleavage and leg is taboo even for a beautiful 30-year-old. Tasteful is the way you want to present yourself.

When an invitation suggests business attire, it means, for men, a suit or a sport jacket with dress pants, a dress shirt, necktie, and dress shoes. A woman should wear a suit or a coordinating skirt and jacket, or pants and jacket with a pressed blouse or sweater. A sweater set with pants or a skirt also qualifies. A dress that looks professional does too. Accessories, shoes or boots (not sandals), and bags should coordinate with the clothing.

Casual is a word that confuses almost everyone. It means that whether you’re a man or a woman, the sportswear you choose should be neat, clean, pressed, well fitting, and coordinated. If the invite says dressy casual, that means guys wear a sport jacket too.

For Fancy Celebrations

New Year’s Eve is the party night that for many is the dressiest of the year. It’s the one night I actually think pajama parties are fun, but for most it’s black-tie-party time. That means the guys are to wear winter tuxedos, with the proper tux shoes and accessories. Women have options. They can wear a long gown, a tuxedo, elegant silk or tuxedo pants, classy tops, or cocktail dresses. Accessorize with your best jewelry for evening.

Cocktail means that guys wear a dark suit, with a dress shirt, a necktie, and a pocket scarf. Polished leather dress shoes are a must. For women, it’s easy. Wear a cocktail dress or suit, a stylish pantsuit, or pants with a chic top. Add jewelry, too. Your purse and shoes are very important. Only elegant ones are appropriate. The height of the heel doesn’t matter; it’s the style and finish of the shoe that does.

If you’re still in doubt, don’t be afraid to ask your host what to wear and dress accordingly.

Mary Anne Vaccaro is a clothing and product designer and an image consultant to businesses and individuals. www.maryannevaccaro.com She is also a sales consultant for Carlisle and Per Se, New York. www.carlislecollection.com

Sharon Hyer

August 29, 2013 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

When it comes to her work attire, Sharon Hyer, 53, is strictly business. But in no way does this mean the 20-year financial services veteran is ‘bearish’ on style.

“My office style is traditional,” says Hyer, vice president of Great Western Investment Center at Great Western Bank. “My goal is to keep my wardrobe simple and classic. Varieties of navy, gray, and black suits are my preference.” Von Maur is one of her favorite destinations for her high-end, elegant suits.

“I am not comfortable with ‘business casual.’ I don’t think I have ever worn short sleeves to the office,” says Hyer. “My customers expect me to be at the top of my game all the time. And I have found that if I stay polished in appearance, my mind stays sharp.”

Hyer does dress down on weekends, however. Though like her business attire, her casualwear is also well-coordinated with accessories. Form-fitting knits show off her great figure.

Hyer admits she requires a bit of mentoring when it comes to putting together fashion ensembles. “I have found a great little boutique called SKYZ [at The Shops of Legacy], where the owner actually helps me choose a modern blouse and jewelry to make my look polished. She can help me transform a classic day ensemble into a stylish outfit for an evening charity event (of which Hyer attends many).

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“We all have areas in which we excel. I’ll stick with making money grow, and Shelley at SKYZ can keep me looking great!” Hyer jokes.

The borderline workaholic—“My family has threatened to conduct a work ‘intervention’”—and self-professed financial news junkie says her passion is building relationships with clients and helping them achieve their financial goals. Taking good care of herself is one way she’s able to keep up her frenetic pace and her look so fresh.

“At my age, it’s essential my daily beauty routine revolves around moisturizing.” In addition to cleansing with Cetaphil and daily use of Estée Lauder moisturizer, she runs a cool-mist humidifier in her bedroom at night. “I always wear sun protector, but I do get a spray tan once in a while. And I get my nails done professionally, probably because it is the only time I sit and do absolutely nothing.”

She also eats extremely healthy—“no fried foods, and I bring an apple or orange to work and eat a hard-boiled egg and peanut butter toast every morning…yes, every single day!”

To stay fit, Hyer also walks a lot, does some weight-training at home, and enjoys doing yard work for exercise. “I’m blessed genetically…I’ve been the same size as long as I can remember. But make no mistake, if my clothes fit tight, I hit the gym. I invest money in quality suits and have no intention of going up a size.”

Hyer’s got ’em both—beauty and brains. And that’s a big part of her appeal. “When I go to the office, I pop up the hair for a look of elegance and sophistication. I don’t believe it’s wrong to want to look both pretty and smart.”

Millard Roadhouse

October 25, 2012 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

If homemade comfort food is what you crave—think golden fried chicken, creamy mashed potatoes and gravy, and pork tenderloin—look no further than a historic eatery in southwest Omaha. Grab a friend or two (or more, there’s plenty of seating) and head to the Millard Roadhouse.

Just a stone’s throw from 132nd and L streets, the Millard Roadhouse has been serving up stick-to-your-ribs lunches, dinners, and Sunday brunches since its owner, Mark J. Kitson, opened the restaurant in 1997.

Mark Kitson, owner.

Mark Kitson, owner.

With more than 20 years experience working in the dining industry, Kitson says the Millard Roadhouse personally provides him with the perfect professional balance: great food with the opportunity to continually meet new people and routinely see familiar faces.

On a steamy Friday afternoon in early summer, Kitson chatted with a handful of regulars who have found a home at the Millard Roadhouse. The menu, along with the relaxed atmosphere, keep patrons coming back each week, Kitson says.

A spacious restaurant with room to hold upward of 350 guests (children eat free on Monday nights), the Millard Roadhouse’s signature red-checkered tablecloths and Americana décor can make any party, large or small, feel right at home. Its signature Husker Room is a popular pick for larger parties, especially during football season.

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Kitson adds that the Millard Roadhouse often hosts pre-nuptial dinners and other family celebrations. The reason?

“We are very accommodating,” he says. “We see family dinners of 20, 30 people. Sports teams, too. We can make our layout work, hosting parties of up to 70 people. When a big group arrives, we make it work—even if they don’t have reservations.”

And while the space provides a relaxed and casual dining atmosphere, it’s the food that keeps Millard Roadhouse fans hungry for more, meal after tasty meal. A quick scan of the menu will leave anyone with taste buds salivating for what’s sure to be a memorable meal.

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“Everything here is homemade,” Kitson says. “It’s all from scratch…our homestyle breading, homemade mashed potatoes and gravy. We even have fresh-baked cookies.”

The onion rings are a popular appetizer, fried perfectly golden and served piping hot. During the summer months, fresh-baked pies are a signature dessert; apple and strawberry rhubarb are among the most-often ordered. Another decadent favorite is a dense (and delicious) chocolate and peanut butter pie, served atop thin ribbons of caramel with a pretty strawberry garnish.

Although the Millard Roadhouse’s broasted chicken dinner is a fan favorite, Kitson says his variety of steaks are always ordered, too: roasted prime rib, New York strips, and T-bones by Omaha Steaks, to name a few.

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The lunch buffet is served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday; and the popular Sunday brunch menu (featuring both breakfast and lunch favorites) is also served 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Tradition is a big part of the Millard Roadhouse history. Kitson says that today’s regular customers started dining at the restaurant as children with their parents. Today, the children are all grown up, bringing in their own children for lunch and dinner. They stop by, too, for happy hour during the workweek, ordering up a variety of cocktail specials.

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The building itself is historic, as well. At more than 100 years old, the Millard Roadhouse space is actually a combination of three adjoining buildings. At various points during the past 100 years, the buildings housed a number of local businesses: a post office, another restaurant, a barber shop, café, even a hotel and speakeasy. And part of Millard’s surrounding brick streets remain intact, giving the neighborhood a small town feel.

“We are Millard,” Kitson says of his restaurant. “We’re in the hub of Millard. I love that we support our heritage and our roots here in Omaha.”

Millard Roadhouse
13325 Millard Ave.
402-891-9292
millardroadhouse.com