As a nationally-recognized publicist and executive coach, perfecting someone’s image is Soni Dimond’s business. But it’s also her passion. “Some people run to relax, I play dress up. Dress up is my sport,” she jokes.
And when it comes to playing dress up, she’s a starter on the varsity team. Dimond has helped many top executives nail their outfits for investor and stockholder meetings. She’s even helped “Jeopardy’s” most successful contestant of all time with his look. Recently, the part-time Naples resident sat down with the Fox 4 Morning Blend team to talk about how to behave at upcoming holiday gatherings. But forget knowing how to act. We wanted to know the more important thing: how Dimond suggests we dress.
Are there similarities for how you should behave and how you should dress at your company Christmas party?
Absolutely. People have long memories for how you behave at holiday parties and that’s true for dress too. My first piece of advice is that hemlines are like temperatures: if they’re too high or too low, you’re going to be uncomfortable. But also, keep it simple — as simple as possible. I know it’s tempting to want to throw on everything you love, but that’s not always appropriate.
What mistake do you see people making the most often at fancy galas?
Wearing things that don’t fit well. When you put something on, make sure you look at it from every angle, not just the front and the side. Sit down in it and see where the hemline falls. Have a stranger in the dressing room give you their honest opinion. Not a friend or the sales person, who has an obvious bias, but a stranger. Ultimately you want to be comfortable; you don’t want to be in shoes that don’t fit and have a pained look on your face all night. If something doesn’t quite fit, don’t wear it.
What’s your No. 1 tip for dressing for a big event?
Plan ahead. Pick your outfit but then think, ‘what am I going to accessorize with?’ Know what you’re planning before the day of the event. And a few days before make sure your dress is steamed, look at it from every angle, make sure it’s all set. That way you’ll never have that last minute panic of pulling your dress out and realizing it needs to be dry-cleaned.
What if you’ve got a whole list of holiday parties to attend; is it possible to reuse an outfit?
It depends. People tend to remember anything that’s really unique or has a bold pattern. Those dresses are awesome, you’ll get a ton of compliments on them, but you also can’t really reuse them. If you choose a solid color dress, you can easily change the look with a wrap or a neat scarf. Get a great solid dress and then make sure you have a few different ways to wear it.
What other things should people keep in mind?
Know your strengths and your weaknesses. For me, I don’t love my legs, so I tend to wear a lot of long skirts and long pants. I’m very tall and lean, so I have these spider arms. I’ll often wear a larger cuff with a sleeveless dress and that helps to take up some of that real estate. If you love your shoulders, show off your shoulders. If you don’t love your legs, it’s OK not to show them. Go with what makes you feel good. Ultimately, the way you feel is the way you present yourself to the public.