This blog post is by Kelly Perri, ReBoot Accel’s new Digital Media Project Manager. Welcome Kelly!
At ReBoot Accel we believe confidence is an important part of a woman’s return to work after a career pause. So we invited Harvey Helms, Master Stylist, to share his style and makeup tips to women returning to their careers at ReBoot Accel’s Pinot and Presence pre-holiday party in Silicon Valley.
Harvey started as Revlon’s first male beauty advisor and spent the past 30 years at powerhouse style brands Donna Karan, Luxottica Milan Eyewear, Ralph Lauren and L’Oreal.
Most recently, Harvey founded Harvey Helms Beauty and launched a line of luscious beauty products in Fall 2016. Harvey’s product line infuses style with technology to support each woman’s personal journey.
“Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing we will ever do.” Brene Brown
Harvey is a role model for courage and authenticity. Harvey’s advice was as much about showing up in the world confidently as it was about impeccable style and labor-free makeup routines.
What follows is Harvey’s wisdom about style, makeup, and women advocating for women. Enjoy!
Harvey Helms On Style
Harvey built a career by helping women feel good about how they look and how that bolsters their confidence. His philosophy is simple and accessible.
“I want women to be confident and stay on trend but not look like a Millennial, in attitude or makeup. I’m not here to tell women what to do.” Harvey Helms
Instead of buying “outfits”, select “silhouette” pieces that can be mixed and matched for wear in multiple situations. A silhouette-inspired wardrobe should include 8 to 12 pieces to give you 15 to 20 different looks.
Harvey says to start by looking at the mish-mash in our closets (“ladies, you know it’s in there.”)
“You all have ideas about yourselves that are crazy and you know I’m right! Be realistic about your body. Say this body is the one I got and move on — stop judging yourself!” Harvey Helms
Harvey’s expert advice for 12 silhouette pieces, along with some signature sass:
#1 A crisp white blouse that fits your body type. White balances everything; buy two because you will layer this piece with others.
#2 Sweater or top in black, navy, charcoal. “This is the piece that you hate when it’s in your hamper — buy more than one, ladies!” Black never disappears from the style scene. Wear it over a white blouse and to make it fun, include some type of arm treatment.
#3 One black jacket (and if it’s great and on sale, buy two). “The work world is more casual today. Don’t believe the runway when they tell you padded shoulders are in!” Remember that black fabrics fade with wear and can look tired so keep it fresh. Choose the weight of the jacket carefully. If you run hot, choose a lighter fabric; if you run cool, go for heavier weight.
#4 Longer, mid-thigh dark sweater for layering over the white blouse, with trousers or jeans. “This is what you wear when you feel bloated and need some coverage!”
#5 The black trouser trifecta. You need one straight legged, one boot cut and one capri pant in black and you’ll be prepared for any situation. And remember, “don’t shop when you’re bloated, sad, mad at your husband or need coffee.”
#6 Skirt. Try one that is swingy at the hemline. Or pair a black cotton skirt with leggings for a casual look. Leggings? Yes, but only fresh and fitted ones. Ban the sag.
#7 Dark, rinsed denim jeans. “You know you have 5 to 10 pairs of jeans in your closet but only one that you like. Keep the one you like and get rid of the rest.” Stay away from acid-washed denim and, yes, you can wear white all year long! “Ladies, If you have to lay down to get your jeans on you’re not doing it right! Concentrate on comfort so you feel good about yourself!”
#8 Sheath tops to pair with a jacket, skirt, trouser or sweater. Purchase black, white and other neutrals. Try a longer length with some sway at the bottom. Experiment with print and color but be careful to avoid a matronly look. “Maybe it’s not the right one if it makes you seasick.” LOL.
#9 Denim jacket. This is a convincing way to dress youthfully. Think of a denim as a neutral but don’t pair denim with denim (yes, we know it’s on the runway) unless you’re going for a “Hello, Patsy Cline!” country-western look.
#10 A dark puffer vest pairs with a white shirt or sweater for a comfy, casual look. “Uniqlo has a thin, sleek version so you avoid a puffy, Michelin Man vibe”.
#11 Little black dress or sheath. Perhaps one with a little flair or a flirty hemline; have some fun with this piece.
#12 Dark trench coat. Trenches always make a statement and will always be in style. Go for a fitted look with this piece but one with lots of stretch so you can move around comfortably.
For interviewing, Harvey says to research the culture of the organization you want to work for. Look at corporate photos to see what the employees are wearing before you decide what to wear to the interview.
“If you feel good, wear it. Use fashion as a way to say to interviewers, here’s who I am and this is what you’re getting.” Harvey Helms
Harvey Helms On Advocating For Women
Besides being capable and engaging, Harvey is an unabashed advocate for women. His magic? He understands how confidence plays a crucial role in women’s success. Being true to who you are is a Harvey Helms maxim and ReBoot Accel wholeheartedly agrees.
Harvey realizes returning to work after a pause can be daunting, especially in the Silicon Valley bubble. He asks himself the same questions women ask themselves during their return: “Did I become invisible? Am I still relevant?” Harvey answers for us all, “Ladies, it’s what’s on the inside that matters.”
“Find your favorite five — women who will do the things they say they’re going to do to help you — and stay connected. Women must support one another.” Harvey Helms
While I was interested in Harvey’s style and makeup tips, I was as inspired to watch a master of authenticity and courage share his talent. Harvey’s parting words:
“Find confidence in yourself. The world needs special people to step out of their box and step up to the plate. The world is asking you to think about yourself differently. Now.” Harvey Helms
I urge you take Harvey’s advice. Own your story and be brave in your return to work. And let’s celebrate the upcoming holiday season in style and with an abundance of confidence. Thank you, Harvey!
Are you a job seeker returning to or pivoting your career? What’s next for you?
Check out ReBoot Talent JOBS. We proactively work with companies across the USA that are seeking skilled, mature talent returning to their careers. This is continually updated, so check back frequently.
Subscribe to ReBoot Kickstart, our new and FREE online training program with over 20 lessons, worksheets, and videos to help job seekers successfully return to and pivot their careers.
Connect with us!
- For support and advice from like-minded women, join the ReBoot Accel Discussion Group on Facebook
- For a weekly injection of return-to-work resources and tips, sign up for our newsletter
- For real stories from real returners, visit our testimonial page
- Stay current by following us on Facebook and Twitter @rebootaccel, and on LinkedIn
Prior to ReBoot Accel, Kelly Perri excelled in talent acquisition management, project management and vendor relations in the tech space. While pausing her career to raise her family, Kelly created and sold mixed media/collage art and studied encaustic painting and letterpress printing. She also contributed as a PTO president and board member at her kids’ schools. As a lifelong reader and writer, Kelly is obsessively curious about how individuals find work that animates their best selves and propels them toward their unique and highest good. Kelly is exploring a pivot toward the writing, editing, content creation and digital media arena and we couldn’t be happier to welcome her into a Digital Media Project Manager Returnship to promote ReBoot Accel’s effort to help women become current, connected and confident in their return to the workplace.