CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Last week, the West Virginia Women's Commission hosted "Navigating our Futures: Women's Day at the Legislature," a two-day event that featured workshops, panel discussions on women's issues and advocacy, and guest speakers -- including WV Style Team contributor Jen Wood Cunningham.
Cunningham, also the interim director of university relations and communications at West Virginia University Institute of Technology, presented "Dress the Part: Putting Your Best Foot Forward" to an audience ranging in age from early teens to seasoned adults.
Expert advice on how to make a great first impression, how to stylishly flatter any body type, and tips for feeling comfortable in a business situation were all part of the presentation.
Physical appearance is important because first impressions are made within seven to 17 seconds of meeting someone -- and more than 50 percent of that is based on what someone looks like, Cunningham stressed.
"I want no distractions," she said. "I want people to pay attention to what I am saying and my qualifications."
Two models, Morgan Robinson and Amy Boggs, helped illustrate some of Cunningham's tips and shared the body shape they identify with to help the audience better understand a flattering fit.
"It is important to be able to express individuality without detracting from your personal ability," said Cunningham, adding that you want to stand out in an employer's mind for the right reasons and not for a fashion faux pas.
But, she said, it isn't about the cost of your wardrobe or the name brand on your accessories.
"A way to make a difference and stand out is not about the designer you have on. It is about the feeling knowing you look good gives. It is about what is in your heart and in your head and making sure that is exemplified by what is on the outside."
Cunningham offered a slew of practical fun tips, including: