“Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” A familiar adage that has inspired entry-level employees to purchase their first suit and seasoned executives to have their clothing tailor-made. Professionals have been coached on how to “dress for success” for decades and nowhere has that message been made clearer than among professional women.
American women hold almost 52% of all management and professional level jobs and represent over 12 million businesses in the U.S. Propelled forward by skill and pure grit, women have overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles to take ownership of their career success and use their platform to inspire women following their lead.
If you look closer at the women disrupting the status quo, like Former First Lady, bestselling author, and style icon Michelle Obama, not only are they thought leaders and change agents, they are fashion forward artisans, crafting a personal brand that masterfully balances substance with style, and wielding that influence powerfully.
But you don’t have to take up residence in the White House to level up your fashion sense or run a Fortune 500 company...yet. You can dress impeccably right where you are by keeping a few things in mind as you build out your wardrobe.
Wardrobe choices matter.
Women in leadership, or aspiring to be, should be keenly aware that not only are your achievements on display when you walk in the room, so is your appearance. Whether you like it or not, people will make assumptions about you and your abilities based on the clothes on your back and the confidence in our stride.
When you feel good about your appearance, you are more confident in your ability to take on bigger challenges. You stop looking at your feet and walk boldly, head up, meeting decision makers eye to eye and taking on new projects at work.
So, select pieces that flatter your skin tone and accentuate your best features. Go for items that are both elegant and functional, perfect for the professional woman on the go. And treat yourself to a few bespoke pieces made to your unique measurements to ensure fit and ignite your confidence.
By upgrading your wardrobe, you send a strong signal that you’re ready to go to the next level, and now you have one of the most essential assets to help you get there – the look.
Dressing impeccably enhances what’s already there.
While clothing doesn’t make you who you are, they do help bring out the best of who you are. This boost in self-worth is palpable and can be felt by everyone around you. A well-dressed woman is a magnet, attracting the admiration of those in her circle and the envy of those on the outside looking in.
Despite a growing trend of more “relaxed, flexible attire” at work, women who give careful thought to their appearance not only honor themselves in that moment, but everyone she encounters and does so by presenting her best self at all times. These women understand the importance of having a uniform that defines who they are and what they believe about themselves. As Coco Chanel said, “Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.”
Building a reputation for impeccable dress not only gets you noticed but keeps you top of mind, which may lead to more opportunities down the road.
Photo credit: Dokk Savage