As a businesswoman – and as a woman – you’re often put in situations with unwritten dress codes, and you need to figure out quickly what you should be wearing to make yourself feel comfortable, confident and ready to take on the world!
This would be hard enough for anyone, let alone with the added pressure than comes from being a woman, and presenting a confident, authoritative presence in the male-dominated world of business. Just 27% of small business owners are women, and the statistics are also low for women in other forms of business. You need to be able to stand out from the crowd, and so below are a few tips for the most common situations, both in the office and outside it, to help you navigate your wardrobe and always feel at your best.
Now, this obviously depends on where you work and what the atmosphere is there – a small indie start-up is going to have a very different dress code to a multinational banking corporation! However, there are definitely some basic rules for any office environment. Basic trousers work well with any ensemble, and skirts can be above the knee – but only just! Shirts or tops are fine, as long as they don’t have obvious logos or image on them. Heels are a fantastic way to make yourself feel powerful and confident, but remember to keep them practical – nothing undermines confidence like feeling unsteady on your feet!
So you’ve got an important meeting – a job interview, or a big review, or a report in front of your superiors. It’s easy to let this play on your mind and feel like you need to dress for the occasion – and then worry that you’ve gone overboard and overdressed! In this minefield, there are a few simple rules to make sure you strike that perfect balance. The most useful item to focus on will be your top or shirt – wear something a little bit more special than usual (perhaps a different or nicer material), and choose a colour that complements your eyes or skin tone. Aside from this, don’t worry too much! You don’t need extra make-up, or higher heels – you are a professional, and as long as you look smart and presentable, it’s your words that will do the talking.
Working From Home
On the other end of the spectrum, if you’re working from home there are also choices to be made. Spending all day in your pajamas might be the dream, but it doesn’t help your productivity one bit – but getting into your shirt, work trousers and heels might feel like overkill. The key here is to pair comfort with something that makes you feel awake and ‘at work’. Try cotton trousers, or a lighter skirt, and a top instead of a shirt to let yourself relax a little whilst still separating work life from home life!
If you’re going to exercise straight after work, you’ll need to take a change of clothes with you. Whilst it might be obvious for some forms of exercise (swimming, for example!) there are others that present more difficulties. What to wear to yoga class is a constant question – the answer is comfortable, flexible clothes and trainers… but a top tip is to invest in some high quality leggings, so you feel as put-together and confident in your class or the gym, as you do in the office!
Work Night Out
This is the one most people worry about the most, and yet it is also the simplest – the work night out. You want to look good, to let your hair down a bit, but you have to keep the respect of your colleagues, and your authority in the office. Two simple rules are to avoid exposing too much skin, and once again keep those heels a reasonable height – no one wants the embarrassment of falling over at the Christmas party! Other than this, take the opportunity to express your personality and show your co-workers who you are when you’re not in your smart shirt and skirts. You are a business woman, but you are also a woman, and everyone needs to have their own sense of style – as long as it makes you feel good, it’s a winner!