Women Dressing for Success in the Workplace

As a woman in today’s workplace, do you feel like you are a little more scrutinized in what you wear than your male counterparts?

While women would like to think they are judged for their brains and skills and not their appearance, there is little doubt there are still some offices where what female employees wear to work is given greater scrutiny than men.

In a setting where standard company uniforms like a hospital or eatery usually means no big deal, other venues can lead to an array of options for dressing up or dressing down.

For women dressing for the office or to attend a work-related business function, it is important to dress the role without pushing the envelope.

While a number of women no doubt enjoy the attention they get in the office or at a business function, drawing too much negative attention is not a good routine to get into.

When females are dressing for the office, the most important thing to remember is who your audience is, especially if you are in sales and will be having contact with current and prospective clients.

Don’t Be Tempted for the Model Look

If you work in a setting where you will be coming in contact with clients on a regular basis, do not dress like a model.

Yes, it is okay to be attractive in your presentation, but be sure you’re not flaunting too much so that the client is more interested in your wardrobe than what you and your company have to offer. Not being taken seriously can kill that opportunity to pitch a product and/or make a sale.

Next it is a good idea if there are other females in the office to pattern your clothing appearances after them. That holds true assuming they dress in a professional manner and not something deemed too risky. The last thing you want is for a client to disregard your intelligence and think that you’re the next pinup model.

Another no-no is showing up on a regular basis in clothing that is too loud. While a purple fluorescent outfit may work well for a night out on the town, you are showing up for work, not a movie premiere. On the flip side, it is not advisable to show up for work wearing bland colors that make you appear drab and unwelcoming.

Does Age Factor into What to Wear?

Age also plays a role in how women should dress for their 9 to 5 routine.

If you are in your 40s, 50s or older, do not try and dress like a woman just out of college. If you want to be taken seriously don’t try and live your past in front of your co-workers and/or clients.

At the end of the day, common sense plays the most pivotal role in how your dress for jobs.

Remember, if you think something you’re going to wear will by any means call too much attention to you, keep it in the closet.

Dave Thomas writes extensively for Business.com, an online resource destination for businesses of all sizes to research, find, and compare the products and services they need to run their businesses.

Views: 2303

Comment by Dave Thomas on February 28, 2012 at 1:37pm

Sorry you feel that way.... thank you for your feedback however....

Comment by Linda Ferrante on February 28, 2012 at 2:58pm

I originally clicked on this article because I thought it was a joke.  A throwback to a simpler time; something that woudl have us considering how things have changed over the years....something....relevant.  Imagine my surprise when I read the article and it was actually about telling women how they should dress!

I read through the comments and I heard where people are coming from so I won't go there.  I did want to reiterate a story I heard a year or so ago that I found to be somewhat similar.

A marketing firm posted a blog about the best way to have major impact with their website, fb page and LI page.  They claimed to be experts (XX years in the business) and deemed this as 'must follow' advice.  One of their readers actually did their homework and then called the company out for not taking their own advice.  There were inactive links, typos, missing contact info, etc. all over their social media presence.  The company's response?  That was our plan!!  We did that on purpose to generate conversation!!

I'm pretty sure it backfired as I, and many others, stopped following them immediately.  Lost all credibility with a poorly written, poorly executed 'gotcha, at least you're talking about us' plan.  To be more effective, Dave, I would have loved to see an article about both sexes and perhaps an acknowledgement that men make just as many poor attire choices as women do, or not differentiating between them at all. 


Comment by Sandra McCartt on February 28, 2012 at 3:08pm

Comment by Sandra McCartt on February 28, 2012 at 3:09pm

The girls have gotten together brother Dave.  Now figure out which one of us is wearing these today and , uh eat your heart out chump.  :)

Comment by Dave Thomas on February 28, 2012 at 3:11pm

that is a nice look and would definitely make one stand out when meeting with clients. :)

Comment by Sandra McCartt on February 28, 2012 at 3:18pm

I haven't had this much fun since a bus load of lawyers went over a cliff and all the seats were full.  I just love men who give women unsolicited advice about how to dress, act and/or anything else.  I wish i had a boatload of them.  I am told the Bermuda Triangle is great for cruising this time of year. 

 You might try a blog telling men that baseball caps are not a fashion statement and a gentleman takes his hat off in the house.  My surpressed desire is to walk through a restaurant and knock those obnoixious things off of every idiot male who thinks a baseball cap is left on his uncombed head no matter where he is.

Comment by Dave Thomas on February 28, 2012 at 3:19pm

i will line up with you to do just that. i am even more offended when men (especially) do not remove their caps for the national anthem.

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on February 28, 2012 at 3:39pm

LOL why Sandra those are lovely... :) I'm willing to bet she's hiding a tattoo on her ankle too.

Comment by Linda Ferrante on February 28, 2012 at 5:45pm

Love those shoes!!!  Rock it, Sandra!

Comment by Sandra McCartt on February 28, 2012 at 6:14pm

Actually there are several of us wearing the same shoes today. Not planned on purpose but may have been inspired by the pablum put forth by brother Dave.   One of my clients just asked me where i got them he wants a pair for his wife.  He really liked the matching vest i'm wearing and the matching handbag.  Said he really wished that more women in business would upgrade their wardrobe and get away from all dressing alike in basic brown stuff.  Oh and Dave as a well paid image consultant and corporate etiquette wonk, i need to mention to you that women do not take their hats off when the national anthem is played or in church or anywhere else it is appropriate to wear them.  It is considered a mark of respect for a lady to cover her head in church or when the national anthem is played.  so not sure what you meant by men (especially) not removing caps. 

Just placed a medical sales rep who blew the gals in HR away as well as the hiring managers because she had on a gorgeous animal print blazer.


@Amy ssshhhh would that tat say , "save me from dumb men"


@ Linda Rockin it cutie, that pic happens to be Miss Amy.  LOL mine actually have some bling on them as well as animal.  Stuff happens.  We don't stand out, we just stand up tall on those 4 inch heels.


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