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: 2298

Comment by Sandra McCartt on February 28, 2012 at 6:17pm

and have you ever seen a kid try and roast marshmellows, catch one on fire then proclaim.."I like my marshmellows burned."  Nuff said.

Comment by Dave Thomas on February 28, 2012 at 6:20pm

Oh those etiquette folks, lol.... Equal rights, equal treatment etc. sounds to me like both sexes should honor their country and the playing of its national anthem. That, however, is topic for another blog. :) p.s. Glad I inspired several of you today too.... keep rocking!

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on February 28, 2012 at 6:59pm

Not gonna lie those shoes are hell to walk too far in but luckily I have a job where I get to sit down a lot. :) I have a pair of floral print stilletos, very similar in style that I have worn to my last few job interviews... I've nailed every one. I've had them for years and the day those shoes wear out will be a sad one.

Back to the point - "dressing for success" is dressing in a way that makes you feel empowered and fits the environment. If I was a forklift driver those shoes might not be such a good idea. Recruiter for an IT company? It works.

Comment by Sylvia Dahlby on February 28, 2012 at 8:41pm

Appearances do matter. Dress for success is not dead.

Comment by Paul Alfred on February 29, 2012 at 7:46am

I love it when a woman dress for success and if you got it flaunt it .. Because in the end when we sit down to talk about why you're worth the $150k base +30% bonus I am going to be listening intently on how you articulate those thoughts to my clients ...  If you look like a model Greattttttttttttttttttttttt ..... Men are the ones with the problem ...

Comment by Sandra McCartt on February 29, 2012 at 10:41pm

That would be why i love and adore Paul.  He gets it!

Comment by Debbie Daum on March 2, 2012 at 10:55am

@ Dave

I agree with Lisa. This article should have been directed at both men and women.

From my experiences, it's the men that need more help with choosing appropriate workplace attire. And you being a man, it does seem rather condescending.


Comment by Sylvia Dahlby on March 2, 2012 at 5:48pm

With the increased use of video - I predict we'll see a return to more professional biz attire even for those who work from home like me. I often get asked if I come to work in my PJs and bunny slippers, and the answer is NEVER. Part of putting myself in the "work mode" frame of mind includes getting dressed, combing my hair & looking presentable even if I don't set foot outside all day. As more employers are using Video Interviews for screening, and Video on their websites to promote employment - employees & candidates are going to want to look their best & that includes dressing appropriately. And whatever you wear, I for one think personal grooming never goes out of style. And don't forget that the most important thing to wear every day is a SMILE.

Comment by Sylvia Dahlby on March 2, 2012 at 5:51pm
Comment by Dave Thomas on March 2, 2012 at 5:58pm

During the year and a half that i was laid off, I worked from home as a freelancer. I always made it a point to dress appropriately at home, keep the same work hours I had in a corporate job, etc. Being in the "work mode" was always important. Thanks for reading!


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