Black, grays, browns and ‘smart’, neutral colors are common for a normal woman’s working wardrobe. Something simple and neutral; but the issue and questions at hand are:
Can you dress like a girly girl and be taken seriously in the workplace?
Does dressing ultra feminine and girly do damage to your professional career?
I’d hasten to assert that the way a woman dresses influences someone’s first impression of you, as with anything; but that being taken seriously in the workplace really has nothing to do with how you dress, but how you act and who you show up as. Please share with us your thoughts, experiences and opinions about ultra-feminine dress at work down in the comments section below. (read my article about how to be a lady)
Here is Oli’s story, a lovely reader who wrote in to me about this issue, to tell me all about how her change in wardrobe affected her time at work, and the surprising responses from men when she decided to change her work wardrobe to an uber-girly and/or feminine look:
Wanted to share an experience with you.
Over a year ago I decided to start dressing very feminine to work. I thought hard about what I had read over the years and followed; that to look polished and powerful and to be taken seriously particularly by men at the workplace, one had to avoid wearing girly dresses, avoid florals because they could undermine your authority and well wearing pink including hot pink to work and other soft feminine colors will make others at the workplace take you less seriously than they should. Well I got sick and tired of this and said to myself, if I am going to be all woman then I intend to be all woman at the workplace as well.
Anyway, I gave my work wardrobe a new look. I started wearing hot pink to work, high heels and feminine dainty footware, laces, lots of frills, feminine soft colors, sensual fabrics, wore mostly skirts and dresses, wore lots of florals…
The results over this time have been sensational. Before I go on I have to explain. I head a department full of men. My work is media related and you would think the dress code is relaxed at my workplace. It is not. The dress code is quite conservative.
Anyway all the men, including those in my department would pull seats for me to sit on and look aghast that i would be left to stand. They would rush to open doors for me. Offer to carry anything heavy. Honestly I felt like a princess (who happened to be a fairly strict boss as well)… Ha, Ha.. There was something else that amazed me however. Its that there was absolutely no loss in authority, simply because I choose to wear hot pink or florals to work. I know for a fact that I am respected for what I do at work. So then I thought to myself it isn’t true then when a women dresses very feminine at work, she gets disrespected just because she looks very feminine.
I admit there were a few men and believe it or not women, who misjudged me because of the very feminine way I would dress until I opened my mouth and we got down to business.
I remember within this time my dept. had an intern, a young lady who always dressed in jeans and t shirts. She surprised everyone when she suddenly appeared to work wearing very dainty feminine clothes. She did that for about a week. Believe it or not, I saw exactly the same reaction from surrounding males. They started to treat her like a lady, in every sense of the word, becoming extra thoughtful and protective of her.
Anyway the reason I brought up my ‘experiment’ is that I would be curious what other women would think about the style of our work clothes and if indeed wearing clothes that reflect the masculine really do women any good at the workplace or if wearing very feminine clothes at work hurts women’s
I would like to add that I made sure that my clothes were very modest looking. (The intern’s were feminine and modest as well).
By the way, the reactions of other women initially was not too good. Then in a few months I noticed that the other women, started wearing softer more feminine colors to work.
And that made me smile. I felt very happy.
Thanks for your lovely blog.”
What about you, lovely?
Do you dress very feminine to work? Do you think it’s a good idea for women to do this? Do you think dressing feminine undermines a woman’s authority in the workplace? Do you think men and/or women take women less seriously in the workplace if they dress very feminine?