As I dig and delve into the reasons why so many of my female clients hide themselves behind black and choose to blend in by wearing dark clothes with masculine tailoring (when they don't actually want to) I have discovered a problem which is bigger than I thought.
This choice is highlighting a common subconscious belief held by many women in the workplace. A belief that goes back many years and is impacting successful women in all areas of business.
THAT TO BE SUCCESSFUL THEY SHOULD DRESS AND ACT LIKE MEN
Caroline Holt, is the Attitude Coach and an expert on the Imposter Syndrome - the phenomena where fear of being found out as a fraud has talented professionals (men and women) putting huge pressure on themselves to perform and actually are resisting reaching higher, 'Much of corporate Britain is still set up according to masculine ways of doing business - and it’s not working. Women have an opportunity to change this. But only when they stop denying who they really are and take a stand for how they want to do success'.
As an experienced image expert I believe an instant and easy way of doing so is by DRESSING LIKE WOMEN, NOT MEN.
But HOW do women dress as women and'do success' especially when they step into an executive role in a high male to female ratio business and/or industry?
'I love colour (but) my professional wardrobe contains black, navy blue, grey suits and white shirts'. Finance Director Maria Anastase also told me that she fears showing off her female shape as she is worried that she will be judged and not taken seriously. Maria has been in the industry for 20 years. These are disturbing comments and indicative of many of my clients who wear black and opt for masculine style clothing even though they admit they don't feel good in these clothes. They feel that they hide.
There are two ways of resolving this but firstly women need to allow themselves to own their feminine self. Holt believes women are doing themselves a dis-service and diminishing their power when they pretend to be somthing they are not. Men are more likely to recognise, appreciate and respect a woman who is true to herself and owns and uses her powerful female energy.
In my extensive questioning of men in the work place I am always told that they actually have no judgment on a woman wearing colour or wearing a fitting dress if it is business-like for the business you are in. It is about looking professional not looking like you are going to a funeral.
TAILORING CHANGES EVERYTHING...
Material and tailoring change everything. A fitted dress that has an appropriate hemline for you to feel comfortable, a neckline that doesn't feel too low for you is fantastic for work if teemed with a jacket for more formal meetings. AND IT CAN BE IN ANY COLOUR YOU LIKE!
It's time to lose our colour labels and value bright colours for the statement they help us to make. It's not a colour that willl make us look visibly unprofessional it is the hemline, neckline, tight-fitting material that will do that (and alongside that we willl feel more casual).
After Maria's personal branding session with myself, executive coach Joella Bruckshaw and photographer Claire Gardner she stated,
'The lesson here is to be brave, to be noticed in a sea of other dark suits and be confident I will be taken seriously'.
To view her personal branding interview go to: https://youtu.be/AJXjYhWKz3U
Step into your female energy with strength, clarity and positivity of owning your own approach to business as a woman. The minute we try to change our image due to perceived pressure we are no longer taking 'a stand', we are in fact taking a backward step.
For more information on the personal branding experience Maria had, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org