Women shouldn't be just impressing at work but EXPRESSING their power & uniqueness in a feminine way.
Over the last 7 years I have consulted and conversed with over 500 women about the issue of workwear. For around 75% of those women their beliefs on how they need to dress for work are scarily similar, particularly in the management and excecutive roles in finance and legl professions.
Women overall feel they need to:
- BLEND IN AT WORK
- NOT STAND OUT AS WOMEN,
- DRESS IN A MORE MASCULINE WAY,
- WEAR DARKER COLOURS TO HIDE THEIR SHAPE AND FEMINITY
IN ORDER TO SUCCEED LIKE MEN.
For the male readers (and some female ones) this may be a staggering fact to absorb. But sadly it's true.
'My experience in the executive roles and in finance is that some women do feel they need to dress in black and dark clothes, dress like a man, to get the same respect and to be taken as seriously'. Lynn Riley, a senior management accountant.
This is a common mindset amongst so many and it is worrying, damaging and disastrous. By denying your feminine self and in fact positively covering and hiding yourself as a female
Many women have, sadly, created a self-imposed uniform. Generally of black, navy or dark grey dresses, suits and outfits which are creating a fundamental and negative impact on our energy , mindset and success as women in the workplace.
The cognitive impact of what we wear has been termed, and proven by Professor Karen Pine as 'Enclothed cognition'. And Wonder Woman is a great example. She manages to get away with wearing a very scant outfit which could be perceived as overtly sexy and suggestive but it doesn't because of how she wears it. It becomes armour because she wears it with confidence, positive attitude and power. Gal Gadot rocked the role and is continuing in reality to deal with misogyny. Women can look powerful, pretty and purposeful and this image is congruent to how most women want to feel but we need to be brave and do it!
During many of my conversations with female executives about dress one of the first points of reference have been the women they remember who stand out.
'I remember distinctly a female executive who visited from the States. She came in wearing bright colours, stunning dresses and gave all of us women a talk on how colour mattered and that we all need to be more confident in expressing ourselves with style and feminitiy. She was a great example and the impact was incredible. The confidence in the office soared'. H.Mclean, ex-Marketeer, London
If women dressed more authentically as the powerful gender that we are and lose the perceived fear of not being taken seriously the real differences would happen.
WOMEN NEED TO LOSE THE FEAR OF STANDING OUT,
NOT BEING TAKEN SERIOUSLY
AND NOT BEING HEARD.
We also need more role models like Michelle Obama, Maxine Waters, and Esther Stanhope (in the attached photograph). Esther is THE IMPACT GURU and encourages men and women to be more expressive and powerful in presenting, to embrace your charisma and improve your presence.
We have some incredibly powerful women in business and public service but they could do more to inspire by being more expressive visually in their personal brand and dressing with personality not dressing in the same old - suits and dresses in black, black and more black.
Discovering your best and 'true colours' and your unique style is the first step to dressing with expression and confidence so please get in touch if you would like to know more,
*TEDx Talk - 24th July 207