There are two facts we must all realize and embrace: women have curves and fashion is adaptable. That being said, nowhere is it written that a female must try to hide her curves (or overly showcase them) to get ahead. So if you find yourself in a work environment that is highly male dominated or not very fashion-forward, it is OK to still dress like a lady – simply learn how to adapt your outfit according to your comfort levels (i.e. not as fitted, pant suits vs dress suits, etc). What one industry deems appropriate, another may not, and that is where common sense must come into play. Work day attire should be just that – appropriate for the day. Short skirts, tight blouses, sky-high stilettos should be saved for the evening and for events that are not work-related. Nothing is wrong with these options outside of the hours of 9-5, but they are not exactly going to give you a professional image while on the job, and such, should be avoided.
Depending on your profession, your daily uniform may either be dictated for you (i.e. nurses in scrubs) or you have free reign. Wield this power judiciously. Depending on what your day will entail – standing vs sitting, walking vs driving, engaging with others or flying solo – you should tailor your wardrobe accordingly. Also, if you will be with key decision makers or VPs who are above your pay grade, remember that what you are wearing, whether you want it to or not, reflects on who you are. So don’t wear that white shirt with a stain on it or that skirt that needs to be ironed. Take pride in what you have on so much so that your mother would be proud. Looking well put together doesn’t mean you have to have your hair and make-up on point or be wearing the most expensive shoes, it means wearing things that fit your body and complement your shape so that you exude an aura of confidence and grace. Stay away from the clothes that “eat you up” – those that are simply way too baggy or big. Keep the 6″ heels in the closet if you can’t walk normally in them. Invest in some key pieces, like a good pair of black slacks, that you can wear on numerous occasions by pairing them with different tops and shoes. Also find a good suit that you can throw on for those occasions where you need to look like the boss lady that you are. Just remember, you don’t have to spend a million bucks to look like one.
From the industries of sales and marketing to technology and engineering, females can have varying ideals on what is and what is not appropriate for the work place. Yet no matter which field you find yourself, there is never a need to look frumpy to fit in. Men have it easy, slacks and a shirt tend to be their daily uniform and no one bats an eye while women often operate in an unwritten world of rules that govern their dress. Unless there is an explicit dress code for your work space, feel free to use some creativity in what you wear to work. If suits are required, invest some money in a well-tailored suit that FITS your shape, not one that hides your shape. If you prefer dresses to pants, then purchase ones that are complimentary to your figure without being too tight or revealing. If you like heels, then wear them, just make sure they aren’t too high or difficult to walk in, yet if you prefer flats, then so be it! If you feel as though skirts are most comfortable then find some with a hemline that works for your height without being too short. Some great stores for women are Macy’s, Nordstrom, Marciano, White House Black Market, TJ Maxx, and even JCPenney. Just look for a few quality pieces that can be worn in different ways or can be paired with different shirts and shoes to create a new look all together.
Your professionalism while at work should be showcased by the talent and knowledge you bring to the job. What you wear is simply an extension of who you are, so make sure you look professional. It is possible for your work wardrobe to be stylish; you just have to put some thought into what you wear and how you wear it. Be creative but play within the rules of being classy AND professional. Switch it up. One day wear a dress and then the next wear a suit. Another day try a skirt followed up by pants. Wear a billowy dress and then a pencil skirt. Try on some cigar pants and then enjoy a pair of wide-legged trousers. Grab some magazines and browse them for inspiration or log onto the internet and google examples of stylish ways to play up the items already in your closet. Bottom line – embrace being a female and that fact that you have curves. Find those items of clothing that make you feel confident and capable and wear them like the professional that you are!