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For Professional Women, Does Dress Code In The Workplace Matter?

Author : Seth Persily

Submitted : 2010-01-02 02:29:19    Word Count : 526    Popularity:   63

Tags:   professional women, dress code work

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Every day professional women come across literally hundreds of articles in magazines, on the net and in blogs telling us how we should dress. Does it really matter? Well, yes and no. What we wear as professional women does make a statement and an impression, of that there is no doubt. No woman should be a slave to ‘corporate fashion’ though.

Most people would agree that the most important thing in selecting your professional clothing is to not detract from people seeing you, the professional who has ideas and value. Does this mean we should all go around wearing the gray, navy or black classic suit? Of course not! That is ‘safe’ clothing. If you want to be safe go ahead.

The safety of classic gray, navy and black do work though in clearly portraying the image that you are dressed for work, not play, and they don’t distract. Professional women simply don’t turn up at the office in short, short skirts and super low cut blouses with jewelery dangling all over them, reeking of cheap perfume and chewing gum. Most women don’t need to be told that. Most women don’t need to be told that showing up in gym gear is inappropriate for a corporate seminar either. We are not stupid.

One of the professional women s issues that often comes under discussion is being taken seriously, but also being authentic. If you aren’t comfortable in the clothes you wear you won’t come across as genuine. Sequins and see through blouses may be distracting and ‘not serious’ but there is nothing wrong with a strong splash of color in your wardrobe. A bright jacket can say ‘I am strong and I have something to say’.

Making your own professional wardrobe decisions can also show that you are confident enough to be yourself and know your own mind. If you are comfortable in flat heels, who is anyone else to tell you it is ‘wrong’?

Unfortunately, while women make wonderful leaders and collaborators, many of them can also be scathing when it comes to clothing. Much more than men, it is women who give each other the once over and make quick judgments based on dress. Each woman needs to decide for herself how important that is in the greater scheme of her career.

Most professional women are well aware of how to dress appropriately for different occasions, but it no corporate occasion needs to be a fashion parade either. Dressing well is part of your whole presentation as a professional woman, but there is no need to be dictated to by the latest professional fashions. Holding yourself well and speaking well can allow you to carry off whatever style you choose.

Yes how professional women dress is important, following the ‘must have’ trends is not. You are the professional and it is up to you what image you portray to others. Choose what you want to wear, what makes you feel empowered and/or comfortable. Hold your head high and get on with what you are really there for.

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Sylvia Marks is a leading contributor on issues facing professional women in the workplace. She is a proud member of NAPW, The National Organization of Women. Her views are not those of NAPW. You can learn more about NAPW at http://www.merchantcircle.com/business/NAPW.516-877-5500.

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