It’s no surprise men often have the upper hand in business meetings but how far should, or do, women go to flaunt “what their mama gave them?”
Even today, I often fight the “I’m the female in the office” stereotype. I work with a bunch of men; I am the only woman in my office. I have often been called “the marketing gal” and sometimes wonder if I was hired to keep the guys in line. I don’t get invited to go duck hunting or golfing (not that I know or am good at either) but I am often left out and I know these types of events are when the important conversations happen. So then what am I, and most women, to do? Do we use our female assets?
I am well endowed but that doesn’t mean I use my female assets to get ahead and it doesn’t mean you should either. I work in a casual environment but I am often the one who is most dressed in business-professional attire. I wear dresses and skirts, high heels, jewelry and often have a signature red lip; however, I try not to show my cleavage. I leave the low-cut tops for a night out.
Women today struggle with making themselves known in the office and while I am the first to say you should wear dresses, skirts and heels, I think you need to do so with some class. I have never been a suit and buttoned-up shirt kind of girl – I tried and it wasn’t me. I tried heels that don’t make noise and that wasn’t me either. I have found heels, patterned tights and fashion jewelry are how I express and brand myself, as are dresses. I am almost always in a dress, not often in pants. I have never been a pants person but also because I use the femininity of a dress to my advantage.
I am also careful not to wear anything too tight. Some days I probably wear something tighter than my conservative mother would like but I am fully aware of my whole wardrobe when I do.
I also look at my position in the company and think every woman needs to do the same. We have heard the old adage “dress for the job you want” but I am in the top job so I do have to watch my wardrobe. If and when I have staff below me, I need to set an example for the dress code. I need to coach people to understand business-casual and business-professional and how to walk the fine line when being business-casual; that is my role as an executive. It is also my role to help my staff learn so they can be in a similar position some day.
Besides heels, dresses, skirts, lipstick and jewelry, a woman can still manage to feel sexy by wearing her risqué undergarments. Don’t save the lace and silk for the weekends, wear them during the week! No matter our size we feel confident when we leave the granny panties behind for a little lace. Knowing we have our “sexy underwear” on makes us feel confident no matter what is over it. It changes us; it changes our confidence level and how we present ourselves. So why not use that to our advantage in the boardroom?
All of this said, it also depends on your industry. I know lawyers tend to layer more and wear black, especially in the courtroom. If you are in fashion you can push the envelope a little more to be on trend but I doubt fashion executives are wearing very revealing tops.
What women should focus on besides their assets is their physical and social attractiveness. Beauty is important – we all know a first impression matters – as are your social skills. Having good dress sense, social skills, fitness, and liveliness are all important in the boardroom. Flaunting your breasts will not help you get ahead.
And lets be real, men have figured out the office wardrobe. They don’t wear skintight shirts or tight jeans, so why should we?
Being a woman is a wonderful advantage to have, but being smart about being a woman is even more of an advantage. Leave the low-cut tops and unsightly high skirts at home and work your smarts and feminine appeal to get ahead.
Until next time stay classy, not sexy, at work!
~ xoxox KLC