How to Dress Like a (Business?) Woman
The businesswoman is classy. She is simultaneously feminine and masculine, blurring gender boundaries while also following a strict code of dress unique to her position. Faultlessly polished, she operates in a world outside convenience and comfort - a world where she is powerful, but often only a vassal in a world of predominantly male feudal lords. Perhaps Ann Marie Sabath puts it best in her article in the Summer 2000 edition of BusinessWoman:
"Those who seem to be hand picked for promotions long ago figured out that their professional lives consist of one big job interview! And that includes when you begin a new position....One of the things that most of our Mothers never told us was to save those flowery prints and gingham checks for aprons rather than wearing them to work. Instead, prints that say, â€śI mean businessâ€? are better suited for the workplace. A safe rule of thumb for women to follow is to ask determine if the print would make a good tie for a man? If so, it probably would be equally as appropriate for business casual attire."
1. First, and certainly most important BE. RICH. Or, in the absence of funds, pretend to be rich. The business woman never admits her poverty. She soldiers on, wearing only the 'highest quality' garments, though during tough times she might need to cut down on the number of items, always focusing more on QUALITY QUALITY QUALITY. No synthetics here!
2. Don't be a 'slut'. According to Sabath, the business woman always follows the '11 inch rule': she makes sure there a skirt always has at least 11 inches of fabric covering the legs. With her world populated by powerful, amorous men, it is the business woman's responsibility to keep herself attractive, yet inaccessible, never drawing the stares of her coworkers. No matter how fantastic your job performance, no one's going to promote the cow if he can see more than a few inches of thigh for free!
3. For each asexual action the businesswoman must be equally feminine. To achieve this balance, pair your power suit with 3 inch heels. The elevation will make you feel more powerful, while you simultaneously feminize your image. Your male coworkers should not feel that they could coax you into bed with little effort, but they should enjoy watching you walk down the hall.
4. Dress for versatility. You should be ready for anything, be it going about your daily business or jetting off to Rome for the meeting with a client your boss just couldn't make it to at the last minute. The day you wear your $30 Target brand polyester skirt to work, that sports only 10 inches of fabric covering your legs, will almost certainly be the day your boss contracts avian flu and has to cancel that meeting.
5. Casual attire does not ever mean casual attire. Your employer might give you control of your dress code a few days of the week, but he expects you to look your best anyway! Spend just as much on your 'casual' clothes as you do on all your other garments - just because it's casual doesn't mean anyone wants to see you in JEANS!
6. Always. ALWAYS. wear nylons. It might seem implicit in the second rule, but even while following the '11 inch rule' the business woman covers those legs. You wouldn't want to get caught sitting at your desk with your legs uncrossed without a nice, constrictive barrier between you and the prying eyes of your coworkers. An added perk: your untanned legs can seem appropriately pigmented without the expected trips to the salon!
7. Accessorize! Related to rule #1, this aspect of the businesswoman's appearance is key. She demonstrates her class and wealth through the quality and quantity of her accessories. According to Ann Marie Sabath, our expert, your best bet is the 'rule of 13' - your list should include your earrings, necklace, watch etc, as well as the jazzy buttons on your jacket or the French cuffs on your blouse.
8. Wrinkles kill (careers). When purchasing your high end garmentry make sure you're either getting something permanent press, or are willing to press it yourself. And you HAVE to be willing to do it every day. One wrinkle on the wrong day could cost you that promotion!
9. Dress 4 success. Take your cues from the highest-ranking woman in your office: no matter how little you respect her, she's more successful than you, so you should do your very best to emulate her style.
10. Finally, and perhaps most significantly, NEVER WEAR APRONS TO WORK. As Sabath discusses in her earlier quote, the very worst think you could do for your career as a woman would be to wear your favorite paisley apron to work.