Too hot?

8 Apr

I have been thinking a lot about all of the different messages a woman can send via her image (clothes, accessories, hair, and make-up) and was just recently having this conversation over the weekend.  It is possible for a woman to get in her own way by being too hot.  

I’m speaking specifically about our professional lives.  It’s possible to be too sexy at work:

You know that I believe we all should be as stylish and “of the moment” as possible. But there is a balance between stylish and over-the-line-sexy-that-could-hinder-others-taking-us-seriously.  It’s hard enough for women in this world…I do believe that we have to work just that much harder to prove our worth in business. 

A side note: I was asked once what I thought the most challenging part of being a woman was. My answer was something reminiscent of, “That I have to be tough enough without being a bitch, that I have to be attractive enough without being too hot, that I have to be smart enough without being intimidating…that I’m proving myself all day, everyday.”

I work in media/publishing and my office dress code is at the more lenient end of the continuum. I tend to err on the side of trendy in many of my clothes and my wardrobe often doubles for both in and out of work. But I know that for meetings, client presentations, interviews and situations in which I am truly representing my colleagues and my company, I will streamline myself, leave the leggings at home,  and select a more traditional style. 

I’ve noticed that casual Friday has bled into casual everyday. Again, for some lines of work, this is acceptable.  But in banking, finance, law, and other such industries with a history based on male-dominance and tradition, a woman can’t walk in with a brightly colored dress and platform heels.  It won’t fly.

I will most certainly take this into account with my clients.

What kind of business is she in?  Does she work at all? Is she a teacher where a nice pair of khakis and a sweater set would be appropriate?  Perhaps, she spends her days behind a camera and needs jeans and a blazer that aren’t restrictive but are still fitted and tailored.  Maybe she’s reviewing contracts and stands in court…this would require an appropriate colored suit and classic heels (they can still be Christian Louboutin, no one has to know!).

The bottom line is, we need to be aware that even though we may work in more lax surroudings,  presenting ourselves as professionals is the number one priority. And often times, sexy skinny jeans and form-fitting sweaters (though they may look curvalicious) aren’t always the best choice.

Soundbites to remember: Beauty doesn’t always equal appropriate.  Casual doesn’t always mean sexy.  Trendy should still be tasteful.

Just check the mirror once before you leave the house and ask yourself, “Would I wear this on a date?”  If the answer is yes, consider changing.





One Response to “Too hot?”

  1. Stacey Derbinshire April 8, 2008 at 11:15 am #

    I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

    Stacey Derbinshire

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