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Can you look feminine in the workplace, and still be taken seriously?

28 June 2011

As women we want to be taken seriously in the workplace because we know how hard we’ve worked to get there.  However the premise often is that if we want to be considered as equal to men, we have to dress like them.

Hence today the black suit is more often than not ‘de rigueur’ in a corporate women’s wardrobe.  Now we all know that how you dress affects how you are perceived in the world, but that doesn’t mean a woman can’t look feminine as well asprofessional.

I think it’s fantastic when you see a stylish and polished woman who dresses according to her own personal style.  She is not confined to a black wardrobe and wears various neutralswith the added splash of colour for pizazz.  In summer she will wear lighter colours like ivory, stone and soft colours as a welcome change from thedarker, more conservative colours.

Not afraid of her femininity, she will enhance her look with accessories to add the finishing touch. A silk scarfwith lots of color and interesting detailing adds a beautiful splash of hue that softens the look. A contemporary woman will also experiment new ways to tie her scarves so she never runs out of feminine looks.

Jewellery is another way to soften your look however remember less is more and have one statement piece rather than several smaller pieces.

Great fit and tailoringwill keep you looking chic and smart and when wearing a suit pair it with a soft, silky blouse rather than a business shirt.

The great think about dressing to your personal style and expressing yourself allows you to be more relaxed and innovative in your work, and most importantly get on with the job.

Now of course there is a fine line between being feminine and being sexy.  It is not ok to over display your curves or show too much flesh.  It’s all about being appropriate for your role, your industry and the situation.

So girls please portray your femininity in an appropriate way to be a powerful presence in the workplace. 


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  • Larke Riemer

    Larke Riemer 9 years ago

    Great article as always Robin - thank you for your contribution to Ruby Personally I believe how you dress is an extension of your personal brand. Some people may be restricted by their employers guidelines but if you have freedom to decide on wardrobe go with what suits your personal brand. For me I have always dressed outside the corporate look and have built my personal brand to include my wardrobe etc. If you feel great and like how you dress it will be evident to the people you come in contact with.

  • Helen Scott

    Helen Scott 9 years ago

    We shouldn't even have to consider this but really, when at any other time in this country have you thought about what the Prime Minister is wearing when they're meeting other important leaders. I try to stop myself, but whenever I see Julie Gillard on TV at some important event I always consider what she's wearing and if it's appropriate and I'm sure it's not just me.

  • Rachel Green

    Rachel Green 9 years ago

    Oh yes please wear colours - I wear cobalt blues and turquoise tops as standard because they make my eyes sparkle! Wear what makes you look striking. And yes I am taken seriously but then I always wear black pants!


    BEV BARNFATHER 9 years ago

    Yes, absolutely! Robin, you are a perfect example of a lady who always looks feminine and is certainly taken seriously in the workplace.