Can You Be Fashionable and Feminine in the Workplace?

Lady in a white dress

My mother always told me, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you are applying for.” I am all about putting forth my professional self and in my 20-something corporate days, I was a conservative dresser. Always vying for the attention of those at the top, I gradually toned down my femininity for fear I would be seen as a (gasp) woman.

Do you have to lose your femininity in the workplace to look fashionable?

The answer is a resounding “no.” Older and much the wiser, I realize there is no need to deny what I am, a gorgeous flower of femininity. But there is a fine line between professionally celebrating my womanhood and flaunting my shape with inappropriate styles.

Now that women have established themselves as powerful CEOs and inventive entrepreneurs, I believe we have leveled the professional playing field. Our ideas are finally being heard, understood, and accepted. We must not be ashamed by our curves or our love of so-called “girlie” colors.

Let’s not forget that femininity is also defined by the vibe you put out into the world. An outfit with high wasted tweed trousers, a tailored navy blouse and a short pixie cut can be just as feminine as a polka dot skirtpink accessories, and long voluptuous hair — with the right attitude.

Enter Shoptiques. An eclectic online collection of boutiques from around the world, their mantra is “Be Yourself. Be different.” I not only love Shoptiques for their stylist’s brilliant knack for putting a girl together, I am in love with their support of entrepreneurs all over the world!

What do you want your peers, mentors, and potential clients to see as you enter the workplace?

You want to exude confidence, be memorable, and still personify femininity.

As you gaze at your stunning reflection in the mirror before you walk out the door, ask yourself a few questions…

“Will I be taken seriously?”

In my opinion, style is mostly about attitude. But earning the respect of your peers not only depends on the way you dress, but also  the way you present yourself. Does your character radiate confident power no matter what your rank in the company?

A monochromatic outfit paired with killer accessories like a soft shawl, a hip hugging belt, and a gutsy necklace will certainly define modishness while maintaining your intelligent feminine presence.

And while we’re here, let the vision of your outfit and the memory of your genius proposal hang in the room after you’ve left, not your perfume. Try a soft fragrance like Stress-Fix Concentrate from Aveda.

What is classically me?

Coco Chanel said, “The best color in the whole world is the one that looks good on you.” Fashion icons became known for what draped their bodies the best. So, whatever compliments your outer form will naturally flaunt your inner femininity.

Statement pieces command attention like this stunning belted dress.

Does what I’m wearing help me exude confidence? Would a powerful and respected CEO wear this outfit?
Woman in a fashionable suit
Photo by Shoptique.

Sure, some businesses embrace the expression of style and do not blink at the sight of sequin miniskirts and tootsie exposing sandals, but where do you work?

In this this non-traditional suit you not only make a statement, embrace your femininity, enhance your curves, and show a little leg, but you command attention.

And by the way, being feminine does not mean traipsing around aimlessly, draped head to toe in pink tulle. Femininity demands power, ladies. And with a poised mindset and a flattering wardrobe that compliments your personal assets, you can be the epitome of grace, vigor, and beauty all at once.

4 Responses to “Can You Be Fashionable and Feminine in the Workplace?”

  1. I think in NYC it’s much easier to be fashionable at work because in many offices there it’s kind of expected. If you work in a more conservative company then being “too fashionable” may make you stand out in the wrong way. There’s probably a happy medium somewhere. To your point, confidence is the best way to “dress!”

    Bicultural Mama
  2. Agreed! It does depend on where you work, both in location and the company’s overall attitude toward moderate or bold dressing. Maybe easing in to the boldness would help at a more conservative company?
    Thank you so much for reading and commenting!

    Elizabeth Rago
  3. Being fashion forward depends on the climate of the work environment you’re a part of. It’s ok in some and frowned upon in others. And like Elizabeth said, ease into bold dressing. I love wearing fedoras and was told by a colleague that it was not really allowed at work. Great article Elizabeth.

  4. Dixie,
    Thank you so much for reading and commenting! Yes, feeling out the climate of your work environment is an excellent way to gauge how bold you can be. Have a lovely week!

    Elizabeth Rago

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