Powerful Outfits for Powerful Women

‘Dress for success’ is a common phrase that many individuals aspire to achieve within their lives but fall short of due to intimidation. The who, what, where, when, and how of fashion can be seriously overwhelming and a deterrent for many. Dressing the part is often viewed as challenging, but with a little guidance, comes more naturally than you think! 

Style is more than appearance, it is a first impression, a depiction of your personality, and the boost of confidence you need to nail an interview. We’ve all experienced the fear of over or underdressing for an event and the stress only escalates when it comes to professional dress. The unspoken rules and regulations that accompany phrases such as “business casual” can stump even the Albert Einstein’s of the world. If this sounds like you, take a deep breath because you are not alone. We’ve established a style guide relevant for every girl boss to ensure that you’ll have a powerful look to embrace the powerful woman that you are. 

Casual 

While the line between casual dress and business casual is often blurred, the two styles have their differences. Casual is the most relaxed form of attire. Having said that, relaxed takes on a new meaning when it comes to wardrobe. The most common staple of casual dress is a dark wash jean. When in doubt, it’s always best to opt for a dark wash in most situations. When dressing casual, there is a lot of freedom in choosing a top to wear. This is your chance to experiment with colors, patterns, and bold looks. Most tops are appropriate for casual dress, but it is always important to keep a professional mindset. If you opt for a simple, plain top, take it to the next level and accessorize with some statement jewelry. When deciding on a shoe, keep in mind that backless shoes tend to appear less professional, but can be incorporated into most casual outfits. Though I personally prefer a chic heel over a flat, either option is guaranteed to complete your casual look!

When is the best time to wear this look? Out for drinks with your coworkers, casual Fridays in the office, or any other out of the office social event that may call for a more casual look! 

Business Casual 

Business casual is the most common form of dress in the workplace. It holds a special place in our hearts as well as our closets. Think of business casual as your professional personality. Though you don’t have as much freedom as with a casual dress code, it’s a close second. Thankfully, business causal is a category that allows you to experiment with colors and patterns. Though jeans are not acceptable, it’s the perfect opportunity to wear a patterned dress pant or stick to the basics if that’s more your style! While outrageous patterns are typically frowned upon, a simple polka dot or checkered pattern is a much more realistic and fun option. When choosing to wear a pattern, either as a top or bottom, it is best for the opposing article of clothing to remain neutral. For example, a checkered pant looks best with a neutral top and vice versa. Experimenting too much with patterns can easily look sloppy if done incorrectly. 

Business casual attire is not exclusively pants and blouses. Dresses and skirts of an appropriate length are a great way to incorporate the summer and spring months into the office. When taking this approach to business causal, keep in mind that you are in a workplace setting. Leave the tight dresses at home for a night out with the girls. To finish off your outfit, incorporate light jewelry and a powerful handbag. Shoes should not be open-toed, but like casual dress, can be either flat or heeled depending on your preference! 

When is the best time to wear this look? The average workday, an interview, or meeting with clients when in a more casual setting. 

Business Professional 

While many work environments have shied away from business professional, it is important to know how to dress the part. Business professional is the reason that every woman needs a good power suit. Matching pant and skirt suits tend to be the rule of thumb when it comes to this dress code. A blazer is recommended, as well as a button up, collared shirt. As dress codes have become more lenient in recent years, colored and simple patterned shirts would still be considered acceptable for this attire. Having said that, professional is the keyword when making clothing decisions. Though Elle Woods may have pulled it off, leave the bright pink at home and opt for a pastel or small print for the office. Though this dress code may seem a bit stuffy, there is plenty of room for creativity when choosing your top and shoes. While close-toed shoes are a must, a little color never hurt anybody! A closed-toed shoe, especially with a point, offers a much more professional appearance, as well as an elongated extension of the leg. Visually speaking, who doesn’t want to add a few inches to their height?? 

When is the best time to wear this look? Workplaces that require a more professional dress, job interviews, and client pitches, presentations, or meetings. 

Business Formal

Business formal is not very common nowadays. Under certain circumstances, some workspaces may require this type of dress. Unfortunately, business formal does not leave much room for individuality and personality. On the bright side, there is no better feeling than putting on a well fitted suit that results in an abundance of newfound confidence. Like business professional, business formal is all about the pant and skirt suits. Because it calls for a much cleaner, traditional look, neutrals are the only acceptable colors within this palette. Navy, black, and grey are the most common colors for suits and should be worn with a white collared shirt. Simple and classic are the best adjectives to follow when putting together your outfit. When wearing heels, opt for a kitten heel or a similar style that is no more than three inches. If you follow these few style tips, your business formal look is sure to intimidate all the right people at all the right places!

When is the best time to wear this look? Workplaces that require a more professional dress, important meetings with executives or CEOs, any other time a formal dress code is indicated!