Women’s Exclusive Dress for Success Code

greydressNearly 93 years after the Women’s Bureau of the Department of Labor was formed women still face different expectations and outcomes than men in the workplace. This post summarizes a few studies that look at how women are expected to present themselves in today’s corporate work environment.

It doesn’t take long to make a gender-influenced judgment, according to 2011 research by Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital; “People assess your competence and trustworthiness in a quarter of a second (250 milliseconds) – based solely on how you look.”

A study from Center for Talent Innovation (CTI) in partnership with Marie Claire magazine proposes, 83% of senior executives surveyed claimed wrinkled or too-tight clothing detracts from a woman’s executive presence, while only 76% of executives reported that wrinkled clothes or scuffed shoes detracts from a man’s presence. That’s a 7% discrepancy in the impact “un-kempt” attire has on men and women’s credibility.

More Primping Isn’t the Answer

Simply spending more time to look great in the morning isn’t the solution for women interested in presenting a successful professional look. In fact,  “a study cited in the Harvard Business Review found that for women, an increase in personal grooming time is associated with lower earnings.”

Women are expected to look fresh, polished and put together.  But, women are also expected to have a little extra pop and style. The CTI and Marie Claire magazine study suggests women should include “tasteful accessories, manicured nails and a hairstyle versus a haircut.” Whereas, men can make the grade by making sure they have clean nails, shiny shoes and a clean shave. So, what’s a woman to do?

Accessorize and Hit the Road

Savvy women will embrace their predicament and efficiently apply just enough pizzazz to their outfit each day. Not sure where to start? Here’s a list of what professional women should never include in their professional attire.


The Seven Ways Your Boss Is Judging Your Appearance

See also:

It’s a Man’s World


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