As a woman in the workforce, I like many of you would like to think that the "glass ceiling" no longer exists or that it is broken.
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While it may not be completely broken I do believe that there are some ways to help ourselves climb through it. As the title of this article suggests I am discussing dress and appropriate attire in the workplace and in business.
Level the Playing Field
We have seen the typical business man, power suit and power tie. Women must take responsibility to dress similar to the men they are competing against. With current trends how they are and the working woman becoming more and more common, we can dress very similar to men and begin to level the playing field.
As much as everyone wants to deny it first impressions are based almost entirely on look and appearance. When a person enters or asks you to enter an office they see how you dress, groom and carry yourself. The make a snap judgment based on what they see before you even shake their hand. In the past this meant that a women was to wear a dress or at the very least a nice skirt and matching top with heals and the works. Today we have choices, a conservative business suit and some smart shoes can go a long way towards making that first impression count. They show that you are up to the task and can perform on par with any man or woman you encounter.
Many women have just put their entire life savings into opening their business or they are interviewing for a job that could change their life but don't have the money to purchase a new outfit for the occasion. Dressing smart does not have to mean dressing expensive.
There are discount retailers for clothing that may only be worn on occasion. The quality may not matter if it's just to get you by. There are thrift stores with barely used items in them for pennies on the dollar. I recently purchased a pant suit at a local thrift store for $12. It had a small stain and I took it to the dry cleaners. $5 and it was brand new again. This suit would have cost close to $100 in a local mall or retail store.
Also, don't be afraid to wear last year's popular item or brand. Chances are you can save money buying these online or on the discount rack at a department store for much less. Chances are even greater that nobody will notice that you aren't wearing what is on the cover of Vogue this month.
Bottom line is that like anything in life you get out of it what you put in. If you dress like a successful business woman you will become one much faster. But you don't have to go broke doing it. Be creative, borrow, share or shop around for a bargain. But make a lasting impression that says what you want it to say.