Recently, when walking through a makeup section of a store, it was apparent that the color palette for this season is bold, bold, and bolder still. There were advertisements for bold nail polish, bold lipsticks, bold eye shadow, even bold hair colors. They looked lively and fun, but It made me wonder about the average woman and when and where they would use such colors. Casual settings would be fine, but would they be appropriate for the office and board room?
The answer is it probably depends on which board room and the position you hold in the organization. If it’s a start-up company with young colleagues — perhaps no problem. But what if it is a board of baby boomers or a board of directors composed mainly of older men? How would bold work then?
Holding your own as a woman in a male-dominated work environment is hard enough. The last thing you want is for people to compare you (and the way you dress) to their teenage daughters or to assume you are an intern and not yet in a professional position.
It can be helpful to observe the dress style of other women, particularly those in positions of authority. You don’t have to settle for your mother’s wardrobe, but if business suits are the norm, wear a suit. You can be stylish and still dress professionally. You can also add colorful (bold) touches using scarves and jewelry, even bright tops or shoes. Just be certain your overall appearance isn’t jarring.
You may be thinking that you don’t want to be a conformist, and you don’t want to sell out to the establishment. You may love being a trend setter and simply want to wear what you like. Keep in mind that in most professional settings, a little “avant-garde” goes a long ways. Consider how embarrassing it would be if your boss took you aside and suggested that you were dressed inappropriately for a function or meeting.
In the workplace, you want to be notIced for many things —your skills, your contributions and your hard work. You don’t want attention focused mainly on your appearance or to have colleagues identifying you as “the girl with the pink hair” or “that woman with the black lipstick.” You do want to stand out, but be sure you are standing out for the right reasons.