Special Saturday: Dress to Success?

We all know constantly learning helps us to stay young. I love reading and learning, so at one of my recent trips to the library I borrowed some books about “Business Knigge” (about the way to behave in business) and about “Self-Marketing for Women”– sorry the books are all in German, now and then even me reads in my native language.

Both books dedicated chapters on the subject how to dress – for business.
I have to admit, dressing the right way and including my personality (and body) is quite a challenge in the size 0 society. But reading that is not only a challenge but a torture to me.

I think the suggestions are right, in a certain way, for certain businesswomen. I am thinking about the more conservative branches like: banks, tax advisors, lawyers. For those the advice of using very high quality material is great … I guess they even can afford it. Using colors like black, dark gray, dark blue for suites, skirts, blazer jackets are fantastic for such branches and also the advice wearing white, light blue, maybe light rose shirts too.


All pictures ©Benjamin Thorn @pixelio.de

But heck, I don’t feel included.

I am a creative person … not wearing size 0, hating blazers, hating strange pants which are not jeans and most of all hating those button down shirts. Not talking of light colors at me … I need to change then every 10 minutes. And people would know that such kind of clothing isn’t mine … that it makes me feel uncomfortable.
My hair is mostly red with a streak of green now and then.

My target group is small business. People just like you who is reading this post. Among my target group are bar keepers, school principals, crafts persons, artists … and I bet none of them is wearing suit and shirt … at least I have never seen one wearing it. Mostly I am happy when they are not wearing bluey.

Back to subject.

So what to wear when being a funky graphic-designer who doesn’t want to play disguise with her personality but still wants to be taken as a serious business woman? Opinions?
Anybody else with this problem?
Is success only possible if we all bow to the all mighty business dress?
How do you appear in front of customers?


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16 thoughts on “Special Saturday: Dress to Success?

  1. Being in business for yourself means breaking the dumb corporate rules. For inspiration check out Christina Morassi’s gallery of how she helped people from business blah’s to awesome-sauce!


    I’m also floored by the transformations of people like Kendall Summerhawk and Barbara Moore. Amazing and beautiful when you find your own style and stop worrying about what people tell you to do.

    • thanks for the link michelle 🙂

      i like the ability to set up my/our own rules, problem now and then is that in coaching seminars women are taught the way i read in the books and as the picture reflected.
      some even think that “if you don.t follow those rules you exclude yourself from society, and society is a conservative society”
      isn.t that crazy?

      • Those are not the coaching seminars you’re looking for. Seriously, if you’re still attending events with people like that, it’s holding you and your business back. Find a new crowd. We’re out here.

        • that.s why i usually avoid those seminars.
          last one i attended is 8 years ago …i was just wondering recently what other ladies in my position use to wear for business issues.
          new crowd sounds great, but you are all so far far away … ever thought of moving to germany?

  2. I recently read something online about dress codes in the work force. Some places insist on dictating everything down to lip stick colors. People in the military or uniformed cops have to conform. The rest of us especially as women have more options. You can dress with color and flair but still look professional.

    Part of the advice from the advice books are about mimicking the higher ups in offices. That is an important thing to do take clues from those around you that you want to respect you.

    It is not something that I worry about and not just because my weight is not an issue. My mother is heavier than me but she always wore color and had fun with her clothes. She goes to church and worked in a school.

    I would not want to work anywhere that insisted I look like the photos you posted all the time. I would at least like to wear pantsuits like Hilary Clinton. lol

    Have you seen Mrs. Obama and Jackie O? They are fashion icons. There is a tailored put together quality to the looks of first US ladies without them looking like they are trying to be men or tone down femininity for the sake of power and success.

    • actually i hate it when people dictate other people the way they should look like, but that.s why i work on my own and not in a company. in my company i am the highest senior in office ;D

      i understand a dress code for certain professions, like lawyers or bank assistants. nurses and doctors also follow a certain dress code, the white coat, which makes them easily to distinguish from patients.

      mrs obama is really hot and she knows how to dress and has good advisors.
      when i look around in my county … mrs merkel (our chancellor) is brainy but not a fashion icon and the first ladies usually tend to look like plain jane, as if it is something naughty to be well dressed in germany :(.

      personally i think it must be possible to be successful and look great and feminine too. without wearing suits etc.

  3. I’m a jeans, tshirt and sneaker wearing gal! I am not fond of spending hours in the bathroom doing my hair and makeup. Like you, I don’t like blazers, either. I do NOT wear heels of any sort. I wear size 14 – 18 depending on the brand and material. And I really dislike others telling me what I should and should not wear — hence why I have become my own boss!

    I can pull off a dressy casual look with jeans (no flair or relaxed fit thank you!! I like my skinny jeans/straighleg) and a flattering blouse in a color of my choosing with a cute pair of flats. Add a splash of lipstick — MAYBE a little eyeliner and mascara (MAYBE) and something to keep my hair out of my face (seriously thinking about getting back into wearing scarves as head bands again LOLz).

    • we would get along very well kimberly 🙂

      just my style … i guess i am a 16-20 depending on brand and material.
      recently i found a lovely story which sells fashion from size 10-20, same style, same prize and got a lovely flattering and fluttering purple tunic … nice to wear solo with skinny jeans in summer or with a t-shirt or kind of long sleeve body and jeans in non-summer weather.

      no eyeliner for me … although i love it … but usually it ends up IN my eye not outside! 😦 a bit depressing.
      like the idea of scarvy head bands, coz i usually pin mine up, to warm but i think better pined up than short ;D

      wanna do a shopping spree :)?

    • If I ever make it to Germany, Helen, you are on! clothes, food and good German beer!! Woot!!!

  4. I have always pondered on my professional image in the various jobs I have had. Now I work for myself, so I have a lot broader range of possibilities, but I am a lawyer so I do have to deal with some public expectations. I go traditional conservative when going to court, but otherwise I have taken advantage of “Texas formal” to brand myself with nice jeans and red cowboy boots, and a blouse and blazer on top. In the summer – which lasts about 8 months, I drop the blazer!

    • lawyers have to dress a bit more conservative i guess … especially in court, otherwise judges might think they get no proper respect right?
      always wondered why a tie and suit (replace your favorite ladies business equipment) expresses respect and knowledge … i mean respect is an attitude and a guy in suit can be the most disrespectful ever …

      i love the idea of texas formal with the red cowboy boots 🙂
      lovely idea … replacing that with my beloved chucks 🙂

  5. I actually posted on this earlier this week…Yes, how we dress has a direct effect on how we feel – always feel your best by dressing your best…people do see your efforts!

  6. Don’t think this sort of dress code is really talking about you, the job you have and the people you deal with….I think your dress should show you and your personality. It would be like hiring a photographer or painter to do my portrait and they turn up wearing a suit and having nothing to express their personality, I don’t know that I would particularly want them to be doing the job, and the same goes for you and your job

    • i don.t think so either … maybe we creative girls are a very special species but yet we want to be successful too.
      and btw. i would.t want to hire photographer in suit too.
      thanks katrina 🙂

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