On Air with Ella - episode 233
This is a regular feature where I share one thing that I'm loving, one thing I'm not, and one super simple, yummy recipe.
DRESS FOR SUCCESS
I had two beloved listeners ask for DRESS FOR SUCCESS tips - and I’m here for it. While nobody would ever accuse me of being a fashion icon, I have had a few years now to refine my professional style for a corporate environment. These are my opinions based on experience not authority, and I would love to know where you agree and disagree!
Here’s my truth: I want to dress with presence. I want a confident, attractive style that balances aesthetics with my own desired brand of confidence + authority + accessibility. I have zero interest in dialing down my femininity, or neutralizing our inherent attractiveness - nor do I have any interest in broadcasting a need for attention, validation or distraction.
I want my clothes to contribute to my brand story but not BE the story.
For me, professional but attractive is the goal.
Does dressing professionally actually matter?
Shouldn’t people respect us for my ideas, not our clothes?
In every culture (corporate or otherwise), there are norms or standards. And, as always, if those norms don’t suit you, you have the freedom and the right to explore different avenues. But your dissent or distaste doesn’t make them less true. (If you think a face tattoo won’t keep you out of banking you’re statistically likely to be wrong.)
When you are dressed properly, there is also nothing to distract others from your message.
If you’ve ever started a big day trying on a dozen or more outfits only to end up wearing the first thing you put on, and still not really feeling great about it, then you already know that your clothes can play a big part in your mood. But did you also know that your clothing can change how you perform and how you think?
Your clothing affects how you feel, how you act and how you think.
Get this - scientists at Northwestern University found that the clothes you wear can change the way you think. In one study, subjects had to perform tests while wearing a medical lab coat like those that doctors wear, a coat like painters wear, or no coat at all.
They found that subjects' sustained attention increased while wearing the doctors' coats in a way that their attention did not increase while wearing the painters' coats or neither coat. The lab coat itself made the subjects feel more like a doctor and therefore behave more like a doctor would behave (!!).
THE GOOD: Professional but attractive dress in the corporate workplace
Accent one thing at a time -, arms, legs, waist, neck /collar bone - but, and I cannot stress this enough, never your back or your boobs (or more specifically, your cleavage). This applied to top/bottom balance, too: Loose on top allows for slimmer on bottom, and a wide leg pant pairs well with a snugger fit on top.
The riskier the outfit, the more neutral the color/pattern; conversely, the plainer the outfit more play on colors and patterns. (You can get away with more risk in an all black outfit than hot pink!)
It’s not about comfort or sex appeal. If you would love to wear the thing on a date, doing yard work or, say, to Coachella, it’s not what you want it to do for you at work in a corporate setting.
By the way, your message might be “I don’t care what you think” and you have every right to broadcast that. Dress for your desired message.
THE BAD: What to Avoid
Let’s talk about boobs for a minute. Do you want to capture attention because of what you say and how you present yourself or do you want to “boobatize” everyone? That again, is your choice.
Personally, I'm going to save the Girls for a different environment, and I’m going to avoid these things too:
Back-less or open back
Thin straps on any top or dress
Knee high boots and f-me pumps
Torn, frayed and rips are as out of place as bling-y embroidery and bedazzling
Materials matter - sweatshirt knit, cozy velour, that denim dress, bedazzled anything aren't your best option for the corporate environment
Approach animal prints with caution unless it’s accessories, shoes, purse, jewelry
...if you’re in doubt, don’t.
WARDROBE TIPS FOR EVERY BODY:
Cowl neck tops and dresses
Wrap dresses flatter every body type, ever (watch the slit and wear a camisole if the neckline wraps low, then take it off for the evening)
Layers layers layers - especially nice to mix with tighter fits; cardigans make everything more innocent)
Blazers for instant upgrade - whether it’s dressy or with jeans and cute trainers!
Nothing beats a perfect white collared dress shirt - add cuff links for an instant upgrade
TELL ME: what brands do you like in the US, Canada, UK and Australia?
Share so I can add them here!
THE YUMMY: Banana Coconut Nice Cream
2 ingredients! You'll need:
6 frozen, ripe bananas
1/2 cup full fat canned coconut milk - it separates, and you want the thick part
Blend in a food processor or high speed blender until smooth and eat immediately keep in the freezer - toppings
PHOTO CREDIT: www.liveeatlearn.com
Check them out - they have lots of variation on NICE CREAM recipes, too!
Let me know if you try this or any variations!
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