Why Wearing Miniskirts to the Office is a Bad Career Choice

Photo: Bobs Photography

This week while chatting with a good friend, she told me how her office recently hired an attractive woman. On her first day at the office, the skirt she wore left little to the imagination. Not surprisingly, office flirting ensued.

Class, why is wearing miniskirt to the office a bad career choice?

When a woman is establishing herself as a professional in her field and a valued asset to the team, the more skin she shows, the less authoritative she becomes. In other words, when a woman shows off her body in the workplace, she gives away her visual authority. It becomes distracting and diminishes any contributions she is trying to make.

Wouldn’t you prefer to be known as a respected team member who brings value to the workplace rather than a pretty face that stirs things up at the office?

Bottom line, ladies: if you want to be respected in the workplace, save the miniskirt for after hours.

(By Sarah Ward and Judith Rasband)

Facebook’s Zuckerberg Relates to Students at BYU

Mark Zuckerberg speaks to BYU. Photo: Jaren Wilkey | Ryan Faulkner

Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder of Facebook and Time Magazine’s Person of the Year, spoke to 10,000 people yesterday at BYU for a Technology Forum with Senator Orrin Hatch. As the world’s youngest billionaire and arguably the most influential person of our generation, you can imagine that lots of people were keen to hear what he had to say.

Now love him or hate him, you’ve gotta admit that Mark Zuckerberg is a visionary. Here were some of my biggest highlights from what he had to say:

  • “You really have to believe in and love what you’re doing. That’s the most important thing.
  • “Most people have something that they’re super passionate about, and I’d encourage you guys to find that thing.
  • “People don’t get put into roles, they create them on their own.
  • “[At Facebook] We just look for people that are passionate about something. What we really look for when we’re interviewing people is what they’ve shown an initiative to do on their own.”
  • The internet just gives everyone a voice. People have the ability to put it out there and be heard.
  • “[Facebook is] giving people a way to connect that they didn’t have before.
  • “If people are more connected, the world will be a better place.”
  • One person sharing info online “can be really disruptive in a really positive way.
  • “It’s important if you take on any big challenge that you just love and have faith in what you’re doing.”
Mark Zuckerberg wearing jeans and a hoodie at BYU. Photo: Jaren Wilkey | Ryan Faulkner

As an image consultant, it was interesting (though not surprising) for me to see Zuckerberg wearing his standard hoodie and jeans at BYU yesterday. By dressing in a way that most college kids do, he played to his audience and made himself relatable to them.

As a Gen Y innovator who has changed the world, he pretty much has license to do and wear whatever the freak he wants. That said, keep in mind there is a downside to making jeans and a hoodie your standard wardrobe everyday.

If you are in a leadership position, people are less likely to take you seriously if you wear uber casual clothes. A guy I know used to work for a thriving start-up that was run by a 20-something guy who regularly wore deconstructed jeans and graphic tees to the office. In an effort to dress for the job he wanted, my friend would dress in collared shirts, vests, and sweaters and as a result, would often be mistaken for the decision maker over the CEO because of what he wore.

Now there’s nothing wrong with jeans, t-shirt, and a hoodie, but if you’re going to a career fair, job or internship interview, do your career a favor and make an effort to dress up. It will have an impact on your confidence and perceived capability.

Today’s image lesson? Know your audience and dress accordingly.

(In case you missed it, check out BYU’s site for video footage of Mark Zuckerberg. You can also hear a podcast of it over at Nomadic Warrior.)

Copyright 2011 Cable Car Couture. All Rights Reserved.

Infusing Personal Style To Professional Attire in 2011

Recently I had the pleasure of writing an article for Startup Princess, an online resource for women entrepreneurs, about professional attire and personal style. I’ve gotten permission to republish the article for my readers — enjoy!

With a little personal style, even a traditional black blazer can be your own! Copyright Cable Car Couture

When you think of professional attire, is a traditional navy blue pantsuit with a predictable white collared dress shirt the first thing that comes to mind? It very well may be! As an image consultant, I’m happy to tell you that dressing professionally doesn’t need to be boring or predictable. For 2011, let’s infuse personal style into your business attire.

There are several things you can do to bring personal style into your professional attire. In the photo sequence below, we’ve shown you five different ways to style a versatile black blazer, infusing personal style into each. From left to right:

  1. A traditional black suit gets an infusion of personality with a red top and matching obi belt, providing drama and pizzazz with the color contrast and unique styling.
  2. A black skirt suit can be easily paired with a vibrant teal turtleneck. When you take the jacket off, you have an attractive hourglass silhouette.
  3. A satin empire waist blouse with abstract shapes blends beautifully with the black blazer and the brown pulls out the color of her eyes. As an unmatched suit with white pants, the look is professional, yet accessible. (My black kitten, in the bottom left corner of the image, matches perfectly!)
  4. Rolling up the sleeves on the black blazer gives this traditional staple a trendy, relaxed look. Combine that with dangly earrings and a billowy silk blouse in a floral floral print and the look becomes more informal.
  5. With the rolled up sleeves, the jacket is right on trend with on the boyfriend blazer look and is a fun combination with the vintage tunic and dark wash skinny jeans. The look is youthful and decidedly creative.

As you can see, it’s not just what you wear, it’s how you wear it.

Here are some ways that you can add personal style into your professional attire in 2011:

  • If you’re required to wear a suit jacket but you feel overwhelmed wearing the traditional style jacket, look for one with a curved collar instead of the standard angular lapel. The rounder shapes will soften the look for you.
  • To spice up your suit jacket, try accessorizing. A brooch, matching belt, or colorful scarf will go a long way in adding some flair.
  • To soften the professional look, trade in your collared shirts for blouses in colors that complement your personal coloring. For example, if you have brown hair, blues will look great on you.
  • Wear a vest. The vest has made a major comeback recently. Buttoned up, a vest can emphasize a great waistline, or be left unbuttoned for a more relaxed look. Vests even look terrific over Tees.
  • Try a cardigan. The softer version of the suit jacket, a cardigan will provide you an extra layer to help you look more capable, but can also give you added warmth and coverage to hide any figure variations like a full bust or leftover baby weight.

Do you still feel clueless about personal style? If you’re dying to discover your personal style, I have an easy exercise for you.

One thing I recommend for my clients to do is go through fashion magazines, pulling out pictures of clothes, accessories, and looks they love, then start a Personal Style file. This simply exercise is a great way to help you recognize what your unique personal style embodies. Starting a Personal Style file will allow you to identify your personal style preferences and give you ideas for items you can add into your wardrobe this year.

Nobody said business attire has to be boring. Add some personal style to your work wardrobe and create a look that’s that uniquely yours!

Copyright 2011 Cable Car Couture. All Rights Reserved.