May 09 2010

PRO-Chic: Urban-Fabulous Professionals

Posted May 09, 2010


Power-dressing women today have more options than ever before to incorporate style and femininity in their professional wardrobe. Though some still abide by the old rules of plain dark monochrome suits that mimic men’s attire, many are looking more fabulous than ever with their chic silhouettes and determined strides across the office floor. It’s time to embrace style and femininity when dressing for work. It denounces an elegant and subtle confidence. Some of the best ways to achieve this are the following:

1) Tailored silhouettes: Find a great tailor asap. A well-fitting shirt and suit is the foundation to any professional wardrobe. The extra bucks for the nips and tucks are well worth it. Try to maintain a feminine silhouette by choosing ensembles that fit your shoulders properly define the waist without being tight. Sometimes it’s as simple as altering the placement of a button or shortening the sleeves.

High wasted wide-legs or skinny pants are great alternatives to traditional trousers. Experiment with A-line and pencil skirts. Sometimes little details such a pleat can make all the difference.

2) Play with fabrics and colors. Mix a wool suit and a silk cami for example. Go for tweeds or cashmeres for a change. Stay refined by choosing the right cut, fit and color combo. Don’t be afraid to add a pop of color to a neutral suit, or pastels to navy and black. Whatever you do, unless you know exactly what you’re doing, stay away from the white shirt, black pant-suit combo: it’s much too waiter meets valet!

3) Accessorize! Silk scarves (try different patterns), bold necklaces, statement watches and of course, amazing bags and briefcases that add the finishing touch to your outfit. Traditional briefcases need not apply when choosing a bag for work; there are so many more versatile and feminine shapes to choose from: totes, satchels, cross shoulder bag or a combination. Consider size, finish, color, and brand. Choosing a great brand not only to takes it up an extra style notch, but you can count on the best quality materials and craftsmanship that will help your investment resist daily wear and tear. In fact, many designer bags actually look better with age and use.

Apply these easy tips to update your daily wardrobe and quietly observe a shift in people reactions: it’s sometimes astonishing. I’ve seen it happen many times, and it may give you the added benefit of a boost in confidence and self-esteem.

When I was attending business school, I had this one professor who was a real inspiration to me: very intelligent, successful in the corporate world, confident, well manicured and stylish. She would walk in the classroom with her crisp tailored suit, sexy pumps, polished hair and Vuitton briefcase. It was quite the sight, and I always thought that she epitomized today’s business woman in so many ways. Her style and demeanor was very unapologetic about being powerful, successful and fabulous all at once…not to mention that she was a mother of three. This is to say that competence and style can intertwine beautifully to create a strong and lasting positive always put your best foot forward.