I was pretty sure I’d fallen off the feminist face of the planet following my family’s move to Kansas City.
Everywhere I went, every company I interviewed at, every organization I joined appeared to be run by men. Even the local women’s networking group was led by male professionals (WTF?).
“What does your husband do?” became the most frequently asked question following my introduction.
I was even asked if my MBA was “the same as a man’s MBA” at a Chamber of Commerce event. That one literally left me speechless.
Accustomed to the more gender equal working world of the East and West Coasts, I did not take too well to (repeatedly) being the only woman in the boardroom, classroom, department, etc. Expressing my frustrations regarding the well-seated Kansas City patriarchy to the few other female professionals I encountered was typically met with a wistful, “Well, at least you get a chance to be included…” Continue Reading…
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Until ten years ago, I had never actually met a professional woman – an educated female that made a living wage. Growing up in fundamentalism, I was raised in a culture that did not acknowledge gender equality and restricted women to very limited roles as wives and mothers. I had no idea what developing a career involved or even how to get started. The majority of my homeschool education had been focused on the domestic arts – childcare, cooking, cleaning, etc. – and neglected subjects like math, science, and finance (all the things you wouldn’t find in the job description for a housewife).
My junior year of college, I finally encountered a real-life professional woman – a visiting professor of biochemistry. She was confident, educated, and owned her own house. I knew I wanted to be just like her, but I had no idea how to get there.
Miuccia Prada said, “What you wear is how you present yourself to the world, especially today, when human contacts are so quick. Fashion is instant language.”
Ask any career expert and you’re sure to be reminded that what you wear to work matters.
Your presentation can communicate so much about yourself, your abilities, and your organization, and clothes are a big, big part of that professional presentation. Wearing an outfit that communicates the intended message – accomplished, capable, and intelligent – help you win over prospective clients, colleagues, and corporations while leaving a lasting, positive expression.
For many millennials and new grads, investing in an uber posh, The Devil Wears Prada closet full of couture power suits isn’t really feasible (nor necessary).