Power Dressing 2.0: Tips from Female Founders
By Koun Bae
June 12, 2013
As our featured female founder Rochelle Behrens quickly found out while pounding the political pavement in D.C., what you wear can totally impact your performance on the job. By solving the shirt gape issue (the basis for The Shirt, if you haven’t read her story yet), she felt confident and less distracted. But what else can you do to feel and look the most bold and competent while leaning in? We asked some of our favorite female founders and powerful working women from all different industries for workwear tips that’ll take you from your first interview to your last meeting as CEO.
Rochelle Behrens, Founder and CEO of The Shirt and Former Political Lobbyist in D.C.
Aside from wearing The Shirt? An awesome pair of heels, the higher the better. Height for me is totally empowering. Heels are absolutely transformative, impacting the way I stand, the way clothes fit and the way I feel and perform.
Deborah Jackson, Founder and CEO of Plum Alley and Women Innovate Mobile Accelerator
Every woman has immense power and that power is a beautiful thing, and we can dress in a way that celebrates our beauty and power. When women own their power they radiate confidence. I love to wear feminine clothes because I love being a woman. I wear clothes that show my personality as well as showing that I’m a serious business woman. Develop your own style and discover what you feel good in. Wear colors and fabrics that you like and make you feel strong and joyous.
Jen Sargent, Founder and CEO of HitFix
The one thing I do to own my power is to wear a bright, vibrant color like red or orange when I want to “own” the room. I find it especially powerful for my fundraising presentations and helps me stand out in a sea of black suits.
Nahema Mehta, Founder and CEO of Art Remba and Portfolio Manager for Art Funds at a Private Equity Firm
1. Go for polished but unforced – fidgeting and adjusting your outfit while answering questions will distract your interviewer – your outfit should be an accent, not a detraction!
2. Take style cues from people that you admire in your industry to gauge how far you can push the envelope. Mixing unexpected textures is a great way to showcase your personality in creative industries, while adding patterned linings to basic blazers lends just the right amount of irreverence to conservative environments.
3. My secret weapon is a great tailor – a little nip here and tuck there can make your wardrobe look custom made.
A general rule of thumb in my opinion power dressing is as follows; firstly be respectful of the person/company/occasion you’re dressing for, secondly once you’ve taken that into consideration, be true to your personal style. Yes, in that order – because there’s nothing stylish or empowering about being inappropriately dressed!