Dress for Respect~Girl Boss’s Guide to Business Casual
Black women are doing the daggone thing in the business arena.
When it comes to women entrepreneurs a recent study written by the Center for American Progress shared how Women of Color are the fastest growing and leading demographic of female entrepreneurs in the country. The businesses created by African American women are responsible for generating 226.8 billion in annual revenue and providing jobs for 1.4 million people.
The study further predicts that entrepreneurship among WoC will continue to grow exponentially in the coming years.
One of the reasons cited for the explosion of female entrepreneurs is the lack of opportunity and equality for black women in the corporate world. Disparities in the wages between black women and other workers, coupled with less than ideal job options have prompted many women to strike out on their own, thereby creating opportunities for economic growth for themselves and often for others.
Not only are women from Corporate America starting their own businesses, there are also stay at home moms, college students and other women who have no previous business exposure. Yet, these women are stepping out, taking leaps of faith and presenting products, ideas and services to the world. While many of these businesses are home based or conduct business virtually, needing little to no- people to people interaction, others require B2C (Business to Consumer) and/or B2B (Business to Business) communication.
No matter which type of business connection you have to make, it is sooooo important that you dress the part. How you dress and represent yourself is as important as the products and/or services you present to the world. The one thing that you can not go wrong with, when dressing for success and commanding respect is to select the business casual look.
Here are 4 Key Tips for Rocking the Business Casual Look
Start With The Basics
Having a business casual wardrobe should include pants, a skirt, a sheath dress -they are stunning on all body types, a blouse, a cardigan and a blazer. These key pieces can be worn interchangeably. The pieces you chose should be most flattering for your body type and should be comfortable to wear, there is no way that you can represent yourself confidently if you are focused on a wardrobe mishap or you are distracted by ill fitting clothing.
Forego the Flashy Footwear
If you are like me you can not resist fancy footwear, unless it fits your business and brand. Wear shoes that you can walk in effortlessly, I can not tell you how many times I have seen women walking in shoes that were Ah-mazing, but they just could not master the art of walking in heels. Sometimes its just a matter of choosing wedges, or a three inch heel versus a five inch heel.
Another key to tip to rocking your business casual look is to ensure that your face is beat to the demi-gods. If you are a make up connoisseur, you may need to resist the urge to go all out glam. You want to wear clothing, jewelry and make up that does not distract from the business at hand, unless make up is your business. The same applies to your color and style of hair, WoC are diverse in the ways in which we wear our hair, whether it be color, length or style. However you choose to show up to your meeting, remember you are a representation of yourself and your brand.
Wear a Smile
The most important thing that you can wear to your business meetings is a smile. No matter how well you dress or do not dress while conducting business, if your personality and attitude are unattractive you are setting yourself up to fail. People do business with people they like, having a pleasing personality makes you more likeable. Remembering and exercising those key etiquette tips you learned can do nothing but allow your personality to shine.
These tips are not a rigid set of rules set in stone, but more of a guideline. Ultimately you have to do what’s right for you. If what you are doing works for you, do that.