You read SheFinds because you're busy. Your day is packed with lunch meetings, corporate dinners, and cocktails with clients. But when business leaves the office setting, the rules can change, including dress code. A Wall Street Journal article yesterday discusses the problem with wearing revealing clothing in business situations and the stigma placed upon powerful women who happen to be sexy all the same. Female CEOs and Hillary Clinton can't risk the bad press surrounding a low cut dress or a too-short skirt. "It's often women who reveal too much, leaving their clients or colleagues with indelible memories. The results can range from slight discomfort to a huge misunderstanding," says Christina Binkley.
Jonscott Turco, a psychologist and consultant with Partners In Human Resources International, says "[women] thinking it's an empowering thing that they can be sexy and professional, but guys don't see it that way. If she's dressed sexy, that's all they see."
We powerful business women want to be remembered for our accomplishments – not our backless Donna Karan spandex gown.
So what do we wear this summer that makes us feel good (and fashionable) while not causing our clients to stare 15 inches below where they should when we're discussing a deal?
I work in magazine publishing, so fashion-forward dressing is more than accepted, it's a requirement. This blue belted dress ($392) would be perfect for my lunch meeting with a client tomorrow. My chest, shoulders and thighs are covered, but it still says I'm stylish and confident in my appearance. We sit when we eat so v-necks are a no-no for business meals. When someone can only see the top half of your body, they're going to stare if your cleavage is out on the plate in front of you. This cotton shirt dress from Sophia is perfect. You can control the amount of boobage you show with front placket buttons. Don't think you have to stick to dark colors to maintain a professional demeanor. With the right accessories and killer clutch, this crisp white Theory Betty dress ($315) is a standout option.
At a business cocktail event, it's okay to be a little sexy – but I recommend keeping the sexiness as far away from your torso as possible by wearing a sexy pair of strappy sandals. Be safe. Nothing too tight, and cover your chest and shoulders.
For more steadfast advice, check out our Guide to What to Wear to a Wedding.