A Business Suit Does Not a Business Woman Make
I’m in a really supportive coaching group. It’s run by a woman who really walks her walk and talks her talk.
I really admire her integrity and passion and want to emulate her business model. She has completely nailed the know, like and trust factor in my eyes and I am happy to invest my hard earned cash with her for my current business development needs.I have recommended her to many friends and other women in business because she comes across as very real and truly authentic. I want to be like her in business.
She hosted a conference earlier this week in Manchester. It was amazing and I came away totally inspired...bloody knackered but energised at the same time. She had a guest speaker who also has the same qualities (another very successful business woman in her own right) who has been coached by her for the past 18 months and is living proof that being true to yourself and your potential clients’ works. She generated £30k of business in August!!!She was telling us that her goal not that long ago was to bring in £400 a month to pay the Aldi bill and put petrol in the car...
These two role models had a roomful of women in business at the conference – so it’s not just me being creepy or having some kind of weird girl crush. They both have literally thousands of followers on Facebook and some of us were there yesterday to listen and take inspiration from them and each other. It was in a nice hotel, proper conference facilities and everything. There was quite serious group of ‘business men and women’ in the next room having their own conference – they were all suited and booted and ‘looked the part’. There was not one business suit in our room – we probably weren’t the usual type of conference delegates they get, treading on their soft carpets and eating the pastries presented with the morning coffee...why am I telling you this???
Because a business suit does not a business woman make...there was a range of outfits including jeans and Wonder Woman flip flops worn by the host. Emma and her guest speaker Kate, who was also casually dressed, had nothing to prove to us – we all already know that they know their stuff, aren’t fake and have got the business turnover we’d all die for. They would’ve however, seemed like they were not being true to themselves (or us) I f they’d rocked up suited and booted. (Although I think Emma had told Kate to brush her hair and not wear her slippers.) My point is this - Please do not think that you need to dress in a particular way to be successful. What you do need to do is dress to be comfortable and confident for the situation you are in...If you feel uncomfortable for whatever reason it shows. If your preferred way of dressing is casual; jeans and a t shirt for example then that’s great –as long as you feel confident in your jeans and t shirt in the situation and environment.
If you imagine that you are wearing your favourite outfit, then imagine that you attend a business networking meeting or something where you don’t really know anyone and you are presenting yourself as a professional in your field. ..How do you feel? First impressions last, do you feel properly comfortable and confident? Yes? Happy that you are presenting yourself and your business appropriately? Are your clothes conveying the messages that you want to send out? BRILLIANT!!! You’ve cracked it –you come across as self assured and credible...because you feel comfortable and confident in the situation and environment that you are in.
If you can’t answer yes to those questions you might want to think about adapting your outfit. What would make you feel better in that situation? Would you feel happier dressing more formally? Wearing a suit? The same kind of clothes but a bit smarter than your usual style? Perhaps heels instead of flats or a jacket over your dress instead of a cardigan. Perhaps a bit of make up? The key is finding out what works for you, what make you feel comfortable and confident in a particular situation.
For me, even in the most formal of business situations in would not feel comfortable or confident in a typical business suit. For starters I would struggle to get one off the peg that fitted me nicely. Tailored, fitted jackets are just not right for my shape, nor are skirts or trousers that show off my round apple belly. If I HAD to wear a suit to fit in and feel comfortable and confident it would be one that suited my shape – probably a long line duster style or waterfall fronted jacket team with a long line top and tapered cigarette pants – depending on my mood.
My shoes would be decided on depending on how much standing there was going to be. I can’t walk in heels and would lose my balance if I had to stand for any length of time. I’d probably choose something with a wedge or possibly even ballet flats. I would be MY version of suited and booted and I would feel comfortable and confident –I would no doubt accessorise with something that would show my personality and say a bit about me. That might be a pink neckerchief, a pair of statement earrings or a sparkly brooch –who knows? That would depend on my mood that day and also if I was expected to wear a name badge. I wouldn’t want my name badge to fight with my beautiful brooch would I?
Oh, and a top tip – name badges– always wear them on your right hand side, well above any soft boob tissue – it might seem quite high to you but won’t look it to an observer. The reason behind this is twofold – we naturally put our right hand side forward as we shake hands when meeting people, so you are showing them yourname as well as saying it as you introduce yourself and also it stops people having to look at you boobs to read your name. To summarise – a business suit does not a business women make and you need to feel comfortable and confident in the situation/environment – whatever that is.
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