Tuesday, July 30, 2013

When The Boss Sets The Style

In last Thursday's Wall Street Journal, there was an article discussing CEO's setting fashion trends for employees.  There was even a bullet point list outlining ways to "Translate Boss Style".  Pictured below, Amy Barton, women's senior editor at online retailer Gilt, says she mixes formal and more-casual items, emulating women's editorial director Tracey Lomrantz Lester - who says her snakeskin Christian Louboutins are her "go-to work shoe.". (Yes, they would probably be my go-to work shoe if I owned them too!)

It started me thinking where I've looked for work style in my career.  My first style icon was my Mom.  Not only did I get to shop the local boutiques with her as a little girl, but I got to see how she dressed for work every day.  When I was in Junior High, the school was within walking distance of where my parents worked.  It was always such a treat to walk there after practice or an event and ride home with them.  My first stop would be to see my Mom (to check in and see what she was wearing, since she often wasn't dressed for work when she sent us off to school) and then park myself in my Dad's office to do homework until it was time to go home.  Mom was always crisp, professional, and on point.  Never do I remember anything about her wardrobe being any less than perfect.

Unfortunately, my career choices didn't always provide many female icons to emulate.  In fact, as I prepared to write this blog post, I could only think of one female boss (outside of a part time retail job I had in my later twenties to supplement my clothing budget) that I've had in my entire career.  The fields of lobbying, manufacturing, and technology don't typically lend themselves to female leaders!

But trust me, I always looked.  I looked at the women who had been a success, even if they were in other areas of the company.  I was once told "Dress for the job you want.  Not the job you have."  I took it to heart.  I occasionally found "fashion mentors".  My style grew and changed over the years as I matured and got to know myself better.

The article does stress that "...while taking cues from the boss, it is important to maintain a distinct individual style."  I believe that is true of any field.  But my favorite quote was this one - "You never have to apologize for dressing up." (Chip Swearngan - First Data Corp)

Who are your style icons?

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