FIRST THOUGHT: Dressing for Success
The moment I saw Joan’s colorful career outfits in Mad Men, I was filled with nostalgia. I wish I could dress like that. But then I remember things like pantyhose and girdles, and I’m out.
Throughout the decades, women have been defined by their wardrobes. We’re judged by our appearance, often regardless of our performance in the workplace. But times—and what’s considered career-appropriate attire—have changed. Your take on dressing for success might mean jeans and a cute blouse, whereas Sally from HR won’t accept anything less than a proper dress and heels.
Whatever your take, dressing for success means dressing with some effort and a lot of confidence. This morning, throw on your best work outfit and a smile, and hold your head high!
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 52 Percent
The other day, I learned there is such a thing as yoga business pants. Mind officially blown. I’m not opposed to creating a more casual office vibe, but I’m not sure I’m ready for business yoga gear!
According to a Gallup poll, 52 percent of women say they dress in “casual business” attire for work versus 34 percent of men who do the same. I think this might have to do with offices creating a more relaxed atmosphere these days. Companies offer co-working spaces, happy hour Fridays and Ping Pong in the break room. And let’s face it: Those pantyhose aren’t going to hold up to my backspin!
WOMAN TO WATCH: Sarah LaFleur, Co-founder and CEO of MM.LaFleur
It’s long been assumed that women love to shop. But the truth is not all women are shopaholics. In fact, some of us downright hate shopping for clothes. That’s a sentiment Sarah LaFleur completely understands.
While working in private equity and management consultation, Sarah was expected to maintain a professional appearance, but rarely had the time or motivation to browse racks of clothing to create her perfect work wardrobe. She knew there was no way she was the only woman who felt this way.
That’s why Sarah started MM.LaFleur, a groundbreaking idea that resonates with business ladies who want a simpler dressing-for-work option. Sarah partnered with Miyako Nakamura, the former head designer at Zac Posen, to create a wardrobe of timeless, affordable, stylish pieces.
The MM.LaFleur website shop features classic pencil skirts, shift dresses, chic blouses in simple colors and patterns, coats and even jewelry and accessories—beautiful staples that can be combined in a number of ways—but not a drab pantsuit in sight!
MM.LaFleur launched in 2013 and is already a smash hit with the ladies. The company’s 2015 revenue grew an amazing 600 percent from the previous year, and is projected to reach $30 million this year. In the past year alone, the company has had to grow its employee numbers from 14 to 70.
What makes Sarah’s concept so successful is the MM.LaFleur Bento Box, an organized little box full of a week’s worth of clothing and accessories handpicked by a stylist based on your fit and style preferences. Customers can keep the items they love and return the rest for free, and, best yet, they aren’t on the hook for a recurring subscription.
Sarah is taking an elevated approach many famous male CEOs take, like Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, who wears the same T-shirt every day so he doesn’t have to concern himself with trivial wardrobe decisions. With the help of MM.LaFleur, women are able to take the hassle out of daily what-to-wear options yet still look polished and professional and ready to take on the world!
QUITE THE QUOTE
Don’t freak out if you feel you just can’t stay on trend when it comes to your wardrobe. Take designer Oscar de la Renta’s advice about style. He said:
“Fashion is about dressing according to what’s fashionable. Style is more about being yourself.”
That’s all for now. Be sure to share this so more women can have a voice! Thanks for getting ready with us.