Considering I not only live, work and spend the majority of my spare time with my work wife (it’s a package deal type of introduction), it’s easy for me to get a second opinion when it comes to the question: is this outfit appropriate for the workplace?  Since we both work in sales and serve as the first point of contact and overall face of the company, seeking out an answer is especially important.  Mind you, the answer usually comes in the form of raiding a closet or two.

Simple fact: we all make snap judgments based on physical appearance.  Although this may be unfair, it’s human nature.  It happens every day in the workplace, you most likely being the culprit from time to time.  It’s for this reason that maintaining your appearance will continue to be relevant.  It’s important to note what message you are projecting through visual indicators.

Image Courtesy:

Image Courtesy:

While styles evolve and trends cycle, the basics of achieving a professional appearance for a woman will always remain.  And there is no need to break the bank, when it comes to making a new purchase, be aware of sale dates, brand alternatives and easy DIYs.  Or better yet, make the closet your first shopping stop.  You’re sure to find something “new” with each browse.

Fashion Fixes to Forward:

  1. Size tags are your friend: wear properly fitted clothing – zippers tend to break, buttons tend to gape
  2. The words “comfortable” and “presentable” are not synonymous – while comfort is key, don’t let it be the only deciding factor
  3. Keep it classy – no need to overthink, every woman can pull off a monochrome outfit with a pop of colour
  4. Don’t underestimate the power a completer piece – make use of a jacket, blazer, vest or scarf to pull a look together
  5. Dress to impress yourself – looking good leads to feeling good, which helps to develop confidence, improve posture and minimize stress

While becoming familiar with the basics serves as a great starting point, achieving balance should be the goal.  It’s necessary to be mindful of the role you play within your company and the expectations of your work environment.  However, in saying that, pursuing personal preference and freedom of expression allows individuality to shine.  And the reason you landed your gig in the first place is because of who you are.


With the fight for gender equality still lingering beyond computer screens and conference room doors, professional appearance for women often reflects a gender-neutral tone.  With the majority of corporate women sporting pantsuits, off-the-face hair and neutral makeup, it’s silently understood that a sense of respect (however slight it may be) is earned by mirroring the appearance of their male counterparts.  So while members of the opposite sex, holding the same position, may not be earning an equal income, they are certainly able to trade mirrors in a pinch.  Where the trusty double standard comes into play, is when women dress with the intention to maintain some form of gender identity.  They are then either rendered incapable or believed to be using sexual appeal to climb professional ranks.  In reality, the only thing that needs climbing is the top rung of the ladder – in order to break the existing glass ceiling.

About The Author

Laura Shirk
Theatre Professional

Laura is a University of Guelph alumna with an Honours Degree in Theatre Studies. Through her writing, she looks to engage with the online community and share her interest of arts and culture. She has no shame when it comes to dancing in public. Achievements: -Published Writer: primary contributor for Illuminessence e-magazine, a lifestyle magazine celebrating young professional women -Tottering Biped Theatre General Manager: a touring theatre company that aims to explore suburban theatre - during my time with TBT, I served as a community arts representative and helped to implement its first annual university touring theatre program, establish the Arts and Cultural Collective of Burlington and organize the first annual TBT Film Festival

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