Dress Like a Business Owner 101

Dress Like a Business Owner 101

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You’ve got a catchy name above your awning, your doors are wide open and you’ve taken care of every inane detail about your business — so now it’s time to devote some attention to yourself. And your wardrobe.

Because, whether we like it or not, owning a business is about creating an image, and if the way you look doesn’t match the image of your company, you could be going in the red rather than the black. Cincy Chic has some easy-to-incorporate advice for helping you dress like a savvy business owner.

Dress Appropriately

There are clothes that you wear for a night out on the town: sky-high heels, slinky tops and form-fitting pants; and then there are the clothes you should be wearing to best represent yourself and your business. It is very important to know the difference. Wearing low-cut tops and other sexually-suggestive clothing can send potential and existing clients the wrong impression; mainly, wearing the wrong clothes can make you appear unprofessional, something that could spell doom for a business-owner.

If you have trouble figuring out what is business appropriate, ask an honest friend, your significant other, or better yet, your mother (someone who is guaranteed to tell you the truth). Ask whichever person you choose to go through your closet with you, separating what is business appropriate from everyday or evening wear. Then organize your clothes according to category, so that when you’re dressing for a long day managing a company you can just grab and go; without having to search through hangers full of the wrong kind of clothing in the early morning.

Classic is Key

A second great way to dress like a business owner is to invest in classic pieces that will never go out of style, and will always look great when you’re doing what you do best. Looking for a few examples of classic wardrobe additions as classic as Audrey Hepburn or Jackie O? How about pencil skirts, black pumps, button-down tops, trench coats, trouser pants, anything houndstooth, plaid or pearls? Incorporate clothing classics like those into your closet rotation and you’ll be confidently striding through the entrance of your business before you can say “CEO.” Aside from the never-go-out-of-style and always-professional benefits of clothing such as the ones listed above is the added advantage of staying power—if, that is, you’re willing to spend a little more than you might usually on clothing. Here’s the thing: spending a bit more on these classic pieces will make them last as long as they’re fashionable: forever! Well, not forever, but high-quality clothing is worth the squeeze on your wallet.

Tailor Made

Now you know what not to wear and which parts of your wardrobe are forever, it’s time to tailor those pieces to your body. Nothing is more detrimental to a put-together look than clothes that don’t fit correctly.

You know what we’re talking about. Sleeves so long your hands disappear, pant legs so long you get rolls of fabric gathering at your ankles and let’s not forget that that great blazer that fits in the shoulders, but when it comes to your waist, it’s nothing more than a bag. These problems are fairly easy and not too expensive to fix, and the end result is worth the extra effort of picking up a phone book and taking your clothes to a tailor.

No longer will you scour the racks for a perfect fitting pant or jacket, no longer will you pass by the skirt of your dreams because it doesn’t fit you in the waist. Tailor it! That way, when you’re conducting your business, you won’t just look like a fashion-conscious woman; you’ll look like a fashion-conscious woman who knows exactly what she wants and knows how to make it happen! Which, hey, you were anyway, but now you’ll look like it. By the way, when looking to get your clothes tailored, be sure to buy clothes that are roomier or a size bigger than you wear—that way, you give your tailor more room to work with. It’s much harder to tailor up than down.

Throw in a Bit of You

You’ve said “no way, josé” to your “After 5” wear and pulled off a classic look tailored to your body. Now, for the finishing touch: a piece of you. Do you treasure an antique cameo your grandmother gave you? Wear it! Your mother found you up a beautiful scarf in France? Wrap it! Does your “cancer survivor” bracelet give you a sense of pride? Rock it! That’s what separates the fashion-savvy ladies from the fashion wannabees: the ability to wear what is office appropriate and fashionable, but still making that look personal. Think of the fashion world more as guidelines for your fashion statement, rather than your Bible. That way, you’ll still be fit to hit the runway (and your office), but you’ll experience the added advantage of expressing yourself with your ensemble of choice.

Now that’s something to CEO-brate.

Photo Credits
Model: Missy Scalia