Feminine + Professional = Career Success??

A good friend of mine inspired this piece.  In her professional life, Melissa (we’ll call her) is an engineer – a field, she says, that is typically dominated by men.  On one of our more recent visits, she admitted to me that she wears “the uniform” to work.  “The uniform?”  I asked.  Yes, “the uniform” – a basic pair of dress pants, a dress shirt (un-tailored, I’m sure), a blazer, hair in a bun or ponytail, and a pair of glasses.  That’s it!  THAT’S what she wears to work every single day in her professional life!  I didn’t know if I should be offended by this or sympathetic towards her!  How awful, how boring…. how unfeminine.  Hmmm, WHY does she dress this way to go to work?  I’ve seen her many times outside of work looking attractive, approachable, drop-dead gorgeous and always, ALWAYS feminine! As I thought more about why she does this, I started asking myself: do women – like Melissa – suppress their feminine side in a professional environment?  Is this particularly true in a workplace dominated by men?  Do women feel that they NEED to appear less feminine to succeed and move up the “corporate ladder” or is this something that, while unspoken, is a cultural norm? Since this is a topic that would probably attract differing opinions, I decided to start asking others (both men and women) what they thought.  Here are some of the responses that I’ve heard (of course I’m paraphrasing here): Feminine attire can be somewhat ambiguous – to some people it means dressing more like a lady and to others it means portraying a sexy appearance. Some women don’t want to stick out.  They think that if they blend in their work will speak for itself. When a corporate dress code refers to the “female equivalent” for proper work attire, what does that mean exactly? If a woman dressed at all feminine in the workplace, she could attract the wrong kind of attention both from colleagues and clients. Women are not men – we shouldn’t have to dress like them (men)! As a style consultant, whose goal is to empower people through the use of style, here are my thoughts on this topic: Women can be in professional roles and dress like a lady.  It’s about being confident and comfortable with yourself first. As my mother always told me, if you look down and can see your cleavage, your blouse is just TOO LOW for the office!  Being feminine in the office does NOT mean that your lady-friends get to say hello to everyone at work. Understand the difference (and appropriateness) between dressing feminine vs. sexy in a professional setting.  You always want to attract the ‘right’ kind of attention at work! Know your audience.  By this, I mean that you should always wear appropriate attire for the client-situation you are in.  This doesn’t mean that you should dress like a man if you’re in room full of men, but rather look

A Message From Lazina

Like many people, I’ve always been attracted to style, new trends and fashion.  But a few years ago, I took a look in the mirror and realized that my look was stale, dated, and looked WAY too similar to everybody else!  I guess that’s what happens when you follow trends and fads too closely – for too long! After taking that close look in the mirror and not loving what I saw, I spent a lot of time educating myself on what styles worked best for me – for my life situation, body type, age, style preferences and, of course, my budget.  At that time, I had just finished a Master’s degree and was about to enter the workforce.  I felt this was the perfect transition point for me to package my ‘inner substance’ with a good sense of style! Since then, I’ve been a lot more conscious in observing the style that other people present to the world.  Once I started noticing the variety of different styles out there, I came to realize that – plain and simple – many of us haven’t connected the dots between how others perceive us and how we WANT to be perceived.  Think about your style right at this moment, is THAT the message that you want to share with the world?  Is it appropriate for your current life circumstances? In some cases, yes is probably the answers to these questions, but I’m willing to wager a fair amount that a lot of people don’t fully understand that what they wear is speaking volumes to the world!  From this realization, L2 Style was born! L2 Style has been my outlet for developing unique style solutions for people that not only focus on making them look their absolute best but also on educating them on what their style is saying to other people.  And frankly, when you look amazing, you carry yourself differently, you are more confident, and you just feel more attractive. Ultimately you are presenting your most authentic self to others.  Guess what, all of these outcomes help us progress in our personal and professional lives.  That’s it!  Understanding style and being able to piece a wardrobe together is not rocket science but it IS an acquired skill that a lot of people haven’t mastered. My goal is to provide mentorship, guidance, and advice to those that are ready to start their own style journey.  I invite you to read through the information on this website, including my blog, and my hope is that you’ll be inspired to start your own style journey because you really do deserve to look fabulous.  Always… Lazina Mckenzie L2 Style Founder & Style Consultant