So, you want to be taken seriously like the professional you know you are but you aren’t sure if your attire is sending the “right” message to your clients. First off, good for you for thinking about how your clothing choices might impact your future career success (for those of you that have made this association)! That’s usually the biggest hurdle for most people to overcome and admit to. Second, one of the biggest no-no’s that a woman can make is to not think about how they’re “managing the ladies” in the workplace. Regardless of the type of professional environment you work in (whether you work for yourself or in an extremely formal office), making silly mistakes about the neckline of your blouse or dress is hurting your credibility and could be costing you big $$$!
Here are a few neckline blunders that many women are making each and every day. Once you’ve had a read through these, don’t let this happen to you again.
- Deep V-neck: This is a great way to show off your cleavage and be the envy of those around you. You definitely don’t want to attract this attention in the office though. This doesn’t really let your clients know that you’re a “serious and driven professional.”
- Wide boat-neck: If your shoulders and upper chest are sculpted, this type of neckline is great for showing off your buff-ness. However, this neckline isn’t very professional since you can (most likely) see your bra straps! Remember, we want people looking at you, not your bra.
- Sweetheart neck: A sweetheart neckline is cute… do you want to be “cute” in the boardroom or with a prospective client? I doubt it! I sweetheart neckline also has the ability to REALLY accentuate your cleavage… again, not something you’d want to do during an important client meeting!
- One-shoulder neck: I know there is at least one person out there thinking “what’s wrong with a one-shoulder top? It’ll be fine under a blazer!” Well, it might be fine but it certainly doesn’t let others know you are a professional person. To me, this type of look says that you’re itching to get to the bar after work.
- Square neck: this can be a flattering neckline but you need to make sure it isn’t too wide or else it WILL accentuate your bust. Again, this is great for your personal life (if that’s the type of thing you’re into) but if the cut of the square neckline is too wide, it won’t create a professional look at all.
I truly believe that because women have more professional options – and more ambiguity – than men do, we are more uncertain about what is appropriate or expected of us in a professional capacity. I’d like to share some neckline options that are professional, appropriate and – of course – stylish! These are going to have your clients thinking about who you are and what you do rather than have them day-dreaming about your cleavage… ugh!
Style Suggestion: pair this rich, green blouse with a dark, tan pencil skirt, a textured, brown blazer (I’d look for faux leather detailing) and dark-brown, leather pumps. You can accessorize with gold or even deep coral jewellery for a fun yet professional look.
Style Suggestion: the v-neck of this dress is perfect for a casual workday but can definitely be taken up a notch by adding a blazer, a belt and a great pair of pumps. If you’d like more coverage at the bottom of the “V”, just add a coloured tank or cami underneath.
Style Suggestion: This is a great blouse to pair with just about anything… a high-waisted navy trouser or a black pencil skirt would be great pairings for this blouse. I’d suggest that accessories be kept to a maximum of 1-2 interesting pieces because of the great colour and details in the neckline.
I’ll leave you with this thought: For each of us to thrive in a professional capacity, we must dress like professionals. This doesn’t mean that everyone needs to wear a suit, but consider dressing a step or two above what is the norm in your industry. If you want to be seen as a serious professional then dress like a serious professional…
If you have any questions or want to share your opinion, please feel free to do so.