If you Google “Best Dressed CEOs” the first 40 photos that appear are strictly of men. When you think of what a partner in a law firm or a software engineer should look like, most of us immediately jump to picturing a man holding these positions. Today, we are seeing a number of women breaking these professional norms by progressing to more positions of power within the organization and government, bringing their sense of style along with them.
I was asked once whom I look up to as a role model and without skipping a beat I said “Michelle Obama.” What really resonates with me about her is the fact that she is a woman of remarkable accomplishments and success, while also being one of the most fashionable women in leadership over the past decade. From press conferences, to philanthropic activities, to the Met Gala; I could rant forever about how Michelle Obama is the quintessential example of pairing high fashion with a position of power.
Not only Michelle Obama, but recent TV shows and movies’ costume designers have done a great job displaying how executive women can be extraordinarily talented, and still dress to a high degree of style. One of my favourites is “Claire Underwood” from House of Cards on Netflix, who in any given episode can be spotted wearing a Ralph Lauren dress or skirt accompanied by a great pair of Manolo Blahnik heels.
Next on the list of favourites is “Jessica Pearson” from Suits who has worn just about every label there is. From Chanel to Dolce & Gabbana, Jessica combines power with high fashion.
The current CEO of Yahoo, Marissa Mayer, also has it going on when it comes to putting her best foot forward. After graduating from Stanford with two degrees in computer science and artificial intelligence, she went on to be Google’s first software engineer. She was ranked 8th on Forbes list of the world’s 100 most powerful women in 2013.
Women executives have a common trend when it comes to fashion: all of their looks are tailored, modest, structured and form flattering. Fashion in the workplace has come a long way since pin stripped suits were all the rave, and at a time when women had to wear a blazer to work. Nowadays, women in power can look and perform their best while also expressing their femininity. Colours and patterns are welcomed with open arms, and the boundaries of women’s workplace fashion are being stretched further then we’ve ever seen before.These are just a few of the examples of females who, whether fictional or not, impact the way we see women in positions of power.
From Ana Wintour, to Angela Markell, to Sheryl Sandberg, many women are breaking through the glass ceiling across all professions. The message that all widely recognized women in their fields are sending to young girls around the world through their achievements is an inspirational one to continue to disrupt male dominated industries. Major fashion labels want to be worn by these women because of the worldwide recognition they have by being the driving forces behind a corporate cultural shift. For now, I’ll leave you with this- if women and fashion are typically known to go hand in hand, why is it a relatively new concept for women and leadership to go together too?