Dress For Success

In 1988, the image-obsessed author John T Molloy proposed that working females could gain increased authority by abiding to a certain dress conduct. The highly acclaimed and controversial book, "New Dress for Success," investigates masculinity as the primary characteristic to elicit success in a professional environment.

Through his lengthy discourse, Molloy outlines a simple dress code that could easily be confused for a male’s wardrobe. His paradigm includes conservative two-piece pantsuits (with strong shoulder pads), briefcases, and in terms of everything else – keep it minimal.

While the notion that females would have more influence professionally if they looked “good” is still engrained in the myopic mind of our society, the terms in which we define “looking good,” have changed drastically. Contrary to Molloy’s antiquated formula for success, today, workingwomen throughout the world use their personal flare and style to actually leverage power in the work environment. Women in mismatched prints, harem pants, and denim jumpsuits flood the streets of New York City en route to their high-power jobs embracing the individuality of modern power dressing.

Females who do not fear originality are those that excel professionally. Interns often struggle with what to wear, unclear of the dress code standards of their company. “I envy my boss’s wardrobe,” says Kate Foster, magazine intern in New York City. “I can’t wait until I’m successful enough to rock patterned silk with distressed denim.”

A major element of confidence comes with dressing against the two-piece pantsuit that Molloy advises. Bloggists, like Leandra Medine, promote an avant-garde style, referred to as “Man Repelling.” Medine encourages females to dress out of the box and not to conform to outmoded standards. The Man Repeller’s style epitomizes the movement from dressing to please others, to dressing to please you.

Ultimately, self-expression is a key element to gaining success for professional females. To be a leader, you must stand out in a crowd, which can easily start with the way you dress. So next time you’re craving your ultra-soft jeans on a Tuesday morning, don’t shy away. Instead, keep those 9-year-old baby blues on and mix-and-match the highs with the lows to create a unique and inspiring look that will make even the most diligent heads look up from the computer screen.

Arielle Franklin | Elite

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