Does Your Blouse Undermine Your Authority?

When you have to get dressed for work day after day, and especially when it’s hot weather, it may be tempting to slip on a simple cotton blouse with a pair of slacks and call it good. Unfortunately, it’s simply not enough! Specifically I’m talking about an un-accessorized outfit consisting of a fitted cotton, puffed short sleeved blouse worn on the outside of a pair of neutral colored slacks and neutral shoes. Why is it not enough? There are several reasons.

First, one of the cornerstones of professional dress is layering. Instead of the blouse alone, layer it with a jacket or if it’s quite hot, a summer weight cardigan. (Seriously, everyone I ever talk to tells me their office is freezing with air conditioning.)

Next, cotton combined with puffed, short sleeves spells extremely young. I’m not meaning to offend or to squelch anyone’s personal style; however, there are many other options that will serve you better. If you love puffed sleeves, look to more sophisticated fabrications such as silk. In many cases, even polished cotton or a print will elevate your look.

Lastly, if you work in a very casual office or your job requires you to be able to move around a lot and layering isn’t practical, look to accessorizing. Try adding a wide cinch belt or a chunky necklace to make a statement. Accessorizing not only makes you look pulled together, but you also send out the non-verbal message that you take care of all of the details, certainly a professional message that any of use can use!

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2 comments on “Does Your Blouse Undermine Your Authority?

  1. Thanks Dana! You are so right about accessories adding that final touch for pulling together a more polished look. Now I have to think about my puffed sleeve blouse – it’s silk and I really like it, but…

    1. You’re actually on the right track, Gayla. You’re accessorized, and you’ve chosen silk. Can you add a jacket? As an author, you have a bit more creative license with your clothing as well!

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