Thursday, June 21, 2012

Alpha Styling for Women - dressing like you mean business

(Erin Burnett - Respected business reporter and interviewer for CNN)

Now I'd like to make it clear from the outset that 'I get it'..... most women don't think that a  man is capable of giving fashion advice to women. They believe men just don't understand the complexities of women's fashion.

But maybe - just maybe - there might be something worthwhile in a man's perspective... especially when it comes to projecting a strong and capable image in a corporate environment.

Have I got you interested?  Ok.... let's start by taking a brief look at something that women and men have in common... the basic psychology behind why we dress the way we do. 

It's simple really. Human beings are hard-wired to dress in a way that allows them to :
  • fit-in and be accepted by the group (whatever the group is) 
  • to be different in some way that raises their status within the group
  • and to be attractive to potential mates that might exist within the group.
Now it's important to appreciate the fact that women and men express these three primal values in very different ways. 

For most men, this means dressing in a way that's simplestrong and functional.  And if they are an Alpha personality, they will wear clothes that have an obvious quality and an understated elegance. A good example of this is the character of James Bond.

Women on the other hand, use decoration to enhance their natural beauty and attractiveness.  And this can take the form of any-or-all of the following techniques :

*  the latest fashion trends
*  hair colour and accessories
*  make-up
*  ear-rings and necklaces
*  watches, bangles and rings
*  handbags with buckles and straps.

For the sake of the men reading this post, I would point out that each woman uses the decoration techniques above in her own particular way... which creates a complex personal expression that can-and-does change from time to time!  As an example, the photo of Erin Burnett below shows a drastic change of image from her usual television presentation.


The challenge for a woman comes when they are expected to balance decoration with the image that employers (and clients) in the corporate sector expect from both women and men.

So what is the image that the corporate sector values? 

They value staff who look like they have : a practical approach to the business ; who are capable and effective in their role ; have high standards of performance ; and an appreciation for the fine detail.

These are the basic character traits of an Alpha personality... and it could be said that they have become the foundation of the corporate uniformIn short, it's a style of dress that is :

1)  simple (practical)
2)  strong (capable)
3)  and functional (effective)
4)  with an obvious quality (high standards)
5)  and an understated elegance (appreciation for detail).

For women, those five parameters could be interpreted as being : 

1)  simple - nothing too frilly or too sexy
2)  strong - use solid colours as your foundation
3)  functional - wear or carry items that are practical for your role
4)  obvious quality - invest in quality fabrics and good craftsmanship
5)  understated elegance - a subtle sophistication and attention to detail.

Finally, keep in mind that dressing for a corporate environment is not about you expressing yourself with the way you dress.  And it’s not about expressing your sexuality either.  It’s about expressing qualities that make the business (and your role) look efficient and professional.
It's a Primal Thing.

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