I saw a post by Melanie Lippman on LinkedIn which inspired me to write this blog post after spending 20 years in the legal industry where many women look like fembots in dark colored suits in juxtaposition to the colorful fashion choices from President Biden’s inauguration ceremony. She said:
“As young girls, we are taught to be quiet, not draw too much attention to ourselves, and go with the flow.
I believe that’s why there is so much comfort in wearing the color black… no one has a negative opinion on black, you’re not gonna get stopped on the street for your killer black v-neck, it’s uncomplicated & low maintenance… something females are encouraged to be!
But did you see all of those fabulous trailblazers yesterday in color at the inauguration? They were taking up more space and demanding to be heard by wearing COLOR!
If you are going to command attention and own your place in the world… you’re gonna have to get comfortable in color!
Speaking with hundreds of women about dressing powerfully, I know one of the challenges of wearing color is that they just don’t know how to wear it! They aren’t sure what looks good on them and they don’t know how to wear more than one color at a time… so they default back to black.
Did you know that there is a science behind color… actual rules? These rules make it easy to wear color once you know them.”
Here’s what I’ve learned – it’s okay to wear color. It’s okay to be yourself. It’s okay to not fit in. It’s okay to not wear boring black pantsuits every day if that’s not you. Your intelligence and success should not be based on whether you “blend in” but rather why not stand out? We have been told to lean in – so why not do the same with your fashion choices? I want to be judged for my intellect and creativity rather than the way I look but that being said, why do I need to conform to looking like everyone else in a buttoned up industry like law? Also, with the pandemic everything has changed. I no longer think the traditional pant or skirt suit will be the the norm, and for that I am thankful.
I always wear color and something a little unique like my Darth Vader earrings especially when I’m presenting – they make me feel a bit more powerful. I never wanted to blend in – in fact, I worked at a law firm that told me I was too colorful and brought too much sunshine in my wardrobe. I didn’t last there long. We need to be able to be ourselves – and be professional at the same time – but we can be feminine and colorful and successful! And men, this goes for you too – you can wear color, wear a unique bowtie – whatever it is. Just be yourself.