Dear Classy Career Girl,
I was wondering what to wear if you want to work in a male-dominated profession? Specifically, I am trying to get a job in the sports industry and I’m worried that with so many men I won’t fit in if I am too feminine. Also that I won’t be able to obtain a position, keep it and advance in the industry if I look a certain way. What level of professionalism should I aim for? And how feminine is too feminine – is there such a thing?
Surrounded By Men
Fashion in a Male-Dominated Field
Dear Surrounded By Men,
Thanks for your question! I think the answer depends a lot on what the men are wearing. You want to be able to match it in women’s clothes. So, I would ask myself these questions:
Are the other men in the office wearing suits? Then I would wear a suit.
Are the other men in the office wearing jeans and collared shirts? Then I would wear jeans, a professional blouse or collared shirts with closed toed shoes.
Are the other men wearing dress pants and ties? Then I wouldn’t wear a suit but I would wear more professional outfits like black pants, blouses, cardigans and collared shirts.
What about skirts?
The one thing you might want to think about is that if you are constantly wearing skirts, you might get attention for the wrong thing. I work with a lot of men too and I always prefer to wear pants (although I do wear skirts in the Summer) because I don’t want to be known for my legs or my body but I would rather be known for my brains and what I bring to the table.
What colors should I wear?
I would also probably stay away from a lot of pinks and bright colors. Instead, aim for darker colors and don’t wear too much jewelry and makeup either. Try to keep it as simple as possible.
If I were you I would ask for meetings with other successful women in the sports industry. Ask them how they navigated the male-dominated industry and watch what they wear. If you ask them for an informational interview, I am sure they would be happy to help!
Finally, I wouldn’t worry too much about what to wear and I would focus more on working hard and being known for what you bring to the table. Just wear what you are comfortable in and try to match what the men wear as much as possible. If you wear something one day and notice that you get a lot of looks or comments, make a note not to wear it again.
Also, it’s always a safe bet to aim for more professional rather than less professional. I don’t think you can go wrong with that. Don’t be ashamed that you are a female. Instead, think of how much you stand out from all the other men and use it to your advantage. Be confident and proud of who you are and great things will happen!
Readers, what is your fashion advice for Surrounded by Men?