Credits and love: Donna Bulseco

The New Way Women Are Dressing for Work

Wall Street Journal, May 2016


It’s been over 40 years since John T. Molloy’s “Dress for Success” came out in 1975, unleashing the concept of “power-dressing” and legions of big-shouldered blazers on an unsuspecting world. While his directives now sound silly, especially for women (“You do not want to look like Lou Costello with his pants under his armpits”), his message of donning a suit to get ahead still haunts those with a corporate mind-set. It’s especially true for hopefuls heading to a job interview, where suiting up reflects a fierce belief in a right and wrong way to make an impression. Women suffer dress-code stress even more acutely than men, facing greater room for error and a longer list of interview taboos: no jangly jewelry, stilettos, minis, perfume and so on. Once you’re hired, there’s often a drive to conform and blend in with co-workers; complacency—the idea that you have the job and need no longer dress to impress—sets in as the years go by. Frumpiness ensues.

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