Author Topic: Let's talk about my client-facing professional workwear needs...  (Read 352 times)

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Online sarahc

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So once this pandemic situation is over, I will be able to open my business and start meeting with clients in a financial advisory business. The thing is...I have absolutely no idea what kind of things I should be wearing given my body type.

I'm 5'11", 157 lbs, so in decent shape, but I do have the classic transwoman issues of a relatively large rib cage and no hips / butt. Also I have a long torso / short legs for being 5'11". (Need tall tops but wear normal length pants.)

I have actually gone through the trouble of looking at some other tall women in entertainment / media / politics who are around my height and at least have some bulk on their upper half. Here are some thoughts I gathered on things most of them do:

* In general these women avoid jackets / blazers, and I assume that is because they will just give more bulk on top.
* Hardly any sweaters, probably for the same reason.
* No collared necklines. If they wear a jacket, the lapel is small. However, collarless jackets don't look great.
* Solids, solids, solids. Very little patterns and prints. If they use prints, they are very subtle.
* Dark on top, light on bottom seems to look pretty good. Light on top only works if you have a dark accessory on top (like a scarf).
* Long necklaces.

These all make sense to me.

So I was wondering what guidelines I should use. I know for some of you, "There are no rules!" But let's assume for this exercise that you are a lawyer or some other client-facing professional that doesn't want the clothes to be the center of attention when you meet with a prospective client. What would be some things that you would wear to get clients comfortable and make you look like you have your act together?

Sarah
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47 years young.
Known that I am trans since...forever.
First therapy session / decided to transition / hair removal: October 2018
HRT: January 2019 (journal https://www.susans.org/forums/index.phpVF/topic,244009.0.html)
VFS: September 2019; three-month report here
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Offline Jenny_Oh

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Re: Let's talk about my client-facing professional workwear needs...
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2020, 02:45:44 pm »
Thanks for those tips, only one I have to share is high waist pants or skirts are a godsend to people with a long torso, they make the legs appear longer and the torso shorter. Hereare some great tips on how to wear high-waist pants.
    

Online sarahc

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Re: Let's talk about my client-facing professional workwear needs...
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2020, 02:59:49 pm »
Thanks for those tips, only one I have to share is high waist pants or skirts are a godsend to people with a long torso, they make the legs appear longer and the torso shorter. Hereare some great tips on how to wear high-waist pants.

Thanks...that was a good article on pants. You're right - I definitely need to prefer high-waisted. Still need to figure out which pant styles to use when you don't have much of a butt....I have basically concluded that slim-straight probably works best.

Given my body type, most commentators say that I should add some flare. But I really am hesitant to do that given my height because I'm trying to make myself look smaller, and I'm worried that flared pants make me look bigger. Also, not totally comfortable with high heals either (makes me look taller), which, as the piece states, are necessary for flared pants.

Sarah
----
47 years young.
Known that I am trans since...forever.
First therapy session / decided to transition / hair removal: October 2018
HRT: January 2019 (journal https://www.susans.org/forums/index.phpVF/topic,244009.0.html)
VFS: September 2019; three-month report here
Full-time: April 2020
FFS: August 2020
SRS: January 2021

Offline Oldandcreaky

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Re: Let's talk about my client-facing professional workwear needs...
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2020, 04:12:06 pm »
You're basically my size. I'm five pounds heavier and half an inch taller. Dark tunic tops slim me. If they drop below your waist, they also add some width to your butt and hips.

Offline Northern Star Girl

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Re: Let's talk about my client-facing professional workwear needs...
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2020, 05:00:28 pm »
@sarahc
Dear Sarah:
Since you are starting the exact type of business that I am familiar with and that I am operating in my small town ...
...please have a look at the picture taken at my office...my present Avatar .... solid color pantsuits in colder weather and in warmer weather a skirt instead of pants.... usually a coat or blazer most times.

In our types of businesses where we are dealing with business people and individual clients in matters of their personal finances, investments and taxes it is obviously very important to dress, act, speak and to appear respectful, conservative, and to not have appearance, makeup, hairstyles and clothing that does not fit it with that goal.

If you have any questions I will be most glad to offer you more of my thoughts.

Wishing you well in your new business.

HUGS and best wishes,
Danielle
***SEE MY LINKS BELOW
The Ramblings of a Northern*Star Girl
A New Chapter: ALASKAN DANIELLE's Chronicles
I am the HUNTED PREY: Danielle’s Chronicles
Things change re: ALASKAN DANIELLE
Positive Mindset... put away negativity

Started HRT:   March 2015
Went Full-Time    December 2016
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I'm a blonde, blue eyed woman, Age 40

Offline madeleine

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Re: Let's talk about my client-facing professional workwear needs...
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2020, 05:44:27 pm »
...

* In general these women avoid jackets / blazers, and I assume that is because they will just give more bulk on top.
* Hardly any sweaters, probably for the same reason.
* No collared necklines. If they wear a jacket, the lapel is small. However, collarless jackets don't look great.
* Solids, solids, solids. Very little patterns and prints. If they use prints, they are very subtle.
* Dark on top, light on bottom seems to look pretty good. Light on top only works if you have a dark accessory on top (like a scarf).
* Long necklaces.
...

Sarah

These are great tips.  I have about the same build as you, Sarah, including being "long waisted" and I was wondering about this kind of thing like a half hour ago.  What about dresses?  Do you get regular or tall sizes?

Online sarahc

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Re: Let's talk about my client-facing professional workwear needs...
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2020, 05:51:28 pm »
Danielle:

That's exactly the kind of thing I was thinking. My concern with a pantsuit is that I think that I may need something a little more feminine given my height. If I was your height (I believe you are a bit shorter than me?), I would feel more comfortable with a pantsuit. Maybe I'm wrong, but I do not see a lot of business women who are my height who wear pantsuits that often.

I think I'm more comfortable with a "Silicon Valley senior executive" look that for the most part forswears pantsuits for something one step more casual...still nice-looking but not quite that stiff.

Sarah



@sarahc
Dear Sarah:
Since you are starting the exact type of business that I am familiar with and that I am operating in my small town ...
...please have a look at the picture taken at my office...my present Avatar .... solid color pantsuits in colder weather and in warmer weather a skirt instead of pants.... usually a coat or blazer most times.

In our types of businesses where we are dealing with business people and individual clients in matters of their personal finances, investments and taxes it is obviously very important to dress, act, speak and to appear respectful, conservative, and to not have appearance, makeup, hairstyles and clothing that does not fit it with that goal.

If you have any questions I will be most glad to offer you more of my thoughts.

Wishing you well in your new business.

HUGS and best wishes,
Danielle
----
47 years young.
Known that I am trans since...forever.
First therapy session / decided to transition / hair removal: October 2018
HRT: January 2019 (journal https://www.susans.org/forums/index.phpVF/topic,244009.0.html)
VFS: September 2019; three-month report here
Full-time: April 2020
FFS: August 2020
SRS: January 2021

Online sarahc

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Re: Let's talk about my client-facing professional workwear needs...
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2020, 05:58:59 pm »
Dresses can work if they have sleeves (have to cover up my shoulders) and if the fabric is fairly substantial. I'd love to wear print dresses, but my upper body is such a huge thing, I'm not sure it's a great look. So solid color plus accessorize is probably an approach that works. In addition, I need an A-line dress or something else with a waist.

In most cases, I must get tall sizes in dresses because the waist in regular sizes is often too high and hits at my bottom rib rather than my waist. Fortunately, there are many online retailers at this point who offer tall sizes. But it's very hard to find tall dresses in the stores themselves, and I really do need to try stuff on (when the stores reopen :( ).

Sarah

These are great tips.  I have about the same build as you, Sarah, including being "long waisted" and I was wondering about this kind of thing like a half hour ago.  What about dresses?  Do you get regular or tall sizes?
----
47 years young.
Known that I am trans since...forever.
First therapy session / decided to transition / hair removal: October 2018
HRT: January 2019 (journal https://www.susans.org/forums/index.phpVF/topic,244009.0.html)
VFS: September 2019; three-month report here
Full-time: April 2020
FFS: August 2020
SRS: January 2021

Offline Northern Star Girl

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Re: Let's talk about my client-facing professional workwear needs...
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2020, 06:02:01 pm »
@sarahc
Dear Sarah:
You stated that you are  5 ft   11 inches  tall, well... I am considerable shorter... I am  5 ft  4 inches

If it were not for the bitter cold winters and weather here, I would wear less pant suits and more skirts like I do in the warmer weather in the summer.
 
I do not see a problem with taller women wearing pantsuits... a coat or a blazer that is tailored in a longer length could be a good solution if you feel uncomfortable in dressy pants.

Danielle


Danielle:

That's exactly the kind of thing I was thinking. My concern with a pantsuit is that I think that I may need something a little more feminine given my height. If I was your height (I believe you are a bit shorter than me?), I would feel more comfortable with a pantsuit. Maybe I'm wrong, but I do not see a lot of business women who are my height who wear pantsuits that often.

I think I'm more comfortable with a "Silicon Valley senior executive" look that for the most part forswears pantsuits for something one step more casual...still nice-looking but not quite that stiff.

Sarah
***SEE MY LINKS BELOW
The Ramblings of a Northern*Star Girl
A New Chapter: ALASKAN DANIELLE's Chronicles
I am the HUNTED PREY: Danielle’s Chronicles
Things change re: ALASKAN DANIELLE
Positive Mindset... put away negativity

Started HRT:   March 2015
Went Full-Time    December 2016
Quit my male-mode job and relocated to a very small town in Alaska in January 2017
I'm a blonde, blue eyed woman, Age 40

Offline Maddie

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Re: Let's talk about my client-facing professional workwear needs...
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2020, 11:08:26 pm »
I think I'm a similiar body type plus 10lbs of meat.

Not exactly sure how to picture a one step casual Silicon Valley senior executive....
But considering your business, crisp conservative skirt suits would seem a dream outfit!  If you can work tops that don't emphasize the shoulders of course.  But I think you are describing a slightly different direction.

I'm truly excited for you Sarah.  You have a pretty good idea what you're going for, and it makes logical sense.
Interested in seeing how your forming vision looks for real, if you put it together and if were comfortable posting a photo..

Thanks Jenny_Oh for the link. Enjoyed the celebrity montage.

Offline madeleine

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Re: Let's talk about my client-facing professional workwear needs...
« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2020, 10:57:04 am »
Yes Maddie, Jenny_Oh's link is like a master's thesis on high waisted pants.  I only wish I had watched it before ordering the jeans that are on the way.

Here is my completely personal opinion:
I looked at some silicon valley women execs (that didn't take long) and they were all over the place.  It seems solids and good simple pieces are where it's at though.  I've worked for over a decade in the tech sector as a man, but I think my instincts might be right here.  If the rest of the outfit is more formal, then dress it down with casual shoes or even nice, pricier sneakers.  For a dressy blouse or top, a pair of sharp, dark (non distressed or washed out) jeans.  When interviewing I always avoid a tie or blazer, so in your place (if I'm ever so lucky, congrats!) I would avoid those kind of things in womens' clothes.  This is aiming for a blend of casual and formal that tells your clients: "I'm approachable".

Online sarahc

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Re: Let's talk about my client-facing professional workwear needs...
« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2020, 11:12:28 am »
Yes Maddie, Jenny_Oh's link is like a master's thesis on high waisted pants.  I only wish I had watched it before ordering the jeans that are on the way.

Here is my completely personal opinion:
I looked at some silicon valley women execs (that didn't take long) and they were all over the place.  It seems solids and good simple pieces are where it's at though.  I've worked for over a decade in the tech sector as a man, but I think my instincts might be right here.  If the rest of the outfit is more formal, then dress it down with casual shoes or even nice, pricier sneakers.  For a dressy blouse or top, a pair of sharp, dark (non distressed or washed out) jeans.  When interviewing I always avoid a tie or blazer, so in your place (if I'm ever so lucky, congrats!) I would avoid those kind of things in womens' clothes.  This is aiming for a blend of casual and formal that tells your clients: "I'm approachable".

Exactly! That's close to what I'm aiming for...I need to be "dressy for Silicon Valley" if that makes sense. I don't think I can get away with sneakers or jeans. But I definitely don't need to wear heels. It's that balance that I'm aiming for. That's why I say what I'm aiming for "senior executive" Silicon Valley women's wear. It's that fine balance between dress-up because you are constantly meeting with customers but not so formal that you seem way too formal in Silicon Valley.

Funny story about the delicate dress code in the Valley...in my earlier days when I worked in high finance in the Bay Area, one time we had a guy fly out from New York for a meeting, and he came in his typical banker garb. After the meeting, the startup CEO privately chewed us the local bankers out afterwards for bringing a guy in with a suit because it would start rumors within the startup that the company was in the process of getting acquired (which was in fact what we were discussing during the meeting...). Lesson learned!

Sarah
----
47 years young.
Known that I am trans since...forever.
First therapy session / decided to transition / hair removal: October 2018
HRT: January 2019 (journal https://www.susans.org/forums/index.phpVF/topic,244009.0.html)
VFS: September 2019; three-month report here
Full-time: April 2020
FFS: August 2020
SRS: January 2021

Offline madeleine

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Re: Let's talk about my client-facing professional workwear needs...
« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2020, 11:28:32 am »
Exactly.  When you see a guy in a suit in the places I work, you get worried!

Offline Jenny_Oh

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Re: Let's talk about my client-facing professional workwear needs...
« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2020, 03:15:01 am »
Yes Maddie, Jenny_Oh's link is like a master's thesis on high waisted pants. 
Oh Madeleine, you're so sweet ::hugs:: But philosophical considerations aside, I swear the fashion and beauty pages are the most important pages any of us can post!  So how come nobody posts there?
    

Offline Maid Marion

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Re: Let's talk about my client-facing professional workwear needs...
« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2020, 05:06:56 am »
Different areas have different dress codes.  Some of it is due to the climate.  But I think the more practical reason is that it makes it easier to instantly spot an outsider.  :-X

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