Author Topic: As a woman, have you found dressing femininely has any downside professionally?  (Read 1994 times)

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Offline ChrissyRyan

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As a woman, have you found dressing femininely has any downside professionally?

Always dress appropriately and modestly in a professional environment of course. 

I guess another way of looking at this would be, have you noticed femininely dressed women generally not taken as seriously as equally talented females that dress less femininely?  Would wearing dresses often in office settings, when weather permits, reduce the perceptions of many others of your genuine talent and leadership abilities? 

I guess the answer would be that it depends on a number of situational variables and who you interact with.  Your reputation, credentials, experience, and success should overwhelm such sexist perceptions, but...   

Chrissy


Be tender to others.  You are as beautiful as the thoughts you think and the words that your speak.   Always stay cheerful, be polite, kind, and understanding.  Knowledge and action shown without love is not impressive.  If you look for the good in people you will find it. Healthy relationships are so important to good living.

Good living, joy, unity, love, and happiness can come from following these practices: Never let selfishness or conceit motivate you.  Regard others as more important than yourself.  Do not limit attention to only your interests, but include the interests of others

It is not usually about how fast you transition, it is about how well you transition.  

Offline Gertrude

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IDK. Working at home now and I haven't transitioned, but normally in person at work, I wear a polo, jeans and sneakers in male mode. At home, it's different. pencil/suit skirts, blouses and flats, sometimes stockings. In this mode I would dress better than any women at my level at work if I dressed that way on campus. People tend to dress down unless they are a director level or even higher. I think, in my case, I would be taken more seriously and if was transitioning, I'd skip any kind of bifurcated garment at work altogether. I feel much more empowered as myself.

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@Chrissy
Dear Christine:
Take a look at my present Avatar... that is the kind of appearance that I have when I am at my office, where that picture was taken.  Generally a blazer or jacket and either suit pants or a modest skirt.   I will sometimes wear a modest knee length dress, but no plunging necklines or excess exposed flesh. 

In the dead of snowy sub-zero winter weather I will sometimes be seen with jeans, boots, heavy sweaters, and a winter coat and a hat and scarf. 
The key is to dress respectfully and in my financial advising business, conservatively...
.... then respect will be returned.   
HUGS,
Danielle



As a woman, have you found dressing femininely has any downside professionally?

Always dress appropriately and modestly in a professional environment of course. 

I guess another way of looking at this would be, have you noticed femininely dressed women generally not taken as seriously as equally talented females that dress less femininely?  Would wearing dresses often in office settings, when weather permits, reduce the perceptions of many others of your genuine talent and leadership abilities? 

I guess the answer would be that it depends on a number of situational variables and who you interact with.  Your reputation, credentials, experience, and success should overwhelm such sexist perceptions, but...   

Chrissy
***SEE MY LINKS BELOW
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Offline ChrissyRyan

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@Chrissy
Dear Christine:
Take a look at my present Avatar... that is the kind of appearance that I have when I am at my office, where that picture was taken.  Generally a blazer or jacket and either suit pants or a modest skirt.   I will sometimes wear a modest knee length dress, but no plunging necklines or excess exposed flesh. 

In the dead of snowy sub-zero winter weather I will sometimes be seen with jeans, boots, heavy sweaters, and a winter coat and a hat and scarf. 
The key is to dress respectfully and in my financial advising business, conservatively...
.... then respect will be returned.   
HUGS,
Danielle


Danielle,

Would you think that regularly wearing in professional settings conservative dresses that I would prefer to wear when at church services, certainly nice clothes, would be not received as well as blazers or business pantsuits? 

Christine

@Northern Star Girl
Be tender to others.  You are as beautiful as the thoughts you think and the words that your speak.   Always stay cheerful, be polite, kind, and understanding.  Knowledge and action shown without love is not impressive.  If you look for the good in people you will find it. Healthy relationships are so important to good living.

Good living, joy, unity, love, and happiness can come from following these practices: Never let selfishness or conceit motivate you.  Regard others as more important than yourself.  Do not limit attention to only your interests, but include the interests of others

It is not usually about how fast you transition, it is about how well you transition.  

Online Northern Star Girl

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Danielle,

Would you think that regularly wearing in professional settings conservative dresses that I would prefer to wear when at church services, certainly nice clothes, would be not received as well as blazers or business pantsuits? 

Christine

@Northern Star Girl

@ChrissyRyan
Dear Christine:
At my office and at business meetings with my clients I have worn a variety... sometimes a business pantsuit as shown in my present Avatar, sometimes a blazer and a skirt, sometimes just a blouse and a skirt, and sometimes I will dress up a little more and wear a nice dress.  The key for me is to dress respectfully and mostly conservatively anywhere... business, church, social outings.   

As a trans-woman in a small conservative town I try my best to fit it, fly under the radar, and not stand out with "risqué" appearances and clothing choices.
If you recall from my posts in my Hunted Prey thread in March and April 2018 at a time before I came out as a newcomer woman in town, no one in my town even suspected my "secret" 
Blending in and fitting in with clothing, appearance, language and actions is a big factor in my acceptance as a responsible and respectable business woman... and a woman in general.
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
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 ChrissyRyan

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@ChrissyRyan
Dear Christine:
At my office and at business meetings with my clients I have worn a variety... sometimes a business pantsuit as shown in my present Avatar, sometimes a blazer and a skirt, sometimes just a blouse and a skirt, and sometimes I will dress up a little more and wear a nice dress.  The key for me is to dress respectfully and mostly conservatively anywhere... business, church, social outings.   

As a trans-woman in a small conservative town I try my best to fit it, fly under the radar, and not stand out with "risqué" appearances and clothing choices.
If you recall from my posts in my Hunted Prey thread in March and April 2018 at a time before I came out as a newcomer woman in town, no one in my town even suspected my "secret" 
Blending in and fitting in with clothing, appearance, language and actions is a big factor in my acceptance as a responsible and respectable business woman... and a woman in general.
Danielle

Danielle,

This does make sense.  I guess I am getting ahead of myself as I am not yet full-time as you are; but, I did want to ask all of our ladies here about what they thought and have experienced on this issue of choosing a definitely feminine but still businesslike appearance over the blazer, jacket, pant suit look.  Not that those cannot look feminine, and of course you have a lot to do with how you come across besides what clothes you are in.  I would of course always look professional and dress modestly. 

It comes down to this:  I know I have enjoyed the professionally benefits of being male. 
I sincerely hope not to the detriment of any women.   But I am a woman.  I do not want to look more mannish than I absolutely need to.

I appreciate your sharing of your thoughts.  I do not want to overthink this.  I still have a ways to go on my journey also.

You are so sweet Danielle.  Thank you.

Chrissy


@Northern Star Girl
Be tender to others.  You are as beautiful as the thoughts you think and the words that your speak.   Always stay cheerful, be polite, kind, and understanding.  Knowledge and action shown without love is not impressive.  If you look for the good in people you will find it. Healthy relationships are so important to good living.

Good living, joy, unity, love, and happiness can come from following these practices: Never let selfishness or conceit motivate you.  Regard others as more important than yourself.  Do not limit attention to only your interests, but include the interests of others

It is not usually about how fast you transition, it is about how well you transition.  

Offline ChrissyRyan

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IDK. Working at home now and I haven't transitioned, but normally in person at work, I wear a polo, jeans and sneakers in male mode. At home, it's different. pencil/suit skirts, blouses and flats, sometimes stockings. In this mode I would dress better than any women at my level at work if I dressed that way on campus. People tend to dress down unless they are a director level or even higher. I think, in my case, I would be taken more seriously and if was transitioning, I'd skip any kind of bifurcated garment at work altogether. I feel much more empowered as myself.


Gertrude,

Thank you for sharing with me.  :)


Chrissy
Be tender to others.  You are as beautiful as the thoughts you think and the words that your speak.   Always stay cheerful, be polite, kind, and understanding.  Knowledge and action shown without love is not impressive.  If you look for the good in people you will find it. Healthy relationships are so important to good living.

Good living, joy, unity, love, and happiness can come from following these practices: Never let selfishness or conceit motivate you.  Regard others as more important than yourself.  Do not limit attention to only your interests, but include the interests of others

It is not usually about how fast you transition, it is about how well you transition.  

Offline Gertrude

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@ChrissyRyan
Dear Christine:
At my office and at business meetings with my clients I have worn a variety... sometimes a business pantsuit as shown in my present Avatar, sometimes a blazer and a skirt, sometimes just a blouse and a skirt, and sometimes I will dress up a little more and wear a nice dress.  The key for me is to dress respectfully and mostly conservatively anywhere... business, church, social outings.   

As a trans-woman in a small conservative town I try my best to fit it, fly under the radar, and not stand out with "risqué" appearances and clothing choices.
If you recall from my posts in my Hunted Prey thread in March and April 2018 at a time before I came out as a newcomer woman in town, no one in my town even suspected my "secret" 
Blending in and fitting in with clothing, appearance, language and actions is a big factor in my acceptance as a responsible and respectable business woman... and a woman in general.
Danielle

My therapist relayed a story of a client that was transitioning and was upset at the attention she was getting in public. Basically he told her, you're 48 and wear mini skirts with fishnets. Is that normal attire for a woman your age? People can, at least in the west, dress how they like and they should be able to, but I've never understood why some go through the teenage stage when they are 40s or 50s. I've always felt like I'd rather blend in as who I am. Being tall as I am draws enough attention.

Offline AllieSF

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Chrissy,

It really depends on where you work and what is the dress code ordress norm that people wear, especially the women.  I used to work as a male in a professional office and wore suits and ties all the time.  I loved it and remembered and tried to practice what my brother in law once told me, in a professional situation always dress one notch better than those you are going to be dealing with.  That will gain you a little more respect, and when meeting someone dressed more casually it may impress them to give them the impression that you know more than they do and they better listen to you, even if you do not know that much. 

That was years ago and now we have dress casual and work casual and that offers a wide spectrum of types of clothes to wear.  If I worked in that situation, I think I would still try to dress that one notch higher.  Pantsuit, colored and tailored blouse, dress slacks with a similar blouse, low chunky heels for comfort or flats, and so on.  I would want to look better than most of them without going overboard.  I would also wear the occasional dress with or without nylons/pantyhose with low heels or flats.  Most of this is just common sense.

Then it depends on how one wants to be seen, or not.  I want people to notice me, so dressing right for the occasion is normally important to me, except for this darn covid lockdown.  I am very extroverted so I guess maybe the two fit together, dressing right and meeting new people!  If one just wants to blend, then take it down to their level and maybe treat yourself occasionally by dressing that one notch up.

How others may take you regarding respecting who you are and what you know (talents) can vary all over the place.  First we take on the role of a woman and thus will benefit from some female privilege and probably suffer from others' male privilege.  The other is we are trans and unless we truly pass at a distance and up close when conversing we go in with all the trans disadvantages.  People will notice us when we don't want to be noticed.  We are different because of what we went through and what we are now trying to do.

However, the rubber really hits the road when we can truly show that inside, intelligence, capability and personality, we do know what we are talking about.  That may take time and it can become a continual learning exercise as we interact with more company employees and clients.

So my best advice is to be and do you as best you can.  Try to fit in and prove that you are a reliable and capable professional.  Some people may never get it, but I believe that most will.

Good luck and enjoy.  Life is such a wonderful and complicated trip from birth to death.  Don't worry about the destination, just enjoy where you are now and where you are headed.

Allie
HRT - February 2017
Full Time - July 2018
Orchi - January 2018
BA - September 25, 2019
FFS - January 10, 2020
GRS - TBDDD (To Be Determined, Decision and Date)

Offline Ellie_Arroway

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I have not noticed any difference in how I am treated professionally since transitioning.

I wear sensible clothing, similar to any other woman in the lab, which is all appropriate office attire. What I wear depends partly on my peers. If they are dressed down, I also dress down. In software engineering, it does not always pay to "look better" than everybody else.
Started seriously questioning: 24 Aug 2019
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Offline AllieSF

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Ellie,

You are so right about the tech offices.  My daughter used to work for Peoplesoft which was eventually bought by Oracle a major competitor to SAP.  She used to tell me about the foam frisbees and balloons always being tossed around the office.  I was thinking more about the old corporate office situations.

Thanks for reminding me,

Allie
HRT - February 2017
Full Time - July 2018
Orchi - January 2018
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Offline ChrissyRyan

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Chrissy,

It really depends on where you work and what is the dress code ordress norm that people wear, especially the women.  I used to work as a male in a professional office and wore suits and ties all the time.  I loved it and remembered and tried to practice what my brother in law once told me, in a professional situation always dress one notch better than those you are going to be dealing with.  That will gain you a little more respect, and when meeting someone dressed more casually it may impress them to give them the impression that you know more than they do and they better listen to you, even if you do not know that much. 

That was years ago and now we have dress casual and work casual and that offers a wide spectrum of types of clothes to wear.  If I worked in that situation, I think I would still try to dress that one notch higher.  Pantsuit, colored and tailored blouse, dress slacks with a similar blouse, low chunky heels for comfort or flats, and so on.  I would want to look better than most of them without going overboard.  I would also wear the occasional dress with or without nylons/pantyhose with low heels or flats.  Most of this is just common sense.

Then it depends on how one wants to be seen, or not.  I want people to notice me, so dressing right for the occasion is normally important to me, except for this darn covid lockdown.  I am very extroverted so I guess maybe the two fit together, dressing right and meeting new people!  If one just wants to blend, then take it down to their level and maybe treat yourself occasionally by dressing that one notch up.

How others may take you regarding respecting who you are and what you know (talents) can vary all over the place.  First we take on the role of a woman and thus will benefit from some female privilege and probably suffer from others' male privilege.  The other is we are trans and unless we truly pass at a distance and up close when conversing we go in with all the trans disadvantages.  People will notice us when we don't want to be noticed.  We are different because of what we went through and what we are now trying to do.

However, the rubber really hits the road when we can truly show that inside, intelligence, capability and personality, we do know what we are talking about.  That may take time and it can become a continual learning exercise as we interact with more company employees and clients.

So my best advice is to be and do you as best you can.  Try to fit in and prove that you are a reliable and capable professional.  Some people may never get it, but I believe that most will.

Good luck and enjoy.  Life is such a wonderful and complicated trip from birth to death.  Don't worry about the destination, just enjoy where you are now and where you are headed.

Allie



I think that dressing one level “better” in professional settings is prudent behavior.

I think I will want variety it is just I do not want to gravitate towards suits.

Certainly many a woman look nice in jackets and suits, it just would not be my preference.


Chrissy


@AllieSF @Northern Star Girl
Be tender to others.  You are as beautiful as the thoughts you think and the words that your speak.   Always stay cheerful, be polite, kind, and understanding.  Knowledge and action shown without love is not impressive.  If you look for the good in people you will find it. Healthy relationships are so important to good living.

Good living, joy, unity, love, and happiness can come from following these practices: Never let selfishness or conceit motivate you.  Regard others as more important than yourself.  Do not limit attention to only your interests, but include the interests of others

It is not usually about how fast you transition, it is about how well you transition.  

Offline ChrissyRyan

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I have not noticed any difference in how I am treated professionally since transitioning.

I wear sensible clothing, similar to any other woman in the lab, which is all appropriate office attire. What I wear depends partly on my peers. If they are dressed down, I also dress down. In software engineering, it does not always pay to "look better" than everybody else.


That is a good point.

Chrissy


@Ellie_Arroway
Be tender to others.  You are as beautiful as the thoughts you think and the words that your speak.   Always stay cheerful, be polite, kind, and understanding.  Knowledge and action shown without love is not impressive.  If you look for the good in people you will find it. Healthy relationships are so important to good living.

Good living, joy, unity, love, and happiness can come from following these practices: Never let selfishness or conceit motivate you.  Regard others as more important than yourself.  Do not limit attention to only your interests, but include the interests of others

It is not usually about how fast you transition, it is about how well you transition.  

Offline Gertrude

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I think that dressing one level “better” in professional settings is prudent behavior.

I think I will want variety it is just I do not want to gravitate towards suits.

Certainly many a woman look nice in jackets and suits, it just would not be my preference.


Chrissy


@AllieSF @Northern Star Girl


Some people have Pinterest and Instagram accounts that do office fashion. I kind of like the vibe from this one, she's a lawyer.

http://ninethirtytofive.blogspot.com

She's on Pinterest and Instagram. I think one can wear skirts and blouses without the suit look. One can also have the blazer as an add on if one needs it during the day. Another look for business is the sheath dress.

Offline ChrissyRyan

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Some people have Pinterest and Instagram accounts that do office fashion. I kind of like the vibe from this one, she's a lawyer.

http://ninethirtytofive.blogspot.com

She's on Pinterest and Instagram. I think one can wear skirts and blouses without the suit look. One can also have the blazer as an add on if one needs it during the day. Another look for business is the sheath dress.

Gertrude,

Thank you.

I never heard of a sheath dress.

The pages at the link shows some nice outfits.  That was helpful.  :)

Chrissy
Be tender to others.  You are as beautiful as the thoughts you think and the words that your speak.   Always stay cheerful, be polite, kind, and understanding.  Knowledge and action shown without love is not impressive.  If you look for the good in people you will find it. Healthy relationships are so important to good living.

Good living, joy, unity, love, and happiness can come from following these practices: Never let selfishness or conceit motivate you.  Regard others as more important than yourself.  Do not limit attention to only your interests, but include the interests of others

It is not usually about how fast you transition, it is about how well you transition.  

Offline Gertrude

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Gertrude,

Thank you.

I never heard of a sheath dress.

The pages at the link shows some nice outfits.  That was helpful.  :)

Chrissy

Here is a red short sleeved sheath. They come in different designs and colors. I prefer princess seams as opposed to waist seamed.


Offline ChrissyRyan

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Here is a red short sleeved sheath. They come in different designs and colors. I prefer princess seams as opposed to waist seamed.



Thank you for sharing that as it helped me visualize a sheath dress.

Chrissy
Be tender to others.  You are as beautiful as the thoughts you think and the words that your speak.   Always stay cheerful, be polite, kind, and understanding.  Knowledge and action shown without love is not impressive.  If you look for the good in people you will find it. Healthy relationships are so important to good living.

Good living, joy, unity, love, and happiness can come from following these practices: Never let selfishness or conceit motivate you.  Regard others as more important than yourself.  Do not limit attention to only your interests, but include the interests of others

It is not usually about how fast you transition, it is about how well you transition.  

Offline EllenW

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I do what Allie advised. I always dress a little more professional than my customers. It worked for me before transitioning and now after.

Ellen
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Started to live part time as my true self in 2010
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Offline noleen111

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I dont think so,

I work in a retail environment within the back office, and i often wear dresses/skirts to work, with heels and sometimes even my 4 inch heels. I often wear hosiery  too. I am not looked at any different than anyone else. I love wearing pencil skirts or long flowing dresses. I actually rarely wear pants.

but for women the trick is to dress appropriately

dont have wear a too short skirt - if you skirt is very short, you will comments like she dressed like a slut.
wear a petticoat under your dress/skirt-  you dont want underwear lines showing and people can see thru your skirt.
Dont let your bra straps show - no off the shoulder tops
Dont show too much cleavage - I do wear v-neck tops that does show some of my cleavage, but mostly just the tops of my breasts..

My dress/skirt length, at work the shortest skirt I will wear is 3 fingers above the knee
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Offline VickyMI

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Dressing a “notch above” those you interact with Is spot on. 

I also worked initially in a field where suit and tie and only white shirts were acceptable.  The dress code has changed dramatically the last 20 years.  So a notch above means something different now.

I have many skirt suits that I wear less and less, sigh.




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