What should women wear

Clothes make careers : What women should wear in the office

This is one of the stories that Katrin Sachs likes to tell: As a back office employee at the management consultancy McKinsey heard one day: “Why don't you come out to a customer with me?” An invitation to upgrade. And why did she hear that? Because she always appeared presentably dressed in the office despite her work far away from customers. That was noticed.

The nice thing about the story is that it tells of democratized career advancement opportunities. Dressing in a presentable manner has nothing to do with happiness or grace. It can be imitated. This is ensured by Katrin Sachs, who has been offering coaching for professional life with her Berlin consultancy firm since 2003, including last week at the invitation of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation in Berlin.

"The need for advice is great," says Katrin Sachs, and the recommendations are permanent, because despite the many youthful, unconventional startups, little has changed in the applicable dress codes. Because it's not about fashion itself, but how it influences conversations.

Here are your most important tips - from the bottom up, because that's where it should go:

Shoes can be flat, even ballerinas are in there, whereby every woman should ask herself whether she is walking or waddling in them. Katrin Sachs prefers flat heels. If you prefer high heels, you should pull out the centimeter ruler, because higher than six centimeters looks dubious. Otherwise: never sneakers, no sandals. The shoes should be closed and always the darkest point of the outfit so as not to draw your gaze downwards.

Trousers. Pants or skirt go as you like. But if there are belt loops, you have to wear a belt that ideally matches the color of the shoes. With skirts, you have to pay attention to the length, never shorter than a hand's breadth above the knee. And remember: if you sit down, it will slide up. How stupid that can look can be seen in almost every talk show on the guest seats. In contrast to the USA, in Germany nylons are compulsory. The bare leg is firmly suspected of being a leisure activity in this country. In contrast, the dogma “No boots on a skirt” is changing. It is now working - but sometimes it still backfires.

blazer end where the hips are widest. Don't move out in really important meetings, no matter how hot it gets.

Template. “In general: tall women, large patterns, small women, small patterns,” says Katrin Sachs, so get rid of the polka dots, Mrs. Big, and no Marimekko Ollie top for you, Mrs. Little.

Colours. The Queen and Angela Merkel are leading the way. Colorful doesn't mean dissolute. You can have a respectable professional life beyond all shades of gray, from light to dark blue and not to forget beige. But it requires a certain amount of courage and self-confidence, and the awareness that the others could feel irritated or challenged by the colorful blob in their midst. It is precisely then that it is important that you feel comfortable in your elevator. Those who prefer the inconspicuousness are always properly dressed in subtle colors. Nor is it interpreted as boring for him. It's work clothes and not a party dress.

Fingernails. Painting is possible, maybe not necessarily in Opi's “An Affair in Red Square”. For everyone who has opted for artificial Fresh Nails, the tip: do not use any rhinestone decoration. Because it doesn't look like being able to grab hold of anything anymore. And this is about work. The same applies to tattoos: hide!

Cleavage. “The art of living is the art of omitting correctly. It starts with talking and ends with cleavage, ”said Coco Chanel, who might have become a good career advisor, but was even better as a fashion designer. In any case, according to Katrin Sachs, the refined neckline is a trump card for the evening, not for work. Rule of thumb: "The neckline should end above the visible breast base."

collar to collar, they say. And vice versa: never put two collarless tops on top of each other, it always looks like something is missing. And when the other person starts to think about what exactly is missing, successful communication is quickly in danger.

Face. You can't do without make-up, says Katrin Sachs. And if it's just a little mascara, an eyeliner or lip gloss. This is also not a gesture of submission to common gender roles, but makes it clear that one understands how to use opportunities. So not putting on make-up is like stirring your coffee with your finger instead of a spoon. That doesn't make a good impression either. Women who still wonder why they should paint themselves while men didn't, can think of shaving as the equivalent.

accessories are half the outfit. But well dosed, please. “Never more than five visible parts” is the rule with which Katrin Sachs warns of the glittering Christmas tree effect. Warning: earrings are two parts. The following applies to neckerchiefs and shawls: do not wrap them in such a way that they pile up in front of your face like gigantic cloth armor. Then let it hang down.

Basically, in the world of work, when it comes to outfit - unlike salary - less is more. The dress codes for the job are not intended to seduce, they are intended to draw the attention of interlocutors to what one has to say. This means that they have to send clear messages as quickly as possible, which can be listened to immediately. Because, Katrin Sachs says comfortably: "In the end, it still depends on what is said."

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