Let me set the scene...I'm sitting at a table during a holiday lunch party with several colleagues...seven women, one man. As we were waiting for the main course to arrive, we began speaking about dresses in business meetings. Specifically, one of my female colleagues questioned whether it is appropriate for women to wear dresses to business meetings. Without question, business suits are always the safe "go-to" apparel when heading to a business meeting, but what happens when you want to try something new? Or something not so conventional? Are dresses and option? Well, of course I had an opinion!
I personally think that certain dresses are fine in business meetings...I also think that there are some dresses that are inappropriate. I am a big fan of well-tailored sheath dresses. I think these dresses pack a double punch for professional women in that they ooze femininity and class at the same time. If done properly, I believe that a sheath dress can totally hold its own in a business meeting full of suits. The perfect sheath is well-tailored, not too tight, and not too short. And while we did not discuss colors and patterns, I think that the more business meeting-appropriate dresses are solid, and not too bright-colored. Here are a few examples:
During our discussion, everyone at the table agreed that traditional wrap dresses are not appropriate at business meetings. While no one could articulate why these dresses have no place in a business meeting, I reckon it has something to do with visible curvature...let me explain. While I do believe that wrap dresses are great to wear in the office and that every Professional Diva should have a few sprinkled throughout her wardrobe, I do think they may be a distraction in a business meeting. Perhaps the wrap dress oozes a little too much femininity? In any event, my colleagues essentially damned the traditional wrap dress from business meeting appropriateness...and I think I agree!
|DVF is the Queen of the Wrap Dress. Every Professional Diva should have a couple in her wardrobe.|
In sum, when it comes to dresses in business meetings, my colleagues and I agreed to the following:
1. A sheath dress on its own is okay in a business meeting, so long as the dress is not sleeveless. Capped, quarter-length, or long sleeves are necessary if the dress is worn on its own.
2. If the sheath dress is sleeveless, it is okay in a business meeting if accompanied by a blazer. A cardigan is not an option.
3. Traditional wrap-dresses are not appropriate in a business meeting, even if accompanied by a blazer.