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Ode to a dress

When considering options, nothing compares to the style and comfort of a dress. Dresses come complete. Top and bottom, perfectly cut, matched and coordinated. Dresses always look more chic than anything else a woman can wear (in public). Dresses are cool when it’s hot. And, with tights, dresses are comfy when it’s chilly.

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Dresses hide a multitude of issues. Tuck a tummy, hide your hips, lengthen your legs. Dresses are appropriate for work, play, special occasion, picnics, dances… Dresses are flexible – worn with a jacket for day, a wrap for evening.

A dress with pearls is sophisticated. A dress with a wooden bead necklace is bohemian. Blingy costume jewelry adds sparkle.

Ballet flats or stilettos, boots or booties. Ah, a dress. Is there anything it can’t do? Tomorrow, slip into a dress and see how it instantly makes you feel better.

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Sum, sum, summertime!

Ah, the lazy, hazy days of summer. The temperature soars, we have more daylight, more sunshine…more flexibility in what to wear to work?

Maybe. But honestly there’s not as much flexibility as some people take. As women in our 50s we are likely in positions of authority. We lead departments, head up major projects, advise clients. We need to portray and maintain an appropriate image, even as the thermometer starts to climb.

Here are some tips for mature women and executives:

  • Maintain a professional image. You’ll still need to wear suits, dresses and business wear in summer months, but you can choose lighter fabrics. Natural fibers are easier to wear in warmer temperatures.
  • Choose appropriate shoes. Flip flips are NEVER appropriate work wear. (Even the ones with little sparkles) Sorry, but leave the flip flops at the beach.
  • Open toed shoes or strappy sandals can be appropriate if they maintain a more conservative look. Leave the club wear for the younger set.
  • Casual Friday does not mean sloppy Friday. Leave the t-shirts, track pants, jeans and shorts at home. Choose skirts or cotton slacks
  • Longer capris can work if they are tailored – be sure to pair them with a jacket to create a more formal look. Wearing great shoes can also make capris appropriate in the workplace.
  • Wearing a sleeveless top under a jacket is a great way to beat the heat without dressing inappropriately. Some workplaces frown on sleeveless tops without a jacket over top.
  • Watch the cleavage. Some summer dresses or tops leave the “girls” a little exposed. Low cut necklines, however, are never a good idea in the workplace.
  • Keep jewelry and accessories colourful, interesting and fun. Keep makeup natural-looking and light, and look for cosmetics that are formulated to stay put even in heat and humidity.
  • Wear sunscreen. Always. Even on a cloudy day.

Remember that you want to be taken seriously and professionally in the workplace. As a mature women, you are likely a role model for other staff. What kind of messages are you sending?