Last night the Canadian Embassy in D.C. hosted a non-partisan event to highlight and celebrate the new members of Congress. The large room was FULL of women and a few good men excited to welcome the new women.

Style for me is just as much about WHO you are as HOW you dress. It’s anthropology as well as psychology. (This is why we always start with WHY in all of our programs.)

I love being in a room of diverse women to take in how each one of them shows up in style.

These were women dressed like women. (You know, because they’re women!)

Yes, I’m referring to the headlines out last week that the President prefers the women on his team to ‘dress like a woman.’ His intentions behind this preference is the antithesis of why Ustyled exists.

Style is not about fitting a mold.

It’s an outward expression of your inner self.

And women are nuanced creatures.

Which is why I obviously love the #DressLikeaWoman movement happening on social media. Damn straight — we are ALL badass!


Here’s how I would suggest you ‘Dress Like a Woman’ (and the subject of our work with Leadership Style Power) …


1) Start with WHY

If you’re going to put yourself out there — making a stink like Elizabeth Warren or Rosa Parks about something you believe in –you’re going to need to have a big WHY to move through the really tough parts and all of the criticism.

Women are still much more harshly critiqued on how we look than men — including how harsh we are on ourselves.

So, get out of your own way and move forward with purpose.


2) WHO are you?

The women we work with are nuanced. We have so many layers and hats that we wear. This is what makes us amazing. It’s also why we can easily empathize with others — a key leadership trait that is becoming increasingly important with the rise of the ‘talent’ work force.

Really dig into what matters to you and all the different ways you want to show up.

One of the reasons why I tend to be against creating a ‘uniform’ per se is because we tend to have so many different sides of our personality that a uniform just would never represent WHO we are every day.

That said, DO YOU. So, if you totally love a uniform (or the elements of an outfit that you simply rotate out), go for it!

Pay attention to the colors you prefer, the feelings you want to feel and invoke and how important comfort is to you (for the day!?).

My case in point:


3) Make it WORK!

Since by the sheer nature of the fact that you ARE a woman,  you are dressing like a woman, all you need to know to take it a step further are the ‘Elements of Style.’

Every balanced outfit has a base, a layer and an accessory.

A base can be your pants & blouse, tee & jeans, dress, etc. A layer can be a sweater, a jacket, a scarf or even a necklace. The accessory can be as simply as your earrings or a watch, your necklace can be the layer as well as the accessory, or you can don the trifecta of a power ring (worn on your index finger aka the queen finger) plus necklace plus earrings.

All of this is subject to what you feel like doing and wearing for the day. These can guide you, but you don’t have to follow them!


4) Have a WAP (Wardrobe Action Plan)

Knowing what you have and what you need makes it ALL easier. Because while it’s amazing that women get to play with clothes and be more creative with our style compared to men, that also adds a lot of layers of complexity.

Being clear on what you have and what you need makes it easier to shop online when you’re watching your favorite guilty pleasure show. (Let’s be real — that’s the only time any of us have any desire to shop!)

We share how to get started in our Style Power Report (free!) and go deeper into guiding you in our Leadership Style Power workshops (not free, but a pretty badass #PowerPosse!).


5) OWN IT!

Now that you’ve put on clothes … go OWN IT.

(This is where confidence comes into play because you are a total badass — you see and feel the world differently. This is a HUGE gift.)


I love style because I believe it’s a catalyst for confidence.

Sometimes you need that ‘coat of armor’ to steel you up before a big event … but ultimately, YOU have the power in you. The outfit can help you put your toe in the water when you need that extra boost of confidence, but over time, you’ll realize that the confidence is REAL and it comes from the inside. Your talent, brilliance, kindness, etc.

You aren’t here to hide.

You’re here to make an impact.

I am here to help you own your power to make that impact.


PS. You may also be interested in these articles on your voice and our power as women.


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One thought on “How to Dress Like a Woman

  1. Great points, Catherine! I would have loved to see that variety of ways those wonderful women showed up to such a great event. I’m starting to gain more personal experience of my style underpinning my confidence. I agree that the more women really stand up as themselves and not some preconceived notion of “how a woman dresses,” we will be much farther ahead in truly moving our country, and the world, forward in a positive, empowered way.

    Posted on February 9, 2017 at 4:40 pm