My personal style has always been a bit contradictory. On one hand, I adore the classic timeless looks that the great Jackie O embodied and Coco Chanel created. On the other hand, I get inspired by colorful, impromptu looks that the great Iris wears.

One day, I’m wearing a colorful lace skirt with a classic white button up. The next day, a bright pink dress with beige heels. I’ll end the week in an all black ensemble. Although, at the end of the day, my personal style is quite feminine. My personal style, according to some experts, should have brought me down, should have held me back professionally. To be taken “seriously,” I should wear black/blue/grey business suits and no heels. I should basically look “masculine”.

This line of thinking did not account for the fact that a lot of cultures, celebrate color. India, Latin America, Caribbean, Africa, thrive on colorful feminine outfits. It’s just Western culture way of thinking about fashion. I personally think my feminine style has helped me. It had made me look more approachable; people want to talk to me, want to help me, want to give me advice. Let’s face it, when you wear a red dress to a conference where everyone wears black, you stand out. Which if you use it correctly, can be beneficial. One of the strengths on the feminine part of the continuum that yes both “men” and “female” can use is influencing by persuading vs. commanding. How can you persuade someone if they don’t approach you?

Studies have shown that women need to be able to turn on and off masculine traits, to be taken seriously. Which, yes I know, is utterly unfair, but we are progressing.  I use my masculine traits while wearing clothes that make me feel comfortable. So if that is a classic yellow/white Michael Kors, 60’s inspired dress, then so be it.