Shopping Therapy

Corporate Look: A Woman’s Basics

This was an article of mine written for and dedicated to all those women working in Shipping and participating to the very impressive Posidonia series of events in Athens.

Growing up in a world less dominated by men but still driven by their ambition and will, women are usually told to dress like the opposite sex, in an effort to fit more into a leader’s costume. The so-called ‘power suit’ caries with it all these qualities required when somebody wants to be appreciated in a highly competitive business environment. For those working in big firms, successful corporations and institutions, this suit acts as an armor, constituting a large part of their successful profile. This corporate outfit is their interface in the broad area of public activities they undertake.

People employed in maritime corporations follow a certain etiquette when it comes to their presence in the office and beyond this, during their meetings, business dinners and other kinds of social interaction with the rest of the people in the market. Women gradually realize, after many decades of a stricter approach to the issue, that they can enjoy a greater space for expression while still staying within the acceptable frame, adopting a look that helps them feel powerful, confident and comfortable at the same time. A greater variety of items and combinations are available and recommended to them as key-strokes to their business profile. Clothes and accessories, colors, forms and prints, can be used as a means to a wonderful corporate wardrobe which is transcended by elegance, timelessness and femininity. There are some ‘basics’ that can serve successful women all the time as the backbone of a personal collection, strategically reinforced by each coming season’s must-haves or by new items that fit the color palette you are more familiar with.

You are not asked to walk far away from your comfort zone but you may feel happy to try new combinations sometimes. If you happen to be in the mood for changing, but styling isn’t really your thing, then you can get some expert advice or make safe choices within the spectrum of neutrals and pastels. Working in Shipping means that you have a certain desire for the shades of blue, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to be predictable. The whole seascape includes some other wonderful hues, depending on weather conditions, including grey, white, black, purple, green, all kinds of color reflections in the water which end up becoming muted shades, very interesting and versatile. Simplicity and balance should be your prerogatives in your corporate style decision-making. Little details will make the difference without making you look loud and over-dressed for the occasion.

Heading to the office every day you have to be convinced that your style is not only appropriate but also eye-catching and smooth. You don’t need to be provocative in order to charm others. You can be smart and bring others’ conventional wisdom about ‘what a businesswoman should wear’ to the next level. Keep in mind that your job is to reach profitable agreements with people in the market and have great collaborations. Winning other people’s consent on a business level presupposes that you already have their appreciation, and, subconsciously, one of the few things that really count when building up your professional image is your sense of style and more specifically your consistency in terms of style. Consistency brings with it the notion of credibility and with such elements to the forefront of your personality you can really be trusted and become inspiring.

Organize your closet, keeping only those items necessary and arranging them according to color, fabric and style. Your mission is to create an area that helps you easily pick up your desired look every morning. Assemble the different looks in advance and each one of them in separate hangers. Elevate your appearance using the three-piece principle which translates into one jacket or cardigan, pants or a skirt and a top or blouse. But you can make it even easier by eliminating one piece and going for the dress-and-jacket duo. Stick to one-color outfits and add some pops of different shades for the little accessories such as shoes, scarves, sunglasses and/or jewelry. Avoid vivid shades that will over-expose the bold features of your character. Make sure that you don’t reveal too much skin through a cropped top, dress or skirt. Midi-lengths for the skirts and three-quarter sleeves for your blouses are great solutions for an ultra chic look. When in pants, add some more feminine touches, to overcome this androgynous cliché in business. Mix pastels with neutrals, loose with fitted forms and be minimalist in terms of accessorizing. Try to invest in valuable, classic pieces such as high-quality leather bags and shoes, fine silk scarves and jewelry.

Bally Poe Wedges

More than the rest of your wardrobe, your business looks should imply a great taste for exquisite tailoring and high-quality fabrics such as cashmere, tweed, cotton and silk. At work, these materials have to last more and feel good, since you are actually in them for at least 8 hours per day. Stay away from synthetic stuff that does not breathe and fibers that are not flexible while you move. Clothes should comply with your body needs and protect you from unwanted situations and outfit-related failures. Along the same lines, accessories should prove equally reliable when on duty. Avoid sky-high stiletto heels, heavy and noisy jewelry pieces, overwhelmingly large shoulder bags and this super-thin pantyhose choice which can get ripped and spoil the whole outfit. High-heel wedge-type shoes, lightweight jewels made of pearls and little stones, medium-size hand bags and opaque tights will be the perfect alternatives. Be conservative when it comes to prints since they can easily betray you with their unexpected impact. Minimize their motif in terms of size, boldness, intensity and scale.

MAC Hey, Sailor Makeup Collection

Your business look should not include more than one secondary printed piece. Little polka dots on your blouse or scarf are fine but large florals on your pants are totally unacceptable. Always make a smart twist in your corporate look adding one small item that will subtly reveal your taste for wonderful things. It can be a beautiful grandma brooch, a pair of precious earrings or even a gadget which can wield admiration from everybody around you. Women in business always meet the challenge of combining many different roles in their lives, but what they should never ignore is their role as women who endorse their femininity taking care of their bodies as well as minds. Skin care is a very significant dimension of their looks and one that engages them in a necessary and most often pleasant beauty routine. Keep your skin clean and moisturized all day long using good quality beauty products. Also treat your hair, teeth and nails favorably since they are all signs of perfect health and self-respect. A bright healthy smile, a luminous, glowing face and a sleek hairstyle can further enhance the image of a strong, confident, solid personality.

Occasionally, experts of beauty and styling can help you a lot in maintaining this amazing profile, so you should try to listen to their wisdom and absorb parts of their knowledge. Finally, pay huge attention to your nutrition and put an effort to eliminate any bad habits which challenge your physical condition. Mix good nutrition with a little bit of exercise and you’ll end up meeting your greatest expectations. Women in Shipping usually share a certain love for sea sports which are ideal for the summer. You can swim, sail, dive and come into closer contact with the item of your desires, sea water and the natural beauties that relate to it!


  • Large-scale prints and vivid colors
  • Over-dressing and over-accessorizing
  • Cheap, synthetic fabrics and other materials
  • Intense makeup and fancy hairstyles
  • Sky-high stiletto heels and ultra sheer tights
  • Noisy jewelry and heavy, loud accessories
  • Less tailored styles and loose forms
  • Very tight, fitted clothes and skinny pants
  • Low-quality or over-worn older items

Go for…

  • Small-scale prints, pastels, neutrals and muted shades
  • Simplicity, elegance, sophistication and femininity
  • High-quality fabrics, leathers and other materials
  • A glowing face with moisturized skin and subtle makeup
  • Shiny, sleek hair and simple, feminine, easy-to-maintain styles
  • Wedge-type elegant shoes or well-balanced heels
  • Lightweight, classic jewelry pieces and ultra chic accessories
  • Tailored, comfortable, classic fit clothes
  • Great quality items in perfect condition without flaws

Read more about Maritime Business on

Shop more of Corporate Wardrobe on Neiman Marcus

Mark/Giusti ‘La Dolce Vita’ Bag Collection

You may also like

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *