Men have such an advantage over women in business. I'm not talking about their pay and promotion advantage-I'm talking about their Dress Advantage. Getting out of the house is so much harder for a business woman than a business man that it gives men a head start every single day, and that seems grossly unfair to me.
For a recent business trip to a conference I packed 9 pairs of shoes representing the following categories:
Sneakers for a run on the treadmill
Glam high heels for the gala dinner
Sliver medium high heels in case the glam high heels hurt too much
Flats to go with my pant suit
Brown, leopard, black heels to go with my skirt suits
Comfortable pumas to wear when my feet hurt from my heels
On to the jewelry. I don't really love jewelry, but it is a required part of a business woman's armor. This is what I brought: silver earrings and gold earrings to match my suits, fancy earrings for night, two silver bracelets, a green bracelet, and silver and gold necklaces to go with the sets of earrings. I wear the same Movado watch every day, so thank goodness nothing to choose from there.
I also packed a bag of make up, my pantene conditioner, special foaming face soap from Jurlique, lotions for my face and neck, nail polish remover and nail polish (in case I picked off my polish), temporary hair dye (fanci-ful brand, in case my white stripe suddenly pops through like it always does when I'm out of town) and a razor.
My bras had to match my suits so they wouldn't show thru, be too padded or not padded enough, too sexy or not sexy enough. The pantyhose had to be black or nude, sheer or shiny. Even the underwear had to have the right pantyline. The only easy item in this category was the Hanes men's T shirts since I wear the same kind to bed every night.
My husband went on a business trip recently and packed pants, shirts, a suit, a razor, a fragrance and underwear-and one extra pair of shoes.
This packing differential represents the lopsided nature of what business expects a high-powered business woman to look like versus a high powered man. So many different moving and matching parts- and I haven't gotten to a discussion of hair yet!
You could say I brought it on myself, but truly I am a reformed hippy who didn't cut my long black hair until I turned 27 and only began wearing makeup on my 30th birthday! In my business this is what women wear, and I am not on the radical fringe of fashion.
Of course all this "dress up" can be great fun, and we do really look great, but I have to believe we could narrow the pay gap by at least 20% if we could tax our agile brains a little less in coordinating all the mind boggling combinations of color and style. On the other hand, at least I have a daughter who helps me every step of the fashion way. Thank goodness for that!