We’ve all heard the adage, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” While this is simple in concept, it’s a lot harder in reality — especially for women, who have so many options from which to choose.

Wondering how to dress like a boss lady and come out ahead? Here’s a closer look at why your work wardrobe matters so much, along with a roundup of three things you can do to look as good as you feel in the workplace. 

Why Dressing to Impress Matters

Men are often taken more seriously in the workplace. They also lay claim to more leadership roles. Isn’t it time to level the playing field so more talented women get the props they deserve?

Unfortunately, while we all like to think we’ll be judged by our contributions, the reality is that how we look can make or break the opportunities we get. And this, as it turns out, is harder for women than for men.

“A man has a uniform, he knows what to wear, when. A woman has a disarray of clothing choices, so there is more of a chance they won’t be able to project credibility through their image. Too little makeup, overdone makeup, long hair, an untidy looking bag, jangling jewelry, too much perfume — all of these things will take their credibility down a notch,” London Image Institute president Lynne Marks told the New York Times.

The takeaway?  When it comes to leveling up at work, what you wear matters — whether you like it or not. Which raises the question: What do boss ladies wear?

How to Be a Boss at Life

Think dressing like a boss means sacrificing your sense of style? Think again. In fact, many of the world’s most successful women are renowned for their fashion choices. Don’t believe us? Think Anna Wintour, Savannah Guthrie, Lauren Conrad and, of course, Michelle Obama. This doesn’t mean you have to emulate their style; however, there are plenty of things we can learn from them, starting with the following:

how to dress like a boss ladyCover the Basics

Answering the question of how to be a boss chick starts with something surprisingly easy: Practicing good hygiene.  This involves more than just showering and brushing your teeth. Creating a put-together appearance also means avoiding excessive perfume, messy hair, and unprofessional makeup, all of which detract from the impression you make. 

Decide on Your Personal “Brand”

How you look is part of your overall brand. What do you want it to say? Said Orlaith Blaney, a chief executive at an international advertising and digital agency, “It was after a presentation on how important it was to look in business that I realized that there were some aspects of my personal brand that I could use a little help with.”

“Doing simple things, like paying attention to color, length of the dress, the height of heels and learning how to use the shape of my body with three-quarter length sleeves and slim-cut trousers, really transformed my look and wardrobe,” Blaney continued. 

It’s also important to keep in mind that your personal brand is directly influenced by the industry. For example, a job in fashion or entertainment will call for a trendier approach than more formal industries like business and law. Still, the earlier rules apply in all environments. Even if you work in a very casual office, well-cut jeans and an impeccably tailored top demonstrate both style and professionalism. There’s no excuse for sloppiness in any setting. 

Avoid Showing Excessive Skin

Image Matters owner France Jones told the New York Times, “A woman must use her image for the right reasons…The more skin you show, the more power you give away.” This doesn’t mean covering everything up; however, it does mean steering clear of super-short skirts and low-cut tops. 

If you think this means hiding your femininity, think again. In fact, embracing your inner girl can be a boon. “[A woman] doesn’t have to be seen as fluffy or light by showing her feminine side. This can be done through a ruffle or frill, wearing softer fabric or having some detail on her shoes like a bow or floral design. These are some subtle details which wouldn’t shouldn’t be afraid of as long as it’s appropriate and not over the top.” 

Embrace Your Inner Boss With CAKE Denim

One last thing to remember? While these tips may be a formula for professional success, choosing your work wardrobe is also about something else: having fun and feeling like a rock star. Whatever your current job and future career aspirations, dressing in clothes that make you feel amazing, strong, and ready to take on the world is the ultimate form of “power dressing.”  Los Angeles’ CAKE DENIM is all about celebrating the female identity with great-fitting, eco-friendly wardrobe jeans, and tees. Shop CAKE DENIM today.