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The film 80s Working Girl was the light bulb moment that has stuck with me into adulthood. You cannot work in the corporate world and look or sound like a girl. No one will take you seriously. I loved that film. I watched it again recently and it still rings true. The ‘boss lady’ is a woman and the hero is also a woman. This alone is obviously a cause for celebration, but what about the underlying question does girl power still need to dress up like a man?

There are more current examples of course but squaring up as I like to put it - shoulder pads, pantsuits, skirt suits, shirts, are still the ultimate statement in “take me seriously”. And it’s not just because men say so. More and more women judge other women by the way they dress and how they look after themselves. We explore some of these issues in a previous post on “Thinking More Caring Less”.

Is this a case of expectations filtering down from the top? Even in women owned and woman led companies male definitions for smart and successful professionalism still hold true.

Are women unable to redesign this facet of our society? Or is the fact that men are still at the top pulling these strings reigning supreme? I can only imagine what a new dress code would look like if more female CEOs/ girlboss’ existed? I foretell more colours, better tailoring, more skin on show! A daily celebration of the things women love and those ‘things’ not becoming a derogatory example of silly unsubstantial weaknesses that ‘girl stuff’ has come to mean.

Has that day already come? I’m not sure – what do you think?

Part of our Body of Work Series


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