Clothing, overall appearance, and presence are aspects that interact to create an individual’s physical and psychological identity in the workplace. As a result, they can either serve to enhance or detract from a person’s overall career success. In particular, women are faced with a host of challenges specific to their gender when it comes to creating their ideal professional image. By possessing Executive Presence, many women would be better able to manage many of the gendered issues they face daily within corporate settings, including the confusion surrounding the construction of an ideal professional image. To validate this claim, five topics are analyzed in this paper: the history of women in the workplace within a Western setting; the importance of first impressions; gender discrimination and stereotypes in the workplace; the cognitive and behavioural effects of clothing; Executive Presence as it relates to women in the workplace. The findings of this analysis indicate that gender equity within Western corporate settings is not yet the norm, as evidenced by the sheer amount of discrimination that continues to occur, many double-standards that women must face daily, and a lack of women in managerial and C-suite levels. Based on the literature, there is reason to believe that one way to overcome many of the issues faced by women within corporate settings is an increase in their Executive Presence; it might mean a better understanding of appearance and how it affects them, which could in turn lead to an increase in confidence, communication skills and decision-making skills, which would finally denote a higher level of Executive Presence.
Images used for academic purposes.