DRESS CODES 101: For Self-Employed Women

Congratulations!  You’re self employed.  No more dress codes.  You get to wear whatever you want!


As women entrepreneurs working in a highly complex and competitive society, you must recognize and understand the impact of your appearance as it communicates first to you and then to others.

What you wear and the way you look affects:

  1. the way you think,
  2. the way you feel,
  3. the way you act or behave, and then
  4. the way others react or respond to you.


A couple of years ago, I was invited to a Cinco de Mayo party at a private home.  I didn’t see the invitation (I was somebody’s “plus one”).

I was anticipating margaritas, some tacos, and chips with salsa.

I wore my favorite faded jeans and a casual top.  I threw on a “fancy shmancy” statement necklace, just because, I’m random like that.  It was my version of Mexican Chic 🙂

BUT!  I was mortified when I arrived at the house party and discovered it wasn’t just a casual get-together with tacos and tequila…

It was a FULL BLOWN business networking event with vendors,

a Chef in the Kitchen preparing fresh seafood (tacos) and a

Bar with Bubbly Bartenders serving specialty drinks!

I was NOT at the proper DRESS CODE level.

I was embarrassed for myself (and the woman that invited me).  I felt irrelevant, insecure and inferior.

I wanted to crawl inside my jumbo “jalapeno margarita”… and die.

That night I promised myself I would never, ever, be below dress code level again!

Can you relate?

Here are FOUR Types of DRESS CODES to help you avoid a dress code disaster and dress appropriate for the occasion:


  1. Casual.  Pull out your favorite jeans!  You can opt for a comfortable tee or dress things up with a stylish top, jewelry or even a blazer.  Footwear – Can range from sneakers to heels to boots.
  2. Business Casual.  Dress pants or khakis with a fashionable top is appropriate.  A casual skirt is also an option.  Feel free to dress up your outfit with heels, jewelry and/or accessories.  Hair and Makeup everyday style.
  3. Business.  Wear a business suit or a business style dress with heels (high or low).  Tip:  Stick to business colors:  black, navy blue, gray or brown.  (Knowing your best business color is vital so you don’t look tired, old or sick)
  4. Smart Casual.  Smart Casual (or dressy casual) is basically a combination of casual, business casual, and business dress codes, where you can combine them into a “smart” ensemble.  It’s safest to go with nice slacks or a skirt, though you could also wear a nice pair of dark jeans dressed up with a collared or otherwise dressy top.  Throw on a blazer for an extra touch of class.  For Smart Casual, you should look sharp, stylish and neatly put together.

I’ve come a long way since my dress code disaster – As for me, I believe blazers are the answer for all occasions!

Was this helpful?

I challenge you to become more aware of how your clothing and grooming affect the way you think, the way you feel, the way you act, and the way others react to you.

Make the power of personal appearance work for you!



PS  By the way, if you want more information like this, feel free to reach out to me.  I have a lot more tips that have helped women entrepreneurs create a powerful, attractive and visible personal brand and may help you, too.







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