How to Power Dress in Summer Without Black for Women

How to Power Dress in Summer Without Black (for Women)

I’ve talked a lot in previous posts about high-contrast dressing. It’s a powerful way to immediately project confidence and strength in the business world. I find that most people choose to create their high-contrast outfits using black; it’s often the easiest option. However, in summer, black is usually the last colour you want to wear as it soaks up the sun much faster than lighter colours. I want to share with you some tips and advice for women to help you figure out your power wardrobe for summer.

Last week I posted an article on How to Power Dress in Summer Without Black (for men). This week, ladies, my advice and tips are for you. I hope you enjoy!

Choose Lighter Fabrics and Looser Cuts

To stay cool, you want to choose fabrics that let your skin breath. Natural fabrics are always cooler, so cotton, lightweight wool, and linen are popular choices for summer. Personally, I advise against linen. If you are after a “corporate” look, it will wrinkle and look unprofessional by lunch. I also recommend to stay away from polyester, satin, and silk; they retain the heat near your body and can often make sweat marks more prominent (I know we all want to avoid that!). Tight garments also trap the heat near your body, so when choosing your clothes, opt for looser cut dresses, shirts, and skirts.

Combine Vibrant Colours – For Women in Creative Industries

Ladies, we have the luxury of being able to choose from a larger range of colours, patterns and also textures. Your have even more freedom if you work in a creative industry such as advertising, public relations, event management, or if you are an entrepreneur. Personally, I love to use white or off-white as my base colour and then add orange, red, tangerine, or vibrant green for contrast. The greater the contrast you have between your base colour and your highlight colour, the more bold and powerful you will look.

Combine Authoritative Colours – For Women in Traditional Industries

Generally, the darker the colour, the more authority you project; that is why black is the colour most people choose when creating a high-contrast or power outfit. But, there are other options. If you work in a traditional industry such as banking, law, or insurance you could swap a black dress for one in a lighter shade of navy or a deep green, and add contrast with a white tailored jacket or blazer. If you’re worried about looking too much like a nurse, then opt for a shorter jacket with a ¾ sleeve, and a slightly tighter fit. You can also change the buttons to black or gold so that they make more of an impact.

Strike a Pose With Your Shoes

Like most women, I love shoes! You can take an outfit from ordinary to extraordinary by adding contrast with the right pair of shoes. If you have chosen to go bold and are wearing a red or tangerine coloured dress, then you can add contrast with white or cream coloured shoes. Stay away from black, it will only drown out your image, and your dress won’t have the same impact.  If you’ve chosen a deep green or lighter navy and you want to add contrast, then why not choose a pair of shoes that already use high-contrast colours.

What outfit do you find works best for summer? What colours do you prefer? I’d love to learn more about you. Please leave your comments below and I promise to thoughtfully reply to any comment or question you have.

About Kara

Kara Ronin is the founder of Executive Impressions. She is an executive coach who specialises in leadership presence, social skills and business etiquette. She is also the creator of Bestselling Udemy course, Business Etiquette 101. Kara’s advice and unique perspectives have been featured in Time Inc., Business Insider, Ignites Europe (a Financial Times Service), The Muse, The Local France, The West Australian, and more. Kara works regularly with lawyers, investment bankers, and finance professionals to help them build presence, authority and influence in business. Get Kara's insights delivered straight to your inbox