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How to Choose the Best Outfit for the Boardroom: The Key to Success is in the Dress

I believe that a rose by any other name actually may not smell as sweet.

10. LBD with a Pop


Know what it means to be the boss? To some women, it comes naturally, so follow their lead in a smart sheath with a great cut and just enough detail to keep it interesting. Choose dark colors to keep the tone serious, with a floral or geometric accent to catch the eye. Consider your audience for the day - will you be on a stage where a small pop of color won't be noticeable? Or will you be in an intimate meeting setting where intricacies in the style can be appreciated? Make sure you round out short, playful dresses with a pair of smart, solid colored heels and a simple clutch or wristlet.

9. Asian Brocade Wrap


Keep it sleek and sophisticated in a crossover bodice dress with a brilliant hued pattern. High collars pair perfectly with I-Mean-Business ponytails and Keep-Up-With-Me stilettos. A thick fabric with an eye-catching trim give great structure to a gorgeous pattern - especially one with a monochromatic theme. A thin, belted trench coat is the right outerwear to pair with this streamlined shape. Keep jewelry minimal with a look like this - choose simple pearl studs and a dainty watch.

8. Striped Frock


Big bold stripes for big bold moves. A dress like this was designed to spur your creativity and display your intellect. The encapsulated colors laid out in a standard shape spice up a trusty go-to look. There is something very sharp about a modest cut with a captivating fabric design. When working with stripes, always make sure there's something to break up the pattern like an unexpected design element, a beaded belt, or a long gold necklace. Put on some closed-toe pumps and forge ahead - you've nothing to fear in this gear!

7. Printed Midi


In a room of stuffy black and navy suits, be the star standout. Wrap yourself in the confidence of an energetic pattern and meet your challenges head on! Mixing prints is a striking move that exudes leadership and inspires awe. Keeping the cut sensible makes sure the strong pattern gets all the attention and the bodice can hug you in the right places. But don't get too busy with this style; a look this intricate would pair best with a nude heel or sandal.

6. Belted Florals

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Every successful leader should have layers that leave a peek of something else beneath. Layers on a simple dress can give a kick to a standard floral pattern. The intricacies of an overlaying fabric create a subtle detail to differentiate an otherwise straight shape. Go for large floral prints this year so that the design work really pops. Belt the waist and wear a dark, pointed shoe - a more conservative dress cut can accommodate a higher heel. Classics with a twist are how to stay on on top.

5. Structured Knitwork Dress


Give your meetings some structure with stripes. An offset outline gives this look more punch than your average striped frock. There's a certain cozy elegance contained in long sleeves, so make sure the dress has a shorter cut hemline to keep the look fresh. Dark stripes keep the lines working in your favor. If it's winter, wear this with some tall boots or tights and t-strap Mary Janes. Add a top knot and keep those spreadsheets in check, line by line.

4. Color Block


Look alive out there! Balance the budget and raise the revenue without putting anyone to sleep. Choose a flattering fit with surprising colors to command attention in any meeting. Look for bold, unexpected color combinations with thick lines to direct the focus to your best features. A short or mid-length cut works best for this style so you don't look like you're drowning in solid fabrics. Blocked colors are at their peak when they are placed asymmetrically, so look for a variety of layouts and pattern styles.

3. Busy Print


Run the room, run the world. Patterns that say "Sit up and listen" will keep you sailing smooth all day long. Lean toward a vibrant pattern with colors that play nicely. Let the details of the design do the speaking, and go for a brighter color near the face. Choose a dress that allows for some movement so you're comfy and stylish all day. Remember, a short, playful dress like this pairs well with simple flats so this is the perfect look when you'll be on your feet.

2. Silky Smooth Sheath


Close the deal in a silk dress with a detailed pattern. Silk can be a little unforgiving, so look for a dress with an added feature like some ruching or layered flaps. Silk drapes best in a simple cut so only choose dresses with standard, classic shapes that you feel confident wearing. The luxurious look and feel of the smooth fabric will have you shining well into those afternoon meetings. Pair shorter dresses with a more moderate heel to keep some secrets.

1. Leather Pop Dress


Need the right look to get you to 5:00? Stick with your tried and true solids but add a surprise element. Leather sleeves or a chain belt juxtapose just the right presentation of hard and soft to get your point across but keep you balanced. Add simple, but elegant accessories to keep this outfit looking expensive and not overly fussy. Make sure you pair a dress like this with gold-accented pumps for optimum ROI.

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