Women are doing more and more to make their voices heard. They are making bold moves in their careers and at home. More women are entering into fields such as politics, science, technology and they are starting more businesses.
The fashion industry has surely recognized this and for fall 2017 designers are offering clothing that will help these strong women tell their story at work. From the power pant suit, to bold red, to plaid and metallic prints and everything in between, these trends are perfect for any woman who is making strides in her career.
1. The Pant Suit
How's that for a trend that's perfect to wear to work? Power pant suits are the backbone for fall 2017 and they are completely customizable. Create a pantsuit outfit that best speaks to your personal style / brand and office dress code. You could wear a trendy oversized jacket with oversized pants in this season's hottest color- red. Or for a modern look wear a long, tailored jacket with slim pants in plaid. If a classic style is more your taste go for a double breasted jacket with trouser pants in a neutral grey or navy.
2. The Mule Loafer
The “It" shoe for fall brings comfort, ease, style, versatility and it happens to be a great commuting shoe. The mule loafer can be worn with skirts and pants and it could be dressed up or down. If your day consists of back to back meetings pair the mule loafer with black pants, a white shirt and a plaid menswear inspired blazer. For casual Friday take those same mule loafers and wear them with a midi skirt and western blouse.
3. Wild West
This fall's take on western wear is tough cowgirl chic. We're talking cowboy hats and boots, leather, fringe, western tops, cow prints, cactus prints, and more. So how can one possibly incorporate a western inspired look in a NYC modern office? Well for one you could wear a floral or pleated maxi skirt with a denim top, cowboy booties and a fringe jacket. Or, add a fringe vest to a long sleeve blouse, leather pants and cowboy booties. Both are perfect outfits for a casual day at the office.
4. Red Hot
Speaking of fashion and power, it's no surprise that the color of the season is red. Pantone has named Grenadine as one of the top 10 colors for fall 2017 and describes it as, “A powerful, evocative, dynamic red, Grenadine is a confident and self-assured attention-getter". It's bright, bold and statement making which makes it the perfect color for any professional woman. Show the world you're fearless by wearing a red sweater with a red skirt and black pumps to your next executive meeting. If you're looking for a bold yet understated look, pair a red blouse with a grey or camel colored pant. And, if red isn't your thing, burgundy is coming in a close 2nd for the top color of the season.
5. Statement Earrings
From large hoops, to long earrings to big mismatched earrings the message is- go big or go home. A bold accessory, like statement earrings, help people notice and remember you- a plus for women in business. My favorite thing about this trend is that it's a great way to incorporate your personal style in your outfit. If you're quirky, try a mismatched look with a chandelier earring in one ear and a long earring in the other. If you lean towards a more clean and modern look, go for large hoop earrings.
6. Cuff 'Em
Sweaters for fall 2017 are not only comfy and cozy, but they also incorporate many fun elements like ruffles, embroideries and balloon sleeves. But sweater cuffs with details such as ties, fluted cuffs, ruffles, bows, zippers and slits are taking sweaters, and wrists, to a whole new level. Get pumped to go to work a blustery Monday morning by wearing a burgundy cashmere tie sleeve sweater with navy pants and block heel booties.
7. Menswear Inspired
Menswear inspired prints like plaid, checks, houndstooth and pinstripes, tailored jackets and ties are now being found in the women's ready to wear section. While the inspiration comes from the fellas, women are taking these items and making them all their own. For a day of tough negotiations wearing a plaid midi dress with red pumps will help you stay in the zone.
8. Luxurious Velvet
Celebrities, models and everyday gals are sporting the most sought-after fabric for fall, velvet. Velvet can take any clothing item and convert it into a fabulous, head-turning outfit - which is why it's perfect to wear to the office. A velvet pantsuit or velvet skirt with a white button down shirt are great ways to infuse this trend in your workwear. Don't be afraid by the material - more often than not it has a slimming effect and can enhance your figure.
Stylist Tip- When wearing velvet make sure to keep the outfit simple. Velvet offers enough pop so don't overdo it by adding big prints or too many accessories.
9. Furry Bags
Whether it's a tote, a clutch, a bucket bag or satchel, fur (real or faux fur) is what's making these bags fresh and fabulous for Fall. These furry bags offer just the right amount of pop to help complete an outfit.
You could take a classic pinstripe pant suit and add an all-over pink fur tote for a fun office look. Also, taking a cue from the younger set of girls, poof or fur balls are a wonderful accessory for your accessory. Take your current bag and clip on a fur ball and viola, you've got an on trend furry bag.
10. Heavy Metal
Once reserved only for formal wear, metallic prints can now be found in jackets, skirts, pants, dresses, shoes and much more. While silver and gold dominate the metallic color palette other colors like pink, blue and green are popping up. Depending on your work dress code you could wear head to toe metallic or choose a staple piece like a skirt, jacket or top as the metallic item and layer in non-metallic items.
Fall 2017 is truly made for today's modern working woman. The trends this season lean towards appropriate workwear, yet still offer many innovative and fun ways for her to showcase her own sense of style.
Women in the workplace have always experienced a certain degree of discrimination from male colleagues, and according to new studies, it appears that it is becoming even more difficult for women to get acclimated to modern day work environments, in wake of the #MeToo Movement.
In a recent study conducted by LeanIn.org, in partnership with SurveyMonkey, 60% of male managers confessed to feeling uncomfortable engaging in social situations with women in and outside of the workplace. This includes interactions such as mentorships, meetings, and basic work activities. This statistic comes as a shocking 32% rise from 2018.
What appears the be the crux of the matter is that men are afraid of being accused of sexual harassment. While it is impossible to discredit this fear as incidents of wrongful accusations have taken place, the extent to which it has burgeoned is unacceptable. The #MeToo movement was never a movement against men, but an empowering opportunity for women to speak up about their experiences as victims of sexual harassment. Not only were women supporting one another in sharing to the public that these incidents do occur, and are often swept under the rug, but offered men insight into behaviors and conversations that are typically deemed unwelcomed and unwarranted.
Restricting interaction with women in the workplace is not a solution, but a mere attempt at deflecting from the core issue. Resorting to isolation and exclusion relays the message that if men can't treat women how they want, then they rather not deal with them at all. Educating both men and women on what behaviors are unacceptable while also creating a work environment where men and women are held accountable for their actions would be the ideal scenario. However, the impact of denying women opportunities of mentorship and productive one-on-one meetings hinders growth within their careers and professional networks.
Women, particularly women of color, have always had far fewer opportunities for mentorship which makes it impossible to achieve growth within their careers without them. If women are given limited opportunities to network in and outside of a work environment, then men must limit those opportunities amongst each other, as well. At the most basic level, men should be approaching female colleagues as they would approach their male colleagues. Striving to achieve gender equality within the workplace is essential towards creating a safer environment.
While restricted communication and interaction may diminish the possibility of men being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment, it creates a hostile
environment that perpetuates women-shaming and victim-blaming. Creating distance between men and women only prompts women to believe that male colleagues who avoid them will look away from or entirely discredit sexual harassment they experience from other men in the workplace. This creates an unsafe working environment for both parties where the problem at hand is not solved, but overlooked.
According to LeanIn's study, only 85% of women said they feel safe on the job, a 5% drop from 2018. In the report, Jillesa Gebhardt wrote, "Media coverage that is intended to hold aggressors accountable also seems to create a sense of threat, and people don't seem to feel like aggressors are held accountable." Unfortunately, only 16% of workers believed that harassers holding high positions are held accountable for their actions which inevitably puts victims in difficult, and quite possibly dangerous, situations. 50% of workers also believe that there are more repercussions for the victims than harassers when speaking up.
In a research poll conducted by Edison Research in 2018, 30% of women agreed that their employers did not handle harassment situations properly while 53% percent of men agreed that they did. Often times, male harassers hold a significant amount of power within their careers that gives them a sense of security and freedom to go forward with sexual misconduct. This can be seen in cases such as that of Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and R. Kelly. Men in power seemingly have little to no fear that they will face punishment for their actions.
Source-Alex Brandon, AP
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook executive and founder of LeanIn.org., believes that in order for there to be positive changes within work environments, more women should be in higher positions. In an interview with CNBC's Julia Boorstin, Sandberg stated, "you know where the least sexual harassment is? Organizations that have more women in senior leadership roles. And so, we need to mentor women, we need to sponsor women, we need to have one-on-one conversations with them that get them promoted." Fortunately, the number of women in leadership positions are slowly increasing which means the prospect of gender equality and safer work environments are looking up.
Despite these concerning statistics, Sandberg does not believe that movements such as the Times Up and Me Too movements, have been responsible for the hardship women have been experiencing in the workplace. "I don't believe they've had negative implications. I believe they're overwhelmingly positive. Because half of women have been sexually harassed. But the thing is it is not enough. It is really important not to harass anyone. But that's pretty basic. We also need to not be ignored," she stated. While men may be feeling uncomfortable, putting an unrealistic amount of distance between themselves and female coworkers is more harmful to all parties than it is beneficial. Men cannot avoid working with women and vice versa. Creating such a hostile environment is also detrimental to any business as productivity and communication will significantly decrease.
The fear or being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment is a legitimate fear that deserves recognition and understanding. However, restricting interactions with women in the workplace is not a sensible solution as it can have negatively impact a woman's career. Companies are in need of proper training and resources to help both men and women understand what is appropriate workplace behavior. Refraining from physical interactions, commenting on physical appearance, making lewd or sexist jokes and inquiring about personal information are also beneficial steps towards respecting your colleagues' personal space. There is still much work to be done in order to create safe work environments, but with more and more women speaking up and taking on higher positions, women can feel safer and hopefully have less contributions to make to the #MeToo movement.