The number of females in C-suite positions is on the rise. In fact, the percentage of women CEOs doubled in the first half of last year alone. In addition to power and confidence, these women have no shortage of style.
As a women’s virtual stylist for executives and CEOs, I know how important it is to channel your personal brand. Not only through your work, but through your appearance. Like it or not, first impressions are everything.
I’ve picked out five of the best-dressed women CEOs who use their wardrobe to project their ambitions and business-savvy. Read on to discover how they’re changing the conversation with style.
1. Shan-Lyn Ma of Zola
Zola CEO Shan-Lyn Ma is the definition of self-made.
She went from working three jobs to put herself through college to founding Zola from her NYC apartment living room. This free, online wedding planning tool is an industry game-changer.
In this outfit, she keeps her ensemble professional by balancing out a pastel top with dark-wash jeans and black heels.
I recommend utilizing core colors to anchor more playful statement pieces. Why? Because core colors are unifying. They go with just about everything and will give your outfits cohesion.
Ma masters the art of dressing professionally while letting her personality shine through. Note how she incorporates feminine details like a blush blouse with a bow neckline.
Remember, just because you work in a male-dominated space doesn’t mean you have to wear hyper masculine pieces.
2. Reshma Saujani
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Reshma Saujani made Fortune’s 40 under 40 list after founding Girls Who Code. Focusing on political activism and inspiring young women to enter computer science fields, Saujani isn’t afraid to speak up.
In this look, she reflects her bold viewpoints and initiatives with a striking purple suit jacket. Pops of color are ideal for fellow women CEOs or leaders who have an equally bold personal brand.
Wondering how to use color with intention?
In our proprietary Next Level Wardrobe Style System, step one focuses on color. A wardrobe that’s stuffed with too much color reads as disorganized and overwhelming. A monotone closet in all black or dark colors lacks versatility and leads to outfit fatigue.
That’s why the right ratio of core (black, white, navy, gray) to tonal (shades of core colors) to bolder colors is key.
You can see this ratio in Saujani’s outfit. Thanks to simple black trousers and a white blouse, her blazer takes center stage without going overboard.
3. Sarah Kunst
Sarah Kunst doesn’t miss. Whether it’s founding Cleo Capital, working as a Senior Advisor to Bumble or investing in startups, she’s on the money.
The same goes for her wardrobe choices.
Take a peek at how she takes the “One and Done” outfit formula to her outfit. What is this formula about? When you pick one color and wear it from head to toe.
When wearing a monochromatic look, stay fresh by mixing up tones and fabrications. Notice how Kunst partners a cream leather jacket with her taupe rib-knit skirt.
With these expertly coordinated tonal shades, she’s created a multi-purpose outfit perfect for Silicon Valley CEOs. Picture wearing this to give a conference talk, an interview, then enjoying a night in the Bay.
4. Katie Sturino
Megababe CEO Katie Sturino is not only the founder of an innovative beauty brand focused on self-care rather than perfection. She is also an advocate for size inclusivity, empowerment, and a fashion icon.
Along with acing plus-size CEO styling, Sturino is also a pattern genius.
When styling women CEOs and executives, I often run into clients who don’t know how to wear prints and patterns. They’re intimidated by the possibility of looking clownish or clashing.
Sturino avoids this by pairing a print or pattern with a basic silhouette and a core color.
See how she shows off her vivacious style with a painterly floral midi skirt. Then, she adds an understated black sleeveless top and matching shoes.
This look is perfect for more laid-back offices or West Coast dress codes. If you need something more formal, swap out the boots for black pumps and don a well-tailored blazer.
5. Margarita Arriagada
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At the age of 67, Peruvian American Margarita Arriagada went from Chief Merchant of Sephora USA to founding Valdé Beauty. As CEO of this luxury, sustainable brand, she’s living proof that you can start a new venture at any age.
Check out her style as an example of how to use accessories to personalize a sophisticated business look.
As a beauty entrepreneur, Arriagada doesn’t shy away from a magenta lip. The color pops against the core color palette of her outfit.
Even when she’s not using color, she’s still making a statement with butterfly-framed glasses keeping the focus on her face. Accessories such as eyeglasses, jewelry, and makeup should be your go-to categories to play with pops of color and bolder, statement pieces.
Feeling inspired by the style smarts of these best-dressed women CEOs? Check out our virtual styling services to work with an expert to elevate your wardrobe.
Cassandra Sethi is a NYC Personal Stylist and Image Consultant. After working over 15 years in the Fashion Industry, most recently as a Senior Buyer for Equinox, she created her business, Next Level Wardrobe – a luxury personal shopping service for successful professionals.
Next Level Wardrobe has been featured in Wall Street Journal, Today and CNN. See here.