A number of years ago a gentleman wrote a book entitled “Dress for Success.”  He advised women to dress a much like men as possible. Women were to wear dark, somber skirt suits(never pants!), white button-down shirts, floppy bowties, nude stockings and plain, dark pumps.Jewelry?  Well, if you were really daring, tiny stud earrings and a wedding band.  I wonder if he realized the fashion horror his book had wrought.Today women have gone way in the other direction but are making just as many mistakes.

    Today you see women in offices or working in retail stores with decollete necklines Marilyn Monroe would have envied.  I recently walked into one store and the salesgirl with a definite“belle Poitrine” had a decolletage so extreme that I was embarrassed for her.  I really didn’t know where to look.  I noticed a male customer didn’t have that problem — he enjoyed the view.

   I think too many girls get out of college and don’t realize they need a different wardrobe than what they wore to school. A suit is a good addition to any wardrobe.  It no longer has to be dark and drab.  It can be a pastel or a bright color and the skirt can be short enough to show a little leg.  And please, forget about the floppy bow tie — wear some jewery. A pin on a jacket or a sweater under the jacket, won’t make you look any less professional. And what’s wrong with a dress?  Nothing too dressy, of course, but there are many office appropriate dresses. And this may sound like heresy, but depending on where you work, consider jeans.  Of course, the jeans should be clean, well-fitting and without holes.  Worn with a nice, stylish sweater or blouse and accessorized properly with jewelry or a chic scarf, purse and nice shoes, what’s wrong with it?  It can be a lovely stylish outfit — I know, because I frequently wear them.  In warmer weather, worn with a well-cut blazer, nothing looks more chic. Dressing for success no longer means losing your femininity. Today a woman can look chic,stylish, feminine and successful.

Miriam Silverberg is a freelance journalist and owner of Miriam Silverberg Associates, a boutique publicity firm in Manhattan.  She may be reached at silverbergm@mindspring.com.