Style

Let These Badass Boss Ladies Show You The Secrets To Dressing Like A Rock Star At Work

Let these amazing boss ladies show you how to work work work work work.

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1. Katie Hunt, chief branding officer at dating app Hinge

Dennis Kwan / Via Dennis Kwan Photography

What I do: As the chief brand officer at Hinge, I ensure that Hinge's brand promise is incorporated into every aspect of the company from marketing and advertising, to product, and customer service, and everything in between. The best part of my job though — the part that gets me jumping out of bed every morning — is finding ways to truly and meaningfully connect people in a digital world.

My style: I've worked with startups my entire career, so everything I have is pretty casual. I like to keep it simple, but to always have one amazing standout piece at my desk, like a great leather jacket, just in case I go straight from the office to a date.

2. Anne Kohlhagen, makeup artist

Anne Kohlhagen

What I do: I'm a New York–based makeup artist represented by Susan Price NYC, primarily working in fashion and editorial.

My style:My approach to professional style is fashionable yet wearable. Because my work requires me to move a lot and to be in a variety of different positions, I tend to gravitate towards clothing that is loose and flowing. And since makeup can sometimes be a messy job, you will mostly see me wearing black. This is why accessorizing is key. I always say that men have the power suit, but women have power accessories. I will rarely be seen without a signature hat, a statement shoe, layers of jewelry, and an "it" bag, especially for an important job or meeting.

3. Anna Balkrishna, editorial director at the digital marketing agency Huge

Julia Guo Instagram: @mesmeri

What I do: I work with clients in all kinds of industries, from financial to lifestyle — so it’s important that my professional style fits in with my client’s corporate culture, whether that’s conservative or cool.

My style: I think of my work clothing as my “battle uniform”: It expresses that I should be taken seriously as a creative, without distracting from what I’m saying. For me that means neutral colors, crisp buttoned-up shirts, well-tailored pants, and — my secret weapon — a power jumpsuit so nothing rides down or comes untucked! Plus a big, structured bag that can hold my 15-inch laptop.

4. Maxine Bédat, CEO of sustainable clothing shop Zady

Bridget Badore / Via bridgetbadore.com

My style: From meetings to factory visits to evening events, I'm on the go all day, so my looks have to be flexible. Easy Zady pieces and pointy flats keep me feeling put together but comfortable. And for a night out, it's a red lip and I'm good to go.

5. Vicki Fulop, founder of bedding company Brooklinen

What I do: I make awesome bed sheets (and home essentials). More broadly, I'm co-founder of Brooklinen, and as we're still a small startup, I do a little bit of everything — from heading up our PR to providing overall creative direction for the brand.

My style: Professional style to me means put-together and tailored, but still effortless. I love a work-uniform — a skinny jean, a perfect white tee or button-down, a leather jacket, and a great shoe, like a platform oxford, ankle bootie, or sneaker. It's clean and chic, feels great, and you can run around from one meeting to the next comfortably!

6. Naheed Hadjisoffi, stylist

What I do: I'm a fashion stylist here in NYC, which on a daily basis is not nearly as glamorous as it seems. Its hard to balance looking cute and stylish (so I continue to book jobs) with being comfortable (so I am physically able to do my job!).

My style: My personal style is chic casual — I work in fashion so I do wear a lot of black, but I love to show personality through a cool graphic tee, a hat, and especially through footwear. I even designed my own Nikes so I could be comfortable and also turn heads. If I have an event, that's where I take things up a notch and edge up with heels, a great bag, and designer pieces.

7. Emilie Aries, founder and CEO of Bossed Up

Victoria Ruan

What I do: As the founder & CEO of Bossed Up, I help women craft sustainable career paths, and I help organizations that support women invest in their retention and professional development.

My approach to professional style: I believe in wearing what makes you feel like a boss! I spent years trying to dress a certain way to make others take me more seriously, but when I'm not authentic to who I am, I look and feel uncomfortable.

I let my hair and height (I'm 5'11" without heels on) do most of the talking and keep accessories simple. I like bright colors mixed in with basic blacks. I want the high energy that I bring to my talks and trainings to be echoed in the bright colors I wear as well.

It's my goal to leave my audiences feeling fierce AF! It's critical that I walk onstage feeling and looking the same way myself.

8. Maly Ly, founder and CEO of diversity networking technology firm Percena

What I do: I'm the CEO and founder of Percena, a networking technology that connects women, LGBT [people], and minorities to career opportunities. Besides growing startups, my other passion is music and I've been promoting artists and musicians at my events in San Francisco.

My style: In work and in play, I'm most confident when I stay true to myself. I prefer elegant and crisp silhouettes and I like to take risks, especially with the details. My aesthetic tends a bit darker and edgier. My favorite designers are Alexander McQueen, Balmain, Rick Owens, Givenchy, Roland Mouret, and Saint Laurent.

9. Kafi Drexel, Founder & CEO of Madison + Sage LLC

What I do: Madison + Sage LLC is my own communications business where I operate as a contributing journalist for various national print, magazine, and online publications. I also provide media consult services for leading lifestyle brands.

My style: My style is a bit of punk mixed with southern prim. When you mix them together, you get a pretty cool and unique NYC look! It’s also important to throw in a little bit of whimsy to your look — or at least I think it is. I spruce up a classic, white J.Crew blouse with gifts from friends like subtle diamond charm bracelets and fun unicorn necklaces from Kate Spade. The look can upgrade with a black cigarette pant and heels or be more casual with vintage boyfriend Levi’s and 80/20 faux pony hair flats.

For any moment where I need a fast, higher-end interview or business meeting look, I rely on shirt dresses from Billy Reid, Meg Shops, Madewell, and a super clean white Origami pleat dress I picked up from Anthropologie last spring.

10. Debbie Sterling, CEO and co-founder of GoldieBlox

Debbie Sterling

My style: I’d say my work style is simple yet sleek and everything transitions easily from the office to the airport. Because I travel so much, I like clothes that are easy, well-designed, and comfortable.

I have a go-to look that allows me to get ready quickly and confidently: dressy one-pieces with heels. I find having a great one-piece simplifies the whole process.

11. Steph Korey and Jen Rubio, founders of luggage company Away

Nate Poekert

My style: Steph Korey: "For me, casual but classic pieces are key. As long as you look put together, what really stands out at the end of the day are the accomplishments you have to show for yourself."

Jen Rubio: "I have a rotation of pieces (mostly in black or navy) in my wardrobe that were carefully considered when I bought them, but can be put on or packed in any combination without thinking too much about it. Decision fatigue is a real thing, so I try to eliminate the time and energy wasted on trying to figure out what to wear every morning."

12. Maresa Ponitch, owner Dusty Rose Vintage

Maresa Ponitch

What I do: I own a wholesale vintage warehouse. I work with film and TV wardrobe, designers, and vintage stores; basically anyone who needs a very broad selection of genres and styles.

My style: I spend my days processing thousands of pounds of clothes so I need to be comfortable and able to get dirty. But I still work in fashion so I can't look like a slob. My trick is to wear unique pieces that industry professionals will notice: A discerning eye will definitely notice that I'm not just wearing jeans but acid wash cargo jeans — not something you see every day. And the paper thin Rat Fink tee looks cool even if you have no idea who that is. My professional style is completely different than most bosses because being polished looks weird in a warehouse. Plus, it's my job to show people how to be fashionably adventurous.

13. Erika Gonzalez, training and technical assistance senior attorney at the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking

Erika Gonzalez

What I do: I'm a human rights attorney who works with victims of human trafficking. In my current position, I train other attorneys on best practices for representing these incredible survivors.

My style: For lawyers, suits are supposed to be symbols of power and confidence, but a suit never quite matched my persona. 2016 is my year of "self-love" and I'm embracing my curves and exuberance with fun colors and a style that's all my own.

14. Grace O'Sullivan, CEO of consulting firm Rare Fiber

Grace O'Sullivan

What I do: By day, I'm director of strategic partnerships for the largest public university, where I manage a team in a dynamic environment. By early mornings/night, I am the founder and CEO of my newly launched consulting firm, Rare Fiber.

My style: I'm a young, but experienced, professional that is trying to balance my artsy/punk side with corporate. I've been really working hard at how to look in-charge, while still looking like yourself.

15. Angela Jia Kim, founder of Om Aroma & Co. and Savor Spa

Lisa-Marie Mazzucco

My style: I think #BossLady style should be all about knowing and accentuating what makes you admired and desired. Because I'm petite, I prefer clean, tailored looks paired with unexpected flair such as a fabulous pair of shoes, stunning jewelry, or even a bold red lip. My philosophy is that heads should turn when you look your best!

16. Kate Bahn, economist at the Center for American Progress

Kate Bahn

What I do: I 'm one of three economists here and the only female one and relatively young for the field. (It's mostly old white dudes.) Sometimes when I introduce myself as a Ph.D. economist, people give me a quick surprised look.

My style: I try to balance dressing conservative, mostly to cover up my tattoos, with flattering and/or interesting shapes, pops of color, and lots of lipstick. I'm happy that I don't "look like an economist" but want to still look respectable in a policy space. It probably takes more work than I should spend on my appearance, but then colleagues who work in policy but aren't economists seem to respect having someone with the authority of an economist not looking like how a person would expect an economist to look.

17. Annie Sloan, advertising creative lead and commercial television director at R/GA

Annie Sloan

What I do: I'm a advertising creative lead and commercial television director. Currently I manage the creative disciplines/teams at the SF office of R/GA, a global ad agency. I also work as a freelance comedy writer (I'm a staff writer for Killing My Lobster, SF's version of UCB) and have written and directed television and television commercials with millions of viewers per night.


My style philosophy:
Dress weird! Clients/people are bored and want to be around more creative people than themselves. And dress well! Keep things tight. People want to think that you are rock solid and can be trusted with millions of their dollars. Dressing weird & well helps people to pick you out of a crowd... it gives them something to remember you by. When I'm pitching I often wear some big standout piece, like a metallic shirt or neon shoes. People always remember (and often compliment) the weird things. The advice I would give in one sentence: Wear mostly black with one weird, standout piece. The black keeps things easy and the weird makes things better for everyone.

18. Jeralyn Gerba, co-founder of travel site Fathom

Jeralyn Gerba

What I do: Co-founder of the travel website Fathom.

My style: Fathom's office (which is in a co-working space) lends itself to a casual wardrobe, but I like to keep it fresh and comfortable. I wear a lot of denim, wedges, high-tops, jumpsuits, blazers, tribal and animal prints, and jewelry from the last place I visited.

19. Jessica Grose, editor-in-chief of Lenny

Jessica Grose

What I do: Editor-in-chief of Lenny.

My style: In general, my approach to style for work is minimal and elegant. In all parts of my life, I don't like wearing things that are too body-con, because they make me uncomfortable and feel over-scrutinized. I want to look sharp and together, but I don't want what I'm wearing to overshadow what I'm saying. This goes especially for work, and doubly now that I'm pregnant. I find it hard to feel like I look authoritative with a huge baby bump, because it's the first thing anyone notices about me, and I fear that it makes them put me in the "mommy" box rather than in the "boss lady" box. This isn't a big problem day-to-day, because I work with a really small staff of all women in a very casual office, so I'm basically wearing black Gap maternity leggings on the regular.

But when I am on panels or giving presentations to big groups of mixed-gender audiences, I feel it acutely. I tend to wear drapey dresses even in my non-pregnant life (I refer to them as "fancy muumuus"), so some of them still fit me even at nearly 7 months pregnant. I also wear a lot of jumpsuits. I think they always look cool and a little unexpected even though they're popular.

20. Leesa Evans, celebrity stylist and Hollywood film costume designer

What I do: I'm a celebrity stylist for both celebrities and [businesspeople], as well as a costume designer for film.

My style: I believe the right outfit can give each of us the confidence to feel great and achieve anything. I imagine that if enough people feel that good in what they're wearing, the world can change.

I like to be dressed to go anywhere, at anytime, with just maybe a change of shoe. I have discovered a silhouette that works best for me and that silhouette continues to be my daily uniform. I feel best in black, camel, navy, and cream, and I like to keep things simple.

21. Claire Mazur and Erica Cerulo, founders of Of a Kind

What we do: We founded Of a Kind, where you can get amazing pieces from emerging fashion designers along with the stories behind them (we’re talking everything from city guides and studio tours to recipes and reading lists). And if you like all of that, you’ll be way into the “10 Things” newsletter and A Few Things podcast we produce every week to share our very favorite recent finds.

Claire's style: The thing I’ve learned (the hard way, too many times, TBQH) is that it doesn’t really matter what I’m wearing so much as if I like how I look and if I’m comfortable. Is that trite? Well, who cares: It’s true. And I feel pretty strongly about it. If I don’t feel great about my appearance, I have a harder time projecting confidence in general. And if I’m fussing with a too-tight skirt or my toes are crammed into an unforgiving shoe, I have less energy and focus to put towards world domination. This dress and these slides are going to get me through a lot of long days of meetings this summer. No waistline, no heels, no problem — that’s my mantra.

Erica's style: I stick to a pretty simple — OK, fine, boring — color palette of black, gray, beige, and denim-y blue. Here’s the thing: I want everything in my closet to go together so I don’t have that one sweater that only works with a single pair of pants. It helps me to narrow my selection when I go shopping, too, and to hone in on the things I’ll genuinely wear the crap out of. To keep my outfits from looking too minimalist bland, I jazz things up by playing with texture (neoprene with jeans, etc., etc.!) and by throwing in a loud accessory here and there. Because you wouldn’t accuse a cowhide clutch or a fringed bracelet of being drab, right?

22. Lily Fierman, co-founder of marketing and PR firm preston+lenore

Lizzie Gill

What I do: My co-founder and I decided to go out on our own after working for a combined 10+ years in the art world. Our name, preston+lenore, is a reference to some of our favorite females, both real and fictional.

My style: I focus on wearing simple things that fit well. I also love mixing high and low, which takes me from a client meeting to working in a cafe to studio visits — this is so important since we're always running around and need to be prepared for anything. We both like our work ethic to do the talking for us, but I tend to throw in at least one "crazy" item, which for me often involves leopard print.

23. Jessica Teves, editor-in-chief of Stylecaster

Tom Medvedich

What I do: As editor-in-chief of Stylecaster, I oversee the brand's editorial voice, strategy, and visual direction — including its product and experience. More than that, though, I’m truly focused on the service and idea that great style is available to every woman, at any price point.

My style: Working in such an inspiring and creative environment means I often let my mood and energy dictate my day-to-day look — I find it keeps things fresh and ever changing. But there’s always the staples — those when-in-doubt pieces — which are dresses, leather jackets (I’m always freezing!), and a ton of worn-in ripped jeans and white T-shirts.

24. Kerry O'Brien, founder and designer of Commando

Kerry O'Brien

My style: I'm all about outfits that can take me from the office to a runway show to an overseas flight. Dresses are my go-to and I love a good, black boot, but most importantly, I dress from the foundational pieces up. People totally underestimate how important the right undergarments are and how much they can impact not only how you look in your clothes, but also how you feel during the day. You're not going to be your most confident if your slip is riding up. I'm a firm believer in loving absolutely everything you wear. And picking a statement item, whether it's a great pair of hosiery or fabulous earrings, just punctuates a look.

25. Caroline Ghosn, founder of Levo

What I do: I am the founder and CEO of Levo.com, the largest and fastest-growing professional network for millennials in the first 10 years of our careers. I believe that you can live a life you're passionate about and finding and exercising your calling is a fundamental component of that.

My style: Work style is about showcasing your authentic strength and getting into your flow. I wear white every day. The ritual of slipping into this monochromatic uniform becomes a form of meditation that sharpens my focus and turns my brain on in the morning. I love it.

26. Millie Tran, director of global adaptation, BuzzFeed

Julie Gerstein

What I do: I'm the director of global adaptation at BuzzFeed, which means my job is to make the best of BuzzFeed available to anyone, anywhere, in whatever language, platform, or format.

My style: My style can be described as slightly lazy Olivia Pope — I believe in wearing whites/neutrals year round (NYC be dammed), comfortable shoes, and why wear jeans when you could wear culottes?

27. Marissa Webb, designer

Marissa Webb

What I do: Designer and president, Marissa Webb, and creative adviser, Banana Republic

My style: For me, since I’m very physical and run around a lot, it’s important for me to be comfortable with the illusion of being put together. I would say my accessories play a big part — I never leave home without them, from my jewelry down to my shoes and handbag.

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