Modern Executive Women’s Uniform Video Series: Talking Points Worksheet

In late March of 2015, WAC founder Deborah Goldstein interviewed Dr Keila Tyner, a professor of fashion merchandising who consults the fashion industry. Dr Tyner’s background has included teaching professionals and designers about the discipline of fashion, with an emphasis on the socio-psychological aspect of dress and appearance through the lens of women’s studies. Her clients are trained in how to project their intended image through her genuine advice, which is rooted in thorough research. Her philosophy dictates that a powerful and assertive appearance can transcend any trends in the fashion cycle, and that understanding specific wardrobe “tweaks” is the most fundamental approach to achieving that appearance. In this interview, Dr Tyner explored with us the psychology of dress and appearance, the power roadblocks we may encounter, the composition of personal style, and the rules of simplifying the process of professional appearance for women. Her tips and lessons are revolutionary, and are of immeasurable importance for executive women aiming to advance their careers.

How to Adapt This Worksheet:

-Ponder the big picture questions, and jot down some notes. This exercise will help you zero in on how to look your best in all corporate settings.

-Use the time markers listed after the segment titles for quick reference video searching on that specific subject matter.

The Video Series

Section 1:

Video 1. An Introduction to Dr Tyner & Executive Fashion (00:00)

“There’s more that goes into professional dress than meets the eye”. Simply keeping your finger on the pulse of fashion is not enough to create an appearance that will get you ahead in your career. Our introductory video clip will begin to explore this phenomenon through Dr Tyner’s scope. She will give you a little background in executive women’s dress, while also giving you a feel for her personality.

Video 2. The Psychology of Powerful Dress (04:07)derek-jeter-sportsman

-We experience the professional world through our bodies, which must be clothed. Think about how this shapes your identity, and how it compels you personally to dress, groom and adorn yourself. How would you define your own “Enclothed Cognition”?

-Ask Yourself: How profoundly do you relate to and judge others based on appearance? How critical to you suppose others are of your appearance?

-The Yankees Uniform Effect: When you put on your “game gear”, studies show that you actually perform your job better than if you wore an outfit that you’re not as proud of.

Video 3. Dressing For a Strong First Impression (09:20)

-We are social beings, and we are being perceived through non-verbal communication, particularly visual cues, first and foremost. Ask Yourself: What percentage of a first impression do actual words account for?

-Exercise: Jot down all of the possibilities you can think of that dress and physical presentation can communicate to others.

-Reversing a First Impression: “It takes twice as long to get half as far”. Ask Yourself: Are you thoroughly aware of the first impression psychology of others, and are you dressed powerfully enough to be in control of it?

Section 2

Video 4. Internal & External Roadblocks to Dress (13:25)

-Men have less of a challenge than women when it comes to deciding on what to wear each day, and pulling off a powerful look. Women suffer from wardrobe roadblocks, resulting from fashion advice overload, often contradictory in nature.

-Think About It: Have you made a distinction between fashion trends and professional corporate dress guidelines?

-Reality Check: There is a difference between simply dressing formal and looking polished. Can you think of the distinguishing factors between the two?

-The biggest complaint that HR people have about the way professional women dress relates to how provocative or revealing their garments are. To avoid being sexualized, do you know what the correct skirt length should be? How about the neckline?

-Instead of using revealing necklines and hemlines in an attempt to project leadership and power, women have the advantage of getting creative with their wardrobes instead. Can you think of some of the options we have in this department? Here’s a hint: Think of the evolution of the Claire Underwood character on House of Cards.

Section 3

Video 5. How To Present Yourself Well (21:53)

-Once you’ve troubleshot all the professional uniform roadblocks, and you’re ready to dress for success, what is the first step to owning the appearance you’re projecting to others? How do you remain authentic to yourself and your brand in the face of so many choices?

-News Flash: As a woman, you are allowed to be feminine in your professional appearance without projecting sexuality alone! Can you think of some of the ways you can pull this off?

-Food for Thought: Professional women can use their appearance to come off as competent, credible and authoritative. Can you think of some of the most effective ways to accomplish this?

-Chic and sophisticated dress can be successfully combined with corporate conservative if you know how to get clever. The right mix of textures, and a commitment to neutral colors are a great place to start. But there is more!

-For ladies who look a bit young for your age, and are concerned that it makes you seem less accomplished or wet behind the ears, there are clear-cut ways to address this through wardrobe and give yourself a more authoritative appearance. Here’s a hint: Get to the point!

-For ladies who are either shorter or more petite than most, and want to address or manipulate this through wardrobe, there’s good news for you as well. There are numerous tricks that will help you out in this department, lengthening your features and lending you a more powerful appearance. Are you a taller woman? Learn to use proportion in your clothing.

-A Devilish Detail: Relating to women’s professional dress, when can a leather motorcycle jacket come in handy?

Video 6. Simplifying Executive Dress (33:41)

-Being Well-Groomed Carries Weight: Fashion Icon Iris Apfel once said “If your hair is done and you’re wearing great shoes, you can get away with anything”. There is a lot of truth in this statement, and it can become your foundation to a consistently powerful look without struggling to perfect your entire outfit every single day.

-Ask Yourself: Is it ever appropriate to wear open-toed shoes in the work environment?

-Hmmm: What is the most effective way to factor in makeup when trying to project a confident and professional appearance?

-Black is Back: Developing a consistent uniform to adhere to is better than having a tremendous and diverse wardrobe when it comes to simplifying the process of choosing what to wear each day. What other important thing does this accomplish?

-Look Your Best for Destiny: Aside from your desire to play by the rules, what is the one big reason you should look your absolute best every day?

-The jury is still out about what the most appropriate overall professional look for women is. For more insight about women’s professional appearance, and to be coached either one-on-one or as a group, visit

Video 7. Conclusion with Dr Keila Tyner (43:43)

Stay Powerful!