Mad Men Fashion 101: Outfits That Can Make Or Break Your Deal

“You want to be taken seriously. Stop dressing like a little girl.” –Joan Holloway

joan hollowayLadies! As the temperature rises, it becomes tempting to make fashions risks that may break professional dress codes.  First impressions are very important when trying to build a good rapport with a potential client.

Let’s think for a second. Imagine walking into your next meeting with a potential client, what do you think they will notice about you first? Your thorough research and qualitative profile? Your engaging sales pitch? Your impression communication skills? No!

While the client will still take notice to all of these things, it is your attire that first sets the tone for how the client will build his or her perception of not just you, but of your company. This extremely important factor is often forced to the bottom of the “meeting prep” list even though it can make or break the results of your well prepared and perfected meeting.  Inappropriate fashion can also cost you potential business and money!


Wrinkles= Sloppy and Lazy                         Vs.                   Button-down suit= Professional

Six inch heels= Street walker                      Vs.                   Classic Modest Pump = Polished

Short Skits= Burlesque                               Vs.                  Tailored T-length Skirt= Refined

(Way above the knee.)

Give yourself the opportunity to have the client sold before you open your mouth by paying more attention to your fashion choices as you would your presentation.  So before you go to your next CAN, make sure you’ve dressed the part by following the below guidelines:


Although there is nothing like a little black dress, showing up to a prospective client meeting in one may suggests you want to have drinks rather than discuss a future business opportunity.  Keep this look for the club, not for work.


Having a fit and womanly shape is a good thing- don’t get me wrong, but know how to use your gifts tastefully. Let’s take a lesson from Joan herself.


This picture says it all

My last “DON’T” is the fashionable-but sloppy look. Now, fashion is my third language (I speak Spanish too), but an outfit like this serves as a distraction rather than a compliment to your presentation.

Remember, just because it’s fashion forward doesn’t make it appropriate for work.

Now to the good stuff—what you SHOULD wear…


The classic black blazer is the easiest go-to piece to take any outfit from casual to work-chic. The blazer is universal and can be paired with a day dress, slacks or a matching suit skirt. Keep your blazer wrinkle-free, clean and crisp to polish off your outfit.


If you want to incporate the latest fashion trends into your work ensemble, this is the best way to do it. Choose one element in your outfit to showcase the trend. For example, if you want to wear neon bright colors, choose one article at a time.

So to review the DO’S & DON’TS one last time:

DON’T show too much skin and cleavage.

DON’T wear anything to work that you would wear to the club.

DON’T forget that not all fashion is appropriate for work.

DON’T show up to any business meeting—let alone a CNA—looking messy, sloppy and like you don’t   care about your appointment or the client.

DO use fashion to show your personality and individualism.

DO use a blazer to polish any work look.

DO use color and isolated statements in your attire.

And…DO always refer to the women of Mad Men to show you how to dress like a woman and not a little girl.


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