How to Dress to Say Listen to Me, Not Look at Me

Recently, I saw a quote on Instagram which said, “I want an outfit which says LISTEN to me, not look at me.”  Keep that in mind, as I begin to share styles with you which are more in the business casual category.  I believe that is where my style will be living going forward with my career (yes, at 64, I have plans to go forward!).  I have always included in the five adjectives I want to communicate with my style, the adjectives of strength and intelligence (wisdom, savvy, etc).  While I like to be creative, I also want to be taken seriously.  I want people to listen to what I have to say…whether it is business professionals or my grandchildren.  I desire to be taken seriously.

The other joy I returned to last week, is my love of thrifting…whether at our great Goodwill locations, or at my favorite consignment/resale boutiques.  That is when I discovered this jacket by Jones of New York!  It fits so well and has perfect seaming for a flattering style.  It is lightweight fabric blend of rayon and polyester making it wonderful for our warm summer (well into fall) weather.  But here is why I believe this look says strength and wisdom:

  1.  Classic pieces are perfect for communicating these messages.  A well fitted, classic suit jacket always works.
  2.  These are dark wash jeans.  The dark wash just takes the look up a notch and makes it more business casual and good for work. (not to mention,  more slimming)  The light wash is better for casual, off the job, wear.
  3. Neutrals are excellent ways to communicate… take me seriously.  Here I went for a classic black and white combo on top.
  4. However, the purple handbag says, I am strong, but approachable and fun.

Finally, I selected a leather flat with a bit more detail to it.  The square toe and tan/gold trim keep it a more creative business casual than a flat pointed toe would.  The pointed toe for me works best with full blow professional or evening out styles.  However, I do wear them with denim occasionally.  I decided to go with a simple gold bracelet combination, and my gold watch because of the gold studs on the shoes.  Now, some may think this look boring, but I feel pretty empowered in it!

This jacket is going to serve my wardrobe well.  I have a similar style, but it is a heavy knit and becomes very warm during spring and summer.  I found it at my favorite local consignment shop The Garment Exchange.  It is owned by a very savvy, over 50 woman (Marilyn Caskey) who I have admired for years.  She is smart and very kind. Click on her website in the link I gave you and you can also find her items on Ebay.  The jeans are from Roz & Ali (formerly dressbar); the white top is from Kohls; the shoes are from Macys; and the Rebecca Minkoff purse is a Marshall’s find.  All past purchases…except for the recent resale treasure.

When you want to be taken seriously, how do you dress?  It doesn’t always mean…wear a power suit.  However, if you feel confident and strong in what you are wearing, then I believe others will listen to what you have to say.  Confidence is the power.

Please tell us what you think about dressing with strength and wisdom in mind?  Then check out some of the items I found for you believe which I believe fit into this category…………….and, as always………………………





  1. I have this same mindset when I get dressed for work each day. We aren’t really business casual, more formal for the most part, but there are days I get out my jet black jeans that don’t look like denim since the fabric is different, and I will wear those to work and no one knows I’m wearing jeans! I wear them with a blazer for a more formal look that FEELS casual to me! I do love the “listen to me” over “look at me” sentiment. At work I do feel more confident in my jackets and pants (or skirts) and in dresses. Not matching suits, I don’t do that any longer, but a jacket just gives me more confidence when I’m working. I also want people to take me seriously. That said, I don’t want to always BE serious, so that is where the creativity with jackets or accessories comes in. Adding the handbag for a pop of color is a good idea! I get kind of lazy in that area and bring a tote to work that isn’t colorful! That will be something to add to my spring and summer wardrobe because it really does pop out in your outfit above! I’ve learned so much from you about sending messages with our clothing! This carries over to the laid back at-home days. Never want to be careless!

  2. I have learned so much since I began to focus more on what the clothes say about me. It can be eye opening. Thanks for sharing, Karen.

  3. Pam, I wore the same outfit yesterday but with a navy/white striped top. I am new to wearing jackets but I now find it really pulls a casual outfit together. I love the color of your handbag.
    I go through stages with thrift store shopping but have found some treasures, my favorite is a new Tori Burch cardigan for $4.

  4. Now that is a find, Teresa! That is why I love to do some treasure hunting. It has been nice to have the time to go hunting this past week!

  5. I really like that quote about clothes that encourage listening to the wearer more than being limited to eye catchers.
    Your outfit is rock solid with intelligence and confidence. Your face and personality gets to shine instead of solely the fabric, color, and design.
    I wish there were as many dark wash denim trousers as there are skinny leg/ jeggings.

  6. I agree, Lavenia. You have to seek out the dark wash denim now, but it is out there are places like Roz & Ali and Macys…I love the fit of this particular brand of denim!

  7. Love the shoes!! I know you said they are from Macy but please can you tell us the brand so they can be easily located?

  8. These are by Giani Binni…a brand carried at Macys. But, I have owned them for several years…you might see what they have on the market right now!

  9. You’ve inspired me to add a pop of color in my accessories. I get complacent and miss the fun! I admire your color choices.

  10. Pam, I couldn’t agree with you more. I love that “line” and will probably use it at some point. Both ends of the spectrum in an environment where you want to taken seriously are hard to look past–I just got out of bed and don’t much care what you think about me, OR what I call the “Sex in the City” look. I’ve performed countless interviews in my career and I believe what you wear matters (it doesn’t have to be expensive). As one who mostly goes for a somewhat tailored or conservative look, I love to bring color into my wardrobe with a great scarf, bag or even some bold color or pattern in my shoes (not all three at once LOL). It makes me feel put together while still feeling confident and approachable.

  11. Very nice look on you. I also wish to wear my clothes rather than have my clothes wear me! Since I’m an artist and 70, I try for a twist on classic. Hair styling, accessories, and color (like your great bag) can do that. I like J.Jill. Shop for bargains at T.J. Maxx. Shoes…hard to find narrow, but SAS (made in USA) has some nice new styles that work for me, and don’t say “old person shoes!” Ballet flats there are good in a bronze or black.

  12. Hi Marianne, SAS shoes are founded right here in my city, San Antonio. I have toured the plant and it is fascinating and fun. Sounds like you have a great handle on what your style is! Thanks so much….

  13. Love that jacket! Love the outfit and the purple purse! I love thrifting sometimes too-my latest find in a ritzy shop was a St. John knit blazer-those buttons! that tailoring!-that was originally $700.00 and I got it for $70.00. I smiled all the way home and have worn it with navy pants, white jeans, nice scarves, striped t shirts, tailored blouses—it may be my versatile piece of clothing ever.
    Yay for us!

  14. As much as I love colour and prints, my business look is different. I dress business casual a lot of the time but meetings call for jackets and pants or a suit. I will always introduce some colour into those looks to keep the look fresh and current. I love your purple purse. I have also worn a purple shirt which looks great too since I don’t carry purses to meetings.

  15. This is totally “me” and while I do occasionally go all “artsy” with my clothes…it never feels completely “me but empowered”. Totally love this look and it fits my job and life. I need to remember that when I get all caught up in the latest and greatest. I need to do THAT in small doses and that has been something I forget.

Comments are closed.