The Worst Advice Ever for Women Business Owners by Shayna Rattler

Full Body          420665_445576495526497_222734110_n          Speaking

I get really aggravated by some of the business advice that is available to women these days.  I was reading a leading industry magazine for women business owners recently and I came across an article where the author was giving corporate etiquette advice to women. She stated that in order to be taken seriously in Corporate America that women MUST and I repeat MUST wear neutral colors and simple jewelry!

Pardon me, but that is a load of crap!!!  That is one of the problems today that too many women shrink to fit and feel as though they have to be stuffy and boring to compete against their male colleagues.  Included a few shots of myself for demonstration purposes. I run a successful coaching and consulting firm that caters to both small business owners AND corporations and I have never been second-guessed or not taken seriously and I can promise you I never wear neutral colors and simple jewelry.

Let me debunk a couple of myths for you:

  1. You must wear a suit! There is nothing wrong with wearing a fashionable printed dress. If this is out of your comfort zone, then start with a solid color dress and add a pop of color with your jewelry.
  2. You must change your branding to be more “corporate”! Wrong again. Now clearly butterflies and unicorns aren’t going to cut it, but don’t rush out and change your colors to red, white, and blue and leave out the flair and personality that makes you, you!

It is important to note that some of the reasons that corporations LOVE working with small business owners is because we are creative and can think outside of the box. If you give them more of what they can already find inside their walls why should they look elsewhere?


Just a thought, I’ll get off of my soapbox now! Remember to always be authentic to yourself and you’ll never go wrong! I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topioc below….



9 thoughts on “The Worst Advice Ever for Women Business Owners by Shayna Rattler”

  1. I must say “wow” I completely agree with you. It’s high time women change their perception and coming from a patriarchy society we constantly need to rebuild our self esteem and feel “proud to be me”.

  2. I am gob smacked (as we say in Australia) that a leading industry magazine for women would give that advice which is obviously dated. I can distinctly remember 30 years ago working in corporate America with some of the most successful “switched on” senior management women you will ever meet. They were creative, beautiful, strong and had real NYC style. They wouldn’t have followed this advice 30 years ago. I’m not sure who is writing for that magazine, but they would lose my readership if that is the quality of the information. By the way, Shayna, before I read the article I was thinking how stylish you looked in the photo’s….funny that!

  3. Whoever wrote that article is living with her (or his) head under a rock. Even in very conservative industries like banking I see that the fashion rules have loosened a bit. I agree with you – be appropriate but you don’t have to be “neutral.”

  4. Thank you for the reminder and encouragement to be true to my authentic self. As a small business owner who has left the corporate world I sometimes still get sucked into the idea of “corporate” presentation. Moving forward I need to remember – Professional, yes, uncomfortable and stuffy, no.

  5. I love this blog post! When I first left the Cinematographers Guild to start my own business as a speaker/coach, I bought a whole wardrobe from Banana Republic of button down blouses and corporate styled skirts. I felt so uncomfortable in them. I was trying to look like a “business owner”. Hello?! I was a working actress/writer/tv producer, so I said, screw the corporate wardrobe and I started dressing like a celebrity. Now I wear sequins for for my keynote speeches and don’t get me started on the jewelery 🙂

  6. This is so true. Why would any representative from a corporation bring in an outsider for their ‘breathe of fresh air’ who then
    looks like everyone in their corporate office, sounds like everyone in their corporate office, so then maybe ‘thinks’ like everyone in their corporate office. Odds of being brought in on a contract – NOT!

  7. I couldn’t agree more! Those days of the dark suits and low heeled closed toe shoes are gone. It’s about what’s appropriate and fits your style. If dark suits and neutral colors are your style, then wear it, but if not, don’t. Great advice.

  8. What a breath of fresh air you are, Shayna.
    When I saw you at Inside Edge, it wasn’t just your style that stood out. You gave more relevant, dead-on advice than any one of the (mostly corporate stuffed suits) on the panel with you! Thanks for being such an effective advocate, Shayna. So proud you are my friend.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.