According to the media, stylish women are on the rise in Silicon Valley. And if you want to know whether or not I agree with that assessment, I do – for once. This is one of the most exciting developments to happen in Silicon Valley, maybe since the invention of the iPhone. Seriously. I put this development on that level because when stylish women are on the rise in Silicon Valley, it means that women are insisting on being seen for who they are and who they want to be.
Last Sunday’s feature column in the New York Times’ Style section, “Techies Break a Fashion Taboo” reviewed this phenomenon, and it was exciting to read that stylish women are on the rise in Silicon Valley. As the article noted, just 5 percent of tech start-up founders and chief executives are women. 11 percent of tech investors are women, as are a quarter of computing professionals. While the number of tech women remains small, the message is clear: Women are insisting on being both heard and seen. Of course, being seen helps in being heard better.
Among my private clients, it’s been clear that, for some time now, women have a growing desire to dress expressively, to communicate that they are independent, strong, and able to be powerful as women in the male dominated tech world.
When one of my clients took a newly created role at a company she went to work for, we had a serious conversation about how being the first woman in that high level role could have strong implications for other women down the road. It was my position that she had a responsibility to herself to be seen as a smart and savvy woman in a role typically given to men in the tech sector. Moreover, in positioning her appearance that way, it could serve as a model to other women striving to reach the senior most levels of big tech companies.
Another female client of mine has been working in a number of established Silicon Valley businesses but wants a look with a start-up vibe. She has no desire to dress in a way that intentionally conforms to the standards set forth by men. Hooray, I say! Otherwise, she’d end up wearing jeans, a hoodie, and sneakers. Instead, she wants to dress to make herself happy. Can you imagine there being any other way?
Another indicator that stylish women are on the rise in Silicon Valley is the changing retail scene. Have you seen the changes going on at Valley Fair shopping center? Wolford, an Austrian-based purveyor of fine hosiery and foundations has just opened. Burberry is soon to relocate there, as will Ferragamo, which will stock its ready-to-wear collection. Other high-end designers are planning to open Silicon Valley outposts including Prada, Miu Miu, Giorgio Armani, Bottega Veneta, and famed shoemaker Jimmy Choo. They realize that stylish women are on the rise in Silicon Valley and are gearing up to cater to their designer desires.
The real question though is: are you ready to embrace the freedom to explore your stylish side? If you are and you need help, let’s talk about it.
Joseph Rosenfeld helps successful Silicon Valley entrepreneurs transform their self-confidence by improving their personal style. Get Joseph’s free report that helps you know which “7 Ways Your Image Is Leading to Low Performance” at josephrosenfeld.com.