Canadian designer creates the ultimate business underpinning
Cleavage, or décolleté, has its place. Bikinis, bathing suits, strapless gowns and party dresses are all cleavage-compatible. And with the Academy Award nominees just announced, thoughts turn to the annual revealing review of starlets and celebrities as they stroll the red carpet.
That said — cleavage has absolutely no business in the boardroom. Yet, it’s a recurring theme whenever I’m asked to address the topic of appropriate business attire. Doesn’t matter whether I’m presenting to financial institutions, law firms, government agencies or large corporations — invariably, my clients will reinforce the importance of discouraging ‘distracting décolleté.’ Deeply cut necklines create a discomfort-zone for everyone in the office.
When women in the public eye violate a sense of decorum with ‘indecent exposure,’ the media moves quickly. I remember when Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister, The Honourable Maxime Bernier attended the Cabinet Swearing-in Ceremony, with his scantily clad girlfriend. I was inundated with media calls.
When a blazer didn’t add dignity
And my observations
During this controversy, designer Andrea Clair, the creator of Wink Intimates Inc., contacted me. She had read my remarks in the Toronto Star and wanted me to see her so-called 9to5 Bra, specifically designed to cover cleavage, or in Andrea’s words, “a business bra”. Initially, I was skeptical but Andrea was well spoken and convincing. I became intrigued and agreed to meet.
Andrea brought her 9to5 Bra and I immediately realized she had truly designed a problem solver to address business attire, plus, the ideal solution for well-endowed clients. With my penchant for multi-tasking, it swiftly occurred to me that here was the ideal underpinning for Diane von Furstenberg’s ubiquitous wrapped dresses — regardless of body type. And I’m not alone. Monika Schnarre, former supermodel and actor calls her 9to5 Bra a ‘must-have’ and recording artist Jann Arden praises the comfort factor. Take a look
Last year, Andrea confided that in search of investment capital, she had taken her 9to5 Bra to the prominent TV show, Dragons’ Den. She was sworn to secrecy until the episode aired.
Intriguingly, the male Dragons — and captains within the corporate world’s boardrooms, I might add — didn’t get it. They vocally embraced the concept of cleavage and flatly turned Andrea down. Conversely, Arlene Dickenson, CEO of Venture Communications and the only female Dragon, was ready to jump in and invest $150,000 — providing she assumed 55% ownership of the company. Andrea declined. Watch the episode.
Maybe you’ve witnessed a fashion faux pas or misstep —in the boardroom and beyond. Please let us know your thoughts.
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