More Unwritten Rules for Women on Wall Street

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Corporate casual may be the fashion in companies large and small in other sectors of the economy, but it's not on Wall Street, at least not for women.

Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Christina Binkley observes that women must approach their style of dress cautiously and conservatively. "They often feel obliged to dress up in order to command authority," she writes. At the same time, "These women still struggle not to be defined by traditionally feminine pastimes, like dressing well." She goes on:

These women have leapt many hurdles, the least of which is getting dressed in the morning. But the old, scripted uniform of dark suits and high collars isn't quite sufficient for handling today's wide range of clients, in far-flung locales, on any given day of the week. It's tricky to adopt a varied wardrobe while still commanding the respect of hedge-fund managers and major investors. Just try shopping for a power evening gown.

Or walking the line between casual and inappropriate. "It isn't clear to me that a guy in khakis looks any more accomplished than a woman in capri pants," Binkley says. "But I understand ... the unspoken rule that a woman in finance should be more dressed up than the men she works with - especially when those men report to her."

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