Category Archive for: ‘cleavage’

What's Too Provocative For Your Professional Image?


I was the featured speaker at a meeting of a group of about 50 executives with a large corporate entity. Most of the audience were male executives.  All of them were completely engaged with me during my entire presentation.

However, what was most interesting was what happened during the Q&A period at the end.  A very respected executive/gentleman raised his hand and basically prompted me to address the topic of women executives/professionals revealing cleavage. He was obviously saying that he was not amused by and disapproved of such displays.  By the looks and body language of the other male executives in the audience, they all agreed as well.

While this doesn’t seem like a hard topic to address, so many women AND MEN have trouble with it.  Why?  The men that are about business and treating women colleagues as equals do not like the issue of cleavage/a woman colleague’s bust getting more attention than the business. That’s respectable in my book.  As for the business women, they don’t want to have to compete with another woman’s chest, but would rather compete on merit- fair and square, also very respectable.

Yet over and over again, I see professional women display much more cleavage than is appropriate in a business event.  The result:  we all can then “see” their lack of self-confidence displayed to the detriment of their business image/credibility.  

So what is acceptable “displays” of the female chest/bust and what is not?  Well, let’s just say we all know what is NOT acceptable when we see it on another woman.  If you are at a business function and:

  • try to engage people to look up in your eyes and divert their gaze from your bust, then odds are that is not an acceptable display,
  • wonder why people can’t keep their end of a conversation because they are fidgeting and uncomfortable around you, then odds are that is not an acceptable display,
  • other business women avoid your gaze or avoid talking to you, then odds are that is not an acceptable display.  
  • wonder if you should put on a sweater to cover up your chest, then odds are that is not an acceptable display.

Get the picture? 

Bottom line:  One thing may work for you and not for others.  Your comfort level is key to your successful business image.   However, it is nearly impossible to re-build credibility among business colleagues when you have crossed the line regarding your attire. If in doubt, don’t wear it out!

Wishing You A Fabulous Image,


First, Know Yourself So You Know What To Market.