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Patricia Handschiegel

Patricia Handschiegel

Posted February 24, 2009 | 10:23 PM (EST)

The New Power Girls Style: Fashion Must-Haves and Style Tips For Busy Women


One of the most common elements I've mentioned in the past about today's modern women entrepreneurs and executives is the understanding that first impressions matter. Whether they're at an industry event or a top level meeting, they always look polished and put together.

For entrepreneur and actress Tere Morris of Brand-In Entertainment, it's a classic black business suit and a white shirt. Sophia Chiang-Qlubb of Qlubb.com's no-fail look is a dark shift with a matching dark jacket with bold jewelry to add a twist. Miss Meghan Media's Meghan Cleary never leaves the house without a great pair of heels.

"Style is important in business," said entrepreneur and TV personality Shira Lazar. "If people don't know you or your work, it's the first they see and react to." Psychic Girl.com founder and CEO Justine Kenzer adds, "What you put on your body absolutely affects your energy. You really are what you wear."

Power Girls know the value of looking the part. It's a natural element in their life and work.

"I'm very conscious of my style in the workplace," shares ChikiiTV CEO Shay Pausa. "I feel more powerful and focused."

The tough part, of course, can be in finding the time to shop and dress around the demands of owning a company. This past week, I tapped some of the top successful women for their business style tips and advice. It ranged from guests at the gorgeous American Express suite overlooking the runway at last week's New York Fashion Week to founder friends and members of the Power Girls email subscription list. Here's what they had to share:

Buy Quality: As Pausa shared over email, quality clothing can last forever. You'll not just find that it last longer, but also looks more sharp and polished. Designer and high ticket items don't always mean good materials and construction. Watch for well-stitched seams and buttons, good fabric and shape. Buy on sale to save.

Buy Classic: While today's successful women are every bit hip, they know that the best investment are in classic pieces they'll wear forever. "My two fashion must-haves are a good wrap dress and a great blazer," adds Lazar. Take a cue from leading lady Michelle Obama and work classic shapes in prints and colors to add a twist without compromising professionalism.

Create Default Outfits: Start by creating 3-4 pre-canned outfits that you can rely on in a pinch. SavvyAuntie.com founder Melanie Notkin relies on Diane Von Furstenburg dresses. Chiquelife.com's Robyn Volker relies on well-cut black pants with a great white wrap top. By having great outfits ready to go, you'll cut your dressing time in half.

Leverage Accessories: From great jewelry to handbags to scarves and even Spanx, Power Girls know that a great accessory can make an outfit. Closet Couture's Chris Elia suggests a belt over a cardigan sweater. A tiny touch goes a long way - and accessories can often be found very inexpensively.

Add Polish: The most important element to a great look? Good grooming! As Rubicon Project's Nicole Jordan shared, "Nicely styled hair is my accessory." Manicured nails, a touch of lip gloss and mascara are inexpensive elements that can speak volumes with an outfit.

Most of all, work what you wear with what's appropriate for the event. "I'm not going to wear the same outfit on the red carpet as I am in a meeting with execs, a tech meetup or a work dinner," said Lazar. When it comes to fashion and style, Power Girls mean business!