Whether it's President Obama addressing the nation or a class valedictorian addressing graduating students, the question is the same: To lead, do we have to dress like a leader? Or does what we have to say matter the most?
Our human brains are hardwired to notice what's different, not what's the same. In a supermarket, this may show up as a SALE tag on a shelf of similar products. In nature, it might be a rock that rolled to a stop in the middle of a field of flowers. With celebrities seeking more attention, it's a "wardrobe malfunction."
Once, heading out to an art event, I was reminded that I might want to switch to dress shoes instead of the more comfortable sports shoe I was wearing. Why? Because women are hardwired to notice the whole person AND all the details.
So if you want project leadership as a woman, dress to match expectations. Then what will stand out the most will be the content of your message and the inner power and energy with which you deliver it. They will be talking about what you said, not what you wore.
Alexia Parks is a science journalist, an impact entrepreneur, motivational speaker, and an expert on the new science of a woman's brain.