When it comes to my work wardrobe, I sometimes feel like I live in two different worlds: the business world — where my style is more classic and I wear a lot of simple, bold colored sheath dresses — and the tech world, where I prefer to dress a bit edgier and often work in some black leather.
It’s partially about the audience: In my role as founder of The Muse, I have to play to both the technology sector (VCs, other entrepreneurs), and a more standard business set (our clients, media partners, more traditional investors, etc.). The truth is, I love both worlds, and both styles that come along with it. So, while I have sheath dresses in just about every color under the sun, I also own a killer pair of Aritzia faux leather leggings that are tons of fun for the right start-up event. Because, honestly, I was sick of getting patronized by people who thought I was a nice girl or not tough enough to build a business. Guess what? In leather pants, fewer people make that mistake.
I work pretty insane hours, but it’s mostly on my schedule. Generally, I'm up around 8 a.m. answering morning emails and taking a few calls from my pajamas (shh! don’t tell). Then I’ll shower, throw on a simple dress or pants and flip-flops for my commute and walk to work, taking more calls on the way. Meetings usually start in earnest around 9:30 a.m. and continue on and off for the rest of the day, but depending on who I’m meeting with I might not put makeup on until midday — if at all. I have a small kit of essentials I carry with me, and otherwise I try not to worry too much about it. Media is an exception, but, thankfully, most stations provide a makeup artist. My team jokes that they can tell what station I’ve been on — Bloomberg, CNBC, Fox — by how aggressively my makeup is done. Fox is definitely the most intense.
I always have flats with me — usually, leather flip-flops on my feet and heels in my bag, or vice versa for meetings. I love being able to switch it up on the go. I have one of those cloth bags that I wrap the shoes in, and then I can carry it separately or in my purse.
I find it helpful to look at women I admire in my space and notice what they are wearing, and if it will work for me. For example, I like both Marissa Mayer’s jewel-toned dresses and Vivian Rosenthal (of Snaps) totally badass rocker look, so I've taken inspiration from both for different pieces. If you're lucky enough to have a female entrepreneur friend, it can be helpful to bring them along for a second opinion. If I’m going to a really high-stakes meeting or giving a big speech, I’ll usually get my co-founder Alex Cavoulacos’ thoughts on what tone to strike (elegant, tough, etc.) on that given day.
My style is pretty classic; in NYC I generally shop in places like Ann Taylor, Zara, and Tumi — though I have the aforementioned pair of killer faux leather leggings from Aritzia. When I’m visiting my parents in the Washington D.C. suburbs, I love going to department stores like Macy’s and Lord & Taylor with my mom; for some reason, the sale racks there are really, really good to me! I’m also a big fan of new, female-run e-commerce brands like Tailour and M. M. LaFleur.
Finally, when you're nervous, it's always good to fall back on clothing that’s a bit "lucky" — even if you don't really believe in that sort of stuff. I have a green dress that Alex and I jokingly call my “power dress” because I wore it when pitching to some of our big name investors.
Kathryn Minshew is the founder and CEO of The Muse, a career platform and job discovery tool that's credited with helping over 15 million people find not just work — but inspiring careers — is a breakthrough of sorts. Her smart fashion sense, combined with her amazing ability to speak eloquently about entrepreneurship at schools like Harvard and on TV spots like The Today Show, make Kathryn a woman to pay close attention to.