Ferial Youakim: Today’s Business Women Should Dress For Authenticity

Former Refugee Says Women No Longer have to “Dress Up” for Respect in the Workplace


In today’s business landscape, women no longer have to wear a business suit to be taken seriously, according to international image consultant, Ferial Youakim.

“In the 1980s when more women began to enter the workforce, the dress code dictated pants suits in order to mark their equality to men in the business sense,” Ms Youakim said.

“Then, when women in the workforce became completely normal, women started to wear suits with skirt bottoms, to proclaim their femininity and demonstrate they weren’t the same as men, and were proud of it.”

Now, however, Ms Youakim said women in the workforce could wear virtually anything, as long as it suits their body type, and shares the message they would like to send.

“Having an authentic personal brand is actually one of the keys to success when it comes to image. Personal brand is when you dress in a way to send your message without saying a word.  You do not dress to feel better about yourself or to blindly follow a fashion trend; rather, you dress to reflect what is within you.  The harmony is in the match between your personal style, colour and mood, and with what is inside and outside.”

Ms Youakim, from Sydney, said today many women in business are keen to be fashionable, yet comfortable too.

“The days when we suffered silently in rock-hard shoulder padded suits and killer heels that squeezed your feet are thankfully over. Now women know they can find fashion items that are comfortable to wear without being unattractive,” she said.

“In fact, depending on the business environment of course, jeans can be suitable as well. I just would suggest sticking to tailored, rather than ripper, jeans and pairing them with a blazer or a jacket to really dress it up.”

Ms Youakim said the most important consideration is standing out from your competitors and developing your own personal style that suggests you are in control of your own image, rather than being a slave to fashion.

“When you look in the mirror with certain items on, what do you see? Do you see style, beauty and great fashion or do you see a blandness and an outfit that everyone else is wearing?” she said.

The opinions that people form when they look at your clothes are often made at a subconscious level. When you take an honest look at yourself and the style that you choose, you will gain some control over how people perceive you,” she said.

Ms Youakim, is a former Palestinian refugee and has just become the first Australian awarded the official UNWRA spokesperson and advocate for their #DignityIsPriceless’ campaign.

Ferial Youakim
Ferial Youakim

With this distinguished title, Mrs Youakim is to help raise awareness and funds internationally for the tireless work that the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) does.

Earlier this year, Ms Youakim published her first book Beyond Beauty to tell the often-tragic details of her own story, and of the occasions when she so badly wanted to just give up because the stress felt overwhelming.


Purchase now from Amazon:


Or from author website:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *