Think you should dress for success? Not according to this consultant.

Australian international award-winning Image Consultant, Ferial Youakim said business women should not dress for success, especially if they work in male dominated environments.

“Unfortunately, we are still living in a male-dominant word, and recent issues that have arisen including sexual harassment and assault proves that we are still fighting for equality,” she said.

“In fact, a recent survey conducted by the New York Times and Morning Consult proved exactly that. They concluded (what the overall message of the survey was …..)   To overcome these issues, women need not thrust themselves out there, determined and dressing for success. Instead, they should rather be dressing for self-respect.”

In addition, according to Ms Youakim, many women enjoy looking and feeling sexy and feminine, while expecting equality too.

“Strongly backing these two messages at the same time may be seen by some people as being opposing. Regardless, the work place is not where this issue should be debated. No woman wants to be in the centre of a sexual harassment case. This is why I say that women should rather dress for self-respect and authenticity in their place of business.”

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.

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.

Ms Youakim said influencing others around you is about considering the style and colours of your clothes carefully.

Recently, Ms Youakim was the guest on a popular Australian TV talk show.  She put a great deal of consideration into her choice of outfit.

“Firstly, I chose an Australian Designer (Carla Zampatti) to wear as I am proud to be Australian.  Secondly, I took my own personal colouring (dark hair with light skin, therefore a cool blue undertone) into consideration so that I may shine. I wore blue because it is easy on the eye and therefore the best choice for TV, and also this colour conveys messages like cool, tranquil, trustworthy and can be powerful and convincing,” she explained.

Understanding how style and colour affects mood and emotions is smart for women in business to assist them achieve their goals, Ms Youakim said. While wearing certain styles and colors obviously does not guarantee the outcome you would like to achieve, it’s another factor that pushes things in the direction you want them to go.

“We can change ourselves and this is the only element we have complete control over.  That’s why I remind women of the following points to keep in mind that will offer them the self-respect in the workplace that they deserve.


  • Be authentic: be a person of integrity – you will get tired of wearing a mask and in the end your true colours will shine through.
  • Lead by example: work quietly and let your success make the noise. We often blow our own trumpet, only to fall into our own trap.
  • Take control: stop waiting for approvals and pleasing others. Make the tough decision to move forward yourself.
  • Know your strength: orchestrate and take charge but sometimes you are not the best person for the job, ask the best person to lead the way.


Ms Youakim encourages women to have the courage to step up and lead by example. Women who experience the most success typically do not “dress for success” but are authentic and embrace their own dignity.

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:

Beyond Beauty: A Refugee’s Journey in Pursuit of Happiness


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