It’s hard to hear the term power dressing without conjuring up an image of 80’s bouffant hair, killer heels, sharp shoulder pads and a tasteless suit. As women it can feel as though we are constantly battling for equality, and the workplace in often where we see the gender divide most vividly. With differences in opportunity, as well as pay cheque it is important for us to ensure we are taken seriously. For a man to dress the part, it is much more straight forward. A well-tailored suit and a classic tie can give the perfect impression, but for women things can get a little complicated. Dressing for business shouldn’t make us feel harsh or masculine. There are ways to look confident, in control and authoritative without losing your femininity.
Strong, bold colours evoke a feeling of confidence. Opt for a pencil dress or suit in a vibrant shade to break away from severe blacks and navy tones. That being said, you can use colour to your advantage by adding a bright scarf to a navy or black suit. This device is ideal for drawing the attention to your face and helping people focus on what you are saying. Soft, muted tones can look apologetic or too vague. You need to make an impact. People will notice what you are wearing before you even speak, so it needs to convey the right message.
Keep it simple
Powerful women often stick to plain fabrics and one main colour. If your outfit is too busy or fussy, then it can be distracting. The same goes for jewellery or accessories. You don’t want to flaunt wealth or wear anything that will distract from what you are saying. Keep jewellery simple, sophisticated and classic.
Clothes that flatter your shape will make you feel more confident, they will affect the way you move and the manner in which you conduct yourself. Well-fitted garments also make people appear more control of situations. Getting the right cut will immediately prove that you are the right woman for the job. Clothes that swamp the figure or are too tight will give the opposite impression. Cigarette pants and a tailored blazer can offer the ideal power dressing style, but work better on a slimmer physique. As well as opting for the right style for your figure, it is also worth getting the key items properly tailored. Otherwise, the least you can do is ensure that trouser and skirt hems are the right length and possible get an off the rack jacket altered for a more professional fit.
You may adore the latest trends and fashions outside of your professional setting, but in your work it is much better to stay classic and timeless. Anything too ‘fashiony’ can appear insincere or give an impression of someone being easily led. To give an impression of independence and knowing your own mind, opt for something that won’t date quickly.
Soft, luxurious fabrics can add a sophisticated twist to any outfit while still looking beautifully feminine. Cashmere and silk are ideal. Opt for a silk blouse, a silk scarf or a cashmere blend blazer.
You can tell a lot about a person by their shoes. If you can handle a heel (and it suits your job role) then this is the ultimate way to assert power. If you need to wear flats then a patent brogue or pair of pumps can be just as fitting. It’s worth investing in a decent pair of shoes. Anything tired or tattered will shatter the illusion. If you are opting for bright colours in your clothing then continue this into your footwear. If your professional role is a creative one then you can use your shoes as a way to express this.
Your hair is one of the first things that people notice about you. If your hair is too wild or wayward, people will assume that you lack control. While this can seem appealing in a social setting, it won’t guarantee respect in a professional field. If your hair is too limp or lack lustre then it will also create a negative impression. You want your hair to reflect your professional attitude and reinforce that you’ve got it together. Volume, healthy shine and flattering cuts are a must.
The professional realm is not always the best place to express your individuality, especially when it comes to make up. Steer clear of smokey eyes or dramatic or trendy colours. Instead opt for a flawless base, immaculate natural eyes and a healthy lip colour.
If you don’t feel comfortable in a suit then opt for a dress, if you have a colour that feels like home then wear it. Power dressing shouldn’t be about emulating someone else’s style otherwise you’ll feel like you are playing a part. Power dressing is about putting the best version of yourself out there and asserting the side of you that you want people to see. Pay attention to the details, opt for touches that reflect your professional role and always wear clothes that make you stand taller and feel more capable.