Power Dressing Shows Them Whoﾒs Boss
In the 1980’s, women wore large shoulder pads and carried Filofaxes stuffed full of important work documents, whilst the men sported dark, inconspicuous Armani suits.
Everyone thinks of the late 1980’s in L.A. when it comes to power dressing, as it perfectly captures the traditional image of the ‘professional female’. And, for many, power dressing is frozen in time. Both sexes shopped and cut ground-breaking movie deals whilst dining at the Polo Lounge, the Palm or the original Spago’s.
Beverley Hills was the place to be, as the young and the beautiful rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous, and everyone dressed to impress. If you worked in the financial sector, then Savile Row suits and Hilditch and Key shirts were the must-have items to be seen in (and maybe a Harrods tie). No-one would be caught dead in Armani, but times have changed and fashion has gone full circle.
Power dressing is culturally relative, and can even be job-specific. However, there are certain universal principles which still apply. Women’s’ brogue shoes, for example, have to be practical and functional yet still look super-chic and ultra-stylish.
The key for any career-driven lady is to look professional but still retain their femininity. When power dressing, the latter can be achieved with a faint scent of perfume, a slight ruffle peeking out of a suit jacket’s cuff or neck, or a waist cinched with a simple crocodile belt.
Women no longer have to look like quarterbacks, which will come as a welcome blessing. The shoulders came back, but not with a vengeance, as they are now far more understated and subtle. Here are some tips for dressing with power and style without being too flamboyant and over-the-top:
• Suit Up
It does not matter what line of business you are in, as you have to make sure that you wear the right outfit for the job, such as a suit, tailored shift dress and matching jacket. You should thing of iconic designers such as Calvin Klein and Yves Saint Laurent, as these styles will never fall out of favour with the fashion elite. Favour darker colours, minimal patterns and neutral colours which suit anyone’s complexion and figure.
• Tailoring is Key
Go for a tailor in your preferred suit of choice. Nothing looks worse than an ill-fitting suit or women’s’ ankle boots, so make sure that everything fits properly. Especially have any hems altered and customised in order to work with the shoes you are most likely to wear it with. If in doubt, keep the skirt length just above the knee, and the pant length below the ankle.
• A Snug, Slinky Shirt
You need a fantastic shirt which fits comfortably under the suit, but not too tight that buttons pop or bunch up, as this is unflattering at the best of times. Do not go too low cut, though a small plunge is attractive, especially under a jacket with lapels. Most skin tones work well with an ivory or white shirt, and black bras are an absolute no-no.
• Neat Feet
Women’s work shoes must be comfortable, yet have a bit of added height. Never show your toes. If you can pull off red-soled Louboutin pumps with a simple suit then this will be a spectacular achievement.
• Get Lippy
A simple slash of red lipstick and subtly-applied make-up works a treat every time. If you prefer more neutral tones, then kohl eyeshadow and a slick of liquid eyeliner will look striking and arresting and make an instant impact.
Remember that you must never overdo it if you want to create a positive impression, so err on the side of caution. A dark plum lip colour looks great on its own, and needs no extra eye make-up. Well, maybe just a touch of lash-boosting mascara!
So, if you want to stand out from the crowd for all the right reasons and be a force to be reckoned with in your chosen field of expertise all you have to do is follow these handy hints and you will climb your way up the career ladder in no time at all.