If you missed it (tisk tisk!) the very first episode of How Do I Look? SA premiered on E! Entertainment last week! I’m so proud of the show and especially proud of our first wonder woman, Fisiwe. Fisiwe works in a male dominated industry and felt the need to dress a certain way in order to gain the respect of her male counterparts. After a tough journey, and a few tears, she finally realised that the only person she needed to dress for was herself! It was incredible.
In the episode, the collection Fisiwe eventually chose was all about power dressing! Which inspired me to write a post on how to get this look right!
Power dressing: an old fashioned sense of duty or an empowering tool for the working woman? No matter which statement you might agree with no one can deny the power of a good outfit, whether its to impress others or just feel empowered yourself. It’s true that this topic is steeped in history and has many positives and negatives surrounding it, but when you power dress for the right reasons no one can stop you.
TIP 1: SUIT UP
When the occasion presents itself to really show the art of power dressing, no matter what business you are in, wear a suit! When wearing the quintessential trouser suit sub-principles MUST apply. Your suit must fit you like a glove so if it doesn’t fit quite right off the rails then I strongly advocate the odd bit of tailoring. Also buying a suit in a non-seasonal fabric allows you to wear it all year round!
On the other spectrum of a tailored black suit is changing up your silhouette. Why not update your suit by opting for slim cropped cigarette trousers and matching tailored jacket. Or, if like me you like to be a little more daring why not change it up with flare trousers and matching jacket, ala the wearable bedroom attire. Even a sneaky culotte can help in dressing to impress.
TIP 2: B*TCH PLEASE MAY I STEAL YOUR LOOK?
Sharing is caring and the art of empowering yourself as a woman is to be able to and be happy to empower other woman! There is absolutely no shame in admitting to not being the best at putting looks together or basically just not knowing what the hell to do when it comes to dressing for your best self. So why not draw inspiration from all the amazing woman around you? Whether it be your favorite power-dressing celeb, an influential business mogul or your neighbor who knows exactly how to pull off that patterned shirt, empower yourself through other empowered woman!
Victoria Beckham, Gwen Stefani and Angelina Jolie
Sheryl Sandberg, Sophia Amoruso and Whitney Wolfe
TIP 3: FLATS, MIDIS AND HEELS
I purposely listed those all as an option rather than making it a choice of heels or flats? The idea that a woman has to wear heels in order to be taken seriously irritates me. Now don’t get me wrong, I love me a pair of killer heels and I have huge respect to a woman who can knock about all day in six inches but those who know me know I’ll choose flats any day of the week! In my eyes no matter what the height of your shoe is as long as they are smart, scuff-free and polished and you’re good at your job, who cares! And let me tell you the right pair of flats can easily command a room in the same way heels can. #Fact.
TIP 4: BE BOLD AND ITALIC
If you walk into a room and exude confidence then you have the hardest part of power dressing down! But if you walk into a room exuding confidence whilst wearing a bold colour or mixed patterns then I want to be you! I am very partial to all of these elements in fashion, however they can be very difficult to get right.
I’m comfortable throwing caution to the wind and playing with patterns. Whether it be a monochromatic chevron, an elaborate floral or a simple stripe, mixing patterns or doubling up on them are a sure fire way to modernize your work gear. If you’re going to reach in and grab that bold hue I’d suggest keeping the individual item of clothing simple. If you err more on the side of caution with patterns and colours a safe bet with pattern is to stick to quintessential stripes but maybe mix it up with different colours and sizes. With bold colours why not create that empowered look by adding a power colour to your lip or even an accessory.
TIP 5: SIMPLE AND NOT SO SIMPLE SEPARATES
When opening my wardrobe 90% of it is taken up by separate pieces rather than co-ordinated sets. I think every woman should have the simple separate pieces like a classic shirt, the plain white tee etc etc but by adding a more ‘not-so-simple’ separate you add something eye-catching to your look. When heading to work its a no-brainer that a simple pants-and-top or skirt-and-top combo is quick go to but why not add trousers or a skirt with an interesting detail. Empower yourself by empowering your trouser or skirt choices.
Check yourself before you dress yourself…
Before any of the above five power dressing tips can be put into action we as woman have the luxuries of manicures, pedicures, highlights and makeup, whether we do them ourselves or treat ourselves every now and then being well-groomed is that little extra step. I would like to stress in no way am I saying that a woman has to do these things to feel empowered I am simply saying that when a woman feels at her best she feels empowered within and that is something special. I can only put a few suggestions forward based on my own reality and I do feel great when I look great and that is for no one else but myself.
When you work it out, no matter your job, the majority of us work 5 out of 7 days a week which means 70% of the clothes we spend our time in is work attire so why only feel good on the weekends? Granted a wardrobe can be job specific but I do believe that if you stick to at least one or two of my tips any woman can nail power dressing, look professional and feel great every day of the week. Remember power dressing is a combination of attitude and the right clothes. So be confident and stand tall or not, if you’re in flats.
“Personally, I like my power looks to be a combination of drama, nonconformity, restraint, surprise, modesty, and playfulness. That’s when I feel strongest and the least invincible.” Linda Fargo, senior vice president of Bergdorf Goodman.