Early on in my Marketing career, I was told not to dress for the position I had, but for the position I wanted. There’s no need to actually be in a position of power to dress powerfully. But let’s not get carried away. A marketing assistant making $25,000 a year isn’t going to walk into the office wearing a $500 skirt from Marni, no matter how badly she wants that senior role. There are limitations. However, power dressing is really just about displaying confidence, appropriateness and professionalism. Looking and feeling great on the outside can only support – and even fast track – the confidence we’re all striving for on the inside.
Here are my top 5 tips and tricks for stylish power dressing:
A classic tip for power dressing is to wear well fitting, tailored clothing. Find a good tailor or seamstress and get your pants hemmed, your waistline adjusted and your blazer nipped in at the sides. While you’re at it, get the sleeves cuffed too! Off the shelf items aren’t necessarily meant to fit you perfectly. Put the extra effort into having them tailored to fit the specifics of your unique body shape and type. Making sure that clothes are the right fit for you will not only look more flattering, but be more comfortable as well.
While black and grey colours are pretty standard for a corporate setting, experiment with colour where you can. A brightly coloured top under a dark suite, a colourful statement necklace, or a great pair of bright pumps during the summer months are great ways to add in colour. Either way, a strong dose of colour will give off a powerful vibe.
A good-looking bag that goes with your suit is a plus. But keep in mind, the bigger the bag, the less colourful it should be. But your bag shouldn’t be so big that it looks like a weekend tote and not so small that it won’t hold your iPhone.
When you’re choosing jewelry for your outfit, keep it classy and elegant. You want pieces that are stylish but not too trendy, overpowering or too costume-y. Chunky watches are a stylish option if you want a bolder piece of jewelry that is still fairly classic and functional. During the winter months, I really only add simple pearl earrings and a statement watch to my work outfits.
When it comes to power dressing, a pair of heels is an instant confidence booster. In most cases, you can’t go wrong with a basic black pair of pumps. Choose ones in a patent finish with a more pointed toe for a bit of extra oomph. Plus if you’re short like me, a pointed toe makes your legs look longer. If you’re in a more creative setting, experiment with different shoe styles and colours that best fit your personality.
Being confident in your looks is a major part of oozing confidence and power. If you’re wearing something that is ill fitting or not your style, it’s probably going to show. You’ve got to own your outfit and your look. For inspiration, channel iconic women like Michelle Obama, Kate Middleton, Rachel Roy or Kerry Washington. Whether you’re into their styles or not, they’re unmistakable in who they are. When it comes to power dressing, you’ve got to wear what you love.
Image via Quistyle