Power dressing has evolved throughout the years— after all, it can be deeply personal and so, it’s ever-changing. There is no textbook definition of what power dressing is simply because it differs so much from person to person, but one thing is for sure— power dressing is whatever makes a woman feel confident, empowered, and on top of the game.
Women’s fashion carries a powerful history. In the early 1900s, power dressing started with women ceasing to wear their restrictive garments and the rising of hemlines. By the ’70s, women were fighting to enter the ‘boy’s club’, aka corporate workplaces. As a result, they began mimicking men’s dressing to gain authority. The ‘80s and ‘90s started to embrace femininity in power dressing while still rocking a full suit. The suits of those decades featured nipped-in waists and exaggerated shoulders in bold colours, destined to make an impactful statement. While you may embrace masculinity in a suit, many women preferred to add feminine touches like pearl earrings with a matching crisp white pearl necklace or a swipe of brightly coloured lipstick.
In today’s age, power dressing isn’t defined by one moment or outfit at all— modern women are interpreting it in many ways. Whether you are still taking it literally with styles that exude authority or perhaps you find power in dressing with items that hold significant value to you— anything that gives you a confidence boost matters. An accessory given to you by someone you admire or a lucky blouse you wore when first nailing an interview can make you feel as powerful and confident as a bold blazer will for others. Regardless, there is a psychological aspect of fashion and that definitely stands true when it comes to power dressing.
We’re seeing power dressing coming across runway trends for 2020. Strong tailoring and suits have been prominent in many shows that featured ‘40s inspired tailoring and the strong shoulders of the ‘80s– but no suit is totally corporate. Each has a twist, with some designers featuring lingerie-inspired details aiming to add a touch of sex appeal, while other brands accessorize with a bare midriff and interesting accessories. There is a reason designers continue to borrow from the boys– pinstripes, dinner jackets, and a classic suit add instant polish to any look.
Strong shoulders or bare torsos may not be for everybody, but women can find a touch of power dressing they can adapt to. If your style identifies more girly than corporate chic, embrace that. Frills, ruffles, and furbelows are also seen as pillars of authority. Incorporate power dressing with these voluminous-yet-girly details from designers that are taking it mainstream. You too can command a room while covered in frills and ruffles— that’s the beauty of power dressing. This season, embrace power dressing as wearing whatever makes you feel most powerful.