The mention of ‘power dressing’ probably transports you back to the high-flying corporate world of the 1980s, conjuring up images of alpha male female bosses and top executives in power suits and shoulder pads to rival Lady Gaga.
Power dressers aimed to reflect their status and wealth through their appearance, but with a shift over time in workwear style, employment opportunities, and with the likes of Angela Ahrendts (CEO, Burberry) and Marissa Mayer (president and CEO, Yahoo!) taking the top positions, complete with an enviable salary, in traditionally male-dominated industries, power dressing has come into a whole new era.
Fast forward to 2009 and even the stars love to power dress (do they even need to?!) outside of the boardroom. Take our favourite Bajan babe, Rihanna, for example, who opted for an I-mean-business, power whitewash in a sharp Derek Lam suit at a store opening – so HOT was this look, it is still imprinted on our minds nearly three years on!
Nowadays, however, power dressing has taken on a new role; it’s not about conveying how powerful or successful you are, but about showcasing your sartorial savvy, and letting others know you have the style aptitude to put together a look suitable for clinching that top deal in the boardroom, as well as sipping cocktails at the bar in.
But don’t take power dressing too seriously, or you will end up Gaga-esque with shoulders too sharp and a cinched in waist too constricted to justify breathing. Subtle, sculptural shapes; plenty of black with flashes of colour; good quality fabrics and working with proportion (shoulders and waist, ladies!) will have you on the path to power dressing in no time!
Check out our round up the best power dressing investments to snap up right now:
1. The Pencil Skirt:
It’s a work wardrobe staple, and is perfect for post-work drinks. We love the directional, two-way zip detailing on this Sportmax pencil skirt. Max points for style and function.
Sportmax Garza technical zip back pencil skirt, £205, available at My Wardrobe
2. The Pointed Court:
Heels, after shoulder pads (joking!), are the cornerstone of power dressing. Apart from towering over your colleagues, a well crafted heel will pull together your entire look and update it to office appropriate. Ditch the stereotypical red and black patent courts, instead opting for softer suede in kick ass electric blue with a so-now metal heel.
Sam Edelman Blue suede Danielle pointed metal stiletto court shoes, £110, available at My Wardrobe
3. The Tailored Dress:
A major investment piece, the Natalia tailored dress cuts a fine hourglass silhouette, thanks to the nipped in waist, and looks fabulous dressed up or down – perfect for those wanting to avoid the quick after-work change in the ladies!
Natalia tailored dress, £159, available at Baujken by Isabella Oliver
4. The Fashion Forward Smart Jacket:
A slightly nipped in waist; modern, asymmetric fastening, and a weighty fabric combine to create the ideal, updated power dressing companion – minus the need for cringe worthy shoulder pads! Wear slung over your shoulder with a flash of bright colour.
Jean black asymmetric collarless jacket, £189, available at Reiss
5. The Interesting Top:
Add eye-opening detail to break up a sharp, all-black ensemble with a splash of houndstooth. The boucle insert in this leather top is uber-desirable, and the leather adds a tough edge to a boardroom worthy top. You’re guaranteed to smoothly seal the deal in this slick number!
Raoul Ellipse leather trimmed top, £305, available at My Wardrobe