But it’s not just politicians and models that need to dress to impress, branding is becoming a powerful weapon, essential to those who want to make an impact and be taken seriously. Here are seven top tips to help you avoid common power dressing faux pas.
1. Express your femininity
Contrary to what some people seem to believe, power dressing is not about going macho or disguising yourself as a man. The androgynous look and power dressing are very separate concepts. A good rule of thumb is aiming to look like you have the job roughly two steps above your current position, not like your dad.
2. Wear whatever makes you feel powerful…
Whether it’s bright pink or bell bottoms or neutral shades. There is no set look for power dressing, don’t feel obliged to wear a dark suit with shoulder pads – when you put that outfit on in the morning you should feel as though you can conquer the world.
3. Find your ‘power item’
Whether its a pair of bright red heels or that grand bag – identify an item that instantly makes you feel completely in control.
4. Suit Up
Suits are very adept components in power dressing and can readily reflect whatever corporate look you choose depending on how you wear them. When suit shopping, pick a classic cut, a lightweight fabric that’s not seasonal (no crumply linen, no chunky tweed), and a neutral color that suits you well. Make sure it fits, no undue tightness or loosness, must be a perfect fit. The best power colours are grey, dark blue, black, red and sometimes, cream and lilac. Whatever speaks to the power within and truly reflects your confidence. Some corporate doors may require more toned down colours than the others. Some may need more formal suits and slacks while others may do with blazers on denims.
5. Keep your accessories simple yet stately
A pearl necklace, a brooch (think Madeline Albright kicked down a notch or two) or a simple sculptural gold cuff work. Do not wear too much bling. Keep it simple yet stately. As too much razzle or dazzle takes the seriousness out of the business look.
A fine watch says something about your orderliness, not to mention style. Wear one. If you don’t have a designer watch, no worries, a vintage piece will be less expensive and can be just as striking. A good-looking bag that goes with your outfit is a plus.
6. Be well groomed
Keep your hair done in styles that are neat, classy and depending on your line of work , that reflect your level of seriousness. Keep your nails well manicured and ensure that you are always clean and presentable. Thou shalt never show up scruffy.
7. Have the right attitude
An aura that speaks calm and confidence says it all. Power dressing is all about the right attitude, as well as the right clothes. Be confident, stand tall and smile.