The New Rules of Power Dressing

Monday, August 07, 2017

Top - The Fox And I (Runaway The Label), The sleeves on the original top were altered by me to reduce the flare.
 Skirt - Zara
Mules - Rivers
 Rings - Colette

Note: A little addition to all fashion posts from here on will be a reference to the inspiration. Often times this can be runway separates that caught my eye or something I spotted on Pinterest or Instagram. The idea behind these inspirations is not to copy the looks from top to bottom but rather to use them to restyle the old pieces I have and give them a new lease. 

With startup culture taking over and CEOs like Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs introducing dressed down looks with hoodies, jeans and tees, some may argue that power dressing is dead in this age. But this doesn’t have to be true.

With time the rules of power dressing may have changed but the concept has not because it is rooted firmly in psychology. In fact, with research devoted to it on Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, the phenomenon is called 'enclothed cognition'. It describes the systematic influence that clothes have on the wearer's psychological processes like emotions, self evaluations, attitudes, and interpersonal interactions.

Power dressing is alive, it’s just taken a form different to the well-cut pantsuit we’re used to envisioning. At the end of the day, the concept's purpose is to project a commanding presence. While previously this presence often wore midi skirts, heels and tailored jackets, today you can get away with something a little more playful and creative.

As Bergdorg Goodman's Linda Fargo so aptly put in W magazine:

“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 vincible.”

And what a killer combination that is! Whether it’s a feminine dress, or a relaxed fit skirt or even a smock with some flats, the ‘power’ aspect of this concept comes not from the clothes but the attitude of the wearer. As cliché as this may sound, exuding confidence and feeling good about yourself is the perfect image booster whether that’s in or out of the office.

The rules of power dressing are changing and gradually this idea has evolved to have less to do with the style and cut of your clothing and more with the feeling you get when you wake up in the morning. Whether you choose to wear make-up or go bare skin, dress up with heels or choose comfort in flats, it’s the choices that make you feel good not the norms, that matter.

While different industries often have a set stereotype of what works (think hoodie/tees for tech startups, well cut suits for finance and expensive street style for fashion/communications), ultimately what matters most is individuality. Dressing in a style that’s truly your own and wearing attire that’s appropriate for your workplace doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive. Personally, my ‘power look’ varies and can oscillate from a monochrome look like the one above, to a mix of colours like this or a more relaxed silhouette like here. As mentioned earlier, each of these outfits is modest to fit the environment I work in but also playful by the way of flared sleeves or colour to put my unique stamp on things. Another standard practice for me is to obsessively look for quality and a good fit. Clothes and shoes that fit like a glove and are made of trusty materials and quality tailoring can help you accentuate your best assets and make you feel good about any insecurities.

Choose what you love and not what you think you should be loving. If you’re having to swap the stilettos for flats even for a quick 10-minute coffee run or a meeting, then perhaps it’s time to replace them with a more comfortable pair or a shorter heel.

The end goal is to look sharp and stylish but effortlessly so.

Links à la Mode, August 10th
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  1. I love this look! So true power dressing has evolved, I'm glad office dress codes are more relaxed these days and my 'work wear' can reflect my personal style!

  2. You are so beautiful! Love the look!

  3. So classy!!

  4. This is so spot on. Nothing sets me up for a successful day of teaching more than solid planning, and a killer outfit. Some people try to say that because I teach 1st grade, I don't need to look as professional. I think it's the complete opposite. I want my students to know from a very young age that they deserve to be respected and taken seriously, even when we're dancing the afternoon away on the carpet! And it helps me feel like I'm ready to take on the world.

  5. Really love this clean yet stylish look and the enclothed cognition concept. I keep on saying style is all about the attitude with which you rock your outfits and eliminating the labels we have put on our own style. Great post, dear! Hope you are having the best weekend

    Saida | She talks Glam

  6. Your style is on point. I love it so much.
    Would you like to follow each other on bloglovin'? Follow me and I'll follow you back.

  7. Great style, so classy! And I love the contemporary feel of your website!

  8. Love the black and white. Power dressing at its best.

    Amy Ann
    Straight A Style

  9. This is definitely a power outfit, I completely adore it and the sleeves on that top are extremely cute!

    My Vogue Style |

  10. Such a sweet post! I absolutely love your outfit and those rings are so freaking cute. Great job hun xx

    Naya //

  11. Enclothed cognition definitely exists. I know for myself, certain pieces definitely bring out certain "quirks" in my personality. At times even confidence.


  12. I love the unusual lengths of this outfit; everything works SO well together! The minimal style is super elegant and totally plays into the hands of 'power dressing', especially with the minimal jewellery too.

  13. You look so gorgeous! Perfect summer look darling! Thanks for the inspiration!
    Have a wonderful week!
    Much love, Len

  14. Love this outfit! You definitely look sharp and effortless. :)


  15. What a great post and such a fierce outfit. I love this idea!

    Chanel | Je M'appelle Chanel

  16. You look gorgeous!Love the skirt:-)

  17. Black and white is always a great option, perfect
    Gros bisous

  18. I love this look. You would think it would be more formal considering the monochrome colours, though the cut of the outfit give a toned down, feminine vibe to the outfit. It's minimal but such an elegant and feminine look that I would myself in the office.
    Jaz xoxo

  19. I am inlove with you silver midi rings!

    Angelie // The Ruins of Baclayon Church

  20. Such a stunning look! I'm in love with the top!
    Adi xx

  21. You're so so right about the shift work-wear trends. I've mostly found myself in offices where 'formal streetwear' was the unspoken dress code and man, it's hard! Thanks for the inspiration!

    🍓 Pia

  22. I am definitely a big fan and believer in dressing especially the saying that states you should dress for the job you want not the Job you have. Your black and white ensemble is so classic and perfect for a girl boss! I just picked up a bunch of black and white piece this past weekend and am so excited to wear for fall!

    Rina Samantha

  23. I love this outfit, and I agree power dressing is definitely not on the way out and a great way to experiment!

    Velvet Blush

  24. My favourite power outfit is always a monochrome black and white combination. I love the skirt you're wearing here so much.

  25. It's so worth investing in pieces that are good quality and fit.

  26. Love those bell sleeves on that top!

    xx Yasmin