What image does Power Dressing conjure up for you? For many it says Joan Collins with massive shoulder pads in Dynasty, or smart black business suits coupled with an expensive Designer hand bag or briefcase.
But Power Dressing really began thousands of years ago when females lead countries and commanded armies. Think Boudicca and Cleopatra in their splendid metallic regalia – pure power dressing, and letting everyone know who is boss.
We are also seeing a lot of less obvious power dressing with females, who have abandoned their suits and stilettos for more comfortable attire, even donning a pair of designer jeans and converses with a white T and leather biker jacket, to present the image of ‘cool’ and ‘in control’.
But it gets more complicated than that as we are now examining our own individual ‘brand’ to see how we can spell it out with what we wear. The acceptance of the Selfie has given us narcissistic freedom to proceed.
A recent meeting with a head honcho at a global organisation said it all as she sported her new high shoulder tattoo, exclaiming that if anyone dared question her (and they hadn’t), then they were attacking the very essence of what she was about, her soul essence, and she was not going to accept any internal interference on her own concept.
Another meeting was attended with a top PR Executive with blue and purple highlights and colour co-ordinated earrings in her many ear piercings. Perhaps this is more acceptable as the Public Relations industry is more artistic, but more and more women in powerful corporate jobs are bucking the trend and creating their own imagery, and wearing what makes them tick.
This brings up the question of social background, where bright colours are often frowned upon in certain circles, and will determine the colour or design of the outfit you wear for the job. I always believe anything ending in ‘ology’ have set rules, and ethically sourced raw materials and basic colours are ‘uniform’ and separate the highly trained and paid professionals from the minions. So they have their own code of ‘power dressing’, where the receptionist may want to oppose the ‘dowdy’ main players with a sexy short skirt and thigh high boots, their own kick back at convention, and a sharp reminder that their power resides in their feminine attributes, which they chose not hide under bland blankets of billowing beige.
We are talking about the snobbery that goes with the territory, and we are certainly more prone to it in this country, where the rules have been set in stone, but we still have a long way to go to break them down completely.
Take the colours of Mexico for instance, where the National Dress is multi-coloured. Imagine walking into a board room with a dazzling dress all colours of the rainbow. We just wouldn’t be taken seriously, as this look has always been saved for holidays in hotter climes. But why not flaunt our inner flamenco dancer to get us through the tedious ramblings of the board room – it has certainly become the ‘bored’ room as it is attended by far too many males with their relentless banter of premiership.
It will be interesting to observe the development of the self-branding process that already exists and how that will be adapted to all professions as we progress over the next decade, after all fashions change, so why hold back on Power Dressing which is one of our best weapons.