Three Rules for Power Dressing at Work

Published October 2016,

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Dress pants, collared shirts, pencil skirts, sheath dresses, heels, blazers…these pieces are among an array of professional work clothes that make power dressing a possibility. Power dressing is a style choice used to help a woman establish her authority in her office space. In other words, power dressing is synonymous with commanding attention and helping a woman be the #girlboss in charge.

Looking polished for work may be something you think you can overlook. Big mistake. While looking sharp won’t impact every little aspect of your job performance, it can help you feel confident and prepared to succeed at whatever may come your way, which are both valuable traits in any job setting. Think back to when you had your first real job interview — you know, the one where you teetered into a formal office setting in your first pair of court heels and navy pantsuit, unsure of what to expect. You probably gravitated towards these items for a good reason. These items look professional, polished, and classic. Chances are that somebody told you that these were what you should wear to look sharp in an office environment. However, as awesome as these go-to pieces are, they’re not the be-all-end-all options when it comes to power dressing.

It’s a new era. Although a classic suit jacket exudes powerful vibes, if you don’t feel comfortable in it, then it’s going to have the opposite effect. Same thing goes for ill-fitting footwear, itchy wool trousers, heavy jewelry, constricting undergarments, and etc. If you prefer culottes instead of bootcut trousers or loafers over stilettos, then incorporate your personal style into power dressing. Women are continuing to redefine and excel at what it means to be successful in the workplace, and there’s no reason why the same can’t be done for power dressing.

Three Rules for Power Dressing:

1. Choose the Correct Fit



Strong lines and structured shapes are often key aspects of an office wardrobe. More important than the silhouette is the fit. Surprise! Apparel that fits you well has the tendency to look better on you, and coincidently, better-fitting clothes make you feel more confident about your appearance. Paying attention to even the smallest details in your clothing, such as the fit of a sleeve or the hem of a pant, is crucial if you want to look like you’re ready to take on any issues or triumphs that come your way. Find a good tailor, and visit them whenever you want to make a great piece even better.

2. Select Quality over Quantity


Clothes that fit well in beautiful fabrics are surely one way to make an impression in the office. Luxe silk, vegan suede, leather, and organic cotton can look bold and professional next to polyesters. Same goes for sterling silver next to costume jewelry. When shopping, be sure to really evaluate each piece you’re interested in purchasing and look for design details that show quality. Look for details such as lining, self-facing, stitching and seam allowance, functioning closures, secure hardware, and etc. Obviously, pieces in high-quality fabrics may not always be the most budget friendly. So, for starters, look to invest in a couple key, high-quality pieces then integrate them into your wardrobe. You’ll slowly build up a closet full of nice items that you’re proud of. 

3. Incorporate your Personal Style


Most importantly, learning how to influence others with your style and personality is one of the most powerful attributes you can have at the office. If a go-to office staple doesn’t feel right to you, then chances are that other people will see it too. Confidence is important when commanding a boardroom, and you’ll feel your best when you’re staying true to yourself. If straight-forward uniform dressing is your style, then stock up on your staples, and wear them with proudly. If your off-duty wardrobe is full of fun prints, then add excitement and authenticity to your office wardrobe with an array of classic pieces in seasonal designs. Experiment with what works, and don’t be afraid to show who you are. 

Ultimately, power dressing is all about choosing wardrobe pieces that give you confidence. Just because one item looks good on your colleague, it doesn’t mean that it’ll be right for you. Look for pieces that are true to your style, and let your personality and professional shine inside and outside the office.

Which pieces make you feel powerful at work? Let us know in the comment section!

Banner Photo Source: Comma Chic

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