This 1988 photograph of the original supermodels by Peter Lindberg is the true notion of what power dressing is: a woman who feels powerful, looks like it no matter what she is dressed in.
Looking back to the times of Coco Chanel, my ultimate fashion icon, I know that power dressing was always present, only to be explored in different ways. Centuries before today, women would dress with more or less gold, more pearls, heavier and richer fabrics, or the very opposite lighter fabrics which showed more freedom, meaning more power. Back in the 1920s, women started adapting to the trend of boyish haircuts, in the 60s they started wearing suits, pioneered by Yves Saint Laurent’s “Le Smoking”. Pierre Berge once said: “Chanel gave women freedom, Yves Saint Laurent gave them power”. Saint Laurant was not only a designer who gained fame due to beautiful creations; he gained fame because his creativity empowered women. A woman’s right to wear a suit is like a homage to women’s rights to work and education. With the enormous move for women’s rights in the 1970s, came the “Quiet Revolution” which bares the very roots of today’s feminism.
Helmut Newton’s iconic capture of Le Smoking in the dark alley Rue Aubirot taken in 1975 for Vogue represents the status of an independent woman for me. The history of an essential piece of a contemporary woman’s wardrobe proves Saint Laurent’s iconic quote: “Fashion comes and goes, but style is eternal”.
However, as Jack Sunnucks best described in his article “Is Power Dressing A Thing Of The Past?” for Dazed, times are changing. To quote Sunnucks on the most interesting parts, he said: “Fashion designers love to talk about ‘empowering’ women – it’s their mantra for justifying that their designs don’t in fact make a mockery of women (just because you announce that something is empowering obviously doesn’t mean that it is)”. Another thing I loved about the article is that Sunnucks went to the very core of “power dressing”: “This performative kind of dress has fallen out of favour – women don’t have to dress like men to work to be taken seriously.” Follow this link to read the whole article: http://www.dazeddigital.com/fashion/article/30253/1/is-power-dressing-a-thing-of-the-past .
So, as years went by, the trends of power-dressing evolved, and almost revolutionized. This is what the term “power dressing” meant before:
However, in the time of feminism and digital age, power dressing simply means dressing in what makes you feel comfortable and secure. It does not need to be a suit, or a pencil skirt, it just needs to be what you believe your personal style expresses, transferred to your outfits. Vogue gave some top tips in modern power dressing, which you can follow on this link: http://www.vogue.co.uk/gallery/power-dressing.
Some of them are: colorful outfits, sharp and comfortable flat shoes, always include a white shirt in your wardrobe, go for a midi-skirt! In terms of accessories, just wear what makes you feel like yourself, bold and creative.
In the end, power dressing cannot be summarized in an article. It takes a long time for a person to find the message they want to send through their personal style. For me, a woman has to feel powerful, and anything will good look on her. Some of my favorite living proofs of this are Amal Clooney, Angelina Jolie and Victoria Beckham.