When I moved to NYC straight out of college with a degree in finance I promptly armed myself with my first suit for job interviews in the business world. I imagined it would be the first of many suits I would need for a power career in finance. I will never forget this suit. It was a Calvin Klein black textured pant and blazer combination that fit terribly due to the fact that it was definitely a full size too big. With it I wore an equally standard (read: boring) white collared button down and finished off the whole horrible look with black closed toe mid-heel pumps, reminiscent of shoes a wicked witch might wear. I went on many interviews in this look and despite the atrocity of it all I managed to get a job pretty quickly, probably because the interviewers mistook me for one of the boys.
Now, thankfully, gone are the masculine influences that drove my poor sartorial choices of the early aughts. These days, professional dressing has evolved into "power dressing" which is a style of clothing intended to make the wearer more authoritative and competent, especially in professional settings in business, law, and government. Two ladies who I look to for professional power dressing style inspiration are Amal Clooney and Victoria Beckham. They consistently nail the "lady boss" look with their understanding of how to create a balance between power dressing, style and femininity. These ladies have an ability to use fashion as a tool to create an image with their clothing that helps them advance both career and cause. Using Amal and Victoria as guides, here are some things to keep in mind when curating your own work wardrobe: 1. Tailoring Tailoring Tailoring This is probably one of the most important aspects of professional power dressing. Nothing looks worse than ill-fitting clothes. A well-tailored H&M suit that cost $50 will always look better than its expensive counterpart that doesn't fit properly.
2. Don't be afraid of color Gone are the days of dismal black and grey everything! Punch up your professionalism with a powerful red sheath dress like Victoria. If you aren't comfortable with such a bold statement, take a cue from Amal and insert pops of color into a monochrome look with red accessories and a swipe of red lipstick. Red is always a good choice because it is a color that exudes confidence.
3. Key clothing components
Suit separates such as blazers, pants, pencil skirts and sheath dresses that are all interchangeable
Button downs and blouses that can be worn with your suit separates
Classic pumps that you can walk confidently in
4. Where to shop:
Karen Millen ($$$)
Banana Republic ($$)
J Crew ($$)