This year, the campaign theme and message that International Women’s Day – which takes place on the 8th March – will be pushing is ‘Balance for Better’ (though the message isn’t just consigned to one day!). It’s all about the collective effort we need to make in order to create a gender-balanced world. ‘The race is on for a gender-balanced boardroom, a gender-balanced government, gender-balanced media coverage, a gender-balance of employees, more gender balance in wealth, gender-balanced sports coverage…’ says the website; ‘gender balance is essential for economies and communities to thrive.’ We couldn’t agree more.
One of the things we love about fashion, is just how empowering it can be. Power dressing has gone through various phases since it really began in the 80s, but its latest iteration – a trend that’s taken off both in and out of the workplace – is softer; it’s all about being powerful and feminine at the same time. Women no longer have to emulate men to demonstrate their professional and personal prowess; they’re speaking out and standing strong in pieces that aren’t designed to bulk up their frame, but add to their confidence instead.
So, embrace your inner boss lady this International Women’s Day (and every day thereafter) with a wardrobe that means business.
You can’t talk about power dressing without mentioning blazers; everyone knows they’re one of the key pieces when it comes to workwear. The styling options really are endless: pair your blazer with tailored trousers; nonchalantly drape it over your shoulders, just before stepping out in your go-to midi dress; or throw it on over jeans and a basic tee.
And remember, blazers aren’t just for the boardroom; they can be worn on most occasions. Look out for a streamlined silhouette that’ll transcend seasonal trends, and stick to neutral colours that can be paired with a range of outfits.
Once summer’s here, keep things (i.e. yourself) cool during the commute with a sleeveless blazer. Wear with a classic white blouse and a pair of tailored trousers or skinny jeans. To switch up your warm weather look, belt up your blazer; accessorise with a sleek updo and some statement earrings to finish.
Look Out for Versatile Pieces
In the past, power dressing rarely considered post-work events. Mid-week date? Tough luck; those shoulder pads were coming with you. But in an ‘always on’ world, day to night dressing has become the norm. Today, versatility is key; look out for pieces that feel just as comfortable to wear at the bar as they do in the office, and vice-versa.
This is especially useful to remember when you’re buying shoes for work. Most offices no longer expect women to wear heels, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should be turning up to the office in your time-worn trainers. Smarten up in a pair of sensible yet stylish flats; shoes with embellished accents or patent finishes are perfect for pairing with a few cocktails once you’ve clocked off too.
Think Smart-Casual, Not Cocktail Hour
It’s worth remembering that, no matter how relaxed your office dress code is, you still need to appear professional (we’re all for sequins, just not in the workplace). Smart-casual clothes bridge the gap between corporate stuffiness and downright scruffiness. Invest in a few pairs of tailored trousers and some sleek blouses or shirts that you can wear together or separately; pair them with laid-back jeans and t-shirts whenever you don’t have any important meetings scheduled.
Choose Your Colours Wisely
A good workwear collection doesn’t just include subdued colours; the notion that suiting needs to come in black or navy doesn’t exist anymore. Don’t be afraid to bring your personality into the workplace by playing around with colour, print and texture. Balance any patterned pieces with plain layers to stop everything from looking a little too wild; you want to be judged on your talent, not your “daring” sense of style, after all. If you’re looking to create a capsule wardrobe with work-ready items to hand, you should start with a basic palette of six colours that can be worn together.
Jewel tones are ideal for the office; they’re vibrant, but not distractingly so. Look out for blouses in emerald greens, sapphire blues and deep reds or purples for an elegant finish that’s neither dull, nor unprofessional.
But Always Remember: You do You
In an article for Glamour magazine, celebrity stylist Karla Welch nails it when she says, ‘your clothing is your armour, but it’s also your source of joy. So find something that makes you feel awesome.’ And guess what? We’re making this our final point. Whether you’re at the office or catching up with the girls on a Friday evening, it’s important that your clothes – whatever your career looks like – work for you. If what you’re wearing gives you confidence, you’re on the right track; ultimately, that’s what power dressing is all about.