By Kelly Marshall
When we think of the term power dressing, our first thoughts are probably of women wearing giant shoulder pads, and masculine style suit jackets. The term Power Dressing was coined in the late 1970s/1980's. It was first used in The Post Standard, a New York City newspaper, in 1979. It was said to be a style mainly adopted by women and one which was created to give a female’s an air of ability, confidence and capability.
The style was influenced by famous women of the time, including the styles worn by television actresses, like Joan Collins and Linda Gray in US shows such Dynasty and Dallas, respectively. Along with powerful women in the real world, such as British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and The Princess of Wales, Lady Diana Spencer. The clothes were often made of expensive fabrics to reflect the status of the women wearing them.
However, as the decade continued, under the leadership of Thatcher, and Reagan, the working classes began to feel the effects on their incomes . This is where power dressing began to move away from garments that could only be worn by the super wealthy and to the streets for a new, edgier, trendy version of power dressing. It was also at this time that designers such as Jean Paul Gaultier and Vivienne Westwood began to look toward street style to use in their own designs .
Street fashion was heavily influenced by nightclub attire in London. While in New York it was influenced by artistic movements such as Pop Art, punk-rock and hip-hop. This meant feminine, curve accentuating dresses for evening attire, along with a street take on sportswear, and slogan t-shirts often with a political message as day wear.
Many of the key looks of the 80s are still around and are being worn today – androgyny, the oversized graphic t-shirt, high waisted denim, trouser and skirt suits, evening glamour. So what does power dressing mean to us, today in 2020? A time which is once again seeing political unrest, financial instability for the working classes, along with the emergence of new political and civil rights movements? Because while we are still influenced by the eighties version of power dressing let’s take a look at what our version looks like?
I have taken five outfits from the OWF collection, to see how so we can get our power swag on, 2020
For a woman who wants to ooze sophisticated glamour, this is the perfect ‘little gold dress' to wear for drinks with girls , or on an important lunch date. Nothing looks more goddess like than wearing gold.
This Linen trouser suit is perfect as work wear. Put a slogan tee underneath, to give it a current look . The red piping also means it will look great with a red lip. Perfect for wandering the piazzas of Rome.
Nothing says you've just stepped into your power, like being bold enough to wear white. As we saw recently with Kamala Harris, she chose an all white trouser suit to address the nation after the recent election. It was thought to be a nod to the US Suffragette Movement, as white and purple were their chosen statement making colours. This outfit could work perfectly at work, or equally on a Mediterranean holiday, paired with a wedge or embellished flip-flop.
Denim is so versatile and the fact that this is a denim suit means you can dress it either up or down, with trainers and a t-shirt for the day, or heels, a cami- top, and statement jewellery for the evening .
Perfect for a first date, a day in the office, or a long weekend in NYC. There is nothing that says confidence like a lady in red. Keep accessories simple, in gold, silver or black, and let everyone know you are a lady who can’t be messed with.
So, as you can see, power dressing does not have to include shoulder pads to make us look more like a man. It’s all about taking inspiration from everywhere and everything. In wearing whatever makes us feel like we've stepped into our power, on a daily basis . Whether that comes from wearing a slogan t-shirt with trousers, a suit, or glamorous evening dress. Power Dressing for women in 2020, is all about choice.
Get an exclusive preview of our new Winter Collection, online, this Thursday at 8pm. Click here to register
Step into your power, and have a fabulous week.
Peace , Love n Lipgloss
Kelly Louise Marshall XOXO
‘Vintage Fashion, Sevenoaks Publishing ,2006