A foolproof guide to power dressing for boss chicks

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In order to be a boss, one must first look like one. Here’s the foolproof guide to power dressing for boss chicks and all you need to know to look the part.

In celebration of International Women’s Day, we are celebrating the boss babes that are driving forward their respective industries. In order to be a boss, one must first look like one. Here’s the foolproof guide to power dressing for boss chicks and all you need to know to look the part.

In the late 1970s and early ’80s, women began power dressing, not just for fashion but to ‘fit in’ with the boys. They believed that in order to be taken seriously, they needed to dress like they were a part of the exclusive boys club. Women began hitting the streets in loose pant suits, below-the knee skirt suits in sombre colours like black and grey.

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“Anything else at work is unthinkable,” claimed John T. Molloy in his best-selling 1977 manual, The Woman’s Dress for Success Book. Having spent years conducting ‘scientific’research, the image guru also counselled women to avoid platform shoes, peasant dresses, floral patterns, and sweaters. “[They] give out nothing but negative impulses,” he claimed.

The rules of engagement have changed somewhat and now women have their feet firmly planted in board rooms and execs offices all over the world but the trend of power dressing lives on.

Here are a few tips to nailing power dressing for the modern woman!

 dressing for boss chicks

Dressing for boss chicks

1. Suit up

Whatever your industry, it’s always the right occasion for power dressing. You can wear a suit, or perhaps a tailored shift and matching jacket. Think of the aesthetic of iconic designers like Yves Saint Laurent and Calvin Klein. When suit shopping, pick a classic cut, a lightweight fabric and a neutral colour that suits you well.

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2. Tailor is your friend

There’s nothing worse than an ill-fitting suit, so make sure it fits perfectly. Especially have any hems adjusted to work with the shoes you’re most likely to wear with it. If in doubt, keep the skirt length just above the knee and the pant length below the ankle.

3. Keep in slinky

You want a great shirt that fits snuggly under the suit, but not so snug that buttons pop. Don’t go too low cut, though a little plunge is chic, especially under a jacket with lapels. Get an ivory or white shirt in a slinky material for a stylish edge.

4. Neat Feet

Shoes must be comfortable yet have a bit of height. Toes are a no-no. If you can pull off red-soled Christian Louboutin pumps with a pantsuit, I’d be in awe.

5. Read my lips

Red is the ultimate power color. Red lips command attention like no other and the great thing is there are different shades to fit all skin tones.


6. Devil in the details

A pearl necklace, a brooch or a simple sculptural gold cuff work. Do not wear too much bling, keep it simple and elegant.

7. A timepiece

A fine watch speaks volumes, not to mention it is timelessly (no pun intended) stylish. Wear one. If you don’t have an expensive watch, no worries, a vintage watch will be less expensive and just as striking.

8. Bag lady

A good-looking bag that goes with your suit is a plus, aim for a more graphic logo style. The bag shouldn’t be so big that it looks like a weekend tote and not so small that it won’t hold your Iphone, wallet and a compact.

9. Finishing touches

I can’t stress how important this tip is with respect to power dressing. Cut and blow-dry goes a very long way. Wear minimal makeup, be well manicured and tidy your eyebrows. Grooming is important, not just for power dressing, but for life.

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