Embodying the natural look you already have and accentuating it is the way to exude an attitude of empowerment. From everything I’ve learned of fashion from childhood when I first stumbled upon a New York Times article on Yves St. Laurent, I have yet to see an actual formula to dress for a position of power. It is actually following a mainstream formula which ends up showing that you care too much what others think.
The IT guy has a uniform of plaids and khakis. The corporate executive guy has a uniform of button-up shirts, jeans, and oxfords. The start-up sloth arrives in flip flops and shirts stained with yesterday’s mustard. The attorney working his last days at a company going down under smirks in a unicorn onesie. Corporate-employed women often show up trying too hard in their rounded flats and polyester secretary dresses, a dead giveaway that you don’t have a clue. Even savvy designers sometimes teeter into the trap of trying too hard to come off as ‘cool designer.’
Everyone who is true to who they are and represent their authentic selves should have an inimitable look. No one can be you. You won’t have to try too hard. You try hard when you’re trying to be something else. It’s automatic when you are unabashedly, proudly who you know you are. This does not mean that you pile on the shapeless neutrals. It means that you know the body you’re in and you flaunt what you’ve got because you’re damn well familiar and embrace it all. True confidence to flaunt what you’ve got, the authentic moxie to show up, comes from radical levels of self-respect and self-honesty. There’s no way around it — this is your ultimate style weapon.
Your style and makeup are your modern war armor and war paint. Case in point, Nancy Pelosi’s pink power suit was a gamechanger. Every day you’re out there in the world networking, conducting business, sitting in a coffee shop, you are navigating the sociopolitical, economic intricacies of today’s modern global civil society. If you’re not going to play to your innate power, you’re going to be one more squirmer in the chum bucket for shark bait. As long as anyone and anything out there makes you feel scared to be authentically who you are, you are being disempowered.
Find things to do and ways to be which make you feel more and more unafraid, unabashed, and unadulterated in embodying the full and whole truth of who you are. Dress to impress no one but yourself. This does not mean being a pompous, arrogant ass. True power belongs to those who have a high degree of humility because they have such a widely encompassing perspective of all that is truly bigger than they are and their part in it. They become allied with the power which humbles them, they identify and fold into it. They find that they are one with it. Therefore, they embody their own essence.
New York City women have largely been a perennial part of my style inspiration. They have been some of the most brazen, outspoken, and absolutely sophisticated, classy women I’ve ever seen. They dive into consignment finds, unique vintage pieces, statement and dainty jewelry, color, patterns, and dress with an uncontested authentic ferocity. I’ve also seen some incredible femmes in Los Angeles, London, Berlin, Tokyo, and Seoul. If you’d like to dive in for some great consignment pieces online, try Thred Up, there is a $10 credit with the referral link. I’ve found great pieces from Eileen Fisher, Banana Republic, French Connection, and Alexander McQueen.
These are some of my style inspirations: