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Feminspire | April 16, 2014

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A Woman’s Guide To Dressing For Power

A Woman’s Guide To Dressing For Power

“No one woman should have all that power, the clocks ticking should I wear something with a flower, stop stylin, I’m stylin with this power 21ST CENTURY SZHIZOID FASHION!”

Oh hello, I didn’t see you there! You really must stop hiding in my wardrobe and spying on me. If you want to know what I’m up to, then all you have to do is ask. Right now, I’m grappling with the art of power dressing, which is why I’m having a little Kanye West sing-along. Please join me as I decide what trouser cut would most entice someone to hire me as their personal wine and cheese taster.

I yearn for fame, fortune and wild praise as much as anybody else in this dog-eat-dog world, so it used to really frustrate me when no one would take me seriously. I used to think I couldn’t get a job because I was ginger, so I started wearing a giant hat. This made people laugh and point when I entered a room, and not in a good way, so I swapped the hat for a wig. After another luckless period, I decided it was my mild demeanour that was letting me down, so I binned the wig and began dabbling in techniques such as torture, blackmail and the Imperius Curse. Twelve years down the line and I’ve only just been let out of the old slammer. To avoid doing another Roxie Hart, I’ve decided to use more legal techniques to get people to notice me. This brings me to the person I am today, a master clothes connoisseur with a fondness for manipulation.

Sometimes I hear people banging on about how appearance doesn’t matter, and how we should all value the inside of a person rather than the outside. I suspect these people of living in caves on the outskirts of the Netherlands. Why would I value someone’s bloody innards when I could value their manicure? Don’t give me that look, you’re just as judgmental as I am. If you happened to bump into a muscular man dressed in leather with a skull tattooed on his forehead, you wouldn’t entice him into a cheery conversation about weather. Or perhaps you would, I don’t know what you look for in a life partner. But my point is that whatever you think about Mr Muscles, it is based upon how he presents himself to the world. Let’s accept the fact that clothes speak volumes and use it to our advantage.

Power dressing is all about showing off the best of your assets. Hang on, no need to undo your blouse, I’m not talking about those assets! Your outfit should say something positive about your character before you have even had time to open your mouth. It should say something along the lines of There’s a creative spark burning in my heart, but I’m also highly competent with nerves of steel. Don’t panic if you have never encountered talking clothes before. Simply follow my advice and you’ll have made your first million before the New Year.

Firstly, do not dress like a hobo who writes poetry in their spare time. There are far too many shy dressers out there, who don sludge coloured fleeces and inoffensively dull jeans. They lurk about Gap sales, picking up bargains that are two sizes too large because sometimes their clothes shrink in the wash and they like to be practical. These people want to be taken seriously. They want to show that they are too busy pondering life’s greatest questions to care about the giant pesto stain on their shirt. Yeah, well, as good old Coco once remarked, “Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.”

So the first rule is to dress smart. There’s no need to splash out on designer garms, but do iron your clothes and check them for food stains. If you have bad taste in clothes, then buy the simplest, least offensive items you can find. If you don’t know whether you have bad taste or not, then count the number of tie-dye items in your wardrobe. If the final figure is more than one, then your clothing instincts should not be trusted. Just as a basic rule, low-key patterns are okay, but t-shirt slogans are not, no matter how hilarious you find them. The final tip for looking smart is to wear clothes that are tailored to fit you. If you want to be taken seriously, then dress like a serious person.

Now you’ve put a basic, sensible, well-fitting outfit together, I’m going to throw a spanner in the works and tell you that you need a dash of eccentricity. I don’t tend to remember a person’s face or name, but I never forget a good outfit. Whilst having to dress up all my revision cards in little Gingham dresses can be very tiring, it does mean that I can steal fashion tips from people I fleetingly met five years ago. Adding one unusual detail to your outfit makes you stand out from the crowd. This could be a giant plastic watch, or leopard print headscarf. It could even be blue lipstick. This doesn’t just serve to make you memorable. It also shows that you are a human with a life, which stops you being seen as a super-threat that needs to be squashed like a bug.

Now I’ve taught you everything I can, so please don’t assume these tips are foolprool and then sue me when you fail. Power dressing puts you at an advantage, but do remember also to be charming and be prepared by keeping lots of humorous anecdotes up your sleeve. Now take my hand and sing it with me: “You can’t always get what you wa-aant… But if you Power Dress sometime… Then you just might find… You get what you neeeeed!”

What do you like to wear when going to an interview or in a professional setting? How do you dress for power? Share with us in the comments!

Written by Phoebe Eccles

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