Many women want to be taken seriously and to make a strong reminder that they are, in fact, in charge. Corinne, the mentor of mine, cultivates a very aggressive, very powerful image, and eventually her tenacity earned her the nickname ‘Bulldog’. She was flattered. Her personal style reflected her personality and toughness, and she always managed to present herself as the boss. Here are some of the tips that will help you dress like her.
First of all, develop strong shoulders. Remember the eighties and the massive shoulder pads on Joan Collins’ costumes? She was just a tiny, brittle brunette, but exuded power. Follow her advice, and replace your soft cardigan with a more formal blazer or a suit jacket, even if your workplace doesn’t require suits. The shoulder line in more formal suits makes you seem more in charge of everything. Corinne doesn’t recommend it, but you can buy wholesale blazers online to cut the costs.
Avoid “grandma style”. Many women who are, in fact, powerful, from Angela Merkel to Hillary Clinton who wields enormous amounts of power soften up their images with more matronly wear, even though it is made by Armani. But these women don’t dress up to make the first pages of fashion journals, they make important statements. The power suit is not the same as conservative wear. Power is sexy, but who wants to be attractive? Yes, you.
If you really want to imitate these ladies and Corinne “The Bulldog”, start with being neat and groomed. Of course, being clean is paramount in any job, but neatness means also conscience about tailoring, proper hemming, and having well-polished shoes. Yes, powerful women tend to have people that take care of this… but if you want to invest in your appearance, you need to do it yourself.
Surprisingly, a good strategy is not to wear exclusively Armani or Prada… but you can always match cheaper clothes with more expensive accessories. The key to looking expensive is exposing the exclusive items and wearing reasonably-priced items underneath. You can get more mileage from your wardrobe this way.
And finally, remember that real power is in attitude. You’re dressing up like a powerful woman not only to impress your minions. You’re dressing up like one to impress yourself. My friend Corinne eventually switched to pantsuits, ditching skirt suits entirely. She found how to exude power and strong will with her body language, when to open up and how to present herself as closed.