Styles in fashion change regularly, but there are some that are more than just a way of dressing, because they are also sometimes a form of manifesto. Power dressing is the best example of this. Specific styles with a hint of masculine element have revolutionized women’s closets and, above all, the business and political environment. This fashion trend from the late 1970s. i 80. had much more significance than just giving women confidence. Power dressing is still a rich source of inspiration, it is worth drawing from it not only when building a business image, but also when creating everyday combinations.

Table of Contents:

What is power dressing?

Each era is distinguished by something. Late 1970s. and all 80. definitely belonged to women who wanted to gain a strong position in the professional sphere. It was then that a specific style of dressing called power dressing was born. Appropriate attire was a key element to approach the image and at the same time the strong position of the opposite sex. The Armani fashion house had quite an influence on the styling of women at the time, such as Princess Diana, Margaret Thatcher and, above all, Melanie Griffith, as they all showed their independence, strength, as well as courage through their choice of clothing and accessories.

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The term power dressing (power dressing style) literally means “strong dressing,” and describes a specific style of women resilient in the world of business, as well as politics. It was a kind of their “uniform,” for it made a strong reference to the men’s closet and to tradition, and above all it showed professionalism, self-confidence and helped them gain, if only authority. Manifestation through dress made it easier for ladies to create an image of being strong as well as competent in a male-dominated world. Suits and chic shirts became their “armor” and sometimes their “pass” to power. The fashion industry has successfully helped promote the business dress code, so it has gained the status of a hot trend.

Power dressing
Photo: Angelina Litvin

Power dressing – get to know the characteristics

Power dressing is a way of dressing based on clothing and accessories in an office, formal atmosphere. The basis of styling are suits, blazers, wide pants, white shirts, chic coats and tasteful footwear. The boundaries between women’s and men’s closet become somewhat blurred, as the cuts are loose and the shoulders are strongly developed, even stiff. The right cuts allow the silhouette to achieve an “inverted triangle” shape. Nevertheless, there is no shortage of typically feminine details, for example, stylish suits and striking accessories in the form of magnificent jewelry.

Power dressing
Photo: Ospan Ali

Professional office styling in the spirit of power dressing is based on muted colors, in view of this black, white, gray, beige, navy blue and brown reign supreme. Many ladies during less formal situations allow themselves more freedom and use strong tones, such as red or deep green. Subtle prints in the form of fine stripes or checks, or bouclé fabric are acceptable, though flashy patterns and distinctive textures are out of the question. The cuts are classic and the garments are heavily built up.

When it comes to accessories, business styling in the 80s climate. obligatory complemented accessories – clip earrings, pearl pendants, scarves, large brooches and footwear, were mainly stilettos and pumps. The key aspect turns out to be the high quality of materials, which emphasizes status and professional position, so leather accessories dominate when it comes to power dressing.

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Power dressing – a style that will work not only in the office

It seems to most people that power dressing, because of its strong association with the world of business and politics, is only suitable for office styling. In fact, the distinctive elements of this way of dressing are easy to use, if only on a daily basis. How? Add a touch of extravagance to a formal piece of clothing. A blazer with an extended shoulder line will totally transform slim jeans, on top of that it will add confidence especially in duet with stilettos. High-waisted pants worn with a white shirt should be complemented with colorful accessories, then the whole will become less “stiff”. A contrasting belt or scarf is an apt choice. Sometimes it’s good to deviate from the subdued color scheme and add something original here, such as a handbag in a strong tone or with an unusual form. It’s also an interesting idea to nonchalantly throw a jacket over your favorite shirt or use a layered look.

Power dressing in fashion
Photo: Rosa Rafael

Women’s styling in the spirit of power dressing

In the 1980s. ladies mainly wore ensembles, loose jackets, knee-length dresses, and cropped pants, in this way they scrupulously hid their charms and at the same time showed their strength. At work, they were very keen to avoid erotic associations. Typically masculine sets were nevertheless complemented by feminine details. In this case, it’s the little touches that elevate formal outfits to a whole other fashion level! A pencil skirt paired with a wider garment and with a built-in shirt provided the image of a firm, confident, and concrete businesswoman. When the dress had a pointed cut, it had a safe length, while a blouse with ruffles, creases or fancy binding was worn with the halter pants. You can afford to combine business things with very feminine things, although you should not overdo it when it comes to a professional image. Accessories, from stately jewelry to high-heeled shoes, played a huge role.

The interpretation of power dressing has changed over the years, this shows that everyone can adapt this trend to their needs. Most often, the stylish businesswoman goes for items with an extended shoulder line, which are reinforced with cushions. It’s a great base to which you can add a short dress, lingerie slip dress, cullotte pants (the legs only widen around the calf) or a long vest, and thus bring a breath of fresh air to a formal ensemble.

Power dressing in fashion
Photo: Getty Images

Power dressing in a feminine way – summary

There is no denying that power dressing is strongly associated with the world of politics and business. The office look (styling) with a touch of masculine element made it easier for women to be on par with guys. Today, it’s no longer about displaying confidence, power, or an authoritarian appearance. Formal clothes and accessories in a conservative vein have been a strong trend for years, and are chosen primarily by female fashion fans rather than corporate employees. Exaggerated shoulders in loose blazers or feminine suits will calmly find their way to the office, as well as during larger outings or, conversely, in urban styling. They provide a fashionable outfit, as well as a lot of confidence, and above all, they show that men’s clothing in women’s clothing can look great.

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