More power to dressing

More power to dressing

More power to dressing
Power dressing is culturally relative, even job specific. But there are certain universal principles that apply.

The key for women is to look professional, yet retain their femininity. When power dressing, I propose the latter be achieved through subtleties, the faint scent of perfume, a waist cinched with a crocodile belt, a slight ruffle peeking out of a suit jacket’s neck or cuff.

The good news is that women no longer have to look like quarterbacks. The shoulders came back, but thankfully, not with a vengeance. So let’s play ball with some basic power dressing rules.

Suit up

I don’t care what business you’re in. When you have the right occasion for power dressing, you wear a suit, or perhaps a tailored shift and matching jacket. When suit shopping, pick a classic cut, a lightweight fabric that’s not seasonal (no crumply linen, no chunky tweed), and a neutral colour that suits you well. I favour darker colours for suits and minimal patterns.

Tinker tailor

Go to a tailor in your chosen suit. Nothing looks worse than an ill-fitting suit, so make sure it fits perfectly. Have any hems adjusted to work with the shoes you are most likely to wear with it.
If in doubt, keep the skirt length just above the knee and the pant length below the ankle.

Slinky shirt

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 — most skin tones work better with one or the other.

Read my lips

Now I love colour, so you are thinking why such a stick in the mud with all the neutrals. Sorry, it’s power dressing: fuchsia, orange and turquoise are luscious but they just don’t say take me seriously. But I will do red. Red is a power colour to me. A red bag, if feeling sassy. Red lips, if nothing else... and only with minimal makeup.

Be groomed

I can’t stress how important this tip is with respect to power dressing. Cut and blow-dry the locks into a clean shape. Wear minimal makeup. Have a manicure, no ‘flamingo pink’ or ‘salsa red’ please, just the palest pink or better yet French.

Time keeper

A fine watch says something about your orderliness, not to mention style. Wear one. If you don’t have a Cartier, no worries, a vintage watch will be less expensive and just as striking, pun intended.


In the winter, I would do opaque tights or trouser socks. In the summer, I would do bare legs. Pasty white legs, no, but a little self-tanner and you’re good to go.

Bag lady

A good-looking bag that goes with your suit is a plus. I’d stay away from too bold a colour. Aim more for a graphic logo style. Bag shouldn’t be so big that it looks like a weekend tote and not so small that it won’t hold your iPhone.

(Contributed by Pooja Gajraj)