Femininity: The New Power Dressing
The last 50 years have seen a significant shift in the workplace for women. It’s become more common to find women in positions of influence and leadership; from CEOs at Fortune 500 companies to commanding the boardrooms of Silicon Valley, and it’s had an influence on workplace fashion choices. Margaret Thatcher offered some extremely wise words once, saying “If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.” For years, women in power made fashion choices that were more conservative and slightly masculine (“power dressing”) in order to be taken seriously because merit was just not enough. Shoulder pads to give the illusion of a sharper frame, loose fitting tops to not call attention to the female anatomy, low heels that weren’t attention grabbing but still gave height. However as more women have risen amongst the ranks in high-powered positions, they’ve started shifting away from dressing like “one of the boys”, and more towards wearing what they feel most confident and empowered in. Maybe it’s a favorite LBD with stilettos, or perhaps it’s a classic tailored suit with a colorful statement necklace or scarf. Either way, the choice to not blend in, but to stand out as a woman was much needed, and long overdue! Virginia Rometty, CEO of IBM, who’s credited with leading IBM’s growth strategy with extraordinary vision, doesn’t shy away from skirt suits, bright colors, stilettos, headbands, or classic pearls. Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo, who is the second most powerful woman in the world and has more than doubled the annual net profit of PepsiCo, is known for her bright scarves and intricate silk saris. Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate for the 2016 Presidential elections, has a long history of achievement and influence in U.S. politics and has found a balance between fashion-forward and conservative dress. She often leans toward traditional pant suits but will mix things up by choosing bright colors and interesting fabrics.