Power Dressing in 2018

Speaking to women out there, at some point in our lives, we know what it’s like in the business world to not be taken as seriously as men. Unfortunately, this lies a lot in what we wear.

“In business you are dressing to have an impact on your bosses and teammates. If your clothes don’t convey the message that you are competent, able, ambitious, self-confident, reliable and authoritative, nothing you say or do will overcome the negative signals emanating from your apparel.” – Betty Harragan

So what exactly is this new trend of power dressing you ask? It is referred to the unique style of an individual that shows their position and authority though stylish and expensive clothing. So these includes coats and blazers, flares and pumps.


This power dressing is intended to convey the impression of assertiveness and competence predominantly worn by women. It shapes and forms an identity, how people see you, to how they treat you.

Fashion is well known to have derived from a time in history, and circle back around to become fashionable for many reasons. The term power dressing was first recorded in the New York paper The Post-Standard, September 1979:​

“The accent has shifted to glamour and power dressing for the city rather than the casual look of past seasons.”

It derived from a time in the 1908s when working women evolved to more powerful roles such as lawyers, politicians, and corporate executives. With new roles became a new attire. To complement their new authority, women power-dressed. Their clothing style communicated the impression of confidence and authority. Power dressing enabled women to be taken seriously in a male-dominated corporate workplace.

One significant push towards this trend was the #MeToo movement and the pushback against predatory male sexual misconduct, fashion designers are re-examining their designs and pushing for outfits that empower those wearing them. Although there is a definite feminist backing towards this resurgence, it seems to be appearing amongst menswear as well, with common goal of projecting confidence through the use of fashion for all genders.

That’s the history, but over time it has faded out and recently made a comeback into being trendy again. Celebrities such as Emma Watson and Rihanna alongside other powerful female figures such as Hillary Clinton and Meghan Markle, are setting the standard for power dressing in 2018. They are continuously being spotted and photographed sporting pumps, flares and statement jackets, and this has lead these styles to trickle down into everyday women dressing for success and empowering themselves through these garments.

Power Dressing has been, and will continue to be, a successful trend as it isn’t just seen in the workplace or being worn by celebrities, but has made its way into the everyday. Women are seen sporting several of these items associated with power dressing to construct this identity of being a boss and to exude confidence in everyday situations.

I love that women are taking a stride into making themselves look and feel powerful, this has a flow on effect that oozes confidence. I hope to see more of this in the future.

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