Style is a powerful tool. No matter how you’re feeling, it can be used as a force to turn any rainy day into straight up sunshine. More importantly, it can bring your confidence into situations that you wouldn’t always feel confident in otherwise. Point is, you can use certain clothes to wear confidence and feel confident even if you don’t feel like the smartest person in the room. Style has the power to speak confidence and power even when you’re not feeling it.
Back in my event planning days, I worked for New York University. I remember being a few weeks in and a real estate social event was around the corner hosted in Central Park. I was confident when it came to event planning, but what I wasn’t familiar with was being in the same room with hundreds of CEOs, business executives and real estate giants that were more educated than me, successful than me, and made like four times my salary. If I only knew then what I know now, but back then, all of these factors scared me. Who the hell was I to be in the same room with these guys? I had a Bachelor’s degree in History, not marketing or real estate development, and to be frank I had no idea how I was gonna find common ground during the social networking portion of the event. I mean, I can only hang around the buffet and eat so much, and because it was work I couldn’t fall back on wine or alcohol to see me through. So, I did what I do best, I decided to say fuck it and just be myself, keep the conversation and questions on them and I’d be fine. I had inner confidence in who I was, and I felt proud of all that I had accomplished as a girl from the East Side of Allentown, but for a long time I was deeply insecure about my intelligence.
Being a Taurus, I always had a different kind of intelligence, social, emotional, and perceptive, but I’ve never been one for the books. I love reading books, and I can articulate what I read well, but throughout all my school years, high school and college learning in the traditional sense was always hard for me. I remember always having to put in twice the amount of study time in the library for every single test and paper wrote. I always needed more time than was given on quizzes and tests, but I did what I could and tried my best at the time. Since I was a sensual human being (Taurus, aka Queen of the five senses), I always had a keen sense of style and a visual memory and ability to sense what to wear and a knack for putting outfits together effortlessly. And I used this to my advantage for as long as I can remember.
That morning of the real estate event in Central Park, I was in the shower getting ready and putting my outfit together in my mind. Black has always been a color that has made me feel powerful, and unfuckwithable. So usually in situations, where I was surrounded by people who were ten times smarter, and more experienced than me, I defaulted to what made me feel confident and powerful. That day, it was all black everything with a silk, yellow leopard-print skirt with tiger claw rips diagonally along the material. I felt like a total bad ass. I paired it with my favorite fitted black cropped blazer that bunched at the elbows, and wore a tight black turtleneck long sleeved t-shirt underneath. I went with black opague stockings and my favorite, super comfortable yet chic black wedge heels with an ankle strap to complete the look. Threw my hair in rollers and a chunky necklace on that synced with the colors on the skirt, and boom — mission complete, confidence intact. I got so many compliments on my outfits that day it wasn’t even funny. Because I wore something that felt like me, that made me feel powerful. I already had everything but the skirt, and when I saw the skirt at Ann Taylor, I just gravitated toward it and had to have it. It was the perfect length. Not too long, but also not too short. Even if I didn’t know what the hell to say to anyone, or how I would find common ground, my outfit did all the talking for me. I walked through that event feeling confident, sexy, powerful and smart — even if I wasn’t their kind of smart.
Caroline Myss talks a lot about the art of power dressing. In her book, Archetypes: A Beginner’s Guide to Your Inner-net, she breaks down The Fashionista archetype, where she says, “achieving the union of power and style is not a matter of being able to afford designer clothing, but rather of knowing who you are at your core and what type of fashion represents your sense of personal power. That’s the formula for creating the perfect fashion statement, no matter what you’re wearing.”
You can wear your inner power with style, whatever your weight, body type, or age. – Caroline Myss
You also see it in one of my favorite movies of all time, Wonder Woman. In the scene where Diana is in the trenches traveling to the war, she has a moment when she decides she’s not going to keep it moving and accept the fact that “we can’t help everyone”. It’s the scene where you see Wonder Woman come to life for the first time. She drops her coat, puts her gold tone metal tiara on, and walks right into the battle field deflecting bullets with her magic bracelets. This is an example of the art of power dressing. Diana wears a heather gray wool coat throughout much of her time heading toward the war. And when she’s walking through the trenches you see her in a black civilized coat. But when she’s ready to fight, when she needs to bring her power out, and channel her inner warrior princess — she is wearing a very different look with a lasso of truth, shield and bad ass boots to match. Power dressing. It doesn’t just happen in the movies.
The next time you’re entering a situation, or attending an event when you need to channel your inner Wonder Woman or Superman, try the art of power dressing. Ask yourself, what makes me feel powerful? What color makes me feel confident, what prints, what kind of material, etc. Is it high-rise skinny jeans, a black tight long sleeved sweater, black boots and a blazer? Is it a skirt or a suit? Whatever it is, wear it and see how it changes the way you feel and notice how it affects the way you interact throughout the night. Style is powerful. It has the power to say what we are often too afraid to say, and it’s a universal language understood by all no matter what your education, native tongue, or economic status is. Try it and see what happens. See how you come alive. To learn more about yourself, and which archetypes resonate with you (it may not be Wonder Woman or Superman), I highly recommend getting the Archetypes book by Caroline Myss I mentioned above. She lays out several common archetypes we can all fall under, and the more you know about what makes you feel empowered, the easier it’ll feel for you to wear your personal power. Let me know how it goes in the comments below.