The power suit
A series of 5 articles. Part 3 of 5.
What do you think about when you hear the word suit? Business? Success? Men in boardrooms? I hope you also included successful business women in that mix. For women, it was a sign of power and taking more space in the boardroom - and it was shown through fashion by women using the so-called “power suit”. A man's suit used by a woman - the perfect feminine way to express power and success. The feminine aspects with the macsuline traits associated with the authority and respect from a suit.
However, this was not the first time we saw a suit on a woman. Already in 1923, Coco Chanel (remember I said she would revolutionize fashion many times in the last article, well this is another example) after the first world war, about the same time as when she also introduced pants, she created the original tweed suit, which was a material previously commonly used in men’s sportswear. The tweed suit is known by its collarless button-up jacket with a matching skirt - that was both feminine and masculine at the same time.
Another of my favorite examples is the 1966 Yves Saint Laurent’s ‘Le Smoking’ Suit, a man’s tuxedo suit which was redesigned to better fit the body of a woman. I dream of this picture taken by Helmut Newton hanging in my future office, so powerful!
The most iconic looks connected to the ultimate power dressing takes us to the 1980s suits - with Giorgio Armani leading the movement with his designs for both women and men. He created feminine suits with an exaggerated masculine silhouette with padded shoulders, large lapels, sharp and oversized tailoring with thick fabrics. It was a uniform that demanded respect, power and authority - and is today a symbol for feminism, equality and breaking the gender roles.
I completely love suits, and I wear a blazer almost everyday. In my previous article I discussed how fashion can change how you feel, and when I put on a blazer it gives me confidence, helps me focus and actually gives my self esteem a boost. I feel more like myself! One of my observations of today is that the suit is getting updated (could this be due to covid?). The blazer is used in a wider range than just in the office, and people dress it up in their own ways. The rules of the typical suit are fading. Down below are some modern examples of the power dressing that I love. What are your opinions on the power suit?
xx Sofia Katarina
Sources of images: Image 1, image 2, image 3 & image 4.