May V Sturgeon, a lesson in power dressing
Back in the 80’s when ‘power dressing’ first was a thing, women dressed to look like men because back then, we hadn’t progressed quite as far in the battle over sexism in the workplace and wearing a pin-stripe trouser suit and a Thomas Pink shirt seemed like the sensible thing to do. Not so now, at yesterday’s high-profile meeting, Nicola Sturgeon and Theresa May dressed like women but still looked authoritative, professional and position appropriate.
Yesterday’s tense discussions were always going to be a bit of a fashion face-off for the press let’s be honest. The Daily Mail dragged us all back to the 50’s and ignored everything these powerful women said and did and just focussed on who had the best legs, reducing them to objects and valuing sexual appearance over everything #appallingsexism. Being discussed On Radio 4’s Today programme Angela Epstein, a Daily Mail columnist got mostly vilified for the Daily Mail’s headline on the meeting but said something absolutely right.
She said: “I think these women know exactly what they’re doing. Both Theresa May and Nicola Sturgeon have done photo shoots for Vogue.
They both understand that clothes are a tool by which we can communicate who we are. Anybody who is in the public eye will be scrutinised for their appearance “
TM and NS both know the huge value of dressing well and projecting the right message but whilst still looking like women, this is the new power dressing. It gives you edge, shows professionalism and individuality. It is a powerful form of communication that can help you look authoritative, self confident and current.
When doing a little analysis of the outfits yesterday, I thought Nicola did dress like the Scottish flag (navy blue with white trim anyone?), which was a stroke of genius, intentional or not. She usually opts for authoritative newsreader red or brighter colours which always look good on TV but had opted to tone it down for this occasion and go for a safe ‘corporate’ colour. TM, also in a failsafe navy jacket but with a very tasteful feminine dress underneath, stuck with her trademark leopard print kitten heels. The tone of both outfits was perfect, bright red or any other bright colour would have been distracting from the actual point of the meeting and the aim of toning it down is so that people focus on what you have to say.
Just one more point on Theresa May’s kitten heels, they keep her whole look current, another very important part of the new power dressing. Keeping your look current doesn’t mean buying lots of clothes all the time it’s just keeping your eye on what’s ‘on-trend’ and adding accessories or shoes to keep your look up-to-date. If you look dated at work your ideas can be subconsciously (or blatantly) deemed to be dated by others.
Finally, your outfits for work need to feel comfortable so you can focus on your job 100%. Investing in yourself and creating a well planned capsule wardrobe with easy go-to outfits makes life easier and is a must-have for any professional woman.