Powerfully Pretty

I recently started a new job that has kept me away from blogging more than I would like. But with the idea of corporate life on my mind, I couldn't help but think of the power suit that women often wear into the office.

To showcase power and position, women have used clothing for centuries to communicate their message. Medieval warrior Joan of Arc scandalously put on men's attire that included pants and armor as she led the king's army into battle. John Galliano's Fall 2006 collection for Dior takes a romanticized approach on Joan of Arc's powerful look.

Hundreds of years later, the powerful Queen Elizabeth used fashion as a platform to establish her royal authority in England. The strong shoulders, flattened chest (to mimic the broad, flat strength of a man) and dark colors could easily be seen in the Elizabethan era, as well as centuries later in the 1980s.

Cate Blanchette as Queen Elizabeth I. Notice how the volume of the shoulders combined with the neck ruff create a broad appearance of strength.

Strong shoulders continued to make appearance in fashion, as seen here in the photo of the 1890s woman. This was the time period that women began to gain freedom and indepence and so fashion had to communicate these advancements. Never before had a woman been able to do something as amazing as ride a bicycle.

The 1988 film Working Girl, starring Melanie Griffith, Harrison Ford and Sigourney Weaver is the perfect example of a more modern approach to power dressing. The 1980s birthed the power suit as women climbed the corporate ladder alongside their male counterparts.
The 1980s made a comeback on the Fall 2009 runway with Marc Jacobs.

Military details always signal a powerful tone as they mimic the suits, camouflage and fatigues of America's soldiers.

The office is a battleground that requires proper attire for sure.
Chanel Pre-Fall 2010
When talking about the frontlines, I can't help but mention our First Lady, wife to the Commander-in-Chief. Michelle Obama showed a modern sophistication with her 2009 Isabel Toledo suit.

Designer Isabel Toledo with her artist husband Ruben Toledo for Paper Mag...wearing suits of course.

The designer of Michelle's white inauguration ball gown, Jason Wu, offers us a modern interpretation of the power suit. I just love the two different materials used for the sleeves and jacket on the left.

J. Mendel Pre-Fall 2010
Black is always a powerful color choice.

Oscar de la Renta Pre-Fall 2010
Michael Kors not only chose a powerful color and silhouette with strong shoulders, he also used gladiator heels--a clear connection to the war ready gladiators of ancient Rome.

Are you dressed for the call of duty? Prepare for battle with the perfect combination of sophistication and femininty by wearing a power suit. A powerfully pretty dress choice for sure.