As a one-woman business owner and entrepreneur, I’m very aware of the challenges that we women sometimes face when trying to close the gap between being approachable (feminine, authentic, soft, compassionate) and authoritative (strong, powerful, no-nonsense).
This conversation often comes up with my styling clients, because we focus a lot of time on image perception and managing the way we all come across through various style & wardrobe elements. In my one-on-one styling sessions, I focus on teaching my clients how to understand and manipulate style elements to create a unique personal image and wardrobe - that’s equal parts powerful and authentic.
Over the years, I’ve come up with a growing list of styling tricks to have at your disposal that help “turn up the power” in your look when you need it - especially on those days when you have a big event/interview/presentation.
This list is especially handy if you naturally come across as someone who is very open and approachable but crave to be taken more seriously and want to dress in way that’s more polished and authoritative.
Check out 5 of my favorite tips below:
Swap out curved necklines for straight in your tops and blazers.
One of the style ingredients at our disposal is the element of line. Lines appear in our faces and bodies naturally (eye line, eyebrow line, face shape line, hip line, waist line, etc.). Straight/strong/vertical lines come across as more authoritative and they can significantly increase the power quotient of your outfit.
In one example, wearing a blouse with a slight v-neckline and pairing it with a blazer with angular lapels will accentuate the angles of your facial features and send the message of confidence.
Choose dark, contrasting colors over light and muted ones.
Color is another style element that affects the way we’re perceived by others. Dark and contrasting colors add authoritativeness to your look as they read as stronger and more pulled-together (and more masculine). If you have very fair features with little to no contrast, then the true black (jet black) might feel too harsh, so go for a grayish black or dark brown.
Wearing your hair pulled back or straight.
Straight hair sends the message of authority (and hair is one of the easiest details to change up in your look). Pulling your hair back or up (in a tall bun or ponytail) can add a touch of polish and will also expose any angularity your face might have, like a strong jaw or nose. Curls and waves, while girly and fun, can read too approachable – so saving those for your every-day look and going for more height/straightness will add the needed confidence boost on your “power days”. If your hair is naturally very curly and straightening it is not easy, pulling it back into a bun will do the trick.
Heels versus flats.
We all know that flats are comfortable, but It’s amazing how much a few inches can help you in the confidence department. Heels make you walk differently – balancing your body straighter and taller, pulling all the outfit elements together. Additionally, heels physically give you more height, so especially if you’re on the petite side, this gives you more authority through the power of strong/vertical line.
Column of Color Effect:
Dina Scherer with a client by Rachel Doughty
This is one of the biggest secrets in the stylist tool box. The idea of a “column of color” is that you create an outfit of similar shades/tones from head to toe with no obvious harsh color break (like the point where your red top and green pants meet, for example). Wearing all black is one example, but you can also achieve this by combining similar shades of any one color in one outfit. This effect elongates your figure while simultaneously adding height because it keeps the eye moving up and down, not having it stop on any color break. It can also eliminate many proportion challenges (like ending a hemline in a place where it cuts you in an unflattering way), and makes your look pulled-together and professional.
Hope you have fun playing around with these style suggestions, incorporating them into your look and feeling your outfit power turning up!
To see more of my styling tips & fashion inspirations, follow me on Instagram.
Personally, I am over the top excited that we are on the cusp of turning the page on not only a new year but also on a new 10-year window of opportunities and possibilities!
You may be thinking, whoa…I am just embracing the fall season…yikes… it is tough to think about a new decade!
Yet it is this groundwork, this forward thought that you put in place TODAY that will propel you and lead you into greatness in 2020 and beyond. Designing a new decade rests in your ability to vision, in your willingness to be curious, in your awareness of where you are now and what you most want to curate. Essentially, curating what's next is about tapping into today with confidence, conviction, and decision. Leading YOU starts now. This is your new next. It is your choice.
Sometimes to get to that 'next', you need to take a step back to reflect. Please pardon my asking you to spend time in yesterday. Those who know me personally, know that I created and continue to grow my business based on enabling the present moment as a springboard for living your legacy. So, indulge me here! True, I am asking you to peek into the past, yet it is only in order for you to bring the essence of that past forward into this moment called NOW.
One of the best ways to tap into what's next is to clarify what drives you. To design a new decade, ask yourself this question about the past ten years:
What worked? What were my successes?
Make a list of your achievements big and small. Don't type them, but rather use ink and paper and sit with and savor them. Move your thoughts and your successes from your head, to your heart, to your pen, to the paper. Remember that on the flip side of goals not attained and New Year's resolutions abandoned, there was more than likely some traction and action that moved you forward, even if the end result was not what you expected. Once you have a full list of a decade's worth of personal and professional accomplishments, think about how this makes you feel. Do you remember celebrating all of them? My guess is no. So, celebrate them now. Give them new life by validating them. Circle the successes that resonate with you most right now. Where can you lean into those accomplishments as you power into the decade ahead?
Now comes a tougher question, one that I used myself in my own mid-life reinvention and a question I adore because in a moment's time it provides you with a quick reconnect to your unique inner voice.
If it were 10 years ago and nothing were standing in your way, no fear or excuses to contend with…what would you do?
Don't overthink it. The brilliance of this question is that it refocuses purpose. Whatever first came to mind when you answered this for yourself is at its core a powerful insight into defining and redefining the FUTURE decade. Bring your answer into the light of today and what small piece of it is actionable NOW? Where is this resonating and aligning with a 2019 version of yourself?
Then, based on your success list and your answer to the above question, what is your 2020 vision for your business and for the business of YOU?
Designing a new decade begins as a collection of 3,650 opportunities. 3,650 blank slates of new days ahead in which to pivot and propel yourself forward. Every single one of those days is a window into your legacy. An invitation to be, create, explore, and chip away at this thing we call life. One 24-hour segment at a time.
While you have a decade ahead to work on design improvements, you have the ability to begin manifesting this project of YOU Version 2020 right NOW. Based on exploring the exercises in this post, begin executing your vision. Ask questions. Be present. Let go of 2019 and the past 10 years so that you can embrace the next 10. Position acceptance and self-trust at the forefront of how you lead you. One choice at a time.
Don't get bogged down in the concept of the next 10 years. Instead position clarity and intention into each new day, starting today. Then chase every one of those intentions with an in-the-moment commitment and solution toward living a legendary life!