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.
The work we do should contribute something to our lives—but what? When we sit back and fantasize about the life we want to live, we all have different definitions of success. Some of us want to pay off our student loans. Some of us want to increase our vocational velocity.