What does it mean to dress for success? A couple of weeks ago I had a meeting to prepare for that was a bit out of my comfort zone. What on earth was I going to wear?
Since I work in a writing center and am surrounded by peer feedback and collaboration, I immediately started asking for suggestions. Not so much what specific pieces in my wardrobe should I wear, but what vibe did I want my outfit to be giving? Just as in any group feedback situation, I received a bevy of different opinions. And that was wonderful! Those different opinions helped me see my way out of my confusion and decide on my power outfit.
The advice that resonated with me the most was that I should wear whatever gave me confidence and made me feel powerful—what that outfit actually was didn’t even matter. This made me think of my wardrobe in a whole new way. In addition to having seasonal wardrobes, I’m more aware of having fall power pieces, winter power pieces, etc.—and how I might utilize them when I need an extra boost! And I realized that setting outfits aside for special occasions was something I was already doing! When I know that I’ll be presenting at a conference or reading poetry at an event, I like to wear an outfit for the first time—after the special occasion it enters my “regular” wardrobe, and I can enjoy wearing it more often.
Five of My Power Pieces
1. My tiger print coat! I was in love with this coat as soon as I bought it at a consignment boutique on vacation a few years ago. I saved it for a conference presentation, and wearing it was every bit as wonderful as I had imagined!
2. Any jewelry or scarves that belonged to my Grandma Ruth! My Grandma Ruth was such an influence on me both personally and professionally, and her style was on point!
3. Snake jewelry! I have a few snake bracelets, and they always make me feel powerful. Snakes are great symbols of rebirth and transformation, and I like to always be transforming myself through fashion.
4. Fans! Fans are my new obsession. Look for a future blog post all about fans!
5. And hats! I always feel that a hat elevates my outfit. Look for another upcoming blog post all about hats! This one is reversible and came from my favorite neighborhood hat store Susan Hat.
What I’m seeing right now is that I need a longer list! I didn’t even include capes! Or my snake print coat! Or my growing collection of caftans! I guess that means I’ll need to keep revisiting this idea of fashion and power. More for another day! Regardless, one of my takeaways is that no two people’s power outfit will be the same but that confidence is key. And don’t be afraid to ask for advice. Feedback helps you see different options, whether in writing or fashion, and ultimately helps you learn more about yourself and where your power comes from!