If you have a job interview, an annual review, or another important work event coming up, you’re probably thinking about what to wear on the big day. The right outfit will help you look the part and make you feel powerful and self-assured.
Believe it or not, there’s actually a formula for power dressing. Here are six steps that will help you dress with confidence and create a powerful business look.
1. Start with Comfortable Undergarments
If you want to feel confident and unshakable in your ensemble, wear underwear that fits properly. Studies have found 80 percent of women wear the wrong bra size, which can lead to slipping straps, crinkled cups, back bulge, and more.
Wearing a bra that’s too small or underwear that bunches up when you sit will make you feel self-conscious, and you may need to adjust yourself throughout the day. Start your power outfit off right by choosing neutral undergarments that fit impeccably so they don’t detract from the rest of your look.
2. Build a Foundation with Work Staples
The next layer of your outfit is composed of business staples, such as pants, skirts, blouses, and dresses. Your focus when choosing these pieces should be finding a combination that works well together and accentuates your frame while still remaining professional. (After all, it’s hard to feel powerful in unflattering clothing.)
For instance, women with larger chests often struggle to find a button-down blouse that fits properly. Instead, you might opt for a top that forgoes buttons altogether. This style maintains a professional appearance while preventing any fit problems. Plus, it seamlessly pairs with both pants and skirts.
Another key consideration when choosing your base pieces should be color. In professional settings, it’s best to keep your color palette neutral—think black, white, gray, and blue—especially with staple pieces like pants and shirts. It’s fine to add a pop of color with accessories, but your outfit shouldn’t be so bold that it’s a distraction.
3. Top It Off with a Jacket
Once you’ve built your foundation, it’s time to choose a jacket. Some women prefer jackets that match their pants or skirt for a cohesive look, but you can also choose a jacket with a different pattern or texture to add subtle interest to your outfit.
For example, you could pair slim pants with a sophisticated suit jacket or a more adventurous pick like a tweed jacket with faux-leather trim. There’s no right combination—just a matter of what makes you feel comfortable.
4. Ensure a Perfect Fit
Since every woman has a different body type, off-the-rack clothing may not always fit perfectly. However, the fit of your clothing dictates how it will wear throughout the day and how you’ll feel in it. If the shoulders of your jacket are too tight, for example, you’ll likely feel constricted and want to take it off. If your trousers are too long, you may find yourself tripping over them.
Ensuring that the various pieces of your power outfit fit flawlessly is important—even if that means having them altered. Tailors can make little adjustments that improve the way your clothes wear, helping you to dress with confidence.
5. Keep Your Feet Comfortable
Don’t let your footwear be an afterthought when putting together a power outfit. Your shoes should be polished, professional, and comfortable.
A pair of worn, scuffed shoes can easily derail an amazing outfit. You may also feel self-conscious if you’re worried about your feet slipping out as you walk. Invest in a pair of practical, stylish flats or heels—whatever’s most comfortable for you—in a neutral color that will pair well with any professional ensemble.
6. Add a Personality Piece
If you feel as though your outfit is perfect, leave it be! But if you think something is missing, you may want to add a bit of your personality into your ensemble.
This could be anything that defines your style—a pair of diamond earrings, a sleek bracelet, or even a colorful handbag. Whatever you choose, just be sure it maintains your professional demeanor and works with the rest of your look.