The idea of writing this article came to me as I was reading reviews on the revival of power dressing, particularly the trouser suit, as a desire for women to dress in clothes that convey substance and female empowerment.
It made me think that despite all the advances of gender equality which have been achieved, women continue to seek signs of empowerment and are in need of confidence boosting symbols to assert themselves in the corporate world.
The reason why a trouser suit is often described as a “power suit” is that it conveys for women who wear them in a business environment, a sense of power, intelligence, efficiency and authority. By doing so they implicitly acknowledge that the masculine sartorial tailoring is the standard corporate uniform. They are, as a matter of fact, somehow approving of the idea that when a man wears a suit, he is simply perceived to be professionally and smartly dressed ; whereas when a woman wears a suit, she is “power- dressed”.
At this point I find myself in a kind of dilemma as I become judgmental toward a piece of clothing that totally embraces my style and is a staple piece in my wardrobe.
From a style point of view, I consider tailoring for women super cool and see it as the ultimate modern dressing that speaks comfort and style.
My issue lies with the representation of the suit and the fact that women have to adopt a male dress code in order to be taken seriously.
Is a woman who dresses in a more feminine way less intelligent and more frivolous?
Is it acceptable that women at this time and age, are somehow asked to deny their femininity to be empowered in the corporate world?
Women started wearing pants in the early years of the last century as a symbol of freedom and equality with men. I fear this same symbol has a boomerang effect by imprisoning us, women, in some sexist preconceptions.
Female empowerment should not be a fashion issue … in fact it should not be an issue at all.