The Power Suit

Kobes Power Suit 300x200 The Power SuitIn the inter­est of resum­ing work, and get­ting down to busi­ness once again, both per­son­ally and for the many who have been impacted by the cur­rent eco­nomic depres­sion, I offer this new install­ment of DASHEEN called Resume Work.

This one hopes to lead and aid in your own­er­ship of your life’s work.

At this point, we should all be aware that it’s not about how good you look on paper. Whether you are of the func­tional, chrono­log­i­cal, com­bi­na­tion, tar­geted or even CV (Cur­ricu­lum Vitae) crowd, it can all feel like a crap shoot.

If you are a per­son inter­ested in climb­ing someone’s lad­der, well on your way, have been sum­mar­ily released (fired, laid off etc) from ladder-climbing duties, actively look­ing and pur­su­ing job offers or you an entre­pre­neur or as I pre­fer a passion-preneur, every­one who is an indi­vid­ual with a hus­tle should have a Power Suit!

What is a Power Suit: A power suit for my money has always been about superb tai­lor­ing that gives the con­fi­dent man/woman who wears it an aura that is an indeli­ble and unmis­tak­able first and last­ing impression!

A Power Suit is about CONFIDENCE, which is not akin to arro­gance. Much like a per­fect sig­na­ture scent, this CONFIDENCE should her­ald your arrival. It sig­nals that you are here and your pur­pose is to leave your mark.

A more stu­dious definition:

A power suit is a con­ser­v­a­tive tai­lored suit worn by men or women to project a sense of self-confidence and author­ity. The phrase came about in the 1980s, when a big-shouldered, dark-colored suit was the norm for any­one who wanted to be taken seri­ously in the busi­ness world.

So there’s some his­tory there, but I’m not inter­ested in evok­ing images of Wall Street and/or con­gres­sional types and the men and women mak­ing up the ranks. The cur­rent height of job­less­ness and work­ers apa­thy requires a def­i­nite more focused and indi­vid­u­al­ized approach.

The word non­de­script comes to mind when I think about all the good advice given for dress­ing to inter­view. “Dress­ing” lends itself to the food world with much more apti­tude that when applied as a descrip­tor of who you want to be on this jour­ney. It doesn’t speak to your style or your vibe or what you uniquely want to bring to the table.

My take-away from all the how-to-dress-for-the-job-you-want advice over the years has been: If I have to dress like a clichéd idea of an accoun­tant, then I sim­ply wouldn’t be applying.

My think­ing again here: While I know I could rep­re­sent a first-rate, stel­lar ver­sion of myself, I could not and would not do jus­tice to some­one else.  Obvi­ously this the­ory only holds water, if you’re NOT apply­ing for an account­ing or act­ing role.

You see, I am con­vinced that even in these hard times, the career/job/venture hunt should also not be about a pack men­tal­ity. And, I am very well aware that the expe­ri­ence of many as they’ve gone through the job-hunt-ringer, has been that of the mass inter­view. How­ever, espe­cially there, you need to excel at being an indi­vid­ual, and even a bit of a rebel.

Truth and expe­ri­ence says you must be vir­tu­ally every­where to win an audi­ence with some­one or any­one.  Woody Allen says that “80% of life is show­ing up”  That is some divin­ity right there. It is noth­ing but the truth! You and your power suit need to show up!

The Power Suit is ready and will­ing to become the live con­duit between YOU and that audi­ence.

Suit etiquette e1333117653500 The Power Suit

Your Power Suit should:

  • Define you to the point where putting it on any other shoul­ders ren­ders it mute, and causes it to be ill-fitting. This is the YOU fill­ing out that suit.
  • Remind you of who you are at the core and why you are here (there) in the first place.
  • ALWAYS get you at the very least an audience.

BOTTOM LINE: Your Power Suit is your NEW RESUME and your NEW ATTITUDE.

I hope some are cheer­ing right now.  I know it’s been hard on so many lev­els for so many, but not to worry, your style ses­sion follows:

LADIES:

You have lots of room for play and color.

Your suit starts with a full eval­u­a­tion of your body, wher­ever you’re at. Too often we wear a suit whose sil­hou­ette not only has noth­ing to do with who we really are, but does noth­ing com­pli­men­tary for the body we live in. I love MyShape as my per­sonal body cheat sheet. Give them a look-see.

Where are your seams hit­ting? Would you shine in a princess seam? A more boxy pro­file, a peplum design? What about a light trench-style?

What about the waist of your pants? Are they hit­ting you at the most flat­ter­ing point? Can you pull off a high-waisted trouser?

Don’t limit your­self or your options. In fact, you might con­sider decon­struct­ing that pant or skirt suit totally and/or opt for a dress instead.  I hap­pen to think that there is noth­ing more pow­er­ful on a woman than a well tai­lored sheath.

Psyches Sheath Style e1333117816378 The Power Suit

Psyche’s Sheath Stylings

The lines of a sheath has uni­ver­sal appeal, and please know that one hit­ting you just below the knee to about mid calf will pay dividends.

Black is always won­der­ful and pow­er­ful all on it’s own, but con­sider one in jewel tones along the lines of deep aubergine, gar­net, sap­phire etc. And if you must do black, con­sider one that is one-shouldered or ban­deau if appro­pri­ate, since all will be pulled together with a jacket and/or I’m almost ner­vous to say a cardi­gan with sub­stance (some­thing Chanel-inspired comes to mind).

Still need­ing inspi­ra­tion, check out the lovely Psy­che (pic­tured above), over at Econ­omy of Style who does won­ders with a sheath dress! Her closet choices hit all the high points of well-loved, indi­vid­u­al­ized power dressing.

If you have now fig­ured out the jacket shape that suits, then you have a game changer on your hands. But ah, this is only a begin­ning, let’s con­sider shoes.

Instead of a func­tional pump, why not a func­tional peep-toe pump or sling­back with a fresh man­i­cure on dis­play. This shoe doesn’t have to be beyond 2 inches even. Just a smidge of height and the oppor­tu­nity to add some color, even an irrev­er­ent one will set you on the path.

At the very least, you’ll have a mood ele­va­tor for when you look down and take that final breath before going in to get your job!

I’ll leave the hosiery deci­sions to you. My feelings—freshly shaven legs with a lit­tle glow­ing lotion or a light appli­ca­tion of gelled oil will estab­lish things nicely.

And I would never, ever tell a woman what to do with her hair, but rather offer a small sug­ges­tion: Think 40’s, 50’s glam in the way of a chignon (off to the side).

A smart watch, some inter­est­ing & mean­ing­ful studs, a clean, nat­u­rally made up face, specif­i­cally lean­ing toward a nude (bronzy or skin-tone) or a punchy matte lip (I’m feel­ing Revlon’s Matte Line) or stain. With a barely there made-up face, a slight wing on the liner plays to beau­ti­ful advan­tage and adds pos­i­tive inter­est.  If there must be gloss, cen­ter it in the mid­dle and keep it there.

Per­fec­tion!

MEN:

boatengsuits e1287112136495 The Power Suit
While I would love to see you all piv­ot­ing in some Ozwald Boateng, I under­stand that you need the job first, but that the envi­ron­ment may not be all the way inclu­sion to this kind of hit parade.  But there are some take­aways from Sir Boateng’s take on Sav­ille Rowe.

No longer should you rel­e­gate your­self to the domains of Black, Navy, Grey or Brown. Now the call here isn’t to aban­don. We are only re-imagining your suit here, not decon­struct­ing as we sug­gested above with the ladies.

Think tex­ture that could go any­where from suede to linen. I pause at seer­sucker, but then again the power suit is not just about the Cor­po­rate right (or left).  It’s exclu­sively about gen­er­at­ing confidence.

Think sheen that is all of a sub­tle shine. I read some­where that such a suit makes a man look lively, vig­or­ous and vir­ile. I can dig that, so I imag­ine that you can too.

Think a grad­u­a­tion of color that is ombré going from a lighter jacket to a dark pant in the same color fam­ily. Be uncon­ven­tional and take it in the other direction—light on the bot­tom and dark on top.

Think a thicker pin­stripe. And oh yes, you can and should wear a pin­stripe suit dur­ing the hunt!

If you remain shy on any of the above, con­sider a punchy (color) shirt or tie. In the lat­ter, a Wind­sor knot with a bit more flair or even a skin­nier tie would not be inappropriate.

Watch your pro­por­tions with every­thing, your jacket should not hit your kneecaps (not the venue) and the hem of that pants will thank you if it can just brush the arch of your shoe. If you are ankle graz­ing, then my expec­ta­tions are that that pant is slim streamlined.

Seri­ous note: Your move­ment should never be impeded by a power suit.

Patent leather shoes would be nice touch. The high shine and inten­sity is sure to bring a mod­icum of atten­tion. Are you ready for it?

Cuff-links are not nec­es­sary, but would add a seri­ous, delib­er­ate edge. I’m telling you as a friend to go for it!

I won’t tell you what to do with your hair. A clean Cae­sar. Twisted up. Fro-ed out. Dreads pulled off the face and held in queue at back. A sleek or tou­sled do. Do your do!

And I know you have a state­ment watch so get it set, ready and go.

I would cau­tion the wear­ing of any other state­ment jew­elry other than the optional cuff-links though.

From head to toe all things must be con­sid­ered in the mak­ings of Power Suit. Remem­ber, it’s not about any brand, it’s about YOUR BRAND! And I hope you are devel­op­ing it.  For now your mis­sion is to WOW them!

**Adden­dum**

The Power Suit is also a power trip. Beyond the trim­mings, it is also about a pos­i­tive, proac­tive, power-game. You must absolutely believe your own hype. After all, the suit does not make the man or woman. It only aids in the flight.

Fea­ture Slider Photo Credit:  Street Etiquette

ABOUT THE WRITER
Blowing in the wind Bio The Power Suit
Hi there, I’m Tynisha Leon, writer, mango-lover, founder and Editor-in-Chief of DASHEEN mag­a­zine — the online des­ti­na­tion where Cul­ture. Feeds. Imag­i­na­tion! If you seek to inno­vate, pro­mote and/or con­tribute to posi­tioning a Caribbean peo­ple and gen­er­a­tion most pos­i­tively then link me! Bless!
 The Power Suit Tynisha Camelitta (95 Posts)

Hi there! I’m Tynisha Camelitta, writer, West Indian, mango-lover, host­ess & passion-preneur @ DASHEEN mag­a­zine + Camelitta INK! Co. DASHEEN is proud to be the online des­ti­na­tion where cul­ture feeds imag­i­na­tion. If you’d like to con­tribute to this com­mu­nity, drop me a line here, I’d love to read/see you. Bless up!

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5 Comments

  1. Power Suits make all inter­views worth it! LOL … I bet­ter get my shoe game up though!

    Reply
    • Yes girl, you always wear a beau­ti­ful pop of color on those toes, now go get you some kit­ten heels in a peep-toe of course, and let them hear you roar! lol

      Reply
  2. Fab­u­lous post! Thanks for the mention.

    I totally agree with your points on what a power suit should do. I take it even fur­ther by say­ing that all our out­fits com­mu­ni­cate mes­sages to the world. At times, we even com­mu­ni­cate things we are unaware of.
    Econ­o­my­of­Style recently posted..Teacher Dis­counts at Cloth­ing Stores

    Reply
    • You are so right Psy­che. It really does go back to first impres­sions, because you never know who is watch­ing or if you will ever have another oppor­tu­nity at it.

      Thanks for adding to the thoughts here!

      Reply
  3. Tynisha, what a divine per­spec­tive on Power Suits..! The resources you have pulled together and elab­o­rated on have given me renewed vigor on style within my pro­fes­sion. Being an attor­ney demands class, rather than dull­ness — and I hope to take some of your wis­dom with me on my Spring shop­ping.
    Much love!

    Reply

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