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Why We Power-Dress – The Origins

Why do we need to Power-Dress?
A man and woman standing in a power pose

A (Very) Brief History of Power Dressing

First things first.

We have been using clothing, accessories, hairstyles, and make-up to differentiate ourselves within and among social groups from the time of the earliest human communities. It is one of the common characteristics of diverse societies around the world. For this purpose, we have utilized rare wildlife and plant elements, precious metals and stones, kinds of fabrics, garment silhouettes, and statement pieces. Various traditions of Power Dressing are associated with military ranks, royal and religious status, industry credentials, and different other types of authority.

The English language term “Power Dressing” originated in the 1970’s as more European and American women were entering corporate structures and government positions. It was explained as “a fashion style that enables women to establish their authority in a professional and political environment traditionally dominated by men” [1]. In the next chapter we will look at the formation of these dress codes and their enforcement. When we explore different tools of Power Dressing later on, we will identify and analyze historical and contemporary style icons who have contributed to its establishment.

Nowadays, the concept of Power Dressing is undergoing another fascinating transformation. It is applied more broadly to the mission of conveying personal excellence and professional expertise.

Reference: 1. Wikipedia. “Power Dressing”. Available from:

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Power Dressing in the Zoom Era

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