I’ve struggled with how much a woman’s clothes matter. I used to reject the idea that what I wore represented my personal values, and could make a meaningful difference to my life and the world around me. I was so wrong.
Countless studies have proven that our clothes affect our mood. One study found that business attire increased abstract thinking, creativity, long-term strategizing and feelings of personal power. Over the years, I found that ‘power-dressing’ in an authentic way that was aligned with my personal values changed my life. It gave me confidence to step into my professional best and approach each challenge with empowering armor. It changed my relationships with colleagues and heightened the ceiling of my personal ambition. Once I built my power-dressing capsule, I saved an average of thirty minutes each morning. That added up to over 100 hours per year given back to me for reading, personal growth, building relationships and self-care. That’s why I worked with fashion editors to curate a store for sustainable and ethical workwear.
The best part was that finding sustainable and ethical workwear supported the values I cared about most by uplifting the women who made the clothes and reducing my personal environmental impact. Fashion is one of the top industrial contributors to climate change and the second largest polluter of water on our planet. Sixty-percent of garment workers are women aged 18-35 in developing nations. They often work in conditions no one should spend time in and have to support their families with their wages. Violence against women in fashion’s supply chains is a well-documented tragedy. Finding my personal power-dressing style and aligning it with my values on gender equality and sustainability empowered me more than any self-help article ever could, and helped me step into my own feminist light.
Here’s my guide to developing an empowering capsule for personal power-dressing. All the pieces chosen are from designers who are ethical or sustainable, so they truly will empower you, the people who make them and our world in general, and that’s the ultimate feminist statement.
These capsule-worthy pieces are on our site because our entire team of editors believe in them. Each of them exceeds our rigorous testing standards, which includes countless hours of focus groups, research and much more. Also, since workwear isn’t a one-style-fits-all solution, we created capsules for nearly ever work environment.
Start with investing in well-tailored and high quality layering pieces. I realized the hard way that my fast-fashion tanks didn’t exude the understated power and control that’s key in workwear. Laying pieces need to reflect attention to detail, pride in craftsmanship, sophistication and subtle strength. Plus, you’ll wear them year-around throughout each season, so they’re worth investing in. Here are my favorite layering pieces.
The Standout Jacket
This is the piece you can throw over any pant, skirt or dress, and suddenly feel like a superhero. It needs to fit impeccably, look unique and be well crafted. A word of warning: padded-shoulders are reminiscent of how we sometimes identify power with masculinity. I’m not saying padded shoulders are a bad thing, but lean towards them only if they make you feel good. The jackets below are serious and sometimes feminine, after all, real power is universal.
A power-dressing capsule needs to have a good skirt. This is the skirt you throw into your suitcase for a business trip no matter where you’re headed. All you have to do is find a top to finish the look. Wear it with leggings or pantyhose in the winter and without in the summer. It’s a staple and goes with nearly every layering piece, jacket or top in your wardrobe. It looks equally polished with flats or heels.
The Perfect Dress
The perfect power-dress lets you shine through. You wear it, not the other way around. It’s flattering, not body-con or distracting. It looks polished as a standalone piece or with accessories. Wear it in the summer or with leggings or pantyhose when the weather gets cold. We did an entire deep-dive into the perfect power-dress and you can read more about it here. Below are my favorites.
The Pansey Dress$125.00 Select options
The Irene Dress: Black$119.00 Select options
The Irene Dress: Navy$119.00 Select options
The Sarah$200.00 Select options
The Amira Dress$200.00 Select options
Ruched Tie Dress$128.00 Select options
The Claire Dress$190.00 Select options
The Sydney Dress$425.00 Select options