When you hear the term power suit you may be like us and have visions of Melanie Griffith in her iconic role of Tess in Working Girl. All over the world though as strong women entered the corporate world they required a new wardrobe. The suits took cues from the masculine closet to offer a sense of empowerment and credibility. With wide built up shoulder pads creating a strong look and jackets with straight lines, women walked into the boardroom with a no-nonsense appearance. Showing off competency and confidence.
Now of course we know that the suit itself never actually had super powers, like Iron Man’s does, but the feeling it gave women was beyond compelling. While neither of us has ever had to wear a power suit to work, we each have a power item we rely on to feel confident, dynamic, capable and ready to take on the world, or at least the day. We are huge advocats of always wearing whatever makes you feel good, but this goes beyond that. This is that one item that no matter what gives you that extra boost, that pep in your step, that burst of confidence, that all powerful feeling that you can accomplish whatever you set out to do.
For Ali it’s hoop earrings. Not just any hoop earrings but a very specific pair, bought at Fred Segal in Los Angeles, for way too much money back in 2005. Sometimes it’s not just the actual item but the story that goes along with it. She was living in LA and had just gone through a bad break up with the guy she had moved there with and was heartbroken. She had always wanted a nice pair of hoops and figured “they work for JLo, so clearly they will do the same for me”. Who doesn’t want to be like JLo? It took her awhile but she finally found the perfect size, plunked down her $400 and walked out rocking her new jewels. Right away she felt incredibly strong and powerful! She didn’t need a man to buy them for her or anyone else’s opinion... she wanted something, went after it and got it! Bam! She wore them everywhere, and felt great, until one day about 2 weeks later she wore them to a dance audition and lost one. The tears that ensued were pretty dramatic for an earring but it was more than that for her. So without hesitation she marched right back into Fred Segal and bought another hoop. Luckily you could buy just one, but still...ridiculous. Claire’s probably had similar earrings for $8. Since that day she has never lost one again and turns to her trusty hoops every time she needs a confidence boost. Sure they look good, dress up any outfit, are timeless and classic, but more than any of that, they empower her. They remind her she can do hard things, go after her dreams and achieve them. And it doesn’t hurt to have a little JLo attitude in everything you do.
When I asked Mel what her power item was she immediately replied, “I don’t have a cool, fun, powerful meaning behind an item for me”. But after a few minutes it became clear, Mel knew exactly what her power item was, and it’s been with her, her whole life! Ever since she was a little girl, she’s had round bouncy ringlets hanging from her head. As a child, it was hard to control and took on a “fro” look in her younger years at times, but even then, people always commented how lucky she was to have those curls. Truth is, she believed them! She never went through a phase where she wished for straight hair, or spent hours in front of a mirror pressing out her curls, she always felt thankful for a unique characteristic that belonged just to her. As she got older, and hair grew longer, so did the curls....so much hair! Her curly hair is her identity, it's a part of her, it's what makes Mel, Mel! The very few times that she has straightened her hair in her life (which can be counted on two hands) it is fun and different and exciting, but it’s not her. On days after a fresh hair wash, diffusing her curls dry, it almost feels like her own super power at times. There is something about a good hair day that brings out a special feeling, that confidence, that power...just add a pair of hoop earrings and some stiletto heels for Mel and she’s taking on the world.
The days of shoulder pads and power suits may be long gone and we are no longer limited to a single definition of powerful style. Instead, we can embrace the clothing pieces or accessories that make us feel confident and authentic. The power items that help prepare us for whatever dream, task or opportunity we are pursuing. So with that we want to know….What is your power item?