With these essential wardrobe pieces you’ll feel pumped to conquer your day no matter what it throws at you!
So what is empowered dressing? The 70s brought with it many bold and bright fashion items. Flares, corduroy, and paisley prints were in, while tie-dye and other remnants of 60s fashion were slowly fading as flower power met its natural demise.
With the more savvy, worldly and confident 70s youth also came a heightened focus on women’s rights. And the women of this bold decade were embracing this new wave of empowerment, using fashion to express their intention.
What followed was shoulder pads, boxy tailoring and women’s suits, which represented women’s determination to reclaim their power and take their rightful place in equality with men.
Modern Day Feminism
With all the strides that have been made towards equality; women can now wear pieces that empower them in a more feminine way, rather than needing to demonstrate that they are one of the boys.
I asked a few of my girlfriends which items make them feel empowered. The answer I got was unexpected: ‘shoulder pads’.
I was initially surprised by this answer as shoulder pads have definitely had some rocky moments over the years. Fashion historian Oleg Mindiak gives a great overview of the history of shoulder pads in an article on his blog, starting from 1930’s and Elsa Schiaparelli’s designs to the feature’s strong presence in current collections. Bustle and CR Fashion Book highlight the shoulder pad as a symbol of the feminist movement that reappears during significant moments in women’s history.
Go-To Empowerment Pieces
While shoulder pads might not be everyone’s cup of tea, I believe everyone has that piece that makes them feel strong and powerful. A couple of recurring favourites from my girlfriends in a Facebook poll on the topic of empowering wardrobe pieces included:
- A well-tailored blazer
- Killer heels
- Luxury fabrics such as cashmere or silk.
My Favourites for Feeling Fierce
For me, I feel empowered wearing pieces that make me feel confident yet comfortable. Things that allow me to navigate a busy day without pinching or restriction, while still looking effortlessly classy.
Here are a few that work for me:
1. A leather jacket.
Find one that works for your body type (it doesn’t have to be black, there are so many options!) and it will last you for years. With time your jacket will gain more character. This is an item that can add a bit of toughness to a feminine frock (I love the juxtaposition of masculine and feminine!) or be worn with jeans and a t-shirt when you’re running about town.
2. A white button-down or a white t-shirt:
I always feel crisp, pulled together and ready to take on the day whenever I wear one. One of my favourites is this clean-cut classic from Uniqlo. At $39.95 it’s a steal but it works so hard in my closet.
3. Colourful accessories
It’s a great idea to build a wardrobe that sticks to a palette of a few neutrals, but I suggest always adding some colour options that work with your neutrals. If I’m having an average day or feeling under the weather, a pop of colour – be it a lick of lipstick, a scarf, or a top – can instantly energize and lift me up. For me, a red lip is super empowering and my go-to colour is MAC So Chaud (this orange-red is great for warm skin tones, opt for a blue-based or burgundy red if you’re cooler).
4. A great pair of flats:
As much as I adore heels, it’s unrealistic for my lifestyle to wear them all the time. A pair of elegant, pointed-toe flats can dress up a pair of jeans, complete a look for a business meeting and see me doing a kinder pick-up. They’re great for when I need to spend a full day on my feet and help ensure I don’t suffer the all-consuming fatigue that can accompany aching feet.
I love these Valentino’s (you can get some great Valentino bargains on Ozsale!), but if you’re not up for spending that much you’re not alone. You can find similar styles at a more accessible price, such as this pair from Shein.
5. A fabulous handbag:
A good handbag is an investment. Today there are so many brands for every budget that offer practical yet elegant options. One of my main criteria – it should be comfortable on my shoulder and provide easy access to all the things I might need.
Truth be told, the bag option that makes me feel most empowered right now is the belt bag. Love it or hate it, the belt bag is having a fashion moment. For me it feels so empowering as it frees my hands and arms up completely (important when chasing after the kids!). Added bonus – it can help define the waistline. Many designers, from high-end international luxury labels to local Australian designers, feature belt bags in their current ranges. I love the TDE one in particular as it looks great, is a reasonable price and has the option for monogramming.
It’s important to work out what makes YOU feel confident. Some of my girlfriends feel at their best in fabulous heels or a full-length goddess dress, some love a red dress and excellent tailoring. There were mentions of high-quality pyjamas, because it means self-care time. We are all different, so taking the time to register how different clothes make you feel is important when working on your own style. If you find an outfit that makes you feel great and like you’re ready to smash some glass ceilings, remember it and build more outfits like it.
What makes you feel your best? Let me know below!