I think about the power of style every single day. I think about its power to communicate aspects of someone’s identity, whether as a precise mirror or as contrasting complement. I think about its power to be shaped, like an abstract lump of clay that looks totally different based on who happens to be molding it. I think about its power to surprise and delight as a wearable art form that reflects past and present in equal measure. I think about its power to shield, acting as literal and figurative armor as we venture out into the world each and every day.
The ability to choose who you want to be and what you want to manifest through clothes is significant. Few things are more immediately thrilling than feeling powerful in your own skin and wearing an outfit that speaks to that. In partnership with Express, I styled three “power” looks for various scenarios in which a mental boost courtesy of the right sartorial equipment is highly desired. Check them out below, and join me in the comments to further discuss the connection between style and self-assuredness.
1. For a Workday That Requires Confidence
While confidence is a trait I could always use more of, there are some instances when an influx is particularly necessary. Work is an environment where those instances crop up a lot, so I developed a workday power look in the form of a really great button-down and a really great pair of trousers. That’s it! It’s simple, which is kind of the point. As much as I like to express myself in all kinds of weird ways when it comes to clothes, I also find deep comfort in having a tried-and-true combination that I know I like, and this one certainly fits the bill. It’s also a solid base for further experimentation, if that appeals, in the form of layers (i.e. a polka-dot bustier) and shoes that like to party (i.e. gingham heels).
2. For a Social Event That Requires Personality
One thing I know about myself is that the components of what I consider my true personality — my sense of humor, my quirkiness, my curiosity, my extroversion — are like a chocolate soufflé: They take a little bit of extra time before they’re ready to emerge for consumption, at least in an unfamiliar crowd. That’s why I’ve always been grateful for the power of clothes to express those very important bits of myself through what I’m wearing, especially at social events where I’m meeting people for the first time. I’ve found that the right outfit (in my case, one that features plenty of bright colors and contrasting patterns) can act as the perfect prologue.
3. For a Night Out That Requires Energy
I am notoriously lazy when it comes to going out at night, but I almost always have fun once I’m there. It’s getting there (the bar or club or destination of choice) that typically requires some coaxing. Sometimes that coaxing arrives in the form of a double espresso, but more often than not, it arrives in the form of an energy-inducing power look — one that makes me want to dance and frolic and be around other human beings at an hour I would otherwise like to be in bed. My go-to nighttime power styling trick is layering a going out top over a going out dress, thus enveloping myself in a double-decker, fatigue-proof defense system fueled by clothes that look like fun and feel like wings.
What about you? What do you wear when you need a jolt by way of clothes?
Photos by Edith Young. Modeled by Anastasia Leung Lo Hing of Next Models.