Dress: JC Penney
Belt/Necklace/Earrings: NY & Co.
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The standard “power suit” for a man is dark suit, white shirt, bold red tie. The tie is the key piece, the “power tie”, and it’s the red color against the other neutrals that seals the deal. I’m wondering if this dress qualifies as a “power dress”, since the whole thing is bright? The use of color and the meaning of color seems to be different for men and women, and I think this dress in particular, with it’s all-bright color, is probably more “demure” than “powerful”. It’s funny though, because I’ve seen men wearing purple and pink in the office, so I don’t think that these are “girly” colors anymore. Color plays a huge part in branding and recognition of products, and the use of color for personal branding is no different.
Conventional wisdom still holds that if you want to look serious, professional, and conservative, you don a grey, black, or navy suit, with a crisp, white shirt, and plain black shoes. However, it doesn’t seem to me that women add the essential “power tie” or other accessory. I guess women could wear a large, red necklace, but it wouldn’t read the same as the red necktie. It’s also interesting that red seems to be the only other color to add to this look, even though any other color in the rainbow would match.
Deep, rich, blues and purple generally represent royalty, which, one would think, is the epitome of power. However, blues and purples are not part of the standard power suit for men or women. And, I would argue, that a royal purple dress would not command the same level of professionalism, seriousness, and conservativism that the standard black suit conveys.
The feelings behind pastel and bright colors make much more sense to me when looking at them in personal branding. Pastels are soft and calming, so it would make sense that these are not generally used to convey power in the workplace. Bright colors scream fun, laid-back, and carefree, which, again, are qualities that you’d focus on less in the workplace. Thus, the bright colors and pastels are usually paired with an otherwise conservative suit or color palate to tone down the less-than-professional qualities they seem to embody.
Of course, this is all turned on its head in today’s workplace, which attempts to strive to more work-life balance, and values uniqueness. The person in the bright green dress appears to be more “creative”, and the person in the lavender shirt becomes “cool-headed”, both traits that are valued in today’s corporate environment. I’ve been trying to wear more color, since my choices generally vary between black and blue if left to my own devices! At least I’ve got one of the two power elements of an outfit down, right? Like the outfit? See more details here!