Meet Levo Style: Let’s Change the Way People Think of “Power Dressing”|
Levo Style is launching today: brought to us by management consultant-turned- diehard fashionista Leena Sanzgiri.
As women in the workplace, “workwear” is somewhat of a superannuated concept– there’s the everpresent stuck-in-the-80s idea of what a professional woman looks like, but there’s not much to update the idea of “what to wear at work” in a way that’s been accepted by young women and upper management alike. Leena is here to change all of that– so spread the word!
Power Dressing (Or, The Death of the Shoulder-Padded Black Suit)
Recently read on Wikipedia:
Power dressing refers to a style of clothing and hair intended to make wearers seem authoritative and competent, especially in professional settings in business, law and government. See also: Shoulder pads. References: 1980s Fashion History and Lifestyle.
If even the most baseline Wikipedia definition of “power dressing” cites shoulder pads as its counterpart and the annals of ’80s fashion history as its source, we needn’t wonder why the concept so often today connotes a clearly outdated notion of what dressing to impress in the workplace should mean.
Stuck in the past– and stuck in the office
The idea that a formulaic “power” outfit (read: black suit and coiffed hair) should elicit professional trust in an individual-particularly a female-should be resolutely archaic in the modern working world of dynamic tech startups and increasingly progressive corporate environments. And yet, as Generation Y women, we are still routinely confronted by this very polarizing debate over whether professional credibility and eclectic personal style can-and should-truly coexist.
In my career as a die-hard fashionista cloaked under the title of management consultant, I have certainly experienced this battle firsthand– and here’s an example:
During an especially grueling project, my all-male team and I held a morning meeting with our superiors to discuss what concessions they could make to each of us to improve morale.
My colleagues’ demands were principally culinary and transactional in nature: better food throughout the week and less work over the weekends. When it came to my turn, however, I declared without hesitation, “I’d like to be able to wear funkier clothes in the office when we are not meeting with clients.” The room erupted in laughter, and an associate turned to me and chuckled, “Surely you can come up with something more cerebral and professional than that.”
Admittedly, I knew my request would be met with humor, but the idea that my passion for style was mutually exclusive from “the cerebral” and true professionalism irked me. After all, I hadn’t asked to work fewer hours– as had much of the team– and I’m still unconvinced that proposing new takeout places to frequent implies actual underlying intellect, or was somehow either cerebral or professional.
The clothes don’t make the woman– the woman makes the clothes
I have never viewed an interest in fashion as a guilty pleasure that undermines my professional worth-on the contrary, I have relied on my clothes as yet another natural and necessary part of all that makes me feel I’m at my best and most confident on a given day in the office.
Here at the Levo League, we believe that concerns over professional style are just as valid as any career dilemma. We know that the workplace may present you with a daily challenge of what you want to wear versus what you tell yourself you should (and shouldn’t).
As we launch content in Levo Style, we encourage you to bridge that gap by leaning towards the former. We ask that you embrace individualism in your professional ensembles as much as possible, and let your work speak for itself. In the spirit of the community we are aiming to build, we additionally invite you to engage in this discourse, and debate with us on what you have found to be an appropriate approach to marry professional style with personal flair.
Simply put, let’s redefine power dressing as it applies to Generation Y-and let’s unapologetically enjoy the ride getting there.
LLers! Share your thoughts on this article and more over at the Levo Lounge– use the hashtag #powerdressing!