(Em)Power Dressing On The Sunday Self Style Series

Power suits said women meant business in the 1980’s. Two years ago the pansuit symbolized political power, as Hillary Clinton was set to become the first woman president of the United States. In 2018, power dressing is about more than pants and suits. Gone by the wayside, like the assurance of the popular vote, is the idea that masculine parts are necessary to create an image of authority.

The confidence to stand out, to show who you are, to risk making mistakes in bold moves, these are the (em)power sources of great style in 2018. Power dressing is taken on in not so literal menswear pieces, and more in the carriage of the idea.

Barneys New York is standing strong as a hallowed and modern retailer that, more than ever, delivers the goods. Last week I soaked in all the power of this fun place to shop. The associates set a welcoming pace–available for help, but gloriously absent to give space. The mood is easy, chic, cool. As I walked around, I registered what looked powerful.


Bright, saturated, jewel-tone, pastel. All the colors in the sight line of a beautiful flower garden are strong for Spring 2018. And not just pops of color like we’ve been doing in a shoe, a handbag. This is head to toe, in one color or two. A punch of hot pink and a crush of orange. Pow, pow, orange and yellow, like these Prada coats. On the color wheel, these combinations are from the analogous colors–choosing from three that are side-by-side. Tone it down and pair gorgeous tints of color, like the pink dress and red coat below. Combining colors has always fascinated me and vexed me, at the same time. Use this simple guide to start growing your spring color combinations now.


Sies Marjan, at Barneys New York.

Sies Marjan Runway Show, Spring 2018 . Photo: ImaxTree

Hellessy Spring 2018 . Photo:  ImaxTree

Strong Coat

Luxury in a statement coat makes being out in the cold more bearable. A powerful coat is wrought from rich fabric, and is unique in its details. Whether a coat owes its presentation to tailoring, or feathers, or motherboard references, these flourishes carry clout.

Prada Coats.

Good Jeans

Cool, and distinct denim is a powerful personality statement. This is where breaking away from the crowd, (i.e., skinny jeans) and trying out the trends says something about your creativity. You can be the leader of the pack.

Remember the Dries Van Noten jeans from The New It JeanBalmain’s classic biker jean is always trending.

Sheer Layering

Transparency is in vogue. This year the antithetical nature of see-through and strength, is made right with stiff fabric. Layering piles on powerful styling.

Enlightened Minimal

Clothing that is at once clean-lined, with eastern, spiritual cuts holds power in its silhouette. And let’s talk about comfort, the internal starting place for carrying ourselves with confidence. Here, Rick Owens masters the modern zen vibe.

Bossy Handbags

Handbags are the quintessential luxury, status symbol. We have an odd attachment to them. They are the keeper of a life on the go. They carry our private stuff. Maybe they command power because they are often our largest accessory, one so easy to show off at eye level. Powerful women from Jackie O, to Queen Elizabeth have carried the classic, ladylike style. And not so prim, compelling women love a good bucket bag–especially one with a weighty chain.

I could file all day in this handbag!

Delvaux Handbags.

Givenchy Handbag.

Exotic Jewelry

Oxidized silver and black diamonds personify a rougher, rock-n-roll power dresser. Mixing in natural elements like bone and horn adds a savage hit to the whole disparate combination. The power in these pieces is in their unconventionality.

Incredible Jewelry by Carole Shashona.

Ultimately, power from fashion is more about the way it makes each of us feel, over what it makes others feel about us. The stronger bond and impact between us is out of what we bring forth from our journeys, struggles and heart. Power clothing can set us up to be first seen for the strength, so we can let out some of the soul.


See what you find empowering at Barneys New York. And take a look at our Flock To This section.

Barneys New York Store Photos:  Dawn Bell Solich




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