The power suit, like many other fashion staples, has an interesting history. Although wide shouldered suits for women made their debut in the 1930s, it wasn’t until the 1980s that suits were seen as an essential part of the working woman’s wardrobe. As more women began to climb the ranks in the workforce, they were encouraged to adopt menswear to help create an image of authority. The jacket was oversized and often double-breasted with wide shoulders which conveyed aggression, masculinity and of course, power. Black, gray and blue were the standard colours.
By 1990, Vogue was reporting that “The message of competence and confidence sent by the woman in a gray pin-striped suit has been received, and the majority of designers feel it’s time to move on.” We’re now in the 21st century and power dressing has a whole new meaning. The huge shoulder pads are long gone and suits are now more fitted. Career women can experiment with a range of textures, colours and even patterns. If the fall 2013 runways are any indication, the new power suit is feminine and tailored with slim sleeves and flattering lines. While the jacket and pants or skirt may not match according to traditional standards, these combinations effectively create the modern power suit.
Here are five modern-day power suits to consider:
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