When I started out in my career in the late 80’s the power suit was the must have for women climbing the corporate ladder. I can remember receiving suits from my mom and aunts as graduation gifts too. I was determined to look the part in launching my public relations career and to me the power suit said that I was on my way.
When I moved to DC, I again transformed my look from what I call creative corporate to a more conservative look. It included lots of button up blouses and slacks. One day after work, I ran into a friend who told me my outfit looked smart. I wasn’t sure exactly what she meant but somehow I knew it was a far cry from stylish. But that was ok..smart was exactly what I was going for.
A few weeks later my mother came to visit me. On a trip to the mall, I picked up item after item to show her, all of which were meant to further develop my new smart look. She finally looked at me and asked why my look had changed so dramatically. I told her I was dressing smart and had adapted my look to the other woman I’d see on the streets of DC. “You have to be yourself. That’s what’s going to make you successful. That along with feeling good about how you look. You can can never be them for too long.”
I don’t think I responded but her message hit home.
For a few more months, I powered along in my power suits but I wasn’t feeling like myself. And then one day a friend came up from Florida and we went out for a night on the town a la South Beach style. Forget about all the heads we turned that night, my attitude turned. I felt GOOD and more like myself than I’d felt in a long time. The next day, I donated all my smart pieces and went back to adding my own dose of creativity to my work wear. I, the real me, was back.
Boy.. if only I’d seen the movie Legally Blond. I took the long road but realized, I was smart. There was no need to try to fake it with clothes. Or hold back a part of my self that I really loved. Power came from me. So would like it some what not but either way, I’d succeed. My goal from then on became to be my best me.
The power suit is back in my life. It’s like an old friend whose had a major makeover and making a major comeback. I had to admit that I missed the suit a lot. I felt like I was ready to do business in a suit. To conquer the world. To reach all of my goals. But this time thanks to my mom and some style lessons along the way, I know that I am perfectly capable of closing deals in hot pink suits and high heels.