Whether you’re an intern looking to land a first job or at the top of the executive ladder, the principles of power dressing are useful guideposts for workplace fashion.
In this episode of “Power Players,” Lauren Rothman, author of the “Style Bible: What to Wear to Work,” takes us to Bloomingdale’s for some styling advice.
“That woman who's going to the office, whether she's running for office or she's in the board room, the suit has really evolved, it’s not just about the traditional suit,” said Rothman, who said that women now wear more “creams and whites” rather than black and other loud colors.
“You're seeing a little bit of what you see on the red carpet, which is the perforated, you're seeing a little bit of the cutout, you're now seeing it in the boardroom as well,” Rothman said.
Washington, D.C., has a buttoned up reputation and Rothman believes we will “always” see that in the nation’s capital, but noted that she thinks it’s most important to look “modern, but accessible.”
“The nature of this city is power and it is certainly the currency on how D.C. works,” Rothman said, adding it’s not just about dressing conservatively.
“Back in the day, you used to stop traffic with color, you would see politicians always sort of looking cheesy,” Rothman said. “They weren't really well-dressed, they were in something boxy,” but now she says power players can look both “modern and fashion forward.”
Some of those styles are leather, the peplum, longer jackets, and making sure outfits work from day to night, which can be as simple as taking off a blazer, adding some accessories, and heading to an evening event.
“It's really about taking the trends that we're seeing off the runway and in the magazines and how do you bring them to the office,” Rothman said. “This season we have some really great trends … whether it's taking the leather that can really go day to night … whether you're going traditional or having a little bit more of a unique flair, it's great for the office.”
And these tips and trends really can translate outside of the Beltway or what Rothman calls “from the runway to the real way.”
“This is all about dressing up for work, remembering that this is a place that's important, whether you’re a power player by D.C. standards or really just going to a regular 9 to 5 job. You want to dress to impress,” Rothman said. “A lot of what you're seeing at the office now and sort of that trend of power dressing is that it's become softer. It's become a little bit more fun. It's less boxy, it's less oversized.”
And we can’t forget the men. Rothman says it’s not just about the suit, watch, and leather shoes, but men are also showing their style and a “subtle power” through their socks. A style we know former President George H.W. Bush enjoys, but Rothman says came out of Silicon Valley.
“This is something where the hoodies and the jeans are accompanied by some pretty powerful socks,” Rothman said. “The louder the print, the louder the color, the more money in the wallet … men are really into their accessories, and that's really a top power trend that we're seeing now. So men are competing against each other, it's not just a suit against a suit, but it's a suit against the suit with the cufflinks and the pocket square … and the tie clip and the watch and the socks.”
For more tips on power dressing, and to see some of the hottest clothing trends for work, check out this episode of “Power Players.”
ABC News’ Betsy Klein, Tom Thornton, Hank Disselkamp, and Gary Rosenberg contributed to this episode.