Over the past five years, I’ve prided myself on being predominantly one thing: a writer. But while I’ve been busy noting down ideas and emailing editors, I seem to have skipped my initiation into the fashion world. My attention on make-up and clothing peaked when I was around 17 and has since become more of a chore than an indulgence. I don’t have the time or the energy to keep up with fleeting fashion trends and, if I’m honest, I’m not sure I’d even want to
I mean, crop-tops…seriously? Luckily, I have no real reason to invest in a wardrobe full of work clothes; in fact, it’s almost expected that I spend most of my time in my pajamas. At least, that’s how the not-so-glamorous world of writing is characterised on screen.
I started out as a naïve 18-year-old, imagining that my life’s work would echo Bridget Jones’ laid back attempts at scribbling in her diary while necking a bottle of vodka. But lately, the role of a writer seems to have shifted slightly, now edging towards Carrie Bradshaw’s sophisticated style of life narrative, accessorised with a pair of Manolo Blahniks. My lovely readers, who exist solely online, expect more than just witty articles; I’m under pressure to create a stylish, strong and confident persona that young women find relatable. In short, I’ll need to make every aspect of my life available for public scrutiny if I want to engage my audience on a long-term basis, including my fashion preferences.
Now, it’s not that I’m totally against fashion as a concept – I just find it slightly disheartening that as a society, we seem to operate under an unwritten rule that if a woman can’t put together a killer outfit, she’s probably not going to succeed in taking the world by storm. From princesses to first ladies, style is an indisputable ingredient for success; meanwhile, no one cares whether Barack Obama’s suit is the right shade of blue, because, heck, he’s the president of the United States! However, despite my concerns, I still can’t deny that mastering personal style can be an incredible self-marketing tool, known in the fashion world as the delicate art of power dressing. If you’re picturing eighties shoulder-pads and overbearing perms, don’t fret. Times have changed.
Ever since entering into the blogging world, and thus following more creative women on Twitter and Instagram, I’ve witnessed bundles of positive examples of the ways in which power dressing can be used to enhance character, rather than to mask it with a ‘business woman’ costume. I’m talking Ryan Gosling leggings, neon pink trainers and leopard print bomber jackets, all worn by successful and inspiring women who love what they do and know who they are; count me in! Although this liberal approach to work wear might not be to everyone’s taste, I think it speaks for a new revolution in the world of fashion that reflects individuality and creativity – two things that I’ve spent my entire life cultivating!
I guess I need to embrace the fact that rather than being isolated in my writer’s hovel, I’m now connecting with thousands of readers on a daily basis. I dedicate time to perfecting the layout of my blog and making sure my Instagram photos are edited to perfection, so why shouldn’t I spend just as much time on my own image? I’ll never be one to blow my month’s wages on a new dress, nor will I ever spend more than 15 minutes applying make-up, but I can at least make an effort to bring some creativity into my wardrobe.
It all honestly, power dressing isn’t about looking more professional, more respectable or more successful, it’s about looking more you! Dress to feel empowered, not to appear powerful to others. My readers don’t want me to be perfect; they just want to know who I am. Will I be sprucing up my wardrobe this year? Yes! I’ll be donning the brightest jackets I can find, worn over slogan t-shirts, with my trademark jeans and hoop earrings. If I’ve learnt anything since joining the new generation of online writers, it’s that the most successful people are those who are brave enough to be themselves, however corny that may sound.
Words: Jessica Farrugia
Image: Luiz Simoes