“I hope you wake up feeling strong, powerful, and capable.” –Mama Zara
As a general rule, I wear skirts and dresses just about every day. I love the femininity of a skirt and blouse, the ease of slipping on a pretty dress on days I don’t feel like coordinating pieces, and I feel lucky that I can bare my arms and legs in the sweltering summer heat and still be wearing professional attire. I mean, with the exclusion of things like kilts, the option of dresses and skirts belongs almost exclusively to women and there aren’t too many arm and leg exposing workplace options for men.
But last week, I wore a pantsuit. In all honesty, I wore it for practical reasons: I was attending a seminar in a hotel conference room and I knew from past experience that the room would be ridiculously cold. I also knew that I would be in attendance with account executives from other stations and I wanted to put my best foot forward. After donning my blue pattered pantsuit from Express, however, I wondered why I don’t wear pantsuits more often. (Heaven knows I have several in my closet so it’s not like I don’t have choices.)
I liked the way I felt wearing a pantsuit. That pantsuit made me feel put-together, and professional. Like even if I didn’t know what I was doing, I looked like I did. There’s a little bit of power that comes with those feelings. Not I’m-going-to-take-you-down kind of power (although that’s sometimes not a bad thing) but a confident, self-assured, “I look and feel good and you should treat me with respect” kind of power. Maybe that’s why women weren’t allowed to wear pantsuits on the Senate floor until 1993 (source: The Saturday Evening Post) — we wouldn’t really want these women going to Washington, D.C feeling as powerful as men, right? (Whoops, that sounded political didn’t it?)
I’m glad now that I had the “power of the pantsuit” reminder. Skirts and dresses are still my top wardrobe choice, but for an occasional power boost, I’ll be reaching for a pantsuit.