Power Outfits

What do you wear that makes you feel powerful?

That’s the question that two artists — Tiffani Ludwig and Renee Piechocki — have asked 600 women. The results have been turned into exhibitions, installations, video, and now a book called Trappings: Stories of Women, Power, and Clothing.

Check out the website. Pictures and stories. Pictures and stories. Mariachi uniforms. Star Wars T-shirts. Yoga pants. Black lace bras. Evening gowns. Running shoes. Police Uniforms.

For me? My string of pearls.
Gift from my husband on our first anniversary.
Shiny big. Shiny bright. I don’t wear them
with evening gowns but
with black long-sleeves tees from Old navy.
It’s sassy sophisticated.
Dresses me mature while staying young.
Makes me pivot my head and purse
my lips, feeling pretty, feeling part
executive part dress-up.
When I remember I’m wearing them,
I feel more at peace with my hips, my curves.
These are bold circles, unabashedly round.
My power pearls.

What do you wear that makes you feel powerful?


  1. Unquestionably, all my stilettos make me feel powerful. I do not totter, I stride. It’s as if I consciously use the PSI of my stilettos points to make things happen.

  2. Wide leg black pants, blue trench coat that matches my eyes, and boots with three inch heals get my strut going. This outfit makes me feel sassy like Katherine Hepburn.

  3. I teach evening classes, so I spend most of the day in my usual comfy jeans and t-shirts. When I put on my “teacher clothes” I feel more powerful. I dress professionally so that my students will respect me and to signal that I am the teacher, not a student. I probably could show up in jeans and a sweatshirt, but I think my slacks, blouse, and blazer signal to both me and them that I’m a professional. When I put them on I feel much more “serious” and powerful.

  4. Azucar, is there a secret to wearing stilettos? I’ve been trying to master them lately, but I totter, always.

    My navy pantsuit. I bought it for my first real job. It feels more powerful than my skirt suits, and it’s pretty darn comfortable.

    I loved seeing all the different womens’ clothing and ideas on that website, Deborah. I’ll have to get the book!

  5. My yoga clothes (black stretch pants, athletic top, bare feet). I rarely feel powerful when I am wearing shoes, because I feel less grounded.

    FWIW, I also like dressing up a bit when I’m in the classroom. It’s nice when the weather’s cool enough that I feel comfortable wearing a jacket. My fav is my sort of boho black velvet jacket that I wear with everything from jeans to hippie skirts to dressy slacks.

  6. Sleak knit slacks with a nice V-neck sweater. In the winter, leather gloves lined in cashmere (a gift from a friend). And, in the house (and in the yard in the summer), bare feet always.

  7. emilycc- I don’t know if I can explain it. You kind of have to own those stilettos. I once won a backwards foot race in a pair of stilettos against a guy in sneakers. I always feel better in a pair of heels (and flats always leave me feeling deflated…I wonder what that says about me.)

  8. I love a sexy pair of jeans with pointed toe shoes and a great top, but I also love my climbing pants and Northface jacket, not forgetting climbing shoes with the perfect balance of strength and sensitivity…mmm : )

  9. Love these. I’ll also add that I just got a new haircut — and am astounded by how *good* it feels. When I’m not comfortable in my body, I’m not so comfortable in my soul. The physical-emotional tie runs deep.

    Azucar — I’ve seen a pair of those on you. Such a delightful match for your bold, joyful, sharp self.

  10. I’d never thought of power outfits before, but I think my work-out clothes have to be it.
    I like to wear tight tank tops with medium length shorts, matching and cute. Add my comfy sneakers and I’m good to go at the gym! That’s where I feel powerful and alive. (Now to work off that baby weight so I can get back into my power clothes!)

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