Suit Up, Dude: Your Guide to 21st Century Power Dressing

The concept of ‘power dressing’ seems to be currently taking a break these days. The stiff shoulder pads of the eighties (and other rigid dress codes) no longer define fashion success. For every suited corporate titan, there’s a Mark Zuckerberg donning the casual t-shirt, hoodie, and jeans — with the power to win the masses and earn more money.

For some people, the 21st century definition of power dressing is simple: WEAR WHAT YOU WANT. After all, no one’s going to call you out, right?


Actively wearing too much casual clothes can prevent people from taking you seriously. Surely, you wouldn’t wear a snapback and hoodie to a meeting?

True power dressing isn’t about flaunting your wealth — it’s all about demonstrating mastery. It’s showing that you know how to play by the rules and bend them when you want to. Dressing like a teenager doesn’t prove you’re the boss; dressing with knowledge does.

With these in mind, consider the following precepts for contemporary power dressing.

Leverage Your Power Suit

Leverage Your Power SuitA great deal of self-confidence, authority, and respect comes with a dark and well-fitted suit. With a power suit, you get a leg up in job interviews, presentations, and other occasions. For this reason, it’s important that every guy should suit up once in a while. It can, after all, make or break your first impression.

Here are formal outfits every gentleman should have:

  • Light-colored dress shirt
  • Solid dark and classic style suit
  • Dress shoes
  • Tie of deeper hue

Brass Neck

There are still a few workplaces that treat neckwear as the Holy Grail. If you work in one, drop some cash on the best tie brands available. Or perhaps, try to be a more adventurous. Go crazy with knitted styles or try different materials, such as linen or wool.

Some guys, however, aren’t comfortable with wearing ties. If you wear one, you risk appearing overdressed; if you skip it, you close off an avenue for self-expression.

You can’t be just another generic dude with an open-necked shirt. Your power move is simple: cut the tie know altogether.

Granddad, collarless, or band-collar shirts are a swerve but are still recognizable shirts that will adhere to the dress code.  Roll neck jumpers won’t just make you look good; it also serves another purpose: keep you warm during the colder months.

There are other casual with tailoring options, such as a Henley, polo, or t-shirt. While these won’t fly in certain situations, these are still power moves. You just need the right blazer or suit and match it with the right kind of top.

Update the Pinstripe Look

pinstripe suitThe power dressing classic — the pinstripe suit — will always be on point. In a conservative, tailoring environment, however, there’s something abrasive about the crisp lines. It can also look out-of-place in casual workplaces.

Soften the pinstripe’s sharp elbows by trading for a chalkstripe — a fuzzier and wider line. If you are looking for a power dressing staple with a rising value, go for the plain double-breasted jacket, whether it’s a part of your suit or just a blazer.

With a double-breasted jacket, you can take fashion confidence on another level, which is a look not everyone can pull off. It’s just a subtle but powerful flex that stands out in the middle of any stuffy boardroom.

Impress with a Fresh Fade

From footballers to rappers, every man wants a new hairstyle. They have a good reason: a new shave gives you that metaphorical edge.

A clean trim can make the simplest or sloppiest fashion ensemble look pulled together.  Frankly, any haircut will do as long as you do it often. But if you really want to impress, go with the traditional fade.

This haircut is very versatile: it’s not just for the macho military man look. It can also work well in the corporate world. Talk to your barber to determine what type of fade works well with your face shape.

Good Footwear Makes a Good Impression

Good Footwear Whether you wear sneakers or soles to work, there are still a few dressing principles to follow.

First, quality is always important. It’s easy to tell when a pair is well-made. The price difference isn’t also that steep — especially if you are considering replacing your cheaper shoes. Keep in mind that luxury sneakers don’t cost much because for the sake of it being luxurious. These shoes are made with better quality material and are stitched instead of glued.

Second, cleanliness also matters. After all, this is next to style godliness. It doesn’t matter if your shoes were made from the finest leather. Make sure your footwear always looks polished.

Watches: Your Piece De Resistance

A watch is the perfect way to top any power dressing look. But before you slap on any other watch, ask yourself: is your accessory dialed into your outfit and the mood of your surroundings. Do you understand what makes your timepiece sporty or formal, appropriate for a barbecue or a black tie event?

If you know the answer, you don’t have to spend much on your watch. An affordable timepiece, deployed expertly, is better than a luxury watch worn badly.

Know The Rules Before You Break Them

Know The RulesKeep in mind that all your style choices should still revolve around you. It’s your confidence to grow and brand to build.

There’s nothing wrong with following the rules. But once you’ve got the hang of the power dressing guidelines, feel free to bend them in ways that benefit you. It can be something as simple as a suit that’s not buttoned all the way up (for that less uptight look) or going crazy with the colors. Just remember not to go overboard.

While hoodies and t-shirts are good, power dressing is one way to establish your presence in every event. Instead of wowing your audience or potential partners with a boring ensemble, learn how to mix and match power suit elements. Standing out in fashion requires time, resources, and plenty of dedication to power dressing.

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