我有一条既适用于严肃工作场合、也可以穿着享受家庭早午餐时光的Ted Baker粉色印花紧身裙。每当我穿上这条裙子，我就感到自己变得强大起来。若再搭配上4英寸跟的Manolo Blahnik高跟鞋，我便有了驾驭全局的气场。
I have a pink floral Ted Baker bodycon dress. It’s appropriate for the office as well as brunch with the family. When I wear it, I feel strong. When I wear it with my 4-inch graphite patent Manolo stilettos, I own the room.
I usually write about change, leadership, being an introvert or other “business-y” topics that I am passionate about, but I realize that I have a lot of female contemporaries who struggle at work with confidence and presence. So, I am writing this for you, my friends. Everyone wants to feel powerful, and there are a lot of ways to give yourself that feeling every morning when you go to your closet before work.
Hear me out. (Warning: gross generalization ahead…) When we look good, we feel good.
We can feel good by the way our hair looks, our clothes fit, our shoes elevate us, or by the bangin’ accessory we just bought with our entire last paycheck. (Totally worth it. Now it’s a valuable heirloom. Justified.) It’s hard to buy confidence, but you can wear it. And damn, confidence looks good on us all.
Does it really matter what you wear to work, you ask? Yes, because how you put yourself together emits a signal to others. It shows what you feel about yourself and sends a subliminal message how to treat you. Think about how you want to be perceived—then use all the tools at your disposal to materialize your desired reality.
For example, people often think I am intimidating, cold, or very serious. When I wear an all black fitted suit, people don’t come near me. They assume I am going to fire someone or on my way to a funeral. So, my light pink floral, sexy, strong Ted Baker is my weapon to retain my strength while saying subtly, “It’s okay, I won’t bite. You can approach.” I have a pair of fire engine red flare pants that I wear with a French crocheted top which Chinese people think is Chinese and Spanish people assume is Spanish. That outfit says, “Let’s do this and have some fun and attitude while we make magic happen in the office.”
Find your own Ted Baker or red flared pants. Find something that is genuine to you that you looooved in the dressing room, but never wear. Something different alone can have a big impact and get you noticed.
Let’s talk about shoes. To each their own, so if flats make you feel strong, then rock those comfy shoes, lady. Personally, I find that runway height stilettos score me a few more confidence points. At 5’4” (163cm) and pretty small in general, I find that wearing heels closes a bit of the gap to the over six-foot Swedish men I work with. That gap is not only physical, but somehow truly mental. My heels are just what I need to bring me to their level. It sounds nuts, but it’s true.
Now, there is a time and a place for the power outfit and there is a time and a place for the comfortable outfit. For me, weekends and flights are meant for comfort. I would love to be the glamorous woman who waltzes through the airport in my heels and a fitted outfit (Who are you amazing women and how do you do it?), but I can’t wrap my head around it. I don’t care about the person in 12C or what they think of me (random opportunities of the universe be damned). I just need to be able to expand and shrink like my water bottle. You can’t do that in work clothes. And weekends… on the weekends, I am the Shanghai-dwelling equivalent of the suburban mom: Lululemon-me-up, baby. Who needs yoga when you can just sport the comfy pants? Am I right?
I know I dropped a couple of names of expensive brands, but that’s not where the magic lies, just to be clear. I have some J. Crew duds that work as well as my Ted Bakers, and the pants there fit me much better. But this isn’t about going on a shopping spree. This is about finding the combination in your closet that unleashes the inner power broker in you—the outfit that speaks louder than you do.
I can’t exaggerate enough the power of feeling like you look like a million bucks. I want us all to find our Wonderwomanesque Gal Gadot. The outfit is part of the persona. Go ahead and look in your closet for the dress that says whatever you want people to hear. And rock it.