Short shorts do not a power suit make.

photo from Raydene Salinas ; image from HuffPo

Huff Post Style ran an article this week highlighting the release of Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In, with an interesting fashion twist. They used the opportunity to showcase new, updated versions of the power suit. This was annoying. And not because I don’t love a good power suit (I do), but because they opted for the weirdest, most inappropriate choices. Sure, they instruct you to merely ‘take inspiration’ from their looks, but let’s do one better. Here are some fierce power suits that get their ‘power’ from sleek cuts, flattering silhouettes, and colors that don’t blind people.

Instead of flaunting our sexuality or donning look at me! patterns, let’s exert our awesomeness by way of smart, chic, understated choices that highlight who we are. Not just our legs.

Here are my picks for both inspirational and practical takes on the modern power suit.

zara yellow pant suitzara tartan pant suit

By all means, embrace color and pattern. But stay away from anything that offends your co-workers’ eyes. Zara makes freaking adorable pant suits. I own two. They are fresh without being obnoxious. And the tailoring is great.

theory dusty rose suit

I also love the idea of doing a whole monochromatic look with your suit, like Theory’s dusty rose separates. This would highlight a contrast statement shoe beautifully.

LK Bennett tweed skirt suitann taylor skirt suit

If you want to ditch the pants, by all means, do it! An above-the-knee skirt in classic tweed like in this combo from LK Bennett looks contemporary yet still appropriate for work. Or stick to a knee-length and up the color ante to something fresh yet soothing like this from Ann Taylor.

jcrew grey wool suitann taylor grey suit

Most importantly, a power suit doesn’t have to be any bold color or pattern at all. As long as you have a really well-tailored, slim blazer on top, you’re going to look amazing. For added flair, go for an unexpected silver shoe (like J.Crew did) or scrunch up the sleeves (the messier the better) to give the overall look more attitude.

[tweetmeme] 2 Responses to Short shorts do not a power suit make.
  1. Mary
    March 14, 2013 | 6:45 pm

    On the pantsuits that you recommend, what is the best length for the pant? I know it may vary, but is there a good general guideline for that kind of skinny cropped pant?

    • bryntaylor
      March 14, 2013 | 8:35 pm

      The lengths do vary, but that’s good news, since you don’t have to be as strict with length as you would with a fuller leg pant that has to take heel height into account. For skinnier cropped pants, a general rule of thumb is to have it fall about an inch to an inch and a half above the ankle bone. But again, doesn’t have to be a steadfast rule! Have fun with it!

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