Being a Smarty Pants: Dressing like a Professional

We all know at least one woman who slays power dressing. They'll breeze into a room in a sharp suit worthy of a CEO, rocking heels that could smash any glass ceiling. Michelle Obama and Princess Diana are two icons of power dressing for the modern gal, but the trend began all the way back in the 1970s and 1980s when women began establishing themselves as real authorities in male-dominated work environments. Styles have moved on since then (I don't think you'll see many female bosses in shoulder pads these days) but the power of dressing like a professional remains. Dressing smartly is something that I've been really making an effort with lately and today's post is an homage to the reasons behind this, as well as the wardrobe pieces that have enabled me to feel empowered and professional. Keep reading - maybe I'll convince you to don a blazer too!

a close up of abbey brushing her hair behind her ear, showing off taupe tassel earrings and tasselled bracelet
Photo credits to The Hels Project

What smart dressing means to me 

It was one of my New Year goals for 2018 to adopt a more professional wardrobe. The main reason behind this is that as a PhD student, I regularly suffer from imposter syndrome when attending conferences and other academic events. Everyone in the room always seems so intelligent and capable that it's hard to feel like you match up. However, I definitely feel that power dressing helps. If I'm wearing a blazer and a smart skirt or trousers, I feel a lot more confident about going up to people and introducing myself, and I feel a lot better equipped to talk about my own work. Yes, it's probably very silly because a professional wardrobe doesn't automatically make my studies any better or my work of any higher quality, but looking like a boss gives me the boost that I need. Now, I'll introduce a few key pieces from my power dressing wardrobe. Are you ready?

abbey stands with hand on hip, wearing a white blazer and mustard smart trousers

The Jacket

Marilyn Monroe supposedly said that if you give a girl the right shoes, she can conquer the world. I'm very sorry to disagree with you Marilyn, but I'd say that what a girl REALLY needs is the right jacket. Nothing makes me feel ready to take on the day more than donning a blazer. The white bell-sleeve jacket that I'm wearing in these photos is lightweight and slightly oversized, so I love wearing it with more fitted trousers. Although I always have to watch myself when eating my favourite tomato pasta salad for lunch (I'm such a klutz), the white is so versatile and works to smarten up a whole variety of different outfits. My Mum actually bought this jacket for me from a little Italian boutique whilst we were on holiday in Sorrento, so while I can't link you to the exact product, I have discovered a dupe if you're tempted to invest in one of your own!

The Trousers

All hail the paper bag waist! This style of trouser offers an incredibly flattering fit every time due to the infinite adjustability of the waist. Thanks to these bad boys, you will never again experience the heartbreak of finding the perfect leg length but then realising that the waist is too big! I recently treated myself to this pair of mustard Checked Paperbag Trousers from Bershka and I am in love. I am a huge fan of wearing a statement pair of trousers teamed with a plainer top and jacket, they make me feel like I stand out for the right reasons. There is one thing that I wish I could change about the popular paperbag waist trousers though. They're ALL ankle bashers! I don't know about you, but when I'm trudging through the town at 7am on a frosty winter morning, I don't want my ankles to be freezing. Clothing designers reading this post (LOL), please take note!

close up of abbey's hands and bell shape sleeves, with a gold tasselled bracelet

The Jewellery

Beautiful jewellery really brings an outfit together. Adding in a few accessories is a minor change but I feel more confident than ever when my jewellery complements my clothing choices. I have added a few new pieces into my collection lately thanks to Boho Betty. Boho Betty are an independent British jewellery brand with an empowering ethos - they encourage women to express their individuality and versatility through their affordable, high quality jewellery range. I was lucky enough to be gifted their Orchid Stretchy Tassel Bracelet which comes with three festive tassel colours (red, green, and fawn), which you can mix and match to create a personalised look. The bracelet arrived stylishly packaged in a presentation box and I was very impressed with the quality. The fawn tassel worked perfectly with my mustard trousers! Alongside the bracelet, I picked out the Weforest Taupe Fan Tassel Recycled Earrings from the AW18 collection, which is inspired by myths and legends. The gold beading definitely brings to mind Ancient Greek goddesses and the fact that the earrings are made from recycled materials is another amazing win for sustainability. The only negative comment that I would make is that the earrings didn't come with the clear plastic backs that you usually expect with this style of jewellery. Without them, the earrings don't stay in your ears that well and I actually lost one of mine during the photoshoot. On the whole, however, I was very impressed with my Boho Betty pieces.

abbey, smiling, brushes her hair behind her ear, showing off taupe tassel earrings

Are you a fan of power dressing? What are your favourite smart pieces from your wardrobe? Let me know in the comments.

Until next time,

A x

*The Boho Betty products mentioned in this post were sent to me free of charge, in exchange for a blog post and social media coverage.