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I am young looking 50 year old and a business consultant. I understand that a suit is an excellent way to portray authority. My problem is that most suits come with trousers and are made out of stiff fabric. I am very feminine and prefer soft flowing fabric and skirts. What can I do to still power dress but yet express my femininity. I find a lot of the skirt suits make me look old and frumpy, but I do not like trousers. For suggestions I would be grateful.

For the look you want, avoid the “suit” department. Instead, shop in the dressy separates department, often called “Designer Sportswear.” You can create a suit-like silhouette with matching pieces, but design the look to your fashion personality. A better fit is also more feasible as different sizes are available for tops and bottoms, which most women need. Few women wear the same size skirt or pants as they do tops, blouses, and jackets.

Ultra stiff fabrics suggest low quality. Buy the highest quality that your budget allows for greater fabric options, particularly with softer fabrics. Even in the medium price-point range, matching and/or coordinating separates, (jackets, skirts, pants, etc.) are frequently available in silk and other blends that have a soft feel and drape to the fabric.

True power dressing demands at least a tailored jacket. You can then create a feminine look with how you put the rest of your outfit together and how you accessorize. Anything less than a tailored jacket, such as an overblouse, unstructured knit jacket, or cardigan sweater can only qualify for “soft power,” if that.

Tailored jackets worn with long skirts (straight and full designs) can indeed look frumpy, depending upon your body type and height. The taller you are the better for that silhouette. Short skirts paired with tailored jackets generally create a younger look, unless the wearer’s calves and ankles are ultra thick. The short trumpet skirt, which is straight from the waist and becomes slightly fuller just at the hem, is the most feminine-style short skirt. It looks best when worn at the knee or just below. Both short and long jackets look stylish with this length and skirt style. Avoid the mid-calf length for any skirt style, as it ages any woman; it’s truly frumpy.

Perhaps you have not tried pants that have a feminine cut versus the cut of classic trousers. For example, pants with a wider cut leg (a flowing style) and those that have side or back closures (versus front ones) are considered more feminine cuts. Trousers typically have fly-front openings and are extremely tailored in style, which make them appear and feel more manlike. These factors may account for your dislike of them. I recommend that you try some other pant cuts, the more feminine styles, before ruling out pants completely. Yet, you just may not be a pants person, regardless of cut.

Keep thinking young!

Best of luck to you,
Sherry Maysonave


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