COMPOSED, ELEGANT, AND AUTHORITATIVE

Lynne Kiesling

I follow in the footsteps of the super-fantastic Manolo and Ann Althouse to agree that it’s incredibly refreshing to see authoritative women like Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice dressing in a fashionable, complex, not-safe-and-blend-into-the-background manner.

And as a fellow knee-high boot afficionado (and athlete), I sense a kindred spirit there …

I think this is a good example of how to combine femininity and authority without being provocative, and I think we need more role models for doing so. Too many women in authoritative positions intentionally dress in “safe” ways to blend into the background, which I think is a damn shame. Your mileage may vary, but I find that walking that authoritative+feminine line makes me more effective at what I do because it makes me feel confident, assertive, and honest, because I’m not trying to hide something or be something I’m not. Honestly, I think it’s an advantage we have over the social constraints on men’s professional fashions (if it’s not blue or white it’s not a shirt, if it’s not red or blue it’s not a tie, etc.).

We should work it, ladies!

UPDATE: Thanks to John Chilton at Emirates Economist for his comment here and this post reminding us that my ruminations about the returns to “dressing for success” have some academic grounding in Dan Hamermesh’s work.

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4 thoughts on “COMPOSED, ELEGANT, AND AUTHORITATIVE

  1. The most fascinating aspect of the “commentary” in the Washington Post is that the folks at the fashion page have apparently convinced the news and OP/ED editors that Secretary Rice is both female and powerful. That’s progress, especially for WaPo! Acknowledgement that she is brilliant, thoughtful and effective may take a while longer.

  2. Re: “walking that authoritative+feminine line”

    After attending a high-powered meeting in DC led by Lynne wearing knee high black boots, I can attest that she not only talks the talk of “walking the authoritative+feminine line”, but also actually walks the walk.

    I think the Manolo, he would be proud.

  3. Re: “walking that authoritative+feminine line”

    After attending a high-powered meeting in DC led by Lynne wearing knee high black boots, I can attest that she not only talks the talk of “walking the authoritative+feminine line”, but also actually walks the walk.

    I think the Manolo, he would be proud.

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