A gentleman’s guide to power dressing

The office can be an arena. Here’s the best armour for the boardroom

Yesterday, we advised young up-and-comers on how they should dress for their first job. From plain chinos to reliable brogues, we talked and walked the newly employed through ways not to make a splash, how to be respected and appear professional. Now it’s time to flip the coin.

Power dressing is the big, bold, bombastic side of the office wardrobe. You want to be noticed, you want to be heard and you want to have a signature style. So tighten that double-windsor, button up your waistcoat and strap on your watch – the hour of power is upon us.

A gentleman’s guide to power dressing

Suit it right

Your armour for the boardroom, the suit is the key piece of clothing that will set you above your peers. There are many ways to graduate from a normal suit to a power suit – none involve shoulder pads – but these are our best tips.

Wear a patterned suit – either something with a subtle check, or a chalkstripe. If you want to keep the colouring classic, however, shake up the cut and opt for a double-breasted jacket, which will make you appear wider and more intimidating in confrontational business meetings. To achieve a similar effect, throw on a waistcoat, which naturally offers you an air of superiority and style.

A gentleman’s guide to power dressing

Watch out

A good watch is a key part of power dressing. Opt for a larger dial, on a steel strap, and make sure it’s on show. There’s nothing wrong with frequently glancing down at the time either – this will make you appear hard-pushed for time, in demand and a man of importance.

A gentleman’s guide to power dressing

Tie yourself down

There are certain colours that denote certain traits. Red is the classic tie colour for power dressing – it shows passion, intensity and a propensity for anger – all characteristics people don’t want to face from the other side of the boardroom table. Or, if you think red is a little on the nose, why not go for a gold tie – which sounds ostentatious, but worn conservatively can simply offer an air of exclusivity and importance to your outfit.

A gentleman’s guide to power dressing

Suit and boot

Brogues are all well and good, but there’s nothing so bold as a boot. Don’t go overboard – leave your hiking boots at home and your cowboy boots where they belong, in the bin – but a good pair of well-made leather boots are more versatile than an Oxford or Derby, and show that you’re ready for anything. Suited and booted, so goes the saying, and it couldn’t be more right.

A gentleman’s guide to power dressing

Accessorise accordingly

Once you’ve reached the upper echelons of business, the impact that you make is less through your clothes and more through your reputation and cache. As such, do away with anything that may be considered a gimmick. Admittedly, when you began work, that highly-shined tie pin may have made you stand out in the eyes of your boss. Now you’re on top, however, gimmicks look gratuitous – so whip out your pocket square, wear neutral socks and step away from the tie bar.

Further Reading