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32/33 Brixton Village
Coldharbour Lane
London SW9 8PR
United Kingdom

Mon-Sat: 10.30am–6pm

Sun: 11am–6pm

How What We Wear Can Empower Our Everyday
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How What We Wear Can Empower Our Everyday

· · Comments

From personal experience, the clothes I wear play a significant role in shaping my sense of self. As I’ve evolved, so has my wardrobe; becoming simpler over the years as I move away from relying on fashion to set myself apart, and develop alternative forms of self expression.

Yet, while I undergo a never ending process of change, there are certain items that I return to season after season, year upon year.

Similar to my oldest friends, these key pieces are my go-to when feeling off-balance and anxious about the day ahead. They include a vintage Mary Quant coat found soon after I watched The True Cost and vowed never to shop agin; an Ace & Jig top that I’d wear everyday if it were socially acceptable; some wide leg tapered trousers that make me look like Charlie Chaplin but are so comfortable I just can’t give them up; and the dress I wore as my sister’s bridesmaid, which has now seen countless friends say their vows.

Yet, while I undergo a never ending process of change, there are certain items that I return to season after season, year upon year.

So as much as I’m wary about the sometime fickle nature of fashion, there’s something uniquely important about the role of clothes to improve mind and mood – particularly for women. And being International Women’s Day, we decided to explore the psychology of dressing with a few of our favourite successful and stylish women. Finding out what makes them feel powerful, and how the clothes they wear empower them in their every day.

British fashion commentator and Professor of Diversity, Caryn Franklin MBE | Image credit: Michelle Beatty

Caryn Franklin, MBE

Professor of Diversity. Pro-social Fashion Activist.

What makes you feel powerful?

My long grey hair makes me feel powerful when I connect to the centuries of female wisdom and resilience that has gone before me.

Sarah Ditty

Policy Director, Fashion Revolution and Sustainability Advisor, OnLoan

What makes you feel powerful?

Music and dancing makes me feel powerful. There are certain songs that make me feel like I can fly. When I dance feeling that my body can move me in such physical and expressive ways makes me appreciate being alive and healthy.

A particular item in your wardrobe that makes you feel in some way better able to face the day?

A leather biker jacket always makes me feel like my true self — sorry vegan friends! I have owned exactly two classic leather biker jackets in my life. The first one I had for over 16 years until someone stole it from me at a restaurant. I was absolutely distraught about it. That was so many years of the leather forming perfectly to my body and so many memories of seminal moments of my life happening while wearing it. My mother bought me the first one when I was a teen, so she bought me a new one the second time too. I still have it and wear it almost religiously.

Nicola St Louis | Image credit: Gung-Ho Design.

Nicola St. Louis

Anthropologie EU – District Visual Manager

What makes you feel powerful?

Strangely enough I can feel at my most powerful when I’m halfway through an intensive and dynamic yoga class and I feel like I’ve got nothing left to give. I’ll close my eyes, breathe and listen to my body. Almost immediately my chest will open and it’s like there’s a Powerball glowing inside it. I’ll reach up and that energy will burst forth from my chest and into the air. it’s incredible! It’s almost like I have to lose it all to gain it all.

A particular item in your wardrobe that makes you feel in some way better able to face the day?

If there are some serious (and actually, some not so serious) shenanigans to be had, I will instinctively reach for my suit. I’m working on getting some more colourful options – but my favourites at the moment are a bright emerald green combo with an oversized jacket, or my super wide leg black suit….all options Always worn with trainers! Accessorise that with a strong sense of self and your own personal ‘walking into unfamiliar territory’ soundtrack. And you’re ready for anything!

 

Frankie Holah | Personal Trainer L3

Frankie Holah

Personal Trainer L3 / Ante & Post Natal / Calisthenics Coach

What makes you feel powerful?

Right now, it would have to be growing a human… pregnancy has given me such a feeling of the ultimate power of womanhood!

Pre pregnancy would have to be pull ups… they’re such a marker of strength (for both men and woman) and so definitely made me feel powerful!!

A particular item in your wardrobe that makes you feel in some way better able to face the day?

My bright red leggings… for everyday life and coaching they just always make me feel great when I put them on… that Wonder Woman Lycra feeling! And even better they’re made of 79% plastic bottles… so all round positive feels.
"pull ups... they’re such a marker of strength (for both men and woman) and so definitely made me feel powerful!." - Frankie Holah