The Power Suit Myth or Reality
Before we talk about the Power Suit, we need to understand what people’s expectations are from it. Much like the 90’s cartoon series He-Man: Masters of The Universe; it is like the sword of magic and mystique that will instantly give you all the strength and courage provided you hold it in your possession and shout, “I Have The Power!”.
Or, is it something much deeper in your personality that will help you reveal your inner strengths and virtues so you can defeat your enemies, be it Prince Adam taking on Skeletor in the cartoons, or you taking on life, work and business with all the politics and drama that goes with it.
The Power Suit Does Exist
In dressing terms and the world of styling and couture, there is something elusive, made of the best of materials and tailoring and is worn to personify the status and stature of the man wearing it. Worn well, it can elevate you to highest levels of success and growth; and worn poorly, you can be reduced to another bystander watching others climb the stairs of grandeur.
Such suits are to be worn with pride, cherished and cared for as they represent the best you can afford for the meetings, presentations and deals worth winning, and the promotions worth getting, and the career and business worth building.
Here’s some things to consider before you go ‘buying’ one or two…
Purpose & Functionality by choosing the right fabric
The purpose of the Power Suit is to exude power, strength and control. It is meant to intimidate with the subtlety of a tiger pouncing on a prey. It is designed with the function of looking clean, meaning business and showing class and composure. It is not loud but soft, it is not bold but subtle, it is not disproportionate but balanced, it is not silly but serious.
The suiting fabric has to be of upmost importance, and the colour, pattern and texture needs to be balanced just right. Too bright, too patterned or too colourful, and you’ve reduced it to an ordinary suit. It is muted but speaks through silence.
The inner lining needs to be muted and classic and can be matched or contrasted without being too noticeable. Bemberg Silk is the best as it has some weight to it and performs better in both warm and cold climates.
After the fabric, the most considered option needs to be the cut and the fit of the suit. It has to be proportionately balanced on the shoulders, to the sleeves and the fall and the drape and the drop of the buttons, front lapels, the back vents – everything.
For the modern man, the Italian Cut signified by Ermenegildo Zegna, Tom Ford, Brioni, Canali, Loro Piana and Kiton speaks of this. It is designed to be fitted around the shoulders with a softer rounded sloped ever so gently, taken in through the middle giving the shape of an inverted triangle on the top or an hour-glass shape overall. It is slimmer in profile and works for men and women in their 30s to 50s. Generally, these cuts are best suited for lightweight and performance wool in Super 130, 140, 150 and above.
For the classic conventional professionals, the English / British Cut signified by Savile Row tailors is preferred. It is square and wide on the shoulders and is in line with the hips giving a slightly boxier fit. It also has a roomier feel and is shaped to accommodate the middle bulge with the pants worn slightly roomy as well. It is preferred by men and women in their 50s to 70s. Generally, these cuts are best suited for mid to heavy weight wool in Super 100, 110 and 120 in brands like Dormeul, Gives & Hawkes, Turnbull & Asser etc.
The advantage of getting a custom tailored suit as opposed to an off-the-rack is basically this – any decent tailor will work on ensuring that the fit is perfect. That the shoulders line up, there is no excess fabric anywhere, and no unnecessary wrinkles anywhere. Sometimes, a soft wrinkle can happen on the back of the shoulder, and it’s only visible if the shoulders are off balance by more than 2 or 3 cm. It can be due to an accident, sports injury or just the body shape.
A perfectly fitted suit should have sleeves that fall just 1.75 to 2.5 cm from the shirt cuff, showing the cuff links ever so gently. Working buttons are a nice touch and will enhance the appeal of the jacket. The back of the jacket should fall clean so when you sit and stand and move, the jacket seems stationary on the top giving an image of control and command.
The English and American tailors prefer the Peak Lapel which sits wide on the shoulder, for example, Tom Ford suits are cut with extra-wide peak lapels that cover the front of the chest pointing to the shoulders. The only issue with this shape is that it doesn’t work for small shoulders or petite shaped men and women. It works for both single and double breasted suits.
The Napoli tailors prefer the Notch Lapel which sits more inwards giving the shoulders more depth and space. It is the most classic shape and works best with single breasted suits. Choice of hand pick threaded stitch on the lapels is upon the wearer. We suggest it more on dark coloured suits than lighter suits.
Here’s a list of some movies and TV series worth watching if you want some design and look inspirations, including movie stars who know how to wear a suit.
- Suits TV Series for men and women, especially lawyers.
- Gordon Gekko in Wall Street 1 & 2, for bankers and financiers.
- All and every James Bond movie for dressing to kill.
- Pierce Brosnan in Thomas Crown Affair and other such movies.
- The Godfather, Goodfellas and other gangster movies.
- The ABC of Power Couples who dress well – Afflecks, Beckhams, Clooneys.
- The Great Gatsby, The Wolf of Wall Street and other Leonardo DiCaprio classics.
- Women pay close attention to Blake Lively, Catherine Zeta Jones, Cate Blanchett, Diane
Keaton, Demi Moore, Emma Watson, Emily Blunt on their preferences to wear suits to
meetings and movie launches.
SPECIAL EVENT: If you’d like to know more, then I will be speaking at a closed door RSVP only Networking Breakfast Event on Thursday, November 7th 2019 from 8 – 10 AM in Baulkham Hills, Sydney. The topic of discussion is Power Suit and How to Dress for Success. You can register for the event on this link with only few seats left – event is FREE: https://www.meetup.com/Work-