5 Rules for Power Fashion — Inspired by Cookie Lyon

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Cookie Lyon of Empire is the fiercest female character on TV right now, and her over-the-top, power fashion sense is always inspiring. With Empire Season 2 just out on DVD and Empire Season 3 kicking off on FOX, Cookie has inspired me to dive into some of her most memorable looks from Season 2.

I set out to write the rules for Cookie’s power-fashion style — and quickly realized that Cookie can’t be contained in a list of dos and don’ts. She dresses the way she lives, meaning only she knows the rules. We have the sense she’s true to herself, but trying to define what that means is tough to do. The only style rule Cookie truly holds to is: anything goes. So roll through this list of power fashion rules with that in mind.

Power Fashion Rule 1. Boots: the Bigger the Better


For Cookie, bare legs are wasted space. If she’s wearing a short skirt or even a solid-colored pant, you can bet she’s pairing it with a boot or lace-up sandal. The intricate, gladiator-themed footwear adds tons of texture and tells us how Cookie approaches the world — as a fighter who’ll take on anything.

Nod to Cookie’s style in a more down-to-earth way by pairing lace-up boots with leggings of the same color. Pair with a feminine tunic and blazer to amp up your assertive factor.

Rule 2. Be Fabulous in Fur


We’ve seen Cookie wear furs of all textures, colors and sizes. (A certain Dr. Seuss rhyme comes to mind: long furs, short furs, red furs, blue furs.) A fur coat or accessory of course adds depth to an outfit, but it also adds bulk. Cookie operates in a world where looks are picked apart, but she certainly doesn’t subscribe to the ‘thin’ definition of feminine beauty. She wears big coats because she’s a big personality, and those lush furs don’t soften her a bit — they make her that much more intimidating.

I love faux fur accessories for winter. You can Cookie-up your style with thick faux stoles, capes and even bracelets. The bigger and thicker the fur is, the more powerful you’ll look (and feel).

Rule 3. Let the Jewelry Be Chunky


Index finger rings, thick gold rope chains, statement hoop earrings and medallion-style necklaces are the accessories Cookie reaches for most often. We rarely see her with minimal jewelry, and we never see her in anything that might be considered dainty. Like her preference for tall boots over bare legs, Cookie generally chooses something thick and sparkly (and expensive) over a bare neck or wrist.

Chunky jewelry may the be easiest Cookie habit to mimic. Be wary of accidentally straying into Mr. T. territory though. A single chunky statement is better than multiple chunky statement pieces, especially when your friends and coworkers know those pieces aren’t the real deal.

Rule 4. Double-down on Bold Patterns


Most regular fashionistas shy away from layering the same busy pattern. Doing so takes the ‘statement’ out of the piece and puts it firmly on the wearer. In other words, when Cookie layers bold patterns, she becomes statement.

This is a true power fashion look that gets attentions and takes tons of confidence to pull off. There’s no way to go into this style strategy softly. Go all the way and make sure your prepared to own it.

Rule 5. Show Your Softer Side


Most often, we see Cookie on the offensive with her style — but not always. Season 2 showed Cookie donning a stunning gold gown with a soft blue fur stole and, later, in lavender velvet. Yes, she’s tough and aggressive and confident. And that’s balanced by her dedication to her own ideals of family and loyalty.

The lesson here: A wardrobe that’s all aggression, all the time becomes very one-dimensional. No matter what your go-to style is, keep testing your range as a fashionista. Change turns heads too!

What’s left for Cookie to wear in Season 3 and beyond? Can she pull off more traditionally feminine styles like florals and silks without losing her edge? Or will she stick with her power fashion go-tos: furs, tall boots, animal prints, etc.? Share in the comments.

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