Favorite Looks from 5 Inspirational Women + Chance to Win $150 (Sponsored)

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Ladies, this is a sponsored post, which means compensation was provided by Zenni Optical. Rest assured, all opinions are my own.

Fashion is not trivial. It is a large part of how you brand yourself to the world. Making deliberate choices about your appearance on the daily does not make you weak or superficial — it’s a sign that you are in control of who you are. (And, shout out to my fellow budget fashionistas: when you take the extra step of making smart financial decisions about your personal style, you’re even more of a power gal.)

History is filled with stories of strong women who also had a strong sense of personal style — Coco Chanel, Mary Quant, Katharine Hepburn are just a few. And today we have Park Geun-hye, Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama, Carli Lloyd, Jennifer Lawrence and so many more showing the world how women can lead and inspire, with grace and style. This post is dedicated to these women, and the unsung women leaders all around us — you and me included.

Enter for a Chance to Win a Pair of Glasses Worth Up to $150

Since this is a long post, I’m putting the contest details up front. I have a Zenni Optical gift card good for a pair of glasses worth up to $150 to give away! Leave a comment on this post about the women who inspire you. Or, share your thoughts on your favorite pair of Zenni frames. Share your comment by June 30 and I’ll contact the randomly selected winner by July 7. UPDATE: I’m extending the entry period until July 15.

Now, on to the looks we love from inspirational women!

#1 Park Geun-hye

Park Geun-hye, the current president of South Korea, is one of the world’s most powerful women. She truly is a woman leading in a man’s world. The data proves it. According to Time.com, South Korea is the world’s 11th largest economy, but ranks 108th on the world gender-gap index. More specifically, a woman in South Korea gets paid about 39% less than a man who does the same job.

Geun-hye’s style is serious and conservative. As you’d expect from a high-ranking leader, she’s all about the monochrome power suit. She does like to let her fashion peek through her powerful demeanor with unique and locally crafted accessories. And the people notice. In 2013, she was photographed with a cloth lavender wallet and the piece quickly became the hottest must-have in town. Oh, and did I mention the cost of this little accessory? $3.

Source

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What to Copy from This Look

Geun-hye’s color choice is brilliant here. The muted gold jacket is a nice departure from traditional gray or navy, and she pairs it well with a black top and coordinating necklace. Without the wallet, her outfit is perfectly acceptable and appropriate. But throw in that lavender clutch and the whole ensemble speaks of sophistication. Choose accessories you love, and then use contrast to make them the star of your ensemble.

#2 Oprah Winfrey

Of course I’d include Oprah in this tribute; she’s a self-made woman who’s raised millions of dollars in support of educating and empowering women. She’s also very real, which makes her an amazing role model. We have seen her, literally, through thick and thin and from casual to formal. Her Instagram feed alone should be named the 5,000 looks of Oprah. And in all those thousands of looks, she carries herself with dignity and style.

On our way to red carpet. See you there. #OSCARS

A post shared by Oprah (@oprah) on

This elegant number flatters with its criss-cross detailing and waist-height belt. The size of the belt is perfect — adding definition to her waist without creating weird body angles like a smaller belt might. The dress is fitted above the thigh and free-flowing below, which means Oprah’s showing off her sexy curves without taking it too far.

What to Copy from This Look

Remember when drop-waisted dresses were in style in the ‘80s? Well I do, because I look terrible in them. Likewise, Oprah knows what works with her body. If you are uncertain about what styles work for you, invite a few friends out for a shopping day. Try on a range of styles and have your girls take photos. A photo of yourself can give you enough space to be objective. Learn what works and start shopping for those styles. (This also makes for more efficient shopping, if you’re into that!)

You also might like these:

  • When people ask First Lady Michelle Obama to describe herself, she doesn’t hesitate to say that first and foremost, she is Malia and Sasha’s mom.

    But before she was a mother — or a wife, lawyer, or public servant — she was Fraser and Marian Robinson’s daughter. The Robinsons lived in a brick bungalow on the South Side of Chicago. Fraser was a pump operator for the Chicago Water Department, and despite being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at a young age, he hardly ever missed a day of work. Marian stayed home to raise Michelle and her older brother Craig, skillfully managing a busy household filled with love, laughter, and important life lessons.

  • Great Post, Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Megan

    Thanks BF and Zenni Optical for reminding us to throw some love to the women who have raised us, changed us, and inspired us. So to my mom and my sister, thanks for showing me what power and perseverance look like. And shoutout to all the other women in my life who have taught me to stand taller than I am, to stop apologizing so much, and to love myself through it all.

    Gina Rodriguez is my favorite power-celeb at the moment. She relentlessly stands for female empowerment in media (and life), speaking out against sexism, racism, body shaming, and more. Her lead role on Jane the Virgin has gotten her a Golden Globe – all in all this lady is kicking butt! And she is a fashionista herself. Her recent feature in Women’s Health showcased her style both out on the town and in the boxing gym!

    • Catherine Brock

      Gina Rodriguez – great one to spotlight! Thanks for sharing —

      Catherine

  • Molly

    My sister is practically a superhero! She’s killing it in Brooklyn, about to start a Master’s degree while continuing to work full time. She’s competitive, which fuels her in all her endeavors, and she’s crazy smart too. She’s thoughtful and grounded and true to herself. She is definitely a source of inspiration for me, and has “girl power” written all over her. Thanks BF for reminding me to take time to appreciate all my female role models– that crazy sister of mine, my super smart and go-get-em mom, and all my inspiring female coworkers and friends!

  • Thank you so much for such an inspirational post! Everyone is different and each has their own, unique style. One can achieve anything they put their mind to, as long as you always believe in yourself, don’t be ashamed of who you truly are as a person (be yourself!) and never give up on your dreams. The women you’ve mentioned are excellent examples and an inspiration to any woman!

    • Catherine Brock

      Allison,
      Thank you for your comments. You are right — amazing things are possible when you believe in yourself.
      Catherine

  • Park Geun-hye has one of my favorite style and as my opinion Without the wallet her look will also beautiful but with the the wallet, She looks wonderful.

    • Catherine Brock

      Praful,
      Thanks for sharing! I agree — that wallet really sets the whole ensemble up.
      Catherine

  • Deborah D’Amico

    The beauty of simplicity in fashion proved by these women is flattering, budget wise and timeless.
    Thank you for the information!

    • Catherine Brock

      Deborah,
      Of course! Do you have other women to add to the list? Maybe a sister or mom? Feel free to give them props here!
      Catherine

  • Judy S

    I admire Iris Apfel and bloggers such as the Style Crone and Not Dead Yet. Let’s face it, we will all be of an advanced age one day, and these women rock it out, demonstrating their unique takes on fashion while not running around pretending to be 30 years younger. They own their age and their style! They are good examples for women of all ages to do the same.

    • Catherine Brock

      Judy,
      Thanks for sharing. Yes, there’s something very elegant about owning yourself, age and all!
      Catherine