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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.
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.
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!)