Power Dressing’s New Look: The Oversized Pantsuit

There was a news piece recently that spoke of a change in power codes in the workplace vis a vis the formal tailored suit that we’ve so come to recognise as a trope of leadership. While the suit still has the last word when it comes to business as usual, it’s no longer restricted, stuffy, or plain boring.

The quixotic look made so popular by Katharine Hepburn as the female pin-up remoulding power in the 50s has got an update. At that time the pantsuit came into focus for doing away with the trappings of a corset as a more louche silhouette found favour. In 2019, said suit of the 50s feels constricting. So in came the oversized pantsuit. One that you can lounge in, do a coffee run in, heck even grace the red carpet in (we’re looking at you Lady Gaga).

No longer classified as a boardroom basic, the new supersized suit is doing away with its OG avatar. That image you have of an androgynous Katharine Hepburn, cross-legged in roomy trousers, modest roll neck under a smoking jacket, cigarette precariously placed between fingers, is one to be swapped with Emily Ratajkowski in a tone on tone twinset, on a mid-morning stroll, dog in toe, coffee in hand.

The runway reimagining of the XL suit wasn’t far behind either. For fall/winter 2019, Simon Porte Jacquemus gave the co-ords a grey scale treatment with pops of candy-land colours, while Sacai went head-to-toe utility. But above all, a new pin-up came into focus, as Lady Gaga stepped out in a Marc Jacobs sink-in suit. In her speech at the ELLE ‘Women in Hollywood’ awards late last year, she encapsulated a mood echoed by so many women, as she held her award in her arms: “I decided today I wanted to take the power back. Today I wear the pants.”

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