The Evolution of the Power Suit
Throughout history, structured pant suits have been associated with power and authority; therefore, they were considered menswear. Women chose to wear dresses stilettos over pencil skirts and blazers. Fast forward to 2018, men’s inspired women outfits are all the rage. Luxury fashion houses take pride in designing custom power suits for women. Although suiting is now considered ‘hip’ and ‘happening’ for women, this journey took decades.
It was not overnight that women custom power suits become a thing of fashion. For starters, many women preferred feminine dresses and gowns, over the sharp and crisp suits that were considered constrained and stuffy. It wasn’t until 1914 when iconic fashion legend Coco Chanel designed the very first suit for women incorporating a fur jacket with ankle-length shirt. What she did was considered a fashion marvel at that time, catalyzing the movement of structured suiting being accepted as womenswear.
1963 remains a significant year when it comes to the fashion history of women suits, since it was the year that Jackie Kennedy received a pink Chanel suit from President John F. Kennedy. The vibrant power suit sent a strong message across that the suits were as much classy and fabulous for ladies as any satin dress or silk gown.
All hail to the French Fashion Designer André Courrèges for expanding the pant suit from casual to formal attire. By 1964, women all over were wearing pants for formal events. Prior to that, pants for women were considered a casual street wear, something one would be frowned upon if found wearing to an event or dinner.
In 1966, Yves Saint Laurent followed the women power suits trend and designed the first ever exclusive tuxedo for women. Later, in an interview, the designer called it one of the most important designs of his life. To date, a revamped version of the said women tuxedo remains a part of the luxury fashion label.
Today, women everywhere are comfortable wearing pieces similar to their male counterparts. Celebrities, businesswomen and socialites adorn suits with ease. The power suit has come a long way in its journey to acceptance.