When you think of “power dressing”, sharp shouldered 80s style suits and impeccable tailoring probably spring to mind.
But fast-forward 30-something years, and the conversations surrounding powerful dressing and what your style really says about you, all seem to stem from inner strength and empowerment, something Libyan American journalist, Noor Tagouri knows plenty about.
Sitting down with actress and activist Jameela Jamil, and disability activist and amputee Mama Cax in New York to celebrate the new TommyXZendaya collaboration between American designer Tommy Hilfiger and Zendaya, Noor took the opportunity to discuss and define what “power dressing” means to both women.
Jameela who is the founder of the I Weigh movement, shared that she used to use fashion and make-up as a way to hide in the past, wearing “very, very high heels” and “very, very tiny dresses” even though they didn’t make her feel good about herself, but now she uses fashion “that celebrates what I have” and to bring attention to herself.
“I use fashion as a way to express myself before I even open my mouth because people judge you from the second you walk into a room, especially as a business woman and especially as someone who is in a position of somewhat power and privilege in this industry,” she revealed.
For Mama Cax, drawing attention to herself via brightly coloured outfit choices and make-up has helped her embrace her disability (she lost her right above the knee after she was diagnosed with bone and lung cancer aged 14), something Jameela agreed with.
However, she also shared that starting I-Weigh proved to be the tipping point, and watching "literally almost a million people fight back with me" changed her inner-narrative.
“It’s a movement against shame,” Jameela explained. “It’s teaching us to rethink how we value ourselves. We deserve so much more than what we’ve been fed.”
Her top piece of advice? "Be your best friend. If you wouldn't tolerate something being said to someone you love, then you're not allowed to say it to yourself."
“We’ve been the biggest inner bully our entire life but we need to start being our best friend,” Noor added.