It was Bill Cunningham who said, “The point is that fashion is the armor to survive the reality of everyday life.” We at Dressed Up Ducks love fashion for how it lets us insert art and beauty into the everyday. Often, it’s a pair of trusty boots, a comfy sweater or a necklace, passed down through generations, that gives us what we need to get through the day. So we thought now was a better time than any to highlight the clothes that give us power. We hope that during this tumultuous time, you are finding the strength that you need.
These are my power pants. I never really considered myself a powerful woman until recently. I’m not saying that these pants sealed the deal and made me think, “I AM powerful! I finally see it!” But now, more than ever, it is easy for women to feel defeated, and sometimes, a token as small as a good pair of pants can give the extra umph to feel confident and powerful throughout the day.
Perhaps my favorite perk of these pants is the elastic waistline. There’s honestly nothing better than a secretly comfortable pant. I got them from Uniqlo, AKA the “I mean business but I’m also laid-back” store. When it comes to details, pinstripes have always been a classic statement in my eyes. These subtle blue pinstripes mean business.
I usually pair these pants with a simple shoe and a classic top or sweater. It is important for me to feel comfortable in order to feel confident. I don’t want my outfit to portray someone that I am not, and I am a lady of comfort.
I’ve realized that in times of distress, it is really easy to hide behind an outfit. Instead, I’ve been trying to let my outfit evoke a message. Today, my message is that I’m a strong, powerful woman.
Today I am wearing a pair of my favorite sneakers, some classic black jeans, a turtleneck sweater and my everyday jewelry. This is a pretty typical outfit for me. I try to keep my outfits as simple as possible. In order to feel powerful, I mostly aim to wear things that keep me comfortable, that I can move around easily in.
I think it’s really important to not forget about how I felt after I heard about the election results. Around the time when everyone started to realize Donald Trump would likely win, I was sitting in my friend’s room watching a speech President Obama had given for Hillary Clinton’s campaign and just broke down crying. I don’t want to ever forget that. I hope this feeling sticks with me for the rest of my life, so I can use it to keep going, to keep fighting for everything I believe in. It’s really empowering to be on a campus where what feels to be a majority of the people around you are just as angry and as willing to work for change as you are.
Although Clinton’s campaign wasn’t perfect, I was really looking forward to having contributed to electing the first woman president in U.S. history. However, I’ve found a lot of comfort in the thought that somewhere, the first woman president is watching this all happen, is making plans and will make it happen.
When it comes to clothes that make me feel powerful, I pay attention to the heritage of each item. Millions of people have labored to build and change the world wearing Levi’s. These 511s remind me that anything can be done in pair of well-fitted jeans. Converse is a classic American brand that has been worn by the masses for the last century. They are a staple, casual shoe and have been worn by people of all backgrounds. It keeps me inspired to know that remarkable things have been done in that shoe. I love choosing socks to create a personal detail for the outfit. This Americana t-shirt I wear reminds me to not give up fighting for what is right for everyone. This particular denim jacket is secondhand from a thrift store. I love the Eugene Corvette Club badge on the front and the In-N-Out logo with a classic Corvette embroidered on the back. It is one of my favorite articles of clothing, and I always feel great wearing it.
These days, it is important to remember that your voice is heard. You speak loudly with what you say and what you wear, so use both to make a difference. Each of us has the power to change and to stand up for our fellow humans against hate. Our passion will be the main force for positive change.
In this outfit, I am me. I don’t feel like I’m conforming to what’s acceptable, nor do I feel uncomfortable. My lifestyle craves the outdoors, breathing fresh air and misty treetops during Oregon winters. When I wear outfits such as these, I am who I strive to be. On the path to a professional career that forces you to dress nicely, I do not always feel in my element. Confidence is something I feel surrounded by in the outdoors, when I’m comfy in my flannel atop a mountain. Do I embody Northwest style? Probably. Is it way too typical? I’d say so. But I feel powerful, strong and most passionate when I’m dressed in such a way that I can be free. After the election, my chest was so pained I could not sleep, but I did not let that change my passion for change. The things I am pained over are endless, but the note that global warming is a ‘hoax,’ embodies the way I’m choosing to live: in love. I see global warming affecting us daily. I see people disturb our forests and trash our rivers. The Earth provides us with so much. I do not and will not see climate change as a “hoax.” Above all, I’ve chosen to love the Earth, taste the fresh air in delight and pick up after others. Because I want to love. And I think this is what the election is all about: continuing to push love for ourselves, others and the environment, which will love us right back.
Clothes and I have always had a complicated relationship. Sometimes, I feel like I’m on the top of my game and can strut around with a mild form of confidence, and other times, I’ll cry in the dressing room after putting on a pair of jeans. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve been able to develop a style that empowers me. Long gone are my years of brightly colored eye shadow and layered tank tops. My color palette has switched to neutrals. Peeking into my closet, you’ll find a rainbow from black to white with a handful of nudes speckled in between. I find these hues to be the most flattering and the most stylish. I like to think that my thoughts and creativity can fill in for the color that isn’t there in my clothes.
I’ll always choose heels over flats, and I’d much rather be dressed up than down. My choice of nude, deep-colored lipsticks have confused and drawn comments from lots of men whose not-so-nice opinions make me want to wear them even more. I feel there is a fine line between using negative comments for empowerment and using them to tear yourself apart. As someone who’s headed into the fashion editorial world, I’ve struggled with how I’ll stay unique to myself in an industry that’s focused on copying one another and how I can stay confident in the sartorial choices I make. It can be hard sometimes to feel confident in what you put on every time you wake up, but I think it’s important to remember that any negative comment from someone else is just a reminder that you’re sticking to what makes you happy, not other people.
My style makes me feel powerful because it is something that I have total creative control over. If I have a piece of clothing that I am not particularly fond of, I will refashion it until I love it, whether that is by cutting it, sewing it or just wearing it in a different way. I feel the best when I am creating, and I love to incorporate this into my personal style. I think that I cope with my life through creativity: It helps me calm down and feel at ease with the world. When I am creatively inspired, I am happy and excited about my life. I think that a lot of art has been created in moments of pain, so I think it’s important for people to channel painful emotions into creating. We don’t have to be making perfect things, either. A lot of beauty can be found in experimentation. Right now, I am experimenting with my style, my work, my entire life. Maybe being okay with that process is what life is all about.
Considering everything that has been going on in our nation and world, especially the issues that have been brought to light with the recent election results, it’s easy to discount the importance of personal style. But just as people across the United States have been making verbal statements through peaceful protests and rallies, their clothes, too, communicate beliefs. I have seen political and social statements communicated through Black Lives Matter t-shirts, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton buttons, Donald Trump hats and everything in between. During times like these, clothing can have great power for being an extension of our own selves, thoughts and feelings. Personally, I feel powerful in outfits like this. While my cactus shirt from Argentina, thrifted denim jacket, Topshop ripped jeans and vintage wooden clogs don’t necessarily communicate any serious message outwardly, they hold personal meaning when you really think about it. While I cannot control Oregon’s sporadic weather, the outcome of the election or the changes that our country will undergo in the future, I have the ability to express myself through what I choose to put on my body and am empowered because of it.
Clothing both reflects and affects who I am. Sometimes, I take for granted how much what I am wearing can impact my day. There is such a confidence boost that comes from being able to look in the mirror and genuinely love yourself. While clothes shouldn’t define who we are in the world, it strongly influences it. Clothing has always given me strength, whether it be through wearing it or through the process of finding certain pieces that speak to me. Personally, I am consistently drawn to clothes that I feel most comfortable in. They tend to be fairly neutral colors that I can spice up with a few unique rings or a favorite pair of shoes. I base the way I dress on what makes me feel most like myself. My heart beams when I’m shopping with a friend and she exclaims, “this looks just like you,” because then I know my personality is really shining through in what I wear.
I believe that our ability to wear what we want as a form of speaking to who we are is an incredibly powerful right that we have but don’t always consider. I also believe that our emotional strength and dignity should be what empowers us most. Yes, clothing strongly enhances our internal feelings, but especially as a woman in today’s world, clothing should not be the only empowering aspect of our lives. With the recent turn of events in our government, I have felt a better sense of community and closeness to my family and loved ones. Clothes may be a confidence booster or provide a sense of comfort, but nothing can give me strength in the way my family and friends do. A shirt can rip, a dress can be replaced, a pair of shoes can be outdated as the years pass, but the strength and support from my loved ones is unending.
Miranda Sarah Einy
I feel most powerful behind my bushy, unruly eyebrows that grow thick because of my Middle Eastern roots from Iraq. I feel most powerful with my brown, crescent-shaped eyes that squint when I smile and mimic those of my charismatic older brother. I feel most powerful wearing my opal Hamsa necklace that never gets taken off, a commitment to my Jewish heritage and my pride for Judaism and Israel alike. I feel most powerful in red, a color that embodies me and the qualities I stand for – passion, love, intensity and strength. I feel most powerful in my Kate Spade black and gold watch, a present from my loving parents who always taught me the art of sophistication and elegance. I feel most powerful behind my name – Miranda Sarah Einy – and who I am as an identity, an existence and an experience. I feel most powerful being in sync with who I’ve been in the past, who I am in the present and who I’ll be in the future. I am powerful. As you are, too.
Whenever I need to concentrate, I put my hair up. I push my sleeves up. Whenever I want to feel confident, I wear a watch. I clonk around in heels. I don’t shy away from glitter. For me, power does not come from comfort. I like to feel slightly awkwardly, slightly off-kilter. I like clothes that give me this feeling. I like knowing that my look is a bit too much for a college town. As a teenager, I hid behind my style: spiked shoes, crinoline skirts and purple and gold lipstick. But it was constricting, being defined by what I was wearing. Today, I find power in vintage clothes that have been worn by countless women before me. I zealously embrace the feminine. To wear a dress and be powerful is a political statement, and one I am confident to make.