The most powerful women in the world, ranging in age from 92 – Queen Elisabeth – to 29 – Taylor Swift – have something in common: their own personal style.
Interestingly, they also have one personality trait in common: openness, which includes intellectual curiosity, imagination and artistic interests.
Most women achieve power through their ability to connect with others. So you see, being talkative isn’t that bad after all! Excellent communication skills allow powerful women to expand their reach, influence and impact in the world. And one way they communicate is through their image. They send non-verbal messages with the clothes they wear, expressing their beliefs, values and way of life.
The most powerful woman in the world is the first female Chancellor of Germany since 2005 and the de facto leader of Europe. Merkel has taken Germany from economic crises back to growth, and she leads through persuasion, collaboration and coalitions. “Mummy” as her supporters like to call her, has a very neutral and matronal look. Nobody ever discusses what Merkel is wearing, which I guess is precisely her intention. Throughout her adult life, the German politician has never changed her hairdo or sartorial choices that are very matter-of-fact and functional. Like many powerful men, Merkel doesn’t seem to want to waste time with her wardrobe, so she’s made the black trousers paired with colourful blazers her uniform.
Queen Elisabeth II
The longest-reigning British monarch in history (66 years on the throne) is beloved and respected around the world. The Queen is above the flickering whims of fashion and trends; she has remained true to her style her entire life. Her perfectly tailored ensembles almost only vary in colour, which by the way, she is not afraid to use. The ever-present brooches, pearls and small black bags are a must for the monarch. Queen Elisabeth is a past master at sending messages without uttering a single word. For example, she famously wore a blue hat with yellow flowers that looked like the European Union flag, to open the Parlament, which was seen as a clear “anti-Brexit” sign. During Trump’s first official visit in the U.K., many believe she sent non-verbal messages to the American president with the brooches she wore.
The French managing director of the International Monetary Fund has led the IMF since 2011 through the various crisis around the world. Despite being the head of the male-dominated financial industry, she has kept her femininity. She is extraordinarily sophisticated and chic and balances efficiency and sexiness in the best French style. Lagarde shows with her style that she doesn’t need to look like a caricature “power-lady” wearing masculines suits to be respected in the mainly male world of economics and finance.
The artistic director of Conde Nast and owner of the most perfect bob in the universe, has been a very powerful woman in fashion magazines for decades and some say that Vogue wouldn’t be Vogue if it weren’t for her. Wintour’s immaculate hairstyle, colourful outfits, bold jewellery and dark sunglasses are her signature look. The British fashion editor is the queen of the women-who-lunch style and a fashion icon when it comes to dresses.
The 29-year-old singer is a self-made woman with the power to influence thousands of fans. She boycotted Spotify over low artist royalties and managed to pressure Apple into changing its streaming music service policy. Swift was named the most influential person on Twitter in 2018, even having tweeted only 13 times! Despite being on Forbe’s most powerful women list, the young singer resorts to overly-sexy and revealing flesh-flashing outfits that objectify her, like Beyoncé or Rihanna, which contradicts the female empowerment movement. But we must say we like the fact that she’s a bit curvier nowadays, her healthier body image sets an excellent example for all the young girls who look up to her and want to look like their idol.