personal style

Understated fashion styling to work power play

Fashion styling tips to help you create understated elegance and confidence on the business front.

2228 0

Could a hint of understated elegance in your wardrobe be the secret to becoming a female industry influencer?

According to a study published by the American Psychological Association, leadership styles today value feminine traits such as sensitivity, warmth, and understanding.

Female leaders like Julie Bishop, Michelle Obama and Christine Lagarde have a presence of grace and power that I call understated elegance – a winning combination for success and income.

Julie Bishop

Holding one of the most senior positions in Cabinet, Julie Bishop is the first female foreign minister of Australia. She is also the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party and someone who can really hold her own in any debate.

I had the pleasure of meeting Julie Bishop earlier this year and not only is she incredibly well spoken and intelligent, she is also very down to earth and elegant – a true lady. What a fantastic role model for Australian women.

Michelle Obama

The first African American First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama is an advocate for poverty awareness, physical activity and healthy eating, and has become an inspiration to women worldwide.

She is also a successful lawyer, having worked in some of the biggest law firms in the U.S. and serving as Executive Director for the Chicago Office of Public Allies.

Michelle Obama always presents herself with feminine confidence and class. In 2009 she was voted as one of Vanity Fair’s “Top 10 Best Dressed People”.

Christine Lagarde

In 2007, Christine Lagarde became the first female Minister of Economic Affairs, Finance and Employment in France.

Before entering politics, she was a lawyer, senior executive and the first female chairperson at a large international law firm.

Christine Lagarde has been the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund since 2011 and has been regarded as one of the world’s most powerful women by Forbes Magazine.

It is a combination of subtle details and grounded self-confidence that creates the total package. Understated elegance that reflects credibility, allowing the women we’ve highlighted to be visible, have influence and really make an impact.

Understated elegance could be your secret to becoming a female industry influencer.

In my work as a personal branding and image specialist, I empower businesswomen to recognise their strengths so that they can position themselves for greater visibility and success. Do you know where your greatest strengths lie? Could your feminine qualities be your best assets?

 Do you trust your intuition?
 Do you have high emotional intelligence?
 Do you have advanced communication & relationship building skills?
 Does your presence exude confidence, elegance and class?

Here are three practical tips to help you access the power of understated elegance:


Become aware of the subtle cues of your body language and mannerisms. Practice being calm and graceful in your stance and movements, without fidgeting. Make friendly eye contact and let your posture and facial expressions show warmth, interest and confidence.


Understated elegance is not about being flamboyant or having all the attention on you, but when you do speak, be clear, confident and expressive. Enhance your presence by modulating your speech i.e. varying your pitch, volume, speed, and energy level.


Confidence comes from feeling great about yourself. Don’t underestimate the power of stylish, comfortable clothes that are structured and influential, yet feminine and elegant. Two great examples are the power dress and the tapered blazer, tastefully matched with a feminine accessory like a necklace, broche or scarf.

Subscribe to Financy®

Get your Financy fortnightly fix with Financy Rewards, content and more. Plus each quarter you'll receive the latest Financy Women's Index, helping you keep pace with women's financial progress.

In this article