Today, we’re going to dive into what goes into a “power suit“. What exactly is it, what personality does it convey, and where should you be wearing them?

Power suits are a category of formal suits defined by a more traditional tailoring style including wider lapels, more relaxed fit, heavier shoulder padding, and longer length. However, power suits combine those old-school elements with modern boldness in either color or pattern. In theory, any suit can be a power suit as long as you have the details down pat, and the confidence to rock it.

Let’s get started.

men wearing navy suit with orange tie, gray suit with striped red tie, and brown suit with light brown tie

A power suit is a particular suit style that strides the line of conventional boldness. They exude poised confidence, dominate board rooms, and turn heads wherever they may be – think of how Gatsby would dress. They come in many forms and are solidified by the patterns and colors that they are worn in – usually with distinct patterns and dark, commanding hues. 

Often associated with power dressing, power suiting is often seen on the likes of wall street sharks or trial-of-the-century lawyers, but that doesn’t mean you can’t wear them if you don’t fit those descriptions.

Let’s get into why you should always have a power suit in your wardrobe. 

Why You Should Invest In Power Suits

Everyone should have at least one power suit in their wardrobe arsenal for when an occasion calls for extra armor worthy of New York Fashion Week. Really, you don’t want to be stepping into an important client meeting wearing a lackluster zoot suit that doesn’t present you with the right attitude. And while not everyone is Beau Brummell, rest assured that when the time comes, you’ll want a look that steals attention like Lady Gaga’s crazy outfits, but screams confidence and competence. 

They may not be something you consider when you’re buying your first suit (you’ll want to start with the basics), but once you have your fundamentals added, we’d highly recommend you make your next addition something on the bolder side fit for a dinner with Meghan Markle.

Power Suit Styles: American vs. British vs. Italian

Even though they’re mostly defined by their sartorially conservative colors and patterns, geography adds its own nuances depending on nationality. We highly recommend you brush up on British vs. American vs. Italian Suit Styles, but we can give you the low-down on key tailoring differences you can expect. 

british vs american vs italian power suit styles


British Power Suits 

First, we have the British cut characterized by a highly-structured and perfect fit look. It brings a fair amount of formality to play with its defined shoulders with thick shoulder pads, narrow sleeves, high armholes and typically has surgeon’s cuffs (functional sleeve buttons). Because of their longstanding tailoring traditions, British suits project enhanced functionality, authority, and attention to detail.

American Power Suits

The American style is straighter, looser-fit, and features a soft silhouette that pairs with light shoulder pads, loose sleeves, low armholes, no darts, and a near-universal single-breasted jacket with a single vent. They are more comfortable than other regions and offer plenty of room to breathe without looking unprofessional. American suits are (we hate to say it) often seen as the least stylish and most dated of the three styles. If you want to really focus on the “power” aspect when suiting up, you should consider the other options.

Italian Power Suits

If you’re looking to really step up your game, Italian-style dress wear brings elegance to the table. The Italian obsession with beauty prioritizes silhouette aesthetics and lightness over all else. Highly tailored, the Italian version fits close to the body and features a tapered waist, high armholes, and very little shoulder padding. This results in sleeker, more natural-fitting suits and an incredibly tasteful way to dress for success. 

Examples of Power Suits You Need To Own

With targeted advertising, you would have seen the likes of Yves Saint Laurent’s Le Smoking tuxedos or a Giorgio Armani double-breasted suit worthy of the influential men that grace the covers of the Wall Street Journal. If you want to portray strength to the world around you, an era-defining power suit can still be affordable!

Power Suit #1: Gray Herringbone Blue Stripe Flannel Suit

Our beautiful Gray Herringbone Blue Stripe Flannel Suit brings a few factors to the table that elevate it to power suit status. First, its dark and bold gray hue adds mystery and intrigue, while its blue stripes claim attention and attract the eye. Its high-end fabric made in Italy by Vitale Barberis Canonico ensures the highest standard in quality, and it’s made into an intriguing flannel that is unique and distinct. 


Power Suit #2: Blue Glen Plaid Suit

The powerful influence of this Blue Glen Plaid Suit comes from the subtle details of the glen plaid pattern etched across the handsome blue hue of this suit. Wearing subtle patterns like these automatically distinguish suits that bare them from all of the others and is a great example of what it means to power dress. If you’re seeking classic and bold menswear worthy of spirited suiting across runways, this is it.


Power Suit #3: Dark Gray Sharkskin Suit

While its pattern is subtle, this Dark Gray Sharkskin Suit is a classic. It’s a perfect addition to a “power suit” collection. Made of high-quality material, this masterpiece suiting is extremely sleek and respectable, which are valuable qualities you want in your suits. 

How To Wear a Power Suit

Wear your suit with confidence and pride, or you’ll betray the very meaning of power suit. Stand tall, speak up, and embrace the “power”!

#1: Wear it at the right event.

Power suits aren’t the best pick for every occasion. They may work great in your more conservative office environments, but we wouldn’t recommend you strut in wearing a power suit and your polished heels every day. Specifically, pull out your power suit when you need to be the focus of attention. They are excellent for formal occasions like weddings, anniversary dinners, or any event where you need to step it up a notch. But don’t wear them for anything that doesn’t demand the utmost formality – meaning, weekday cocktails with friends or your child’s 5th birthday would be fine in your other clothes. 

how to wear a power suit with two gentlemen posing

#2: Choose the best Power Suit colors and patterns.

The true source of “power” in these suits comes from the patterns and hues that they come in, but it’s also important to note that quality is crucial. Poor fit (we always recommend made-to-measure), a wrinkled shirt or lapel, or a suit made of anything but sleek materials all detract from a powerful image. Think of it as an investment. You only need a few and you want them to be suitable for the formal gatherings you’ll be attending.

Pinstripes, windowpanes, and even houndstooth are classic examples of patterns that define them. Pair with a bright, eye-catching color, such as midnight blue, charcoal gray, or even a dark brown.

#3: Pair with a Power Tie.

What makes a power tie is twofold: the color and the style of knot. Select a color that has a bold, contrasting hue compared to the suit. Red is the most classic power tie color, as it’s traditionally associated with strength and power. Then, choose a knot that has a bit more heft, like a Full Windsor or Pratt. This will help continue filling out the more imposing details of the outfit.

man in navy blue power suit against wooden wall

Frequently Asked Questions

Are power suits in fashion?

Designers are constantly reimagining these professional two-piece suits. Because power suits aren’t a daily outfit, you can break them out when the occasion calls. When used sparingly, showing up in your power suit will command the appropriate respect. They’ll remain prominent in the world of men’s and women’s fashion.

Why should I wear a power suit?

Wear it when you want to look as confident as you want to feel. Do you have a critical meeting where you need to command a room? Don your power suit, and rule the roost.

Why is it called a power suit?

Power suits are defined by details that are typically larger and more imposing, giving the wearer a certain presence. It’s almost like natural order, where predators often have ways of making themselves appear larger or stronger. Contrast this with modern trends towards smaller lapels, slimmer fits, and you’ll understand. 

Why is power dressing important?

It contributes to how others perceive you and demands attention and respect. It gives you an air of importance and expresses confidence, strength, and authority. There will always be an event or situation that requires you to bring your A-game. That’s what dressing for success is all about. Especially when formal occasions come into play, you don’t want to be the one coming in underdressed and mediocre. However, overdressing has the opposite effect, and can lead to ridicule.

How do you clean your power suit?

Always pay close attention to your care labels. Dry cleaning (never in a washing machine), proper storage, and steamers for wrinkles are essential in maintaining its integrity. We have an in-depth article outlining everything you need to know when learning how to clean a suit that you should check out. 

More Helpful Guides About Suits

If you want to look great in suits, arm yourself with knowledge about the suiting universe. Remember, it’s more than about it fitting!

  1. When you’re considering the different elements and styles, a great suit colors guide can help assure your chosen tailoring is elegantly on point.
  2. You’re wearing exclusive fabrics with intricate styling details, so it’s only logical you should avoid suit mistakes! While some fashion rules might seem pretty straightforward, others you might not be aware you’re guilty of.
  3. Suiting 101: An Introduction to Suit Jacket Construction will give you the ins and outs of how these fashion-forward pieces are made.
  4. Let’s talk about the different types of suit pockets and why they matter!
  5. Some alterations can dramatically uplift your look. But some might be more expensive than they’re worth. So here are some suit alteration cost considerations to think about before making that decision.

In Conclusion

Wear those power suits with pride when you want to dress for success. Remember, power dressing is about being the elevated version of yourself, where you let your clothes do the talking. Project that confidence and that strength!