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    HISTORY OF...TROUSERSUITS: From Trouser Suit to Power Suit - part 3

    These contemporary times have been blessed with the gradual, historic development of the trouser suit - as discovered in History of the Trousersuit: Social (R)Evolution - worn by women as a statement fashion piece to subvert societal expectations for decades. It is undeniable that embedded feminist agendas have transformed the trouser suit from a mere style choice, to a powerful testimony that defies old-fashioned paradigms. In part 2 of this trousersuit series, Popularising the Trouser Suit, we explored how historical figures, influential fashion designers, and brazen Hollywood starlets paved the way for this clothing revolution, helping to expose the gender-switching style to women around the world and espouse the political motivations behind their choices. Through distorting an originally masculine attire, women who chose to dress in trouser suits instantly contributed to the ongoing fight for the breaking down of gendered limitations that centuries of patriarchy have sown into our societies – all while looking great, of course!

    For our final installment, we delve deeper into the world of politics to discover how notable female politicians have utilised this wardrobe staple to exert groundbreaking changes in politics and break down gender barriers.
    World, sit up and take notice! 

     'Olga Anderson'. Article 'History of Trousersuits: From Trouser Suit to Power Suit'. Source of the image:
    Michelle Obama

    Validation from the male sphere is not what females are seeking by sporting a traditionally masculine wardrobe essential; rather it furthers the empowerment of women irrespective of men – it’s not a competition with men, but rather a challenge to their sense of superiority. Michelle Obama – a woman who already sadly faces preconceived judgement and scrutinisation for the colour of her skin – is an influential and powerful woman who does not shy away from wearing trouser suits, despite the possible risks it might bring to her status. Beyond the White House, Michelle has been successful in creating her own image, one that strays from simply defining her as the ‘President’s wife’, thus proving herself to be as powerful as the men who dominate her world. As a busy woman, she has shown that incorporating a passion for fashion within a busy, professional schedule can be possible and highly effective.

    In her ‘Becoming’ book tour, Michelle’s attire consisted of a variety of pantsuits that ranged from an eye-catching silver suit, to a custom Stine Goya baby pink suit, and bright purple number with a bulky belt to accentuate her feminine silhouette, to name just a few. By dressing in such bold trouser suits, Michelle emphasises her desire for change in political and social environments through her outfit choices, empowering females in her feminine take of what was previously a solely masculine outfit.

    Powerful females often utilise fashion statements - such as trousers suits in male dominated environments - in order to assert themselves and excel. Notorious for her pantsuits, Hillary Clinton established a widespread support network during her 2016 election, built upon social media groups that used Clinton’s pantsuits as a symbol of empowerment amid her political campaign. Fundamental here is the relationship between the trouser suit as a fashion item and as a wider, moral message that explored immigration, race and women’s rights. The pantsuit embodies the fusion of the fashion industry with politics, and this allows for ordinary women who choose to sport a trouser suit to make a political statement in their day-to-day life. In Clinton’s book ‘What Happened’, she explores the reasons why she chooses to wear pantsuits: they make her feel professional, they allow her to fit in amongst her fellow male politicians, the suit contributes to her anti-distraction technique and, lastly, allow her to not ‘overthink’. We can conclude from this that the trouser suit empowers different aspects of femininity: the body, the mind and the workplace.

     'Olga Anderson'. Article 'History of Trousersuits: From Trouser Suit to Power Suit'. Source of the image:
    Hillary Clinton
     'Olga Anderson'. Article 'History of Trousersuits: From Trouser Suit to Power Suit'. Source of the image:
    Halima Aden

    Defying paradigms of gender through this fashion piece is not restricted to political atmospheres, as it transcends into different aspects of culture. The activist, model and designer, Halima Aden, perfectly demonstrates this through the incorporation of the trouser suit in her successful attempts to diversify the beauty industry. During New York Fashion week, at the Messika x Gigi Hadid party, Halima wore an elegant but professional black trouser suit in combination with her signature hijab, which presented her as both editorial and powerful as she contributes towards the fight to defy oppressive feminine guidelines that once limited women in the fashion industry. It is exactly role models such as Halima who we need to support, who take risks with their fashion choices for the benefit of those feeling underrepresented and intimidated by repressive cultural norms. At the young age of 22, Halima ultimately uses her trouser suit ensemble as a tool to attract attention to her powerful qualities as an educated, charitable and beautiful woman.

    The trouser suit mirrors the empowerment of femininity that we at ‘Olga Anderson’ wish to reflect in our clothing: allowing our clients to feel sexy and confident in their attire, whilst accommodating to the practicalities of life. Fundamentally, to transforming the historical trouser suit into a feminine power suit speaks volumes. Nora Lum – best known as Awkwafina – is an American actress, comedian, writer, producer and rapper, who wore a stylish trouser suit when attending the 2019 Oscars. Her suit was head-to-toe pink and encompassed the mighty stamp that women have left on previous masculine garments. With a pussycat bow, plenty of sparkles and a matching purse, Awkwafina established the perfect balance in oozing assertiveness and professionality whilst also expressing her confident, sexy and feminine side.

     'Olga Anderson'. Article 'History of Trousersuits: From Trouser Suit to Power Suit'. Source of the image:
    Nora Lum 'Awkwafina'

    By looking at contemporary female leaders who contribute in setting the path for change and controversy, we can educate ourselves on the powerful impact that fashion can exert on society. Our founder, Olga Anderson, takes inspiration from women such as these, and from the message that styles such as the trouser suit represent, in order to make a name for 'Olga Anderson' clothing and continue to set the path for empowering females through fashion. The political and cultural impact of fashion transcends into our everyday life, where simple wardrobe investments can say more than what initially meets the eye.

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