In this installment of “What’s Your Power Suit?” Lesley Yadon—a coach specializing in new moms who are struggling with worry, overwhelm and guilt—shares what to wear to feel powerful in your day-to-day life.
PS: Tell us about yourself and your work.
LY: I’m a wife, mother and entrepreneur who loves yoga and beautiful coats.
I specialize in coaching new moms who are struggling with worry, overwhelm and guilt in their motherhood journey. I believe deeply and passionately that every mother already has the wisdom she needs to mother her baby. With 16 years working with children and families in non-profits and a Masters in Counseling, I bring both education and life experience to helping mothers create a more confident, joyful motherhood journey.
PS: Do you have an outfit, item of clothing, or accessory (past or present), that holds some “superpower” for you?
LY: The key for me in feeling powerful is two fold: the items and the fit.
The items that make me feel the most powerful are a jacket and heels! I love pairing a well structured jacket with any kind of bottom —a skirt, slacks, skinny jeans and then adding a pair of sassy, sexy or classy heels.
I’m really picky about fit. Each piece of my outfit has to fit my body well- no baggy,lumpy, bulky over-sized items allowed! Every jacket I buy has to make my body look amazing and I usually prefer jackets that help define my waist and give my body an hourglass curve.
PS: Where were you when the “power” of a structured jacket and heels became apparent?
LY: When I got my first job out of grad school, I struggled with feeling like people didn’t respect me. I have a very young face and voice, and men especially tended to do things like call me “sweetie”, interrupt me or otherwise minimize who I was and my position. I began to notice that when I wore a jacket and heels I felt confident in my authority and in my beauty. I think I carried myself different and people I interacted with responded to that confidence.
Before, if people interrupted me, especially men, I would kind of just give up on the conversation. Sometimes I would “check out”, taking my energy away completely. Now I take radical responsibility for myself. I will not leave a conversation I want to be in just because someone isn’t making space for me. Although people might still call me sweetie, I don’t respond energetically to that and I continue whatever I am saying, conveying or accomplishing.
Wearing a jacket and heels helps me feel into my own center of power and harness that for my interactions. I can be compassionate and respectful but also firm and confident.
I also find I can be more present to and with other women because I am not worried about how they might be judging me. When I feel beautiful and strong, it doesn’t matter if they are judging me.
PS: Do you remember how you discovered your powerful style?
LY: I discovered jackets thanks to my sister in law, Rebecca Iverson, who has exquisite style and taste (you can get a feeling for her style over at the blog Desert Girls Vintage ). She taught me how a well-fitted, structured jacket can change how I look completely. Rebecca gave me my first beautiful, fitted gray jacket in 2006. (I don’t have it anymore!)
My magic combination of jacket and heels came with time and influence from Stacy and Clinton of What not to Wear.
I do not have a specific jacket or pair of heels. It’s simply this combination that is magic for me. I use leather, velvet, cotton, wool jackets and pointy toed, peep toe, round toe, wedges for my heels.
PS: Did your “Power Suit” inform your overall sense of style and dressing?
LY: Absolutely! Now that I am a mother of a toddler, I apply the same concepts of fit and sass, or class to my everyday clothes. Instead of heels (which are not comfortable for running after a toddler!) I usually wear a cute pair of flats.
I pair a snug v neck t-shirt or button up blouse (easy nursing access) in a pretty color or pattern with a jacket or sweater and a cute pair of flats and I’m good to go!
I really enjoy mixing and matching more formal pieces with casual: A skirt with a graphic t-shirt and heels for example; or skinny jeans with patent shoes and a button up blouse. I also love dresses that have a clearly defined waist, or I pair a belt with it, to create a waist.
I have learned that I always, always feel happier and more confident when I leave the house in clothes that fit and I feel beautiful in.
PS: Do you use any rules for dressing or building your wardrobe?
LY: Yes!! By now you’ve probably figured out that Fit is my number one rule. Every single piece of clothing I wear must fit my body. It must flatter my body with the fit and make me feel good. If I have something that makes me fidget or pull, I usually need to get rid of it because that means it’s not the right fit.
I borrow my other rules from Stacy and Clinton: color, pattern, texture, shine. When I assemble an outfit I pay attention to each of these elements because they make an outfit interesting! I love adding necklaces, bracelets and scarves to provide color and shine. Animal print shoes and belts are also favorites for the texture and pattern they add to an outfit. Sassy and sexy even when wearing toddler-and-nursing-friendly clothes!
PS: What advice—style, goal-hitting, or otherwise—would you like to share with other women?
LY: There is a direct relationship between how you see your body in clothes and how you feel as you go out into the world. Choose to take control over your feelings by seeing your body’s strengths and dressing in ways that flatter those strengths. I love, love , love skinny jeans because I love my butt and skinny jeans show it off! I don’t always like that my upper arms are not as toned as they could be so I usually wear shirts with some sort of sleeve. You will rarely see me in tank tops.
It is really, really important to not have an adversarial relationship with your body. Our bodies are incredibly strong, resilient and magical. If you think hateful or unkind thoughts about your body day in and day out you will feel miserable and it is very hard to be a confident, happy person doing amazing things in the world when you feel miserable. If this is you, I would really encourage you to work on showing your body gratitude for all the hard work it does. You don’t have to change your body! All you need is a bit of “mindset” practice. Eventually, with enough practice, you will be able move from gratitude to love. For some ideas about how to deal with a changed body after childbirth, check out my blog post, Let’s talk bodies. Practicing love and gratitude for your body can change your life. Seriously.