Coined during the Ronald Reagan years in 1980s, the term ‘Power Dressing‘ still exists in niche circles. What does it mean?
‘Power dressing‘ refers to the use of expensive and extremely high quality cloth for making suits with sharp, hard lines, mostly in black or pin-stripes; that were destined to make people look assertive and angular. Not much seen nowadays unless you’re working in an Investment Bank in London, or a top Strategy Consulting firm meeting Fortune Global company CEOs daily or work for the Italian Mafia or the Russian mob.
A few examples of extremely angular cut suits in modern times have been portrayed by South Korean superstar and heartthrob, Lee Byung-hun in recent times.
Lee wears some extremely power dressing angular suits in the South Korean feature ‘A Bittersweet Life‘ (winner of more than 20+ International Awards featuring in 2005 Cannes Film Festival) where he plays a powerful Khangpae (South Korean mafia) caporegime or enforcer. The suits – featuring angular cuts and mostly in black undertones in pin-stripes portrays the clash of personal morality with the ‘loyalty of the mob’.
Another great example is the legendary Russian tele-film, ‘Brigada‘ which was and still is the most expensive serial made in Russia, with each of 15 episodes spending over 2 million dollars. Inspired and based on true events, it portrays the life, rise and eventual fall of one of Eastern Europe’s and the Western World’s most powerful Russian Mafia bosses, Sasha Belova (portrayed by Russian superstar, ‘Sergey Bezrukov‘). Sasha wears power suits throughout the movie. Mostly black and navy blue undertones to start with, it brings out the soft and playful side of his character with his childhood friends and once they get killed – for the rest of the episodes, we see him wearing only black suits. As his character hardens – we see the colors of his and and his bodyguard’s dresses become complete black (black shirt, black tie, black suit, and shoes).
Check out this clip wherein all 4 top guys meet for Sasha to fly off to another country for a deal gone wrong. Notice the heavy usage of black.
And here Sasha meeting one of the rival gangs from Turkmenistan. Needless to say, the predominant color is Black.