By Caitlin Rattray
Retail guru Mary Portas has an impressive CV. She entered the retail sector at a young age, first working for John Lewis, then Harrods, followed by Topshop and then on to Harvey Nichols, where she truly made her mark. From there, she founded her own PR agency Yellow Door and she is now seen as the authority on retail in the UK, hence her nickname, Mary Queen of Shops. Mary Portas is primarily a fashion retail consultant, though she has dabbled in journalism and it was from her weekly column Shop! in the Daily Telegraph that the TV series from which she is more commonly known emerged. Given the impressive nature of her experience and depth of her expertise, Mary Portas has very definite ideas about how a retail establishment should look and how it should be run. With all of that in mind, it is fair to say that, to every retail establishment in the UK and beyond – Mary Portas ought to be feared.
How is all of this relevant to her role as a fashion icon? Well, Mary Portas’s background has very much shaped the woman we see on our TV screens today and if ever there has been an icon for power dressing, Mary Portas is it. From her super sleek, razor sharp bob to her terrifying footwear, Mary Portas dresses as she wants to be perceived – as an authority, highly competent and (ever so slightly) aggressive.
Mary Portas doesn’t do floaty, I have never seen her in a pastel shade and apparently she has never heard of a pump. She is most frequently seen in sleek black tailoring, bright jewel tones and she clearly has a penchant for a crisp white shirt. Despite the masculine nature of her wardrobe, she manages to retain her femininity by wearing flirty patterned or brightly coloured tights and chunky statement jewellery. Her choice of footwear doesn’t do much to ease her slightly intimidating demeanor as she tends to tower over most people but given her character, I don’t suppose that bothers her.
Yes, Mary may be a little scary but she knows fashion and she knows how to succeed in the workplace. So, if you have a job interview or work experience on the horizon or if you simply want to establish that you mean business, take a leaf out of Mary’s book and power dress to success.