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9 Boss Women & The Power Dresses That Make Them Feel Invincible

Inspiration

Power is defined as the ability to do something or act in a particular way, especially as a faculty or quality. It is further explained to be the capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others or the course of events. Well, I believe we all create our unique definition of power within our own realms. The word itself holds so much weight and pressure - luckily, that's how diamonds are created.


Related: 5 Boss Women Redefine The Power Suit

No matter your field or area of expertise, you must be armoured with coverings that will keep you fly and liberated. For many powerful women, that armor is a power dress. As we continue to make remarkable strides in the workplace we are enabled to establish our authority in a professional environment traditionally dominated by men. As busy as our lives become, something happens when you slip on your favorite power dress. Time stands still and you feel like all is right in the world.

We found some badass women killing it in in their respective roles. They dished on how they define power, a defining moment of their career and how their favorite dress exudes power.

Stephanie Moss

Courtesy of Stephanie Moss

Attorney & Creator of Legally Brown and Co.

I am a powerful woman because I learned that I was larger than any negative emotion or experience. I harnessed the power within when I decided to stop obsessing over things out of my control and instead focus on areas in my life where I could be productive and make great things happen.

Unfavorable things happen to all of us but what matters most is the way that we respond and react to those things.

As an African-American woman in a career field that is dominated by white men, I have lost count of those moments. If I could choose the most monumental of those moments, it would be the day I decided to leave my first job as an attorney. I was underpaid from the start but I just assumed that this is something I had to go through in order to get to the next level. The women that looked like me who were similarly situated were underpaid too. I wanted to make it work so I worked hard for a year in hopes of being recognized for it. I waited to be "valued" but I quickly learned it would just be more of the same if I allowed that to be my story. Shortly after, I was offered a meager raise, [so] I quit!

It was the most scary yet empowering thing I've ever done.

I didn't know how it would pan out but I knew that it would. The obstacles I had overcome on my journey to becoming an attorney gave me the courage to believe in myself. I was literally forced to get my MIND right. The practice of positive thinking saved my life.

I always feel powerful in a dress that is conservative enough for work but feminine enough to make me feel good about what I'm wearing. Although the law is traditional, I love staying true my personal sense of style.

Bukky Ade

Courtesy of Bukky Ade

Photographer

Power is about mental strength for me. The mental resilience I've developed over the years when faced with adversity has made me powerful. I've learned to stride in life and bounce back when life throws me curveballs. So, if I continue to put forth positive changes in my life, I'll be a fierce, unstoppable woman full of power.

As someone who was born with a chronic illness, I exert power on a daily basis.

When in pain, the slightest tasks can become very difficult. So, the ability to self-assess if I can push through the day is vital. Anytime I accomplish a task despite my circumstance, I feel more empowered.

Specifically, I think about the moment I completed a half-marathon. This is something that empowers me every day. I prepared my body to be physically capable for the long distance, but it was my mental strength that got me through those 13.1 miles. I know if I can do that, I can do anything I put my mind to.

Brandice Daniel

Courtesy of Brandice Daniel

CEO & Founder of Harlem's Fashion Row

Being a woman of faith makes me a powerful woman. Power comes from exercising your faith and risking your ego to do so.

There are so many moments when I've been forced to embrace my power. Starting Harlem's Fashion Row from scratch made me embrace my power because I never felt quite "qualified enough" to start it, but it was on my heart to do. Writing my book, Sponsored: How to Get Brands to Sponsor Your Next Event, made me embrace my power. I had to decide that I would take the process of writing a book and publishing it into my own hands.

Embracing your power always means that you're willing to overcome the fear that tries to hold us back.

This dress by Kimberly Goldson, that I absolutely love, makes me feel invincible.

Altremese Banks

Courtesy of Altremese Banks

Creative Consultant

I embody the strength of my ancestors who were brought to this country on slave ships.

Those who undoubtedly overcame the adversities of shackles and oppression, so now that I have the opportunity to assist in the progression of black people.

I'm powerful, because I'm a black woman. It's genetics.

Embracing my natural hair texture was an extremely powerful moment for me. I have worn hair weaves since the age of 13, because I didn't believe I was beautiful with my natural hair. I decided to let go of those insecurities, and go natural. I'm more confident than ever. I feel more beautiful everyday. Black hair is magical – it defies gravity.

Embracing that power has enhanced my self-esteem.

I think my power dress captures my femininity in a sexy, but elegant way. I think a women owning her sexuality is powerful, especially in the era of the "me too" movement.

Ashley Noelle

Courtesy of Ashley Noelle

WCCB-TV Sports Anchor/Reporter

My confidence makes me powerful. In today's world, it's still a man's world, so women have to make our presence known. In my field of being a sports TV broadcaster, you have to have confidence and demand respect while keeping your strength. Of course, it's not easy being strong but you have to find your inner strength to get you through.

My strength isn't loud but it's gentle and humble.

I let it be known I am a team player and kind, but you won't walk over me either. I believe that's what allows me to take and welcome criticism along with asking for help when I need it. Being in an all-male locker room for the NFL and NBA, I've encountered many males question my knowledge of the game. I've had an athlete tell me that they wouldn't take my question as serious as a guy asking the question. Later, I pulled that specific guy to the side and proved to him I know the game and told him I should be respected just as any other male in the locker room. From there on, I never had a problem.

That situation taught me to always be confident in my questions, my demeanor and never second-guess myself because I am not a "male."

I don't wear dresses that much but when I do they make me feel liberated.

Tiffany Nichole

Courtesy of Tiffany Nichole

Lifestyle Vlogger

I'm a powerful women because I've realized that my power doesn't come from outside of me. My power doesn't lie in anything that can be taken away from me (money, status, people, etc). My power is always with me wherever I go and no matter what's going on around me. It comes from within.

The moment that forced me to embrace my power came after years of ignoring a call from God.

I was in pursuit of becoming a fully functioning bridal gown designer and I knew I was no longer happy with it. But I'd been pursuing it so hard and had never considered doing anything else. So I ignored that feeling and kept pursuing it. Long story short, I went into a deep depression because I was pursuing this thing that was no longer bringing me joy, I was broke and I was mentally, emotionally, and spiritually drained. All along, I'd been having an urge to write a blog and start a personal Instagram page to have a place to express my thoughts and feelings during this time, but I kept telling myself I had no time because I had to build this business to be able to make money. Finally, one day, as I'd started to accept the fact that designing wedding gowns was no longer for me, I was laying on the couch falling deeper and deeper into my depression, when it hit me!

Me and my excuses were the only things standing in the way of me writing that blog and starting my page, and it was the outlet that I needed in that moment.

So I got right up, did my makeup, took my first "portraits" using my iPhone 7+ and a ring light, and began building my page. Starting that page and writing my blogs have led me to realize my calling, and it's to inspire and encourage women to live their lives at 100% capacity! If I had not found my power in that moment and acknowledged it, I'd still be laying on the couch feeling sorry for myself. The power is always in us! We just have to embrace it!

Elizabeth Smith

Courtesy of Elizabeth Smith

Entercom Producer at V103 Atlanta

What makes me a powerful woman is my drive and observant ways. When I want something in life, I go after it no matter what obstacles are present. I will stop at nothing to achieve a goal of mine and give it my all until it is fulfilled. I always observe and study my surroundings and associates just enough to know when and how to move. I learn how to execute my task to the best of my ability and when the opportunity presents itself, I take full advantage and make it my own. I'm basically like a silent assassin! You never see me coming until it's too late, and I allow my work to speak for itself.

I had to embrace my power when I was overlooked and stereotyped at work.

I was the new and young employee with little experience at a major market. I didn't know anyone in the industry or anything about the city and culture of Atlanta. Everyone thought I was quiet and timid but little did they know, I was silently studying and observing my surroundings. I took notes physically and mentally to help prepare me for my next job position. I networked with everyone who passed the halls at my job. I practiced and I studied day in and day out until I felt one hundred percent comfort.

When it was time for me to show what I learned, I shocked everyone and in return received numerous opportunities to do exactly what I've dreamed of and loved. I was no longer the new, timid millennial and it felt great being recognized for my skills and contributions to the company.

I'm not much of a dress wearing gal. You'll honestly catch me in pants and sneakers the majority of the time. However, I love this picture because I'm still dressed up but I'm still the down to earth, homegirl Liz that those close to me know and love.

Ashley Janelle

Courtesy of Ashley Janelle

User Experience Designer

What makes me a powerful woman is being a black woman in the male-dominated tech industry.

The moment that forced me to embrace my power was when I took a job that consisted of majority male employees. I had to constantly remind myself that I belonged in that role just as much as everyone else, even while being talked over, and my ideas being thrown out.

Knowing that my perspective might not have been respected but was most definitely needed is what got me through the tough days.

Cynthia Anunobi

Courtesy of Cynthia Anunobi

Internal Medicine Resident

I'm female. I'm African American. I'm a daughter. I'm a sister. I'm an educator. I'm a Doctor. Each of these titles, in its own way, has contributed to the person I am today. My power lies in the responsibility that comes with the titles.

These titles could have stifled and hindered me in many ways but instead they transformed me into a strong, confident, independent woman which is necessary especially working in a field where I am continuously doubted by others and my successes are under appreciated.

I still I keep going – not only for me, but to pave the road for others.

I realized early in my career that as an African American woman in medicine, I was representing ALL African American women. On many occasions, at conferences and symposiums, I am one of the few minorities in the room. With heavy eyes on me, I feel obligated to exude a strong, confident face despite sometimes feeling less than such. On one particular instance, I was at a conference to present my research on a new protocol for thrombolytic management for pulmonary embolism and post-procedural surveillance at my hospital. I was already anxious about presenting that afternoon and a gentleman walked up and asked if I was staff working at the hotel.

When I said no, he concluded I was the spouse of one of the presenters. Initially I was annoyed but hey, I am mistaken for a cleaning lady or nurse daily. Anyways, you can only imagine the look on his face that afternoon when I was called up to the stage to share my research. After an astounding applause, he walked up to me after the presentation, shook my hand and apologized for the "misunderstanding". He proceeded to hand me his card in case I was interested in pursuing a fellowship at his institution—I guess he was impressed!

I believe that what you wear plays a role in how you feel as well as how you are perceived by others. There is an indisputable confidence that exudes when I wear a sleek, yet commanding dress. It allows me to feel feminine and also allows me to be a boss. Paired with the right heels and accessories, I feel like I can conquer the world.

Featured image by Getty Images

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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Featured image by Shutterstock

This article is in partnership with Staples.

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