How to harness your style super power: By the Mail's fashion editor in the 1980s GAIL ROLFE

My lips kept sticking to my teeth, I had no idea what to do with my hands or legs. And how on earth was I meant to pose and smile at the same time?

My first modelling shoot as this newspaper’s new fashion editor was a blur of anxiety and I was relieved when it was all over.

Yet, looking at the pictures nearly 36 years on, they tell a different story. With my big hair, bigger shoulders and powerful hands-on-hips stance, I’m the image of cool, calm composure.

The secret? It’s all down to the clothes. The year was 1986 and that was the thing about 1980s fashion — it was all about emanating confidence. The skyscraper stilettos, back-combed hair, ostentatious jewellery and sharply-tailored blazers with shoulder pads spoke of success and aspiration.

(And I learned that this trick worked even if you weren’t actually feeling it yourself.)

Power dressing reflected a new era of female empowerment as more and more women infiltrated male-dominated industries and set about smashing the glass…


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