Created By: lakingsif on July 18, 2017 Last Edited By: lakingsif on October 8, 2017
Troped

Lady In A Power Suit

How to show the lady is in charge? Power suit that woman up.

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This is my crime scene, detective.
Pam: You know, I think there could be a lot of benefits if you could learn to get along with women.
Dwight: Look, I have no problem with women. It's businesswomen and their, their power suits and their shoulder pads. Don't lie about your shoulders!

a.k.a. Boss Ass Bitch

Many important people wear suits and, unremarkably, some of them are women. They are cool, calm, and certain. Unflappable in business and lunch meetings, they will not take any man's trash talk. This woman is a badass just from the aura she presents, this aura radiating from her power suit. Of course it isn't the suit that gives her power, but it sure doesn't harm the image she's trying to project that she is not to be messed with. On a man's chess board, she's captured the king.

This trope is for the powerful women demonstrating their prowess through an equally powerful suit.

Bonus points if their sheer presence intimidates men of a similar position.

Note that with the outdated image of actual '80s "power suits" — unflattering bulky tweed things with massive shoulder pads — the power suit referred to here will be a much more slim-lined, definitely fitted, and quite modern pantsuit, maybe even erring on the side of the traditionally masculine. Whilst characters in the shoulder-padded suits could be examples, it is dependant on how the work presents it: as these were typical office attire for any and all women of the period, to qualify it would require the distinctly powerful woman to be wearing a power suit and for no other woman in the work to wear one.

Compare Power Hair, likely to be paired with this.

See also Badass in a Nice Suit (which this woman could be), about kicking ass in an awesome suit.

Not related to the other concept of a power suit, you're probably looking for Samus Is a Girl.

Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • Integra Hellsing from Hellsing is in charge of a large paramilitary vampire-hunting organization, and is rarely seen wearing anything but a formal suit. She is also a Cigar Chomper and prefers to be addressed with "sir".

Literature
  • Worm: Contessa qualifies; she is typically described as a "mysterious unnaturally competent woman in a suit".

Live-Action TV
  • Dynasty could well have the trendsetters for the intimidating powersuits with big shoulderpads, Alexis the most, whenever they run the Denver oil company.
  • The Mary Tyler Moore Show can be considered to have championed the powersuit, albeit 70s style, as Mary Tyler Moore was an icon for not just womens lib, but also to the emerging women at the workplace.
  • Leslie Knope of Parks and Recreation, who treats her job with the utmost seriousness, is always wearing a very professional suit. The only other member of the Parks and Rec department to wear a suit regularly is Tom, but even then he is constantly dishevelled. Leslie is trying to show that she is in charge here and has things handled.
  • Supergirl: Alex Danvers, Kara's elder sister, swaps out her secret agent tactical gear for a fitted suit in some occasions. These are typically when presenting the public front of her secret service employer, looking both more professional than in a catsuit as well as commanding awe. The other occasions when she wears one are in situations where she is also putting herself in power, compared to when she wears a dress in occasions of letting go of control.

Video Games
  • In Pokémon Sun and Moon, a now-adult Anabel from Emerald is the a leader of an International Police agency to confront the Ultra Beasts, and she wears a very nice suit.

Webcomics

Western Animation
  • Parodied on the Gravity Falls episode "Boss Mabel". When Mabel fills in for Grunkle Stan as boss of the Mystery Shack, she wears an adult-sized business suit with oversized shoulder pads.


Community Feedback Replies: 25
  • July 18, 2017
    lakingsif
    Title issues: Lady In A Power Suit vs Lady In A Nice Suit — the first provokes the image of the eighties power suit, which isn't always an example (typical office attire of any woman of the period). The second doesn't suggest the powerful aspect and may instead suggest Bifauxnen or Lady Looks Like A Dude.
  • July 18, 2017
    Tuckerscreator
    Parodied in Hark A Vagrant, with Businesswoman wearing a suit with enormous shoulder pads, and having to choose in the morning between it or another suit with even larger ones.
  • July 18, 2017
    Koveras
    • Integra Hellsing from Hellsing is in charge of a large paramilitary vampire-hunting organization, and is rarely seen wearing anything but a formal suit. She is also a Cigar Chomper and prefers to be addressed with "sir".
  • July 18, 2017
    Darth_Marth
    Reading the title, I thought this was gonna be about women in Powered Armor like Samus and Pharah.
  • July 18, 2017
    arbiter099
    seems like a more tropable version of the old Hot Chick In A Badass Suit
  • July 19, 2017
    Koveras
    ^ If only because this one explicitly uses a conscious choice of attire for characterization.
  • July 19, 2017
    TonyG
    Parodied on the Gravity Falls episode "Boss Mabel". When Mabel fills in for Grunkle Stan as boss of the Mystery Shack, she wears an adult-sized business suit with oversized shoulder pads.
  • July 19, 2017
    Gosicrystal
    I was also thinking of Samus Aran when I read "Power Suit". The trope would benefit a lot from a different title.

    Lady In A Badass Suit?
  • July 19, 2017
    lakingsif
    ^there is a bit of an issue with badass... I understand the confusion, but I do think that it's only people who are primarily fans of certain genres/works that have it, not the general population. Of course, there is also probably a larger group of those fans on TVT compared with the masses, but I don't think it would be a problem for most. Would a hyphen in Power-Suit help, since the Powered Armour kind of power suit doesn't use one?
  • July 19, 2017
    Larkmarn
    How about Pantsuit Of Power?
  • July 19, 2017
    lakingsif
    pretty good. makes it obvious whilst also providing the image of a magical pantsuit to laugh at.
  • July 19, 2017
    lakingsif
  • July 20, 2017
    MetaFour
    • Spacetrawler has Joyce Evans, the no-nonsense CEO of a company named after herself. She's abducted by aliens as she's leaving the office, so she's yet to change out of her business suit. And she quickly proves herself much more competent than Nogg (the alien who abducted her) and becomes the de facto leader of his crew.
    • Also in Hark! A Vagrant: America is jealous of Murphy Brown's wicked shoulder pads.
  • July 20, 2017
    Leon13DM
    Do Military Uniforms count?
    • In Civil War/ Comicbook, Maria Hill wore a standard SHIELD uniform and she was the supreme commander.
  • July 20, 2017
    lakingsif
    ^gonna say no. 1. not a suit, 2. as a uniform, everyone wears it
  • July 20, 2017
    alnair20aug93
    Do we need examples from Dynasty? I mean, they're the trendsetters for the intimidating powersuits with big shoulderpads, Alexis the most, whenever they run the Denver oil company.
  • July 21, 2017
    lakingsif
    ^ ah, yes, the one I used to think was Dallas.
  • July 24, 2017
    alnair20aug93
    • Also, speaking of trendsetters The Mary Tyler Moore Show is also a trendsetter for the powersuit, albeit 70s style, as Mary Tyler Moore was an icon for not just womens lib, but also to the emerging women at the workplace.
  • August 2, 2017
    Pichu-kun
    Compare to Power Hair?
  • August 2, 2017
    Gosicrystal
    ^^ There is Word Cruft in that example. It could be cut to "The Mary Tyler Moore Show has Mary Tyler Moore as an icon for not just women's lib, but also to the emerging women at the workplace."
  • October 4, 2017
    alnair20aug93
    Bump.
  • October 5, 2017
    lakingsif
    More input on the name?
  • October 6, 2017
    Theharbo
    Pantsuit Of Power is onto something. Pantsuits are womenswear so that gets a thumbs up from me. The problem is 'power'

    'Power', I feel, is too broad a word to effectively convey the trope's meaning. (look up the definition of the word 'power', it can mean everything from electricity to authority, to physical strength.

    Pantsuit Of Puissance, Maybe?
  • October 6, 2017
    alnair20aug93
    Dunno. Pantsuit Of Power sounds limited to pantsuits. A headstrong Lady in a Powersuit can also be that in a miniskirt.
  • October 8, 2017
    alnair20aug93
    Bump.
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