Boss Up: Five Style Lessons to Learn from ‘Working Girl’

Turning 30 years old this month, Working Girl is the movie we still need in our lives; with big shoulders, bigger hair and protagonists proving women can finesse the business world.

Mike Nicholls’ 1988 Manhattan masterpiece is your go-to for endless power dressing inspiration. Because as Katharine Parker (Sigourney Weaver) says in the film when Tess McGill (Melanie Griffith) arrives for her first day in the office, quoting Coco Chanel, “Dress shabbily and they notice the dress. Dress impeccably and they notice the woman.”

To celebrate the birthday of this 80s rom com, here are the timeless style lessons we can all take away from our fave Wall Street women…

The bigger the trench coat the better

Working Girl (1988) / courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

All the 80s padded shoulders in Working Girl may seem cartoon-like now, in our era of freelancers and jeans in the boardroom, but you can’t deny that they make a statement. From Burberry to Balenciaga, boxy, oversized coats will forever be cool AF.

Don’t wear white to another person’s wedding

Working Girl (1988) / courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

Tess’ biggest fashion faux pas, and consequent social suicide, is when she wears white to another woman’s wedding. Just don’t.

blouses are best with big collars

Working Girl (1988) / courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

No other movie has the range of white oversized-collared blouses that Working Girl does. Tess’ best is embellished and Katherine’s is more plain and understated – but they’re both elegantly minimalist.

Dad trainers are always in

Working Girl (1988) / courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

Working girl made comfy sneakers look chic. Who knew that Tess’ tights and running shoe combos would be on high fashion runways thirty years later?

Power dressing is what you make it

Working Girl (1988) / courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

This 80s movie was ahead of its time, proving masculine shoulders don’t epitomise power when Tess has her most authoritative moment confronting Katherine about stealing her business ideas, dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt. A lesson for everyone: the most powerful thing to have on is a strong sense of mind.

  • words Sadie Bargeron main visual

Related Content