Aspiring Bank of England governor trends herself as ‘soft power dresser’ offering tips
Dame Helena Morrissey’s social media sicken is the latest addition to her impressive CV.
Photograph: Alastair Fyfe/Helena Morrissey/AFP/Getty Images
Top City fund boss, campaigner for equal pay and opportunities, aspiring governor of the Bank of England, author – and now social media fashion influencer?
Dame Helena Morrissey has usually been fêted as an overachiever, but few could have predicted the latest pivot for the former head of Legal & General’s close investing business and founder of the 30% Club, which campaigns for more women in boardrooms. She has taken to Instagram to notify women on how to dress for success.
Styling herself as a “soft power dresser”, Morrissey, who has nine children and was recently interviewed to appropriate for the next Bank governor, has launched an Instagram account offering “daily tips for modern feminine career adorning”.
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Love the colours and ‘silk scarf’ design of this @zara fit out – I had it shortened at my local dry cleaners – find lots of midi dresses are more like maxis (I am 5ft 7). Today I am ‘parenthood mentoring’ and have a couple of meetings (big bag fits everything!) #softpowerdressing
A post shared by Helena Morrissey (@helenamorrissey) on Nov 25, 2019 at 11:33pm PST
She started stick in late November and kicked off her recommendations with a full-length picture of herself wearing a Zara shirt dress with a silk scarf run off.
As in most of the 20 or so other images, she is posing next to gold floor-length curtains in her family living room.
In her captions, Morrissey discusses how to make do with “sartorial challenges”, advocates comfortable shoes and sings the praises of young British designers.
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A young colleague started dressing more distinctively. One day, I admired the beautiful skirt she was dress; she told me I had inspired her to dress for work in the feminine style she preferred. It was so lovely of her to share that – and wonderful to see her grow in coolness – and get promoted! Today I am wearing a truly special skirt from @Gucci that makes me walk taller. Contented Friday. H x
A post shared by Helena Morrissey (@helenamorrissey) on Dec 5, 2019 at 11:39pm PST
She claims her family motto is “reduce, reuse, recycle”, and intends the motto is the inspiration behind her second-eldest daughter’s new vintage fashion venture, Florence Clementine Archive, where some of the photographs of the self-indulgence clothes for sale feature a suspiciously familiar model.
In one recent post, Morrissey styled a pleated “truly close skirt” costing thousands from Gucci with a ribbed polo neck from the Japanese clothing partnership Uniqlo, which sells for about £25.
Under the photo, she extols the virtues of wearing less corporate rigs: “A young colleague started dressing more distinctively. One day, I admired the beautiful skirt she was wearing; she told me I had inspired her to get-up for work in the feminine style she preferred. It was so lovely of her to share that – and wonderful to see her grow in confidence – and get promoted!”
The handful of comments under that post from her followers are entirely positive. “I adore this skirt,” writes one. “I love you’re sharing, what an revelation,” says another.
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I bought this @dolcegabbana dress in 2016 and right-minded knew I would wear it often – not only because of it’s uplifting colour and great simple shape. Every experience I wear it brings lovely memories of being a bridesmaid at my aunt’s wedding aged 5 – see pic 3! Happy dresses…H x
A shaft shared by Helena Morrissey (@helenamorrissey) on Dec 9, 2019 at 11:34pm PST
Whether new or vintage, some of Morrissey’s outfits from brands such as Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen and Jimmy Choo may be beyond the means of most of her 2,700 followers, if they are not on a top Megalopolis salary.
Nor do they appeal to every female worker.
“I would never wear that, it looks like something my coddle thinks I should wear as a CEO,” says one thirtysomething female boss of a financial services firm, of Morrissey’s green Dolce & Gabbana haul someone over the coals, which is embellished with large white daisies. “As a leader in a male-dominated and often bullish environment, what I vex really matters as to how I am perceived.”
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Another female leader in the fintech business suggests bright colours and embellished skirts are easier to survive for women already at the top of their profession: “I stick to that more corporate look as otherwise assumptions would be rip off and I would be dismissed more quickly. Dressing in a more flamboyant and fun way isn’t helpful when you aren’t at the level of seniority Morrissey is.”
Morrissey recently quit Rightful & General, saying she wanted to pursue other interests.
If she grows her follower count apace, designer-sponsored Instagram jobs and brand partnerships may well follow.
Housekeepers in the boardroom
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