Lately it’s become chic for those who “lean in” to do so in a purple dress, not a power suit. Women at the top say they’re no longer afraid to be themselves style-wise, and eschew the masculine for something more “themselves.”

Don’t kid yourself. No one takes a flower print seriously.

Sure, a chosen few can wear colorful attire, advising their sisters that Armani suits and other corporate samurai armor are no longer necessary, but that’s because they’ve attained enough status to do as they please with few major repercussions. Before you put on that powder pink, think again.

You won’t catch German Chancellor Angela Merkel wearing anything but black on state occasions because the darker the color, the more authoritative it is. And no matter how often we discount the notion that clothing exerts an outside influence on how we define one another, Merkel serves as an example that we use clothes to signal people how they should react to us. She wears the mantle of power, and it’s not baby blue.

With hardly an exception, those who make it do so in Senate navy, silver, bronze (Olympic medals or weapons, depending on how you read it) and most of all, black. Cobalt blue’s good, too, a radioactive shade that carries a dangerous nuance all its own. Gray sends the message you’re logical and analytical and such colors convey power and authority. Men have always known this, and women on the rise need to understand the subtle message of clothing.

And if you really want to know what feminine power dressing looks like, take Angelina Jolie as Maleficent in head-to-toe black.

The horns don’t hurt either.

DWTS plans its showstopper

Academy of the Sacred Heart’s famous fundraiser got underway for its third year in a row with a cocktail meet ’n’ greet, courtesy of Tsunami owner Michelle Ezell. Volunteers rolled out the red carpet for Dancing with the Stars alums while Paula Hildalgo, Suzy Kimball and Katy Svendson primed the newbies. “It’s a real commitment to our school when you agree to dance. Thank you all very much,” said Sister Lynne Lieux. The 13 couples taking it to the Cajundome Convention Center in October are Emily Foreman Babineaux and Sean Ezell, Susan Begnaud and Dr. Andy Blalock, Melissa Bienvenu and Chuck Mouton, Mary Chachere and Dr. Troy Miller, Anne Daigle and the Rev. Paul Bienvenu, Rachel Mallory and Paul Wiltz, Laura Cain Miller and Beau Randol, Jennie Rader and Robert Francez, Olivia Regard and Thomas Lemaire, Wilda Richard and Kevin Whaley, Courtney Svendson and Frankie Gerami, Jeanne Wattigny and Prescott Marshall, and Michelle Canty and Gerd Wuestemann. “When the sisters ask, you can’t say no,” said Wuestemann.

Petroleum Club hosts ladies tea

The Petroleum Club laid out watercress sandwiches and the works as The Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission’s Ben Berthelot took the podium at the ladies quarterly tea. “Tourism, that’s what I’m planning to talk about. I hope that’s what you want to hear,” he said. Lafayette is a destination for Texas, Canada and France it seems, as well as the “Tastiest Town in the South,” according to Southern Living — we’re not surprised. Taking it all in were Pat Olson, Jocelyn Anderson, Jeanne Lantier, Kathleen Williams, ex-pat Orleanian and lady in red Vivian Rouly, Mary Kathryn Scott and society column fan Carol Trosclair Lamson, who forwards them to all her friends. That’s what you call one-woman syndication.

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Patricia Gannon covers society for The Acadiana Advocate. She can be reached at or at