The Evolution of the Power Suit

From Dynasty to Designing Women, we've rounded up the 12 most iconic business suits for women through the decades. Here's to hoping that in 2013 we've officially retired shoulder pads and pinstripes.

Mary Richards, The Mary Tyler Moore Show – Circa 1970

Mary Richards The Mary Tyler Moore Show power suit

CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

The original working woman, Mary Tyler Moore knew how to rock tweed, oversized lapels and a silk scarf. Not an easy task.

Connie Chung, CBS Evening News – 1983

Connie Chung CBS Evening News power suit

Bachrach/Getty Images

The perfect three-piece suit: pearly white jacket, necklace and teeth.

Alexis Carrington Colby, Dynasty – 1980s

Alexis Carrington Colby Dynasty power suit


There is more drama in one suit than in any episode, and that’s saying something.

Julia Sugarbaker, Designing Women - 1987

Julia Sugarbaker Designing Women power suit

CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images

The sign of a good suit: It frames your body!

Murphy Brown, Murphy Brown – 1988

Murphy Brown power suit

CBS via Getty Images

No nonsense gets past those shoulder pads.

Oprah Winfrey, The Oprah Winfrey Show – 1993

Oprah Winfrey The Oprah Winfrey Show power suit


This could be 1983, 1993 or 2003. With Oprah Winfrey, you never know.

Elaine Benes, Seinfeld – 1995

Elaine Benes Seinfeld power suit

Andrew Eccles/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

We like to think Julia Louis Dreyfus’ fabulous Veep wardrobe is her reward for many long years of unflattering suits as Elaine Benes.

Caroline Duffy, Caroline in the City – circa 1995

Caroline Duffy Caroline in the City power suit

NBCU Photo Bank

Miniskirts are hot. Oversized blazers are trendy. Miniskirts paired with an oversized blazer and awkward pose? Not so cute.

Karen Walker, Will & Grace – Circa 2001

Karen Walker Will & Grace power suit

NBCU Photo Bank

Sometimes, to make a suit look good, all you need is some cleavage and a few martinis.

Ellen Degeneres, The Ellen Degeneres Show – 2000s

Ellen Degeneres The Ellen Degeneres Show power suit


Making dancing in a suit look cool since 2003.

Samantha Jones, Sex & The City – 2007

Samantha Jones Sex & The City power suit

James Devaney/WireImage

If you’re wearing a suit like this you won’t sound half as obnoxious when you say, “I am SUCH a Samantha!”

Alicia Florrick, The Good Wife – 2011

Alicia Florrick The Good Wife power suit

Jeffrey Neira/CBS

Ahhh, Alicia. Giving scorned women everywhere hope that even after a high-profile cheating scandal you can still look fab in a camel-colored suit.

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