Instep Today

Power dressing

By Amina Baig
Sun, 03, 24

There is a lot of emphasis on what the kids call ‘lewks’ these days (or at least till a year or two ago), and fashion experts urge you to define yours and own it with pride. Whatever your politics, the one thing that really sets the power players in Pakistani politics apart from each other - and their global counterparts - is their style. You can close your eyes right now and picture any prominent member from any prominent party and completely visualize their entire look, because they have not only perfected it, they have made sure their fans and non-fans alike associate the look with them as well. And that, gentle readers, is the power of fashion. A tool we must wield wisely, but consistently. The following list is compiled from youngest to oldest.


Power dressing

You’re never fully dressed without a smile:

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari

Pakistan’s youngest Foreign Minister not only has a way with words, he has established his style, and established it well. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari dresses with two things in mind (we assume): appearing polished, and feeling comfortable. Within Pakistan you will see him in shalwar kameez in breathable fabrics, and a tailored jacket.

Power dressing

The ensemble in general suits him quite a bit, as it allows the eye to focus on his face, isn’t too fussy, so you will find yourself focusing on his words, expressions, or body language, and let’s face it: eastern wear works for every situation.

From campaigning in rural areas for the elections that just passed to media conferences, Bhutto Zardari has worked the shalwar-kameez-coat look often, and well. And finally, one can either never smile enough, or smile too much, but in his role as a public servant, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari smiles often, and genuinely, which coupled with his youth really makes him a public figure that puts his audience at ease.

To be a lady is to be yourself: Benazir Bhutto

Power dressing

Benazir Bhutto, the first elected woman prime minister of a Muslim country, has been iconic in more ways than one. And she has definitely been successful at creating a look that remains engraved in a whole nation’s mind.

Bhutto came into power in 1988, right at the brink of the ‘90s, which on the whole was a chaotic time for Pakistan, but the country, like Bhutto, found its fashion voice quite clearly.

Where the ‘80s were shoulder pads and large buttons, the ‘90s eased into a softer silhouette. The former PM found herself often dressed in vibrant silks, never really shying away from color, but the hallmark of her look was the dupatta that covered her head whenever she ventured out into the public.

The dupatta alone would not have created the immediately recognizable silhouette, it was Bhutto’s hairstyle, teased and backcombed for face-framing volume that elevated the look both literally and figuratively.

“A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.”

– Maryam Nawaz Sharif

Power dressing

Maryam Nawaz Sharif has really come into her own as far as her sartorial signature is concerned. Always dressed well, she favors classic eastern sets paired with a dupatta placed modestly upon her head.

The covered head may just be a staple of any woman politician’s look in Pakistan, but the soft elegance Maryam Nawaz Sharif brings to her outfits is what sets her apart. While she has rocked fresh pops of colors too, her style is defined by a pastel palette in beautifully draped fabric, and well-appointed accessories. The clothes for women, of course, must be equally complemented by makeup, and here too, the recently sworn-in Chief Minister of Punjab keeps it mellow. The best part of makeup, various global fashion weeks have taught us in the last couple of years, is how the skin looks, and if the skin looks healthy and luminescent, that’s most of the battle won. Props to Maryam Nawaz Sharif for maintaining her glow, and accentuating it so she always looks like she is lit-from-within.