Block colours, bold prints or structured forms, stylish women everywhere know that a good suit is unmatched in its impact…
How does Beirut-based stylist Jana Bassam dress to feel strong? “In a power suit,” she says definitively. “But not your classic lawyer suit. I love to mix a traditional suit with more fashion-forward designs and I really enjoy wearing suits that are colourful or have interesting cuts.”
Her hero piece is a vintage blood orange suit by Escada given to her by her mother, whom she also cites as a style inspiration, thanks in part to the freedom she had as a child to play dress up with her wardrobe.
The other strong woman who has impacted her sartorial choices is iconic style chameleon Madonna, who she admires for her confidence to try anything once. “She has been delivering striking fashion moments for more than three decades: the cones, the black, the daring, the chic, the bold, the outrageous. No one can do it like she did,” she says.
Confidence is what Jana believes is key to pulling o the power suit. “As cliché as it sounds, you can wear whatever you want and go overboard, but if you don’t feel con dent or are not at peace with yourself, it will always dim the shine of your outfit,” says the 26-year-old.
Her chosen suit silhouette? “I would go with the shoulder wedge as it comes with a masculine width to the shoulder which lends a slimmer look to the hips and waist.” She is also a fan of bold ’80s-style shoulder pads. “When I think of strong and avant-garde women like Grace Jones and Madonna, I think of the structured shoulder pads that would glue their look together.”
When it comes to making a look her own, accessories play a key role and she will rarely just wear a piece without putting her own spin on it.
“I would add a belt to create the illusion of a cinched waist line, and some bold accessories: statement earrings, rings, necklaces, maybe a scarf. Layering goes a long way, too. Plus, it never hurts to have fun with hair and make-up,” she explains.
The most worn item in her wardrobe is a pair of black combat boots, that add to the genderless aesthetic she favours. “They go with literally everything: jeans, shorts, skirts, dresses, dressed up, dressed down, when I’m lazy, when I’m energised.”
Her go-to labels for suits are Victoria Beckham, Saint Laurent and Chanel, but she mostly likes to wear up-and-coming Lebanese label Boyfriend the Brand by her friend Amine Jreissati. “It’s minimal, subliminal and gender invisible. You notice the amazing quality and cuts when you look carefully, and that’s what makes a great piece.
Also, what’s better than supporting our local designers?”
- Words by Dina Kabbani