Gloria Steinem Wears A Feminist Navajo Concho Belt To Feel Powerful

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.
Gloria Steinem wearing a cowrie shell belt.
This week's installment of Interview Friday in Lena Dunham's Lenny Letter featured none other than feminist icon, all-around badass, and glorious human being, Gloria Steinem. Steinem's new memoir, My Life on the Road, is out at the end of the month, and the profiles leading up to its release have given us a lot of fun trivia and life lessons. Dunham's rapid-fire Q&A with Steinem covered a lot of ground, including the elusive topic of her power outfit.

Dunham spoke with the writer, lecturer, and political activist about everything from how she's overcome the patriarchy in the past week to bad decisions and favorite curse words. Most relevant to us, Dunham asked what a powerful person like Steinhem wears to feel powerful — specifically, what she puts on "when you need to feel like you're the queen of business and a rad bitch."

Steinem's response was simple and to-the-point, and appropriately stuck it to the man: "Boots, pants, a sweater or a T-shirt," she said. "A concha belt. Something that's Native American or Indian, or something that has a resonance from the past before patriarchy came along." Concho or concha belts, which originate from Navajo tradition, are distinctive because of the large handcrafted oval discs at the front, usually made from silver. Although the style can be traced back to the Navajo, it's now also a part of Zuni craftsmanship. Steinem herself works with and advocates for Native American women, and has long considered pre-colonial American communities to have inspired women's suffrage. (Read this if you don't see the difference between this and costume-store war bonnets at music festivals.)

This signature outfit can easily be fact-checked: In most of her appearances, Steinem wears some variation of a long-sleeved top, trousers or jeans with a wide belt — a concha style or other large, usually metal iteration. It's a no-fuss formula that makes Steinem feel comfortable and, more importantly, strong. And that's a style worth emulating.

Opener Photo: Robin Marchant/Getty Images.

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