wear to work: fall suiting

September 23rd, 2014

A pet peeve of mine about the fashion industry: its idea of “suiting” tends to be completely absurd.

For many years, I worked in law firms where a suit was not just expected but actually required — and even on days when I could get away with “business casual,” a suit was still mandatory for days when I’d be in court. I was constantly looking for suits that were not only appropriate, but were actually somewhat cute — and let me tell you, it was tough.

See, the fashion world hears “suit” and gives you this:

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Yes, seriously. If you look on Shopbop for suiting, the first option that pops up has big multicolored stripes, huge lapels, padded shoulders, all of it.  Rebecca Minkoff, I love you, but if you think this would work for an attorney in a federal courtroom, you have lost your mind.

The next option is a pure silk, leopard print, pajama-style suit.  I kid you not.

Don’t want those? Rag and Bone hears “suiting” and gives you: Chambray Shorts.

Totally. Those will definitely work for your conservative office job. Just shell out $450, show up to work in chambray shorts, and we’ll see how that goes for you.

And yes, these suits might look great on a Fashion Week attendee.  But for people with real jobs in real offices?

Not so much.

And, hey, I get it.  Suiting for women can be lovely, but it can also be frumpy and uncomfortable and profoundly un-cool.  It’s a workhorse in your closet, and it’s hard to get it right.

But, you know what?

Working women need those workhorses, and they need them to be chic, and stylish, and fashionable without making you look like a giant clown.

So with that in mind, I’ve pulled together a few options for fashionable suiting that isn’t absurd.  Whether you’re gearing up for your first post-college interview or you’re the CEO of a corporation, here are some suits that will make you feel as polished, confident and professional as you deserve to feel.

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Tags: work

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Stacy Dill // Sep 23, 2014 at 10:16 am

    I like JCrew, especially for separates, Talbots including my own vintage Talbots ( better made than current items), Theory ( but I am more selective on fabrics), Robert Rodriguez, Equipment ( blouses) and even Gap for tanks and camisoles. I have also purchased skirts and dresses at Anthropologie and fill in around the edges with vintage. I am petite, older and picky. I only allow very little synthetic fabric into my wardrobe; mostly for fit and stretch. A good seamstress is a must. While the overall looks are great, 0nly one of your examples has much natural fabric in it. I am going to be the person on the other side of the desk doing the interviewing. for TV role models I would choose Olivia ( Scandal) or Alicia ( The Good Wife).

  • 2 Ailee // Sep 24, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    Oh gosh, I laughed and laughed while reading this. Yes, if I showed up in chambray shorts to the office, I wouldn’t make it in the door. I love your office-wear roundup. Great choices!

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