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:
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.