Women's suits have come a long way since the 1930's. No longer are they viewed as stuffy business wear. Nor are they your grandmother's Sunday staple. Of course, Chanel remains the gold standard in suiting with it's iconic tweed blazer and matching pencil skirt, however a lot of other designers are reviving and styling suits in much more toned down versions that reflect today's casual vibe. This is good news for minimalists or people with no time for fussing because the suit is the easiest outfit to style in a pinch and doesn't require cleaning after every use.
The suit has always been a favorite of mine because of it's versatility in creating capsule outfits. Capsule outfits are the key to making your wardrobe more expansive and suits are especially good for this. If you purchase a suit with three pieces; i.e. skirt, jacket and trousers; there will be a good number of items in your closet to pair them with. You can dress them up or tone them down with jewellery. They are also not just reserved for weddings today. You can wear them around town paired with jeans. To give you some idea of their versatility, I have provided a few examples below:
1. Pair the skirt or the pants with a tee. Your favorite t-shirt lends an easy, casual vibe to your suit. Tuck it in at the tummy and let the rest hang free for the latest street-style trend seen in the magazines. Tie it in a knot at your side. Add a large watch and some bracelets. Put on your big earrings. Get creative. Play up the bling.
2. Add a sweater. There are so many beautiful sweaters available this fall, you will definitely want to pair them with your suit pieces. Even in the summer on rainy days or cool evenings, your sleeveless sweaters and cashmere sweater sets make great dress-down items to pair with suit pieces. Don't forget to add long, fine necklaces or a choker, or a statement necklace in a contrasting colour. The look will be completely different from your mother's.
3. Put your sneakers on. Say what? You read it right. The latest street style trend is to pair sneakers with skirts. It works. I'm not talking about the sneakers your mother wore to walk to work. Nice, sleek pure white sneakers are great paired with a midi or mini suit skirt.
4. Chunky shoes. Those chunky platform soles are a thing again. (Short girls rejoice!) The closed-toe versions are being paired with midi skirts 1980's style, so definitely wear them with your suit skirts if you fancy them.
5. Wear your jeans with the jacket. Another popular street style trend is to pair a suit jacket with your jeans (men and women). This look serves to jack up the casualness of jeans a notch. The jacket adds a touch of posh to a pair of dark jeans and in a darkly-lit room no one will even notice you are wearing them.
6. Pair your jean jacket with the skirt or pants. You can eliminate that business feel by pairing either with a jean jacket. Everyone is wearing jean jackets with pretty much everything now; from long and short dresses to skinny pants and wide-legs. They look great with everything so don't exclude them from your suit pieces. Versatility is the name of the game!
7. Roll the sleeves up. A great trick for dressing-down a long-sleeved suit jacket. It takes the edge off that "stuffy" vibe you want to avoid. You can push them up so they bunch around your elbow, or cuff them by turning them up a few times.
8. Do the classic monochramatic thing. Especially if you are height-challenged. Wearing one colour from head-to-toe is easy with a suit. You can either button up the jacket or add a blouse or shell in the same colour tone. Add a shoe in the same colour as well. Whoa, don't you look tall! It's easy to do and eliminates that "I have nothing to wear" syndrome.
9. Mix & match. Here's where the capsule theory plays into it. Suits are "the" gold standard for capsule dressing. Capsule wardrobes give you so many different outfits to wear, you'll wonder why you never thought to do it before. More outfits equate to long-term wardrobe savings and even if your suit is pricey, the number of different outfit options it creates more than justifies it.
10. Accessorize. Accessorizing is another way you can update and create different looks with your suits. You can wear different scarves with your jackets and different belts with your skirts. You can tie a belt on a jacket a different way each time you wear it. You can use different coloured belts on unbelted jackets to spice them up a bit. Your suit can look completely unique every time you wear it by using different accessories. It doesn't have to be worn alone. Accessories can do all the work. And so they should! That's what they're designed for!
As mentioned earlier, suits are not just your parent's wardrobe staple, so go shopping and get them in your closet as soon as possible!