Suiting Up for the Game

It’s official: menswear-inspired suiting is officially Hot For Fall ™, though to my way of thinking, that look never goes totally out of style.

Rosiland Russell and Katherine Hepburn in the 40’s made it glamorous,

and in the 80’s Diane Keaton as Annie Hall, and Annie Lennox as Annie Lennox resurrected the look as quirky and androgynous.

While some style writers and consumers find menswear-inspired suiting a boring and reworked trend, as une femme who lives and works in the real world I’m glad to see this look making a comeback. Here’s why:

  1. A well-designed tailored suit is surprisingly versatile. It can provide a simple canvas that can be accessorized to dress up or down, and paired with on-trend accessories for a more fashionable look or classic accoutrements if the situation requires. A classically styled suit can still look current or even edgy, depending on what you wear with it. Pair the pants or skirt with a leather jacket and boots, or the jacket with jeans to multiply your options and personalize the look.
  2. Two or three suits in the closet can save a lot of what-to-wear-to-work-today? morning agonizing. You can look put-together without a lot of effort.
  3. Yes it’s cliché, but a classic pants suit can be worn for years without looking dated. Just keep the accessories either current or classic.

Even though my office has tumbled headfirst down the “Business Casual” rabbit hole, I will probably be re-incorporating (no pun intended) some suits back into my work wardrobe. If you’re of a mind to invest in some suiting, there are some nice options out there now:

Talbots (remember to think outside the box, mes petites. Skip the button down shirt and pair with a silky t-shirt and chunky necklace.)

Banana Republic. (Simple is always good too.)

and if you’re Mad for Glen Plaid, a couple of nice Tahari suits from Nordstrom.com

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5 Comments

  1. August 23, 2007 / 3:48 am

    Katherine and Annie are two of my style icons. I just don’t have quite the, err, body shape to pull off the masculine clothes as well as them ^_^

  2. August 23, 2007 / 4:10 am

    I hear ya. I’m rather hour-glassy myself, so I can’t really emulate the androgynous look very well either. But a well-cut jacket can make me look better proportioned, I think, even if I can’t achieve Kate’s lean look. To me, “menswear inspired” doesn’t necessarily mean trying to look masculine, but rather emulating some of the details and tailoring of menswear, if that makes sense.

  3. August 23, 2007 / 2:59 pm

    suits are a bit too formal for my workplace, but I don’t think anything’s as comforting to wear if it’s done right, fitted properly. I have one great pants suit that always makes me feel really polished — if I’m presenting a paper, that’s what I want to wear ’cause I know I won’t even feel tempted to fidget at my clothes.
    Otherwise, jackets are great to make jeans look polished enough for work (I teach at a small university-college where jeans are appropriate). And I love full pleated pants although I’m short and short-waisted so I have to be careful.

  4. August 23, 2007 / 8:52 pm

    Miss J LOVES suits, and owns several vintage as well as contemporary. Those fitted 40s jackets look glorious and flatter rather than try to disguise her busty figure.

    Miss J is so glad she now works at an firm where professional attire is mandatory. She’s seen enough appalling caj Friday gear to last a lifetime: flip-flops on unpedicred feet, muffin top mid-riffs, track suits… Workplaces should consider carefully before they let that messy genie out of the bottle.

  5. August 27, 2007 / 9:26 pm

    I knew the versatility of a pant suit ever since I was 8 years old, I adored Dolce & Gabbana (back when they were glamorous, in the Giselle days).

    Zara is also a good place for pant suits, it’s possible to get trousers & a jacket for under $200 (and that’s non sale).

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