No one needs a suit anymore, right? The antiquated rules of dressing for the office are gone, most workplaces are business casual anyway, and it’s more about expressing yourself than conforming to a rigid standard of corporate culture – right? Yes, yes, and yes. But there are more uses for a suit than meeting a regimented work dress code, and there are suits out there that are waaay more interesting than a boring black blazer and pleated pants. And now that suits aren’t as prevalent as they once were, you can express a certain panache by picking one with loads of personality. And the best thing? A suit is more than just the sum of its parts…
Let me tell you a story about a client who I was working with over Skype (I’m based in the SF Bay Area, and she’s in Texas). During her virtual closet audit, she was showing me key pieces from her closet that we’d be building on, to update her work and casual wardrobes. As is typical, I have a lot of questions, so I asked, “do you have any blazers or dressy pants?” To which she responded, “no.” So, then I asked, “do you have any suits?” And she said, “yes, I have a few that I used to wear, but I don’t wear suits to the office anymore.” I asked her to show them to me – a couple of basics, but then one black and white textured style, and another brown pinstriped style. I told her to take the blazers and put them with her other jackets, and to take the trousers and put them with her other pants. And voila – she has blazers and dress pants! And that is the main joy of a suit – it’s a dressy, elevated combo when worn together, but also versatile separates when worn apart.
So, this season, why not pull that suit out of the closet (or put one on your spring shopping list) to increase your wardrobe choices exponentially?
The most fun and fashionable suits are ones that move beyond basic and bland, either through color or pattern or details. I love this plaid one mainly because it’s an unexpected hit of print when worn together, and the individual styles add some punch to even the subtlest of partner pieces.
These plaid pants can easily be the ‘star’ of your outfit, but that doesn’t mean that the ‘supporting players’ can’t grab some attention, too. A red coat (gotta love a pop color coat!) stands out among the throngs of black winter wool, and a patterned scarf/graphic bag combo shows that you’re a print mix master.
Many of my clients think of structured blazers as work wardrobe only, but how about grabbing one on the weekend, as the basis of a casual jeans look? When it’s cool enough to wear a light jacket, choose a plaid one for interest – and up the style factor with a neon yellow pullover and leopard loafers.
And of course, you can always go for major impact with a matching plaid blazer and pants - it’s a definite eye-catcher that expresses your style savvy. But if that’s too much for your office, wear it to a networking event, or even a casual cocktail party! Keep it daytime-friendly with a tailored white blouse and colored accessories, or transition it to evening with a silk camisole and killer heels.
Are you ready to add a suit to your wardrobe?