Ladies, if you're going to work in a professional atmosphere, you will need a suit. Even if you work in a casual, laid-back atmosphere, you never know when you're going to need to suit up and look more professional. After all, interview etiquette dictates that women look more professional in a skirt suit than a pantsuit, and we should always strive to move up higher in the workplace. Once you've landed the job you want you'll be able to be a bit more creative in your suit options, but until then, you should try and stick with the suit's classic and sharp versatility. This guide will give you tips and ideas for wearing suits like which are best for work and evening, as well as fit guidelines. You may want to check out the Top Jobs site for a thorough guide to dressing for success at work.
* '''Interview/Conservative-Looking Suits:'''
** Neutral colors like brown, beige, black or navy are best for projecting a subtle classiness.
** Have the skirt hit your knee or slightly below. Anything too short and you will definitely be giving the wrong impression.
** Make sure your clothes are neatly pressed and you're not showing any unseemly panty lines, wrinkles or bulges. Pantyhose and an iron or garment steamer will easily fix those problems.
** Keep your jacket buttoned, at least until the atmosphere is more relaxed.
** Cleavage is not a desired effect in a proper suit. Select a conservative high-cut blouse and camisole to accompany your suit. You don't necessarily need to wear a turtleneck, but you should make sure that if any skin below your collarbone is showing, it is done so tastefully.
** Buttons shouldn't be flashy (skip the rhinestones). Look for small buttons that match the suit color or are covered by a plackets.
** Accessories like shoes, handbags, hosiery and jewelry can change the tenor of an outfit from classy to flashy to trashy. Less is usually more in these settings. You don't want an interviewer or colleague to be staring at your flair and ignoring your ideas.
** Solid prints, subtle weaves and plaids are appropriate prints.
** Wool, wool blends, cotton/poly blends, other synthetics and the occasional crisp linen (depending on the season) are the right fabrics for making a good first impression in a conservative office.
* '''Everyday Suits:'''
** Vogue has the latest fashions for pantsuits. Check out the fancy, expensive options.
** Fabrics, colors, and lengths are at your disposal.
** If you are in a creative work environment (i.e. fashion or advertising) you may be able to explore bold colors and more daring silhouettes.
** Even a conversative suit can be exciting with the proper accessories. Get creative!
* '''With any Suit:'''
** Satin is rarely suitable for any time except evening.
** Same for plunging necklines or wearing a suit without a blouse underneath.
** Find a good tailor to alter your suit to your proportions. If the suit does not fit properly, you will look schlumpy, not sophisticated.
** Try not to dry clean too often--this will leave wool shiny and decrease the life of your suit.
** For more care tips check out Fabriclink.
As with all women's clothing, the numbers on the tag barely matter. Pay more attention to the fit of your suit than to its label. No matter how expensive the suit is, if it doesn't fit or isn't flattering, then it's not worth the money. Below are some tips:
* The waists of your skirts or pants should lie flat on or slightly below your waist, with you able to comfortably put two fingers between your torso and the waistband. If your stomach is bulging over the waistband, swallow your pride and go up a size. (You can always have them taken in after you've done your workout DVD a few more times.)
* Look in the three-way mirror and make sure the jacket and skirt fit from all angles. All of the lines should be falling straight. If the skirt's slit is too wide, or the seams are pulling, it doesn't fit.
* Pull your arms out, up and behind you. Are the sleeves coming to your wrists?
* Now sit down and stand up. Does it still look good?
* On jackets, angular women should stick to sharper cuts and pointier lapels. Curvier women should aim towards wider necklines, softer lapels and two buttons instead of one.
* The jacket should be lined with a coordinating fabric.
* The only part of a jacket that cannot be taken in are the shoulders and lapels. Make sure those elements fit you.
* Anything that is too short cannot be lengthened. A good tailor, on the other hand, can take anything in and up.