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Women's Suits Buying Guide

A really great suit (or few) is excellent wardrobe ammunition. Think of it as your secret weapon for making a professional impression, looking put together even on casual days, and getting a ton of mileage out of your separates. A few words of wisdom on this fabulous clothing staple:

  • A suit is not the place to skimp. It's great if you can find a deal, but investing in a gorgeous, versatile, well fitting suit will never be a mistake while you work in a professional environment.
  • If you can only afford one, get a suit in a dark, neutral colour (black, navy, brown)--it will be appropriate for all seasons, unlike a pastel. If you can get a winter and summer suit, beige is a nice colour for the latter.
  • Same goes for fabric: if you need your suit to be all purpose, skip the silky, satiny ones, which are more of a night time luxury.
  • Ditto for details like buttons. Keep it minimal (you can always have fun with jewellery and accessories later).
  • Patterns (stripes, plaids) and textures (tweed, houndstooth) in a suit can be really cool, but the pieces will be more more versatile if the detail is subtle enough that you wouldn't notice it from a distance. That way, you can mix and match with your patterned tops. (Glenn plaid, for instance, is subdued enough to be paired with a flowery blouse). 

Fits Tips

  • Your body type should influence the shape of the suit you look for. Straight, skinny bodies should seek out low button stance and sharp structure. Curvy ladies should go for at least two buttons with a high stance, and a soft shape.
  • Shop for suits in person. This is not a purchase to make online; the fit is too essential.
  • Fit for shoulders first--they're too difficult for a tailor to take in, and they're an important element in how the suit hangs.
  • Likewise, keep in mind that tailors can't lengthen anything. So if the shoulders fit but the sleeves are too long, buy it and get it fixed!
  • Button all the buttons and sit down. Comfortable?
  • Stand up and check yourself out from and back. How much adjusting did you have to do to look presentable again?

Finishing Touches

  • A camisole  is a pretty touch of femininity under a stiff suit.
  • A blouse  is also nice, and more conservative.
  • Accessories  can spruce up a boring suit for a more fashion forward office. Try putting a wide belt over your jacket, a top in a contrasting colour underneath, or sporting daring shoes. Oversized necklaces and bracelets can also add sparkle to your look.
  • Messy hair or makeup can wreck the professional vibe a suit creates. Think "finished" for your hair--a sleek blow out, contained curls, or a pulled-back style. As for makeup, less is more: cover blotches and shadows with a concealer to look awake and reasonably healthy, clean up your eyebrows, and do a subtle touch of colour in the cheeks and lips that's a shade or two darker than your natural colouring.

The Great Debate

Skirts or Trousers

Skirt Suits  are usually considered more classic, and of course, a little more feminine than the trouser suit.

  • Try a skirt suit for a more traditional environment.
  • Keep the hem to the knee or lower in a conservative office.
  • Classic doesn't have to mean boring; cut, colour, and accessories can all make your skirt suit special and even fun. Take, for example, the pencil skirt. It completely covers you, yet depending on the fit and cut, it can be sexy.
  • Make sure to wear the proper undergarments for you skirt suit: a thong  will prevent panty lines while a slip  is ride-up insurance.

Trouser Suits  are a modern option for the working women and very fashion forward.

  • Perfect for the woman who will get sick of crossing her ankles all day.
  • Fit is extremely important; an ill-fitting trouser can make your suit look dowdy or sloppy. On the other hand, perfect hang and cut can have you looking modern, professional, and dare I say fabulous?
  • Wear boy shorts or a thong to prevent panty lines.
  • Don't try to fit your suit trousers like you do your jeans; trousers should skim your leg, not hug it, and low rise is a definite no-no.

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