There are basic staples that every woman should have in her wardrobe, like the perfect LBD to dress up or down for any occasion, a variety of fitted blazers, and a comfortable pair of heels that you can dance the night away in. However, women often overlook the value of a good suit. If you’re a professional woman, you may employ suits daily for your job. But a fantastic suit will offer a lot more versatility, and even women who don’t work in an office setting will find that having the right pieces on hand can make for dozens of potential outfits thanks to mix-and-match opportunities. Of course, shopping for a suit may be foreign territory, even for self-proclaimed fashionistas. So here are just a few tips and tricks that will help you to find the suit that suits you perfectly.
- Look for three pieces. A 3-piece suit for a man comes with slacks, a jacket, and a vest. For a woman, a 3-piece suit includes slacks, a jacket, and a skirt. And having two bottoms on hand provides you with a lot more options for putting together outfits. You just need to make sure that all three pieces are what you want, and this can be difficult. Ideally, you’ll be able to buy them as separates so that you can get the best style and fit for each piece. But more likely you’ll be stuck buying at least two pieces as a set and then adding the third, or buying all three pieces as a combo. If this is the case, don’t settle for even one piece you don’t want and won’t use. Keep looking or consider purchasing two suits; one with a skirt and one with slacks. In truth, it couldn’t hurt to have two color options in your closet.
- Go for soft shades. You don’t necessarily have to buy suits in pastel hues, but consider skipping traditional black or navy, which can be rather harsh on most skin tones (especially under bright office lighting) and opt instead for softer neutrals like cream, tan, taupe, or light gray (at least one should flatter your particular skin tone). When paired with pops of color in the blouse, shoes, and accessories, you can make a light, neutral suit look chic and stylish. And you’ll avoid the washed-out appearance that black or navy can evoke.
- Opt for flattering shapes. It’s surprising how few women understand how to dress in order to flatter their shape. Many women, perhaps in an effort to hide problem areas, end up opting for suits that are boxy or too big. But the most flattering suits are going to fit close to the body and hug your curves. And if they’re structured correctly, they’ll innately help to camouflage flaws. Look for jackets that nip in at the waist, flair slightly to the hip, and feature seaming details. If you have a large bust, look for a higher stance (more buttons) and avoid bust pockets. For slacks, wide or straight leg options are the most universally flattering and you should probably avoid pleats at all costs. Skirts should be about knee length, and while pencil skirts are popular, A-line options will flatter any figure.
- Pay for quality. Consider that a suit is an investment for at least the next several years, and you’re going to get a lot of use out of this basic garment. So it’s worth it to spend more on high-quality textiles and tailoring in order to ensure that your suit lasts longer than the average off-the-rack, department store find.
- See a tailor. It is extremely rare for women’s suits to fit perfectly right off the hangar, so if you want to make the most of this starter piece, you need to take it to a tailor for alterations. This is especially important for women because bust sizes vary so widely. The trick is to find a jacket that fits at your largest part, whether that happens to be your bust or your shoulders, and then have the rest tailored down to size. The same goes for slacks and skirts, which have to fit at the hip but can be nipped in at the waist and shortened at the hem. When a suit is tailor fitted it shows, and you’ll look like a million bucks by spending just a few extra for tailoring.