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Women's Suiting

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I am a fairly young academic, and as such, I usually dress quite casually. (Though not nearly as casually as my husband!) I'd like to get a suit, which I would expect to use for interviews, and perhaps to intimidate the students a little more on the first day of class. I know absolutely nothing about how to wear a suit, so I thought I would start with the most obvious questions.

1) Skirt or Trousers?
2) What are appropriate lengths for the skirt?
3) How fitted should the jacket be?
4) What are the options for a blouse under the jacket?
5) No jacket?
6) Which fabrics/colors/cuts are too fashion forward (in the sense that Costume Nationale probably wouldn't make a good interview suit) and which are too staid?
7) How much should one expect to spend on a good suit?
8) What is the range of shoe possibilities?

School me..Please!
post #2 of 6
I notice that you hail from Boston. Edwin DeBoise from Steed ( is in residence at the Back Bay Hilton tomorrow and Saturday. He has a line of ladies' MTM suits--- he can do Chanel knockoffs or more classically masculine suits from conventional worsteds/flannels. Good place to start if you can make an appointment. His taste is pretty conservative.
post #3 of 6
I'll give it a shot. My mom makes suits for a living:

1) Both. Some suits will feature both a skirt and trousers, which makes them a little more flexible.

2) In academia, I think a knee-length is appropriate, maybe longer in the winter. Above the knee looks good, but seems less professional.

3) The jacket should define your shape and femininity, but shouldn't be skintight or boxy. Darts help to define the breast area.

4) Shirt-style blouses are hot right now. A silk "shell" looks very businesslike as well.

5) It depends. If you have a nicer top on that looks good without the jacket, you can easily forgo it. Sweaters are good without jackets as well.

6) A good middle ground is the kind of feminine but tailored look J. Crew pushes. Styles that are extremely fitted or scream 'look at me" or "look at my rack" are not appropriate. You'll know it when you see it. Too staid would be the Kasper/Le Suit look favored by women of a certain age.

7) As little as $200 regular price on up into the thousands. A good ladies' suit costs between $400-1200 (regular price) usually

8) A low heel (around 2 inches) is a decent balance. Flats look better with pants, and heels over 3 inches look sexy but aren't very functional for work.
post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your answers. That will definitely get me started.
post #5 of 6
You're welcome.
post #6 of 6
Originally Posted by Jen
4) What are the options for a blouse under the jacket?
Jen, I know this isn't a really appropriate answer for your question, but for my money there's nothing sexier than a woman in a suit with no shirt.

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