Do I Really Want to Wear a *&%#$ Suit?

Yes, especially right now.

At 50, I’m back in a suit.
  1. Black with ecru striped Alexander McQueen, bought at a Saks sale. I kind of fell into my first suit in this new life because it was on sale, so I thought, I’ll try it, and boom. I was in. It has really great sharp tailoring with those big, structured shoulders (bolstering my shrunken ones) It’s light wool that can cross multiple seasons and it’s beautifully cut at the waist with these triangular insets. I’ve worn it to a meeting at Converse with a pair of Comme de Garcons All Stars and a T-shirt. I’ve worn it to a nighttime event with a cami and a pair of sharp pumps. And to any meeting I’ve fallen out of bed and basically rolled over to. Just some Trinny London BFF and I’m good to go. Also coffee.
  2. Prada gray suit plus bonus shorts from Saks during Triple Points. The first suit gave me such return on investment that last year I wanted to buy a summer suit. The gray suit I chose is super lightweight and unlined. The jacket is oversized in a way that feels current, but not so oversized that it’s going to get dated quickly. It has special details like cuffs that are flipped up with striped silk peeking out and buckles. The line is really long and wearable. And the matching pants have a great flare and high waist. I also saw a pair of long shorts in the same fabric so I got those too. I wore that out to dinner recently for my birthday. I felt great.
  3. + I also bought a pair of Racil print pants in a blue I love on sale a while ago at a now defunct web site. But I was never quite sure how to wear them. Instead of selling them, I recently made the decision to hunt down the matching blazer, which I found used on Vestiaire Collective. It’s on its way. This will be my fun suit, a wildcard print but still with the ease of grown-up Garanimals.
The Racil suit. Can I pull it off? We’ll see!
Trinny in the suit she created from separates.
  1. What suits do you need? (And I think Trinny and I use “need” in the loosest form of that word). A neutral that can take you anywhere and one in your best color.
  2. What pants length should we go for? Play with the pants length! If it’s not ankle or full heel length, if it’s an odd length, shorten it to a fun crop to look updated (if that’s less flattering on your leg, a high waist and wedge/stacked heel helps offset it). Or take the trouser length down; sometimes you don’t even need to hem.
  3. The bonus pants. Consider buying two pairs of the same trousers (if they’re affordable!), keeping one long and another short. (Rachel note: If you’re a shorts person, consider the shorts version if you see it. I find I’ve ended up wearing the shorts even more.)
  4. The tuck: You can do a half tuck to show the high waist of your pants, and it can be imprecise because the jacket plays nicely and covers it.
  5. How do I up the ante for a dinner date? Add more of a lip, and a wedge vs. a brogue, keeping the color of the trouser to help elongate the leg … or sequins under, hair up, earring.
  6. Dressing it down: Of course, try white trainers. Also, use a crossbody (my current favorite) to dress it down and make it less of a suit and more of an outfit — and break up a feeling of hippiness too.
  7. Finding a waist. Use a structured jacket with strong shoulder (aka a “Balmain shoulder!”) and exaggerated high waist one size down (as long as the arms fit) to help create a waist — you’re more likely to find this as a suit vs. a blazer.
  8. Do I button? Try one button only. But don’t do up a boxy unstructured blazer … let it be loose and fun.
  9. About that shoe: An ankle strap breaks up length between the end of the trouser and start of the shoe; it helps distract the eye, and distract from short legs. And avoid a black shoe stunting all the color with a colorful suit. For the right trouser flow, choose a shoe under that doesn’t create a break — the pants should flow over the shoe elongating your leg.
  10. What goes under the suit? Pull something that flatters your face up high, close to your chin. You can go “full enchilada,” a suit with matching shirt too. (But then don’t also match the lip!). Or, try it with no shirt at night, just a necklace and darker lip.
  11. Extra Credit: Make your own mix and match suit, like Trinny’s black suit (really Gabriella Hearst jacket and Loewe pants.)

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Hey Mrs. Solomon

Grown-ass woman. Perpetual student of style. Sharer of tips. I work @honorcodecreative and write about fashion and style ahas here and on IG @heymrssolomon XO.