Suit of the Week: ‘Diffused Melange’ Suit

Classiques Entier 'Diffused Melange' SuiticonFor busy working women, the suit is often the easiest outfit to throw on in the morning. In general, this feature is not about interview suits, which should be as classic and basic as you get — instead, this feature is about the slightly different suit that is fashionable, yet professional.

Love the look of this Classiques Entier suit — and particularly the fact that the sheer chiffon ruffle is detachable. We like the way it’s so different from anything else we’ve seen, and we like that it’s feminine but not in a hit-you-over-the-head way.  For day, we’d either wear the pieces without the ruffle, though — or wear them as separates.  However, this suit strikes us as a fabulous answer for those times when you have an evening event for work (a charity event, a cocktail party, a gala of some sort) and want to look festive but professional — because if every other woman is there in a suit, you can just detach the ruffle.   The jacket (Classiques Entier ‘Diffused Melange’ Jacket) is $268, and the skirt (Classiques Entier ‘Diffused Melange’ Skirt) is $148, both available at Nordstrom.

Classiques Entier 'Diffused Melange' Jacket Classiques Entier 'Diffused Melange' Skirt

(L-5)

Comments

  1. “However, this suit strikes us as a fabulous answer for those times when you have an evening event for work (a charity event, a cocktail party, a gala of some sort) and want to look festive but professional — because if every other woman is there in a suit, you can just detach the ruffle.”

    Or if you are Jamie Lee Curtis and realize that you don’t look NEARLY enough like a call girl and need to do a quick mirror makeover and de-ruffle your outfit before completing your “CIA Mission”

  2. I love this suit. Wish it were available in something besides polyester…

  3. It kind of reminds me of those cargo pants you can zip off to become shorts… Well not really.
    It is cute, and despite it being a bit kitchy I like the idea of the removable ruffle, especially as it isn’t a whopping Shakespearean collar ruffle. I wonder how it detaches?

    By the way, Kat, I love that you update frequently throughout the day. Just what I need for this kind of day when I have squat to do.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      I saw the jacket in person, a lone not-my-size on the rack on Day 2 of the Anniversary Sale. There are small buttons along the inner collar, and the ruffle edging has buttonholes. I didn’t see the skirt though.

      The fabric felt nice.

      • SF Bay – what did you think of the CE diamondaback dress? I got it in the mail a few days ago, and my one gripe is that the ruffles look lopsided and don’t seem to stay down the right way.

        – Legally Brunette

        • SF Bay Associate :

          LB – I love that dress, so thank you very much for suggesting it. I’m planning to steam the ruffles and see if I can get them to behave, since they arrived smushed in the packaging. If they end up not staying down the right way, I’m not above very loosely sewing the errant curls down with a couple stiches. The dress fits too well for me to part with it. I’m still stunned that an off-the-rack dress fits both my top and bottom.

    • Yes! Definitely reminds me of those pants… or the ones that you roll up to go from pants to capris, or the blouses that go from full length sleeves to elbow length…

      Would have to see just how sturdy the closures on the ruffle are – I’ve seen far too many “convertible” pieces with hook and eye closures that simply don’t last – or worse, get hooked on other things.

  4. Love, love, love. I wish I could justify the cost right now. I would even wear it with the ruffle for day. Women lawyers in Houston are not afraid to show some femininity at work, so I don’t think it would look out of place at all, especially since it’s black and fairly subtle.

    • Thank goodness! I was beginning to think I was just plain crazy! I love subtle ruffles, but every time something with ruffles is posted, people start writing about how it would never fly at their office or that it is too cutesy.

      I guess we are lucky that Houston is a ruffle/bow/color friendly place!

      • Anonymous Today :

        I think it might be dependent on the office, as well. I wear (subtle) ruffles all of the time at my D.C. office. Although, I rarely wear a suit here, so I guess it all depends on the individual work environment.

      • I also wonder if some of the comments are more reflecting of an individual’s personal opinion as opposed to whether or not something would actually fly in their office.

        Example: ruffles. I don’t think they look very professional and don’t wear them to the office, but most of my colleagues wear them and so clearly (1) ruffles fly and (2) the general consensus is that they look professional (otherwise people wouldn’t be wearing them!). If someone asked me if ruffles were ok to wear to work in my office, I would tell them “yes”. This shirt would totally fly.

        • It might be more of a perception thing – I have never *seen* a woman wearing ruffles in my office, so I assume it wouldn’t fly, even though I personally don’t think it’s unprofessional.

      • Yes, yes you are ;-) Here on the East Coast, I guess, things are a bit more (unfortunately at times) strait-laced.

        • Shayna, I was born and raised in Southern and Northern Cali. I now live and practice in Hawaii, and to a lesser extent, in West Coast federal appellate courts. These are all warm and sunny and friendly places to live and work.

          Two years ago, my job required me to move to D.C, for seven months (training of budding litigators and appellate lawyer). I went in January, the deepest darkest depth of winter.

          My world view turned upside down. I was amazed. I mean really stunned by 1) how late in the morning the sun rose, and how early it got dark, and 2) how grim were the black colors that everyone wore. I went to work in the dark; I came home in the dark. The first time I got off the metro (I still call it subway), I had to stop and stare. Every. single. person. wore. black. All black. Pantsuits, shoes, t-shirts, blouses, overcoats, boots, tights. It looked like swirls of black bugs devouring the sidewalks. It was depressing as hell.
          Why, why, why, does everyone wear black? Could we not have charcoal, brown, aubergine, deep purple, navy blue? A touch of yellow, a flare of green, a sweet peony pink would have made such a difference, both to the outfit and to the spirits of the persons wearing them.

          The gestalt of dark environment and darkly dressed, grim and busy people depressed me. As did the cold and sideways driving rain. I got seasonal depressive disorder, and bought bright lamps and placed them all around the apartment.

          Thank God for lovely, soft, colorful, kind, and fragrant Hawaii, where we honor color and variety. All you Houston and Florida ladies know what I mean.

          Thanks for listening my trauma.

          • Houstonian :

            @PJB – I know exactly what you mean. I moved to the general DC area for 3 years and had the exact experience. I remember walking across a grocery store’s parking lot and hearing a 4 year old girl exclaim: “Look, Mommy! Red shoes!” After that, my husband noted, “Everyone at church is staring at you.” It was also the land of jumpers for women at church. I came back to Houston after going through a blizzard alone and shoveling over 2 feet of snow in just one weekend. It is all relative; people wouldn’t like our heat and humidity. We all adapt to where we live the longest, it seems. Enjoy your day, Corporettes, wherever you may be – even if you have to keep your sunshine in your heart and not on your sleeves!

          • It’s so interesting to hear how northeastern cities are described by others. I’m a NYer and whenever I visit other cities, I’m always struck by how “bright” it appears to be.

          • Very interesting. I spent the majority of my life in California and have since been in DC for the last 6 years. I notice that lots of people say that people tend to wear a lot of drab colors, but I can’t say that I’ve necessarily noticed that. I wear color pretty much every day and love it. I have noticed that a few people commenting on my “bright” clothing, but it’s always in a complimentary way. I love color and honestly feel a lot more happy and upbeat when I’m wearing it. Black is not for me.

            I will also say that I think east coasters get a bad rap in general. I have found people here very friendly, and certainly not any less friendly than people back west.

          • Anonymous Today :

            LB, I thought I was the only one who didn’t notice this supposed lack of color! Granted, I grew up in the Midwest, so I’m not used to the colors of say, Hawaii, but I wear color nearly every day and so do most of those around me. I actually paid extra attention today after reading the comments about DC being colorless this morning and I noticed that not one person I saw was wearing head-to-toe black. I also wear bright colors to church, along with pretty much every other woman at my church (particularly during summer and spring). And I don’t think I’ve ever seen an adult woman in a jumper here. I’ll have to pay closer attention next time I’m at mass. Oh, and I, along with the majority of my friends and female co-workers own at least one pair of red shoes and wear them with some degree of regularity. Perhaps that little girl just liked red shoes.

            Regarding weather, it always makes me laugh when D.C. transplants from warmer states complain about the snow! Having grown up in the Midwest, I see 2+ feet of snow and think it’s just another winter! What gets me here is the heat and humidity. I don’t need 95 degree days with high humidity in April!

          • i'm nobody who are you :

            PJB, some of us like gloom and find nonstop sunshine depressing. Different strokes.

          • I live in DC and I wear a lot of bright colors. I’m often the only one, but hey, I am a redhead and I’m used to getting noticed. It’s never hurt me professionally and no one’s ever commented negatively on it, it’s just not the usual style here.

    • Houstonian :

      Don’t you enjoy being in a bit of a “looser,” creative, independent city? Despite the “air you can wear,” I think the leeway we can have here is great. So many times, men still open the doors for me. Some people say it’s my skirts and hosiery, but I think it is the vibe of Houston – valuing feminity in some way. I do wear some ruffles in tops or jacket bottoms or skirt hems (not all at once) and almost always wear colors. Not in law, but owner/professional in a health care practice and never had any troubles with it from the most high level lawyers who come for my services.

    • I don’t think this is feminine in the same vein that a ruffle or bow is. It looks – especially on the bottom – like an undergarment peeking out. It’s sexy. It’s not work-appropriate.

  5. I think only the jacket ruffle is detachable. It doesn’t say the skirt ruffle is, and sadly, “flirty chiffon” peeking out from under a skirt is anything but professional.

    • Hey Eponine, long time no talk. Missed you…seems like Mother’s Day might be the last time we talked, although I’ve lurked on many of your comments since then, my twin sister of different mothers :).

      I agree. Do not like the “flirty chiffon” part and even if it is detachable, don’t wanna have to detach anything on a routine basis.

  6. Cute, but I would worry about chafing if the ruffle touches skin directly.

  7. I don’t care for it at all. If you want to dress up a suit, use a brooch or a different blouse (or shell). The ruffle looks like an afterthought and definitely not appropriate for work in my area.

  8. threadjack …

    I’m writing a thank you letter for an interview I had yesterday for an internship position at a non-profit. There were two staff members there, as well as the person who’s leaving the position. They said they’d like to make a decision by the end of the week so I’m sending it by email. Should I address it (and email it) to the intern as well?

    I was planning on addressing it just to the two permanent staff members, cc’ing the intern, and mentioning that I enjoyed hearing her perspective on the position in the body of the email. But now that I’ve written it, I’m not sure if it seems a little weirdly “oh yeah, guess I better send this to Intern too!” Except the alternative – addressing the thank you note to Intern – seems just as weird. To match the greeting for the other two staffers, I’d have to refer to her as “Ms. Internlastname,” even though she’s only about to start her junior year of college. (I’m class of ’08, but still …)

    Am I just overthinking the cc thing?

    • I’d just send it to all three. Ms. Lastname is pretty standard and you should address all 3 this way. If they included the intern in the interview they obviously value her, and CCing her makes it look like you didn’t value her as much as the others.

      • Agreed. Addressing the intern just like the staffers can’t hurt and could help (in that it might make her feel valued and kindly disposed towards the OP).

    • What about sending two emails? One to the staff, and one to the intern. Just make sure you write the two emails differently because the staffers may forward your email to them on to the intern.
      I feel like the way I would address and thank potential employers is different than the way I’d address a fellow intern.

    • Send it to all three. Address the intern as Ms. Internlastname; she’s twenty-ish, not six, and entitled to the same respectful formality you show the other staff members.

      In fact, your question reminded me of when I was sixteen and working as a summer intern in a small nonprofit. I was the only intern and the only person in the office under the age of 35. One of the permanent staff members and I worked very closely with a particular client, who later sent a thank you note addressed to Ms. Staffer and Ms. Intern. I was extremely flattered and the rest of the staff was impressed by the client’s thoughtfulness and professionalism. Yes, I was “just” the intern, but I made a contribution and it was good of the client to recognize that.

    • I am not understanding what the issue is. Is “Ms.” somehow reserved for women who have graduated from college? I thought the whole purpose of “Ms.” was to get rid of the Miss vs. Mrs. business and have an equivalent to Mr. that does not separate women into different categories based on their marital status, which is totally irrelevant in business situations.

      • And in case it was not clear from my above reply, I agree that you should send it to all three, and address all three as Ms./Mr./Dr. as appropriate.

  9. Love this suit.

    Threadjack – I am looking for some shorts to wear over my swimsuit during my kids’ swimming lessons when I don’t want to “tend to” my bikini line (I get ingrown hairs – is this too gross for Corporette?). I have some board shorts, but they kind of hang and sag when wet (maybe they’re just too large?), and I was thinking I’d prefer something snug and made of swimsuit material. Anyone had any luck with this sort of thing?

  10. SF Bay Associate :

    This was on Anniversary Sale promo before it sold out, I think for 33% off. Too bad we all missed it. I saw it on the website for maybe the first day, and after that it was gone. I guess a lot of people snapped it up on presale.

  11. AnneCatherine :

    On the skirt, the ruffle is described as “flirty,” and I agree. Something about the ruffle on the skirt is too cutesy-pie. Agree that would only be an evening look. Conversely, I don’t hate the ruffle on the jacket, though not everyone—me included—could pull it off. Maybe it’s because it reminds me of an Elizabethan ruff that I am not finding it “flirty” on the jacket (if, say, there were a white blouse, and not a tank top, underneath the jacket).

    The model has beautiful hair by the way and it is making me mad, all over, that I slipped into a daze when I went to get my hair cut in EARLY JUNE and just let my hair guy cut off like 5 inches or more and now, still, months later, each time I blow dry my hair, people ask if I just got a hair cut. It’s like he stunted my hair’s growth, or it’s shrinking.

    • EEP. I feel ya. Can’t ever get past that two inch thing that they always just dispose of, and then the cut is messed up. Chopped off most of my bangs today with desk scissors and roots stripe is just getting bigger. You are in Miami, right? Where do you get your hair done? I moved to the middle part of the state a while back but return to MIA occasionally…..must stop cutting own hair with desk scissors soon :-/

      • AnneCatherine :

        Kendall LOL so you are going to save “serves me right” but it’s actually a nice place. I just zoned out and let him have his way so that was stupid of me . . . they are all scissor-happy, esp. w/long hair.

  12. This is Legally Brunette — just wrote a long post and it got deleted. Ugh.

    Tried this skirt suit on during the presale and wasn’t wowed by it. Didn’t like the ruffles, even though they are detachable, and I thought the jacket was a bit too long. Instead, I ended up buying a CE black wool skirt suit. While I love the skirt, the jacket looks strange and I will end up returning it. The quest for a wool black skirt suit continues. Any ideas? No Jcrew, please.

    Here’s the black wool skirt that I bought during the presale. Jacket not available online:

    http://shop.nordstrom.com/S/3097978/0~2376780~6009391~6014865~6014868?mediumthumbnail=Y&origin=category&searchtype=&pbo=6014868&P=1

    • Talbots has several options if you like their fit.

    • Just curious – why no J. Crew?

      • It just doesn’t fit me very well. I have a hourglass/pearish shape (bigger hips, small waist) and the Jcrew skirt suits make me look very hip-py and are just not flattering. I know people love Jcrew, but their clothes don’t look right on me.

        RR – I dislike the boxy shape of Talbots, but thanks for the rec.

        • Not to push Talbots, but it might be worth a look – I often find that their suits aren’t as boxy as some of their separates, and my build is similar to yours.

          • I second this. Some Talbots stuff is boxy, but a lot of their new cuts — especially three-button suit jackets and wool blend pants — I don’t find boxy at all. I’m a little curvy, but not extremely — J. Crew are too big the waist once they fit my hips, but Talbots fit perfectly. Their “signature fit” pants are relatively straight and fit me like a glove A lightweight wool suit I bought this season is nipped at the waist, and fits very closely along my torso. (I’m a petite 6 in Talbots, need an 8 in J. Crew) To each her own, I guess.

          • Thanks for the plug. I will admit that I haven’t tried on Talbot suits so perhaps I will check out their store at some point. I have had absolutely no luck with any of their clothes I bought online, so I’m thinking that an in store visit will be more fruitful.

        • You may want to try Ann Taylor, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by their new pieces.

    • I bought this skirt during the anniverary sale as well, and am really happy with it. Didn’t see the jacket while I was there – what was wrong with it?

      Perhaps even a little less likely to fly at some places, but if I’m getting a skirt with a ruffle from Nordstrom’s I was eyeing this one: http://shop.nordstrom.com/S/3097991?Category=&Search=True&SearchType=predictivesearch&keyword=classiques+entier+boucle&origin=searchresults
      Seems to me that the ruffle seems to go a little better with a skirt that’s a little less dressy. Besides, I’m really coveting boucle right now. Unfortunately the skirt is not available in my size, and I doubt the high waist would be all that flattering on me anyway. So my search for the perfect boucle pencil skirt continues….

      • That’s a nice skirt! Hope it works it out for someone.

      • I tried this skirt on. Love the boucle, but I wasn’t a fan of the mix of colors on my coloring. It’s actually not that high waisted so it may work out for you after all. My experience with Nordstrom is that most things will end up on sale, so just wait another month or so for the price to come back down.

        The jacket has a lot of strange embellishments that weren’t flattering. It has this band in the middle that nips in the waist a bit too much, to the point where it looks like it is pulling. Hard to explain.

  13. legalicious07 :

    Hmm….I try to keep an open mind about the picks on this site, but the ruffles definitely are a no-go for me! Detaching them makes it seem like a plain black suit, but not one that’s any more special than all the others I have.

  14. I ordered this suit during the anniversary sale and I loved loved loved the jacket, but the skirt looked awful on me. I’m too curvy to wear pencil skirts (my butt is a bigger size than my waist) and this skirt just did not work for me. Major bummer because I thought the jacket was great. I loved the trim. And, from what I remember, the ruffle on the jacket is detachable (buttons) but the ruffle on the skirt was not. I didn’t think it was that “flirty” or anything and thought it was completely work appropriate.

    • Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

      I used to think the same about my hips and pencil skirts, but I finally found one that fit me properly and actually feel they look more professional than other skirts.

  15. I looooooooooooooove this suit. Fabulous.

  16. For some reason, I like the skirt with the chiffon thing, but not the jacket.

  17. associate :

    Threadjack/vent ahead…

    I am the associate who posted on the open weekend thread a few weeks ago re: telling your boss that you’re pregnant. Whoever posted that once you tell 1 person, the secret is out – so true. I just have to vent…

    I told my one closest friend at work, with whom I have shared other confidences and vice versa. She actually used to be my mentor. I kept her similar news secret in the past. She promised not to tell anyone and I believed her. Apparently, when talking to another pregnant associate (who told everyone right away), she blurted out that I was too, then said “oops, don’t tell anyone, I wasn’t supposed to tell.” Do people really have such a lack of self control that they can’t control themselves and what they say??Grrrr. I don’t trust her anymore, which is sad because I thought we were friends.

    Then, today, the other pregnant associate pops into my office and mentions me being pregnant while my door is WIDE OPEN. Knowing that the news is a secret. Immediately, I (very quietly) said I hadn’t told anyone yet and she swore she hadn’t told anyone (then recounted the tale of how she found out and how she was told not to tell anyone). But how little common sense do you have to have to talk openly about non-public things with the door wide open and someone sitting in an office directly across the hall???

    Yes, my fault for taking the risk and telling one person I thought I could trust. But alas, there are apparently few people in the world that I can really trust. Now I have to tell my boss before it gets to him before I do! Ok, I’m done now.

    • That’s really annoying that she knew it was a secret, and then talked about it AGAIN with the door open. I feel your pain. That sucks. :(

    • s in Chicago :

      That stinks.

      • All work issues aside…

        Even if you felt comfortable telling people, you should be the one to do it. I hate when people share news that someone else is pregnant or engaged. There are so few times in life you get to have these big moments. The person with the happy news should get to enjoy every chance to share. I haven’t had the luck to be pregnant yet. But when I got engaged my best friend pretty much told everyone I knew before I could (and also emailed photos from my wedding–that I absolutely HATED–before I got the chance to share my own). I’m still steamed thinking about it. But I also know she didn’t do it to hurt me. I think she was just caught up in the excitement.

        Obviously your situation has far bigger rammifications though since it is workplace.

        Hope all goes well. I’m sure you’ll find the announcement ends up being far better than you anticipated. And even though the announcement is forced, please don’t let this spoil what truly is fantastic news. Let yourself enjoy hearing other’s well wishes and celebration of your happiness.

        • associate :

          Thanks. I think that’s something most people don’t think about until it happens to them. Or, for some people, they don’t really care. Nowadays with facebook, it’s almost unavoidable that people will overdisclose other peoples’ news/photos unless you specifically ask them not to (and sometimes even then).

        • I just always ask if I’m allowed to tell others. It’s hard to keep a secret, especially a happy secret, and usually the expectant mother doesn’t want to have to go around personally to everyone and tell them herself.

    • EEEP. I remember (and was one of the active ‘commentariat’ on your original post. so sorry you have been outed like this, but yeah, you are right, go to the boss now before anyone else gets there first. Sucks, but hopefully you are close to the 12 week/heartbeat mark so it just is what it is. Don’t lose sight of what is all good about this – you are ‘cooking’ a little baby and while work is key, that little life is more important than any work issue…and life goes on, you will have this and/or many other jobs before ‘it’s over’ but you will only have THIS child, and this experience of mothering this child one time….allocate emotional and other resources accordingly.

    • Thanks ladies, for the support and advice. I’m not angsting too much about it, but will have to tell my boss earlier than I had hoped (I’m past 12wks and have seen the heartbeat but wanted to wait until my next appointment). I’m more disappointed by my “friend”‘s betrayal of my confidence and cover-up (it would made it a little less bad if she had confessed and given me a heads up). Also, disturbed by the fact that these supposedly professional women, who deal with confidential information and judgment calls for a living, appear to have no self control, judgment, discretion, common sense, consideration or respect for their colleague (me).

  18. Wow, I love this suit. I am new to the working world, and this suit has just the perfect number of feminine accents.

  19. Love this! But since our [insert emphatic expletive here] IT department has started blocking corporette (and npr.org for crying out loud), I didn’t see this until my size was sold out.

    Oh websense, you are the bane of my lunch break.

  20. Late to the game, but I love this suit! Fitted and flattering. I so don’t go for the boxy styles that seem so prevalent at Talbots, etc. Looks classic and feminine without being too trendy.

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