Suit of the Week: Talbots Seasonless Wool Blend

For 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 for women, which should be as classic and basic as you get — instead, this feature is about the slightly different suit that is fashionable, yet professional.

I’ve been ogling this suiting collection from Talbots for a while.  A lot of it is your classic, basic suiting — the trousers, the jackets, the pencil skirts — but I like the completeness of the set in that it has a matching wool-blend vest as well as a sesasonless wool-blend top as well.  This strikes me as a great collection for when, say, you’re traveling for work for a longish period and want everything to coordinate well, as well as give you variability in your outfits; this could also be a great suiting collection for a long trial away from home. The jacket (Talbots Kate Fit Seasonless wool-blend long jacket) is $199, and the skirt (Seasonless wool-blend pencil skirt) is $99. The other 10 pieces in the collection range from $99 to $199; I think this link will show you all the options. Oh, and it’s available in navy, a beige “sesame,” a medium grey heather, and black in regular, petites, plus sizes, and plus size petites.

Seasonless wool-blend pencil skirt

(L-0)

Comments

  1. Would this be a good interview suit?

    • I think so – would make you stand out, just a bit, in a sea of black.

      Gosh I love a good navy suit!

      • Agreed. I always prefer a good navy suit to a black for an interview any day!

        • My go-to interview suit was navy and I feel I had more choice in what colors to wear underneath. Sometimes, black can clash or contrast too much with some colors of blouses

          • This is good to hear. I’m in OCI this week and have been wearing a dark navy (w/ subtle pinstripe) Elie Tahari suit (a gift! So beautiful and the fabric/lining is so comfortable!) I feel amazing in it, but I definitely am standing out a bit in a sea of black (it is still a very conservative suit.) In a way I feel lucky to have it and not have to wear my identical J Crew like everyone else, but I’m going to wear it so much it’s going to get holes in it!

  2. found a peanut :

    I really like this suit and have been looking for a navy skirt. Why can’t any of their items be available in-store??

    • I’ve been looking for a navy suit as well. I might have to suck it up and purchase online (they do have free shipping right now if you spend $175 plus $25 off any purchase over $125).

      • found a peanut :

        Any idea on fit? I am a 6 in mall stores (J Crew, BR) and an 8 in higher-end things (Theory, DvF). Contemplating between a 4 and a 6 (because of the alleged boxy fit)

        • Maddie Ross :

          You could definitely wear a 4 in the skirt, IMO, and may even want a 2 depending on your hips. I’m a J.Crew and BR 8 (occasionally a 6) and have a 4 in this skirt.

        • I have no idea! I’m almost contemplating buying two sizes, as I’m in between sizes as well, P8 and P10, and then returning to the store the one that doesn’t fit.

        • I’ve been wanting navy pants for a while now. Anyone know how Talbots pants compare to, say, BR pants in terms of fit? I really can only wear the curve-friendly Martin fit pants from BR.

          • Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

            I’m (very) curvy and I have never found a pair of Talbots pants that fit me properly.

          • They have just added a few new types of pant fits (modern & curvy maybe?) so it may be worth giving them another try.

          • anon today :

            Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler…I too am very very curvy (i am a pear shape with wide hips) and am ALWAYS looking for pants/skirts that fit. Can I ask what works for you??

          • I’ll check that, thanks!

          • I have a higher than average hip to waist ratio (I think, anyway, based on how clothing fits) and I order a larger size in Talbot’s pants than I wear in other Talbot’s clothing, and then have the waist taken in. I might be OK with a size smaller (my usual flattering Talbot’s size) but then the pants would be more fitted on my thighs, and I like pants to be sort of flowy. I order the Heritage Fit, for what it’s worth.

          • Second the Heritage fit for ladies with curves. They fit so well that I bought the wool pants last fall in every color they came in.

          • I’ll third the heritage fit. I have three pairs of jeans and a bunch of pants in that cut and love it.

  3. Any thoughts on quality of Talbots suiting? They used to be one of my go-to stores for classic pieces but lately it seem like the materials aren’t worth the price.

    • I bought the navy version in the spring, skirt and jacket and bought the pants when they went on sale. I just purchased the sheath dress, hoping it will match.

      It is a VERY dark navy, would think it was black if you did not know the difference.

      I have found their sizing to be comparable to Ann Taylor’s. Sometimes I will need a 0 Petite in AT pants but never in Talbots, sometimes the 2P in tabots is a bit tighter than I like. the jackets are very similar in sizing.

    • Almost all my suits are Talbots. The older ones are generally a better quality. The seasonless wool is probably the best quality they still make…as I sit here wearing one from last year.

      I’ve been having some trouble with their sizing lately. I used to consistently be a 16WP in jackets but now those are enormous on me, but when I go down to a 14WP it is too small in the shoulders.

    • I can’t speak to suiting, but I bought a structured boucle jacket this spring & have been very impressed with the quality.

    • The quality on their suiting has been good so far(I’ve got a seasonless wool from last year and a shetland wool jacket from this winter – all of which I love). My one complaint is that I wish they would line the suit pants. I’m usually a skirt suit person, but every now and again, I do buy dress pants.

  4. I’m digging the matching top and like that there are so many coordinating pieces. It would kind of be a pain to clean everything at the same time though.

    • I know it’s a big corporette no-no, but I don’t always clean everything together. I try to generally but if the jacket is funky but it’s only been worn with the skirt, I’m not going to clean the pants. So far so good…

      • Me, too, and I’ve never noticed uneven wearing, even on suits that I’ve had for years.

        • Same. I almost never clean my pencil skirts, actually, and the ones I have with matching jackets don’t look any different from the jackets, even though I clean the jackets with fair regularity.

      • Me too. And if there has been uneven fading or wear, I haven’t noticed it.

  5. I’ve been looking for a nice three-piece suit so I can wear it mostly jacket off (a la Vera Farmiga in The Departed) since FOREVER. I love the vest and matching pants look, with a button down under.

    Looks like I found it!!

    • Love the vest. Love the suiting top. What a clever idea.

      • found a peanut :

        I am not sure how I feel about the suiting top. Anyone else think it’s a bit odd?

        • I was trying to figure out how you would wear the suiting top, too. With the suit? Wouldn’t that look way to matchy-matchy?

          I love the vest on the model, but I feel like I’d feel weird in it in real life. I can’t quite put my finger on why, though.

        • The suiting top together with the pencil skirt would probably create a beautiful sheath-dress look. I wouldn’t wear the blazer on top, though.

          • That’s exactly what I was thinking. Or even with pants. Just no blazer (or vest).

    • Always a NYer :

      It’s so funny you say that =) Ever since I saw that movie I’ve been on the hunt for a three-piece suit because I absolutely love, love, love how sharp the vest/shirt combo looks when you take off the jacket. This will definitely be something I bite the bullet on and buy, probably all four pieces, too!!!

  6. I really like those shoes but since I would get this as a new interview suit (I’m still looking for my first post grad school job) I would wear more conservative shoes with it.

  7. anon in Texas :

    I am disappointed in Talbots. I bought 3 peices last month on sale, all seasonless wool. ALL UNLINED.

    annoyed.

    I would be hesitant to get stuff online from them without seeing it in person to check to see if it’s lined or whatnot. I feel like thier quality has gone downhill of late.

    • Oh no, that changes my mind about this collection then. Must have pants that are lined, it’s a pet peeve of mine to have unlined pants and I refuse to buy them. I re-read the pants description and it doesn’t say if they’re lined or unlined, so I’m guessing they’re unlined. Ugh.

      • The skirt, jacket and dress are fully lined, I believe.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        I also hate unlined pants. I seem to be wearing skirts and dresses almost exclusively because finding lined wool pants is so darn hard.

      • The seasonless wool I bought in the summer were all fully lined.

        • Weird — I’ve bought two of their seasonless wool suits in the past year, both unlined. Maybe it depends what part of the country you’re in? I was surprisingly happy with the unlined navy during the heat wave, since it’s very breathable.

          The Mansfield Houndstooth suiting they just introduced is fully lined (even the pants!) — drooling a little…

      • Whippetlady :

        If you like lined pants and are having trouble finding them, might I suggest a sort of old fashioned remedy? Peti -Pants. They are a slip that is sewn like pants, and can be worn with unlined trousers. You might have to search on line for them, since even slips are tough to find in stores.

    • The pants in the seasonless wool collection are not lined, the skirts and jackets usually are. I can’t wear unlined wool pants, it causes me to break out in a rash. I do have the black seasonless wool jacket and pencil skirt from last season, it’s a nice suit.

  8. I currently work in South America in a rather casual office setting. A woman here often wears ankle pants like the ones in the collection above. I love the way they look but I’m worried they might be a little too sexy in the states. I’ll be interning at a court in the fall that is business casual unless of course you are in the courtroom. What do we think, acceptable to wear these behind the scenes with the clerks?

    • found a peanut :

      I think ankle pants are fine in any business setting where you don’t have to wear a full suit. I love the trend and think they’re adorable.

      • I interned this summer at a business casual law firm, and the HR person warned us not to wear ankle length pants because they looked unprofessional. This is probably not a widely-held view but it wouldn’t hurt to ask about them before wearing them to work.

        • I think there is a huge difference between cigarette pants (essentially) in a suiting material and capris in a whatever fabric. I would be very surprised if the HR person was not talking about the latter.

    • Totally fine in my office, which is on the businessy side of business casual. I usually wear them with a cropped blazer of some sort.

      • AnotherMel :

        I think it really depends on your height/how the pants fit on you. I’m average height (5’7) and average weight, but I have HUGE calve muscles from years of walking on my tiptoes as a child (and now I run, so that doesn’t help). My calves are so big in proportion to the rest of my legs that people comment about it! Gah! Anyway, ankle length/skinny ankle cigarette pants make me look like I accidentally washed my laundry in hot water, but on other women of similar height/size, they look great and very professional when styled for business casual. If you think you can pull off the look, I say go for it and keep the rest of the outfit a bit dressed up.

    • Anonymous :

      Ankle (Audrey Hepburn cigarette with professional top and shoes): yes.

      Capri (Jackie O. with fab sandals and Pucci scarf): Never for work, polished for weekend.

      Clamdigger/pedal-pusher/etc. (summery mother-in-law with sandals): Never ever ever.

      • Thank you!!! A girl in my business casual office actually asked me why I wear my capris “too long” (she herself wears the mother-in-law version). I am 5’1″, and I don’t need my leg cut in half at the calf, so I prefer the Audrey Hepburn look. When I mentioned Audrey Hepburn, the girl had never heard of her. Ugh.

  9. Hi Corporettes,
    I have been searching high and low for a basic cotton scarf (or cotton/silk blend) in a burnt orange or orange/red (solid) color. Has anyone seen one recently in their travels? I would like to spend under $50 on it. Thanks much!

  10. Frustrated :

    Frustrated expressions of frustration time: Two years out of law school, clerked the first year, then did a sort of job that wasn’t making me much money; about 3 months ago I accepted a new job in a new city with a small firm. Nice folks, great environment, but I haven’t been nearly as busy as I’d like to be (as in, I can start work at 8:30(ish), leave at five, take a long lunch, and still spend more time on the web than is healthy.)

    I have a complicated comp plan; there’s a base salary, a guaranteed bonus, and an extra bonus. Both bonuses are based on what comes in based on my work. I took the job on the guaranteed base + bonus of 48 K; with them telling me that the expectation was that I would make about 70. 70 is less than what I had expected (pre-economic implosion) to make, for sure, but it’s not a terrible salary in my area, which is very low cost of living, and I anticipated that I could do over and above to make more.

    SO, both main partners stopped by today to tell me how impressed they are with how much I brought in for the first 3 months. Great, right? But I punched the numbers, and the amount that I took in is way less than an amount necessary to get me anywhere near 70. More like just over 50. I’m doing all of the work that I’m able to grab, and constantly asking for more, but there just doesn’t seem to be enough there. I know that I should expect that my first few months on the job would be slower, but I’m not feeling like they should be *that* much slower.

    So, I’m frustrated. And I guess I just thought that you guys should know. :)

  11. I feel ya :

    I think you should negotiate for guaranteed performance reviews, yearly at the least. They do not cost anything except for time. Small firms rarely do this if you do not request it. In the meantime, keep building your network and hope for the best. If this job does not work out, then you will have contacts in the new city.

    If the partners were giving you a compliment, you have no where to go but up. Start making contacts in your free time and doing some rainmaking. I wish I could be out by 5:30 because there are a ton of pro bono and networking opportunities that I miss because of the long hours that I work. Try to think what angle can you get clients in the door that others cannot? There is only 3 of them, there has to be a demographic that you cover that they do not. Figure out what it is, and work it. I am the youngest and only female so I go to young lawyer and women attorney events when I can. It’s awkward (I am not from this city) but I have received about 4 referrals from it overall.

    I am in the first year in my small law firm job and I make less than your base AND was dissed at bonus time (while the support staff all received bonuses). I was told it would be reconsidered in the fall and was based on the state of the firm and not my performance. Not to mention, I just settled a case with an attorney fee that is twice my salary. Everytime I get bummed about that, I remember that more than half of my graduating class do not have legal jobs at all and go back to work. I really like my job too, so that of course helps. But I am so bummed that I am still eating ramen and paying down credit cards without cable after more than a year of practicing with no real relief in sight when I work so hard.

    Bottom line(s): be thankful for what you have; develop of network so if they take advantage, you have a plan B.

  12. Le Corbeau :

    I hate Talbots. Several years ago, Ellen Barkin made a snide comment about them and a few years ago someone gave me a tee shirt from there. It fit badly.

  13. OilLondon :

    I’d need some help on the blue suit front – I am a size 6, and very curvy; like an earlier comment I have a very high hip-waist ratio! Therefore, I only wear circle / aline skirts. I have 2 lovely suits, one grey and one black, but I’d like to find a navy blue one. I also need it to hit the knee, or just below. Everything I seem to have tried lately was above the knee, and I don’t have particularly long legs!
    Any advice on where I could find one?? It could be in Europe or in the US…
    thanks for the help

  14. When did Talbots change? I remember it being pretty frumpy, but I would definitely wear that suit!

    • Anonymous :

      2+ years ago, Recession end-times, recognizing genuine possibility of bankruptcy, closed Men’s (was beautiful!), kids’ (so classic– no trashy cuteness), slowly but surely evolved misses towards our rising generation from our grandmothers’. Still lots to love for that middle mom/CEO generation.

  15. Almost all of my clothes come from Talbots. I find a different mix of product in stores at different locations. The store in Sarasota, FL even has some lovely Italian made things I have not seen in other Talbots or in the catalogs, printed or online.

  16. StaffingStarr :

    I would purchase both suits.. I really LOVE to wear 3-piece pant suits! Whenever I wear them, I feel like a Wall Street power broker! I can take on anything at the office… LOL!

  17. amazing suit :

    Just wanted to say that I just bought this suit tonight at Talbots after reading about it today on corporette. Wowza–it’s amazing. It’s nipped and tucked in all the right places and looks awesome. I was seriously impressed. Now, I wasn’t as impressed with everything else in the store, but ladies, this suit is NOT frumpy. It is one of the best fitting–if not THE best fitting–suit I’ve ever tried on. The material could look a little more luxe (but it’s not bad), but the fit is so great that I’m in love.

  18. amazing suit :

    Oh PS–for those of you looking to order online, the fit is almost the same as the current Ann Taylor suiting fit. I am a 2/4 jacket at Ann Taylor and got a 4 in the Talbots jacket (the 2 was a bit snug but might have worked), and a 6 in the skirt in both stores. The fit on the skirt looked *exactly* the same. Not sure how the fit compares to the old Ann Taylor sizing because I do believe the sizing has shifted a bit since they got the new styling consultant a few years back, but all I can say is that at least for this model of suit (the “Kate” fit), it’s almost dead on.

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