Expanding a Suiting Collection

How to Expand a Suiting Collection | CorporetteHow to Expand a Suiting Collection | CorporetteHow can you expand a suit collection beyond the most basic colors? What is the best non-basic suiting color? Reader J wonders:

For my new job, I need to wear a suit every day, so I’m ready to expand my very basic (black, navy, grey) collection. I am thinking about a camel or khaki color, but I’m not sure if that is too summery/appropriate for fall. Would brown be a better choice to fit more seasons?

Great question, J! I went back through a bunch of Suit of the Week picks and have a few thoughts:

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Busty Blazers

busty blazers

2017 Update: We still stand by this advice below about busty blazers, but you may also want to check out our more recent roundup of the best dress shirts for women with large breasts — several of the companies listed also make blazers!

Which are the best blazers if you’re small and busty?  Reader K wonders:

One of my biggest obstacles when it comes to finding business appropriate clothes are my breasts. I feel like it’s impossible to find a jacket or blouse that won’t either pull or else drown me. Either my jacket is so big that I can’t find my arms (and definitely not my waist) or I can’t close it over the girls. I’m a 32G (by nature, not by choice) and a size two everywhere except my chest. I would like to look both professional and not like a child wearing her mom’s jacket. I work in banking, so jackets are a must. (And yet, I’m young enough that I don’t have the kind of funds to have tailor made clothes.) Am I all alone in the world? Is there anyone out there who makes professional clothes for small women with large breasts?

Interesting.  We’ve talked about whether jackets must button to “fit”, how to dress professionally with curves, where to get blouses for the busty, and even how to find such clothes on a budget — but not how to find blazers that fit an hourglass frame. In our last thread on the best suits for small women, Theory seemed to be the winner, which you may want to try — but I’ve never found the brand to be particularly curve-friendly. (If you’re petite as well as small-statured, here was our more recent thread on the best workwear for petites.) I’m curious to hear what the readers say, but here are some thoughts:

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Professional Frump: What To Avoid

How to Avoid Professional Frump | CorporetteHere’s a fun topic that we haven’t discussed in years — what makes something frumpy? How can professional women avoid frump?

I agree with a lot of what I said four years ago — primarily:

  • wearing clothes that don’t fit — this is a big one! A lot of women end up in too tight/too short pants, dresses, and skirts because they’ve gained a few pounds and refuse to recognize it. Meanwhile, a lot of women start out in pants, dresses, and skirts that are too big — baggy, not tailored — because they think that’s “professional.” We’ve talked about how blazers should fit, how suits should fit, how pants should fit, where your pants hems should be, and which common tailoring alterations you should consider — we’ve also talked about when to give in and buy a bigger size. [Read more…]

The Perfect Pants Fit

How To Get the Perfect Pants Fit | Corporette2017 Update: We still stand by this advice on the perfect pants fit; links have also been updated below. 

What is the perfect pants fit — how SHOULD should they fit? When are they too baggy; when are pants too tight? Reader K wonders…

Can you discuss proper fit of suit pants/slacks for the workplace (including trouser jeans for casual Fridays)? I can’t find anything related in the archives- I was hoping for something like the guide to hem length. How do you find the right balance between too baggy and too fitted, especially in the thighs and butt? If they have a crease on the front, should the pants be loose enough that the crease stays creased all the way up?

I’m curious what readers say here about the perfect pants fit — for my $.02, I think this is easier to say what NOT to do than what TO do. In my mind, you want to avoid: [Read more…]

The Best Workwear for Petites

The Best Workwear For Petites | Corporette

2016 Update: Check out our latest discussion on the best petite suits.

We have a super old post about the best suits for petite women, but we haven’t talked about this in ages, so let’s discuss: which are your favorite stores and brands for workwear for petites?  Are there any indie brands or Etsy shops that you love?

For my $.02, it seems like the list of stores that offer petite sizes is growing, which is a great sign; I feel like bespoke dressmakers and suiting alterations are both more common than before as well. Here’s the list of stores that I know of that offer petite clothing:

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The Best Blouses for the Busty

The Best Blouses for the Busty | CorporetteWhich are the best blouses for those of us who are on the busty/hourglass side? We’ve talked about how to dress professionally if you’re busty and how to fix your own gaping shirts, as well as where to get bespoke dresses for work, but we haven’t totally talked about the best blouses for bustier women. Reader A wonders:

I am an older woman who wears a 44 DD bra. The blouses in the larger women’s department are sized with armholes and sleeves that are too big. I would like to find a silk professional button down shirt, or have one tailored to fit. We live in Montana so I have to shop online. Any suggestions as to where I can find this blouse?

There are a ton of places that make shirts like this, and I’m also going to refer you to the blog Hourglassy, which I enjoy as a reader.  I was particularly intrigued when one of the bloggers there tried to get an off-the-rack shirt tailored for her (which is what I’ve always heard people recommend). (Pictured: The Signature Silk Shirt, available in four colors at The-Shirt.com for $138.) Readers with bust issues — which are your favorite stores for blouses? Has anyone had custom shirts made from scratch?

That list of stores that I know of in this space:

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