Colored Suits and the Working Woman

colorful suits and younger women

2016 update: check out our latest discussion on colorful suits, particularly light blue suits for summer… 

Today’s reader mail comes from A, who wonders whether colored suits are appropriate for her…

Is baby blue totally off limits? I have a pale blue, Ann Taylor Loft cotton/nylon suit, c. 2005 that I’ve never worn. Gut feel says pale, baby blue is out, out, out. I’m new to summer, having just left San Fran after 4 years, so not sure how to dress for warm weather. Any advice?

Colored suits can be a very regional question. Our guess is that in D.C. or other points South, a head-to-toe pale blue suit (or red suit or purple suit) would be just fine. In other places (particularly other urban places), we’d advise you to break the suit up. For example, a blue blazer can be great with a sheath dress in black, navy, beige, or even white — it’s a nice summery touch. Similarly, a pale blue skirt or pair of pants can be great for early summer. (Be sure to dry clean both pieces together!)  (Pictured: MASSIMO ALBA Blazers – Item 41158308, available at Yoox.com for $325 (was $540) in sizes S and M.)

Readers, we haven’t had a post on this in a while — what are your thoughts re: colored suits? In your comments, please be specific about where you’re located.

Comments

  1. I work in DC/gov’t as a lawyer and haven’t seen many colored suits around. The picture above looks fine — blue jacket over black sheath, but I’m having a tough time imagining full-color. There’s this suit at Macy’s: http://www1.macys.com/catalog/product/index.ognc?ID=468119&CategoryID=39097
    It just feels like too much … too 90’s.

  2. I work in the NY office of a DC based firm. One of my coworkers wore a 3/4 sleeve blue suit yesterday. It looked great on her. She was attending a client event that night and is a little older, worked before law school and is up for partner this year. I think it looks best on women that are a little older. A youngin like me couldn’t pull it off though.

    • it was baby blue a little lighter than the pictured jacket

    • Is one of your co-workers Elena Kagan? (Did anyone else notice that she wore basically the same outfit as Sotomayor for her confirmation hearings?)

  3. Anonymous :

    Does anybody know the seasons/time frame that its appropriate to wear a khaki suit?

    • To me, khaki is a summer-only color and it’s a bit casual looking for the most formal occasions.

    • If it’s a light khaki, I would probably wear it during spring/summer/early fall months, but only because I’d be afraid of getting nasty winter yuck on it. I have a co-worker who sometimes wears a khaki suit, and it looks really nice on her.

    • Do you mean khaki fabric or khaki color? For the fabric, probably May through September (basically, no-coat weather).

      For the color (e.g., a light tan wool suit), year round I think — just with darker colors (eggplant perhaps) during the winter.

      • Higher dark/light contrast in clothing (black with white, for example) will provide a more formal professional image while less contrast (perhaps wearing khaki and olive together) will make for a more approachable image.

        It will certainly depend on the weight of the fabric and may be appropriate to layer in the colder months, as Cat mentioned.

      • I wear khaki in the summer with any and every color. I love how khaki and white look for summer.

        I have one khaki suit that is light in color but fully lined and very warm. I wear this particular suit in the winter, usually pairing it with a black top or a dark purple silk blouse.

  4. anon - chi :

    I have seen female attorneys wear colored suits here in Chicago, but I find that it’s pretty rare and only on older women (i.e. past middle age). I would be taken aback to see something like this on a woman in her early 40s or younger, particularly in such a “young” color as baby blue.

  5. I live in Washington, DC as well – I have not seen a full colored suit here on a woman under 50 in a while – but I have seen variations of breaking it up a lot (ie like the picture above). Hope this helps.

    • I live/work in DC. I wear a colored blazer/suit jacket and break it up with a black or brown piece underneath/on bottom.

      There are Members of Congress (read: Nancy Pelosi) who wear the colored suit head-to -toe. I agree with Valerie — it’s mainly those women who are over the age of 50.

      • Old Lawyer Lady :

        Then there’s the “full Hillary” – pants, jacket and blouse all matchy.

    • When I clerked, I saw female judges wearing head-to-toe colored suits. They made it work. I stuck to neutrals.

  6. Anonymous :

    I work in DC and I don’t recall ever seeing colored suits on professionals. I do see colored blazers with separates, but usually not pastels. Pastel suits seem to be the domain of the upper-class housewife at charity event. I don’t think a baby blue suit would be office-inappropriate, but I think you’d possibly be mistaken for a client’s wife instead of an attorney. I think that the above is true of all northern/mid-Atlantic cities, but ymmv in the south where pastels seem to be more common overall.

    As for colored suits generally, I think it has to do more with age than location or profession. I rarely see colored suits on women who look under 45.

    Seersucker is an exception to all of the above and I see seersucker separates on women of all ages, but rarely a whole seersucker suit.

  7. I’m in FL and I have seen attorneys from mid-twenties upward wearing colored suits. No one really thinks anything of it.

    • AnneCatherine :

      Different part (I think) of Florida here. Colored suits not fashionable at all, except in the summer, you might see a white or light blue linen suit. Seersucker in the summer, as well. Other than that, it’s strictly older-lady territory. That said, I don’t find a sedate, moderately-well-made ASL or Tahari colorful suit “unprofessional” on a younger woman, it’s just a matter of it being uncommon.

      I think, also, that a dark red (bordering on a brownish-red) or a deep purple would be interpreted more as a “neutral” than as a colored suit, and might work in the wintertime, on women of any age.

      That said, there was a woman attorney on the other side of a long case who always wore a purple suit (I mean, 3 of out 4 court appearances during the years-long course of the case, she’d be wearing the purple suit; 3 out of 4 depositions, too). Two of the male attorneys on my side, who I would have bet money never noticed (A) her or (B) clothes in general, said one day, “Jane is wearing her purple suit again.” Point being, color is going to be more memorable. Which could be a good, or a bad, thing, depending.

      From what I have observed, in my curmudgeonliness, most young women (at least here) who wear color do so in a very “I got this at Bebe, can you tell?!?!?!” way (I have seen purple plaid mini “suits” worn with black patent min-backpacks; red va-va-voom dresses with bolero-length red jackets, red purse, red heels, whole F-me ensemble) or they make the mistake of believing Guess? when Guess? claims something is a suit (weird, off-putting copper-orange, pewter-blue or heathered lavender “suits” spring to mind, with shiny silver toggle buttons).

      Go ahead, pillory me. It’s just what I’ve observed, and perhaps it’s regional.

      • “From what I have observed, in my curmudgeonliness, most young women (at least here) who wear color do so in a very “I got this at Bebe, can you tell?!?!?!” way (I have seen purple plaid mini “suits” worn with black patent min-backpacks; red va-va-voom dresses with bolero-length red jackets, red purse, red heels, whole F-me ensemble) or they make the mistake of believing Guess? when Guess? claims something is a suit (weird, off-putting copper-orange, pewter-blue or heathered lavender “suits” spring to mind, with shiny silver toggle buttons). ”

        Oh, ick. All of it. I can’t believe anyone would shop at either Bebe or Guess for “professional” attire. Unless your profession is the oldest one.

        • Oh, ick. All of it. I can’t believe anyone would shop at either Bebe or Guess for “professional” attire. Unless your profession is the oldest one.”

          Actually, years ago, when I was in a business dress environment, I bought two suits at Bebe that were actually very classic and beautiful. Both were black pantsuits with enough interesting detail to be stylish but not enough to be trendy. But this was 15+ years ago, and you never would have known these were Bebe suits. I agree 99% of what they have is completely inappropriate.

  8. Philadelphia — I would definitely advise breaking it up. I see women of all ages in colorful jackets with black/brown/tan pants/dresses/skirts, although typically the jackets are not cut so much like a “traditional” suit jacket as the pictured blazer (e.g., more “mod” in style, with a big button at the throat and 3/4 sleeves, or short-sleeved, or with a little detailing, etc etc)

  9. this is perfect timing – I was thinking of buying a beautiful muted eggplant purple (skirt) suit from Pendleton last night in an insomnia-fueled shopping spree. I was running into the same mental blocks as some posters above, however. I’m under 30, and even though it would look awesome with my auburn hair and propensity for gold jewelry, and would probably fly in my super-relaxed region’s version of business dress (Pac NW), I just couldn’t go through with it.

    • Anonymous :

      The purple suit sounds great. I say go for it. Over the winter I bought the eggplant purple “splurge” Elie Tahari suit featured on here, and I love, love, love it. I regularly get compliments. I’m in my early 30s in NYC BigLaw.

      • Anonymous :

        This was the purple suit. Loooove.
        http://corporette.com/2009/12/02/suit-of-the-week-38/

        • Gorgeous. I think dark purple is more of a neutral & does not present the same issues as cobalt blue, let’s say.

          • Freshly Minted 3L :

            Agreed. I’d say the same of a very dark red, a rich forest green, and maybe even rust. On a younger woman, I think a skirt or dress suit is better than pants if you’re going with color – I don’t have a great argument for this, just a gut feeling. And maybe a hint of wanting to avoid looking like a former first lady who springs to mind with the utterance of “pant suit.”

        • SO pretty. Kind of wish you hadn’t included the link, bc now I want it.

        • I so wanted this suit when it was originally posted, but was not in a position at that time where I could afford. Now I can, but I can’t find it anywhere. Anyone have any thoughts on where I might still find this suit – I love it so much!!!!

      • Chicago K :

        love it.

    • I think eggplant is fine – it’s along the lines of navy or brown IMO. Practically a neutral.

      • Thank you, anon and Eponine! I’m totally going to get it tonight. I’m not related to the company at all, but I thought I’d mention that Pendleton’s having a great sale on suit dresses. They’re long (hitting at my knee, and I’m very tall), but can be tailored easily, and the quality is outstanding. I love their seasonless wool blend.

        • Thanks for that tip! How’s their sizing compared to say, Ann Taylor or Banana? That’s what’s been holding me back from ordering.

          • I’m kind of underqualified to answer in regards to AT and BR (I actually don’t own a thing from either..crazy, I know). I’d compare their sizing to something like Classiques Entier or Caslon from Nordstrom. Very consistent sizing, and more generous in regards to shoulders and the bust area than more fashion-forward lines without veering into Talbots territory w/r/t boxiness. I don’t have a suit jacket from them yet, but their dresses and skirts are cut pretty conservatively (i.e. below the knee) but with a woman’s body in mind.

        • Old Lawyer Lady :

          Tee Hee – brings back memories of my childhood: every year for Xmas my father bought my mother a “Pendleton suit” (jacket, skirt & pants) – all pieces in a lovely multi-colored plaid. Of course this was the ’70s!

        • I have ordered a couple things from Pendleton, and the quality of the fabric/finishing is absolutely excellent. I bought an egglant sheath dress (I think called the “Michelle” dress; might be from the same line as the suit you are considering) and the color is beautiful. There is alot I would not order from Pendleton because some is too boxy/dowdy for me, but the things I got are perfect.

          As to fit — I ordered petites, and they run a little smaller than other big brands’ petites. I am usually a petite 6 in BR, always a petite 6 in Talbots, and I just fit in the Pendleton petite 8, with not a centimeter to spare. (I am pear shape with a bigger bottom/hips than top). I ordered according to their listed measurements, and it was true to the numbers.

          • I should add, the dress and suit I bought are not boxy cuts, especially the dress. I’m sure the boxy jackets are more forgiving.

      • Indeed. Burgundies, forest greens, plum — these colors are all darker, duller, and would be considered wardrobe neutrals.

    • I have a darker purple suit and I LOVE it. I have never failed to get compliments when I wear it – I think it’s partially because it’s a warmer purple that suits my skin color, but I also think that it’s just different enough to draw positive attention, without being too “out there.” The color is actually really versatile, much more so than I would have expected. I either wear a black silk sweater under it, or a cream shell, and with a cool necklace or scarf it looks great. As long as it’s not bright purple I think you’re fine. I can highly recommend Pendleton quality-wise, I have a ton of their stuff. Go for it!

  10. @ Lady T – while I’m generally a fan of 3/4 sleeve suits, your description made me immediately think of an old-school flight attendant.

    I’m also in DC and don’t see the colors very often, especially lighter colors. Seems to be more of a mature look to me. More universally, I’d be on board to see the pieces work as separates in an outfit rather than all together.

  11. Attorney in SA, TX :

    Not too many colored suits in Texas either. I think breaking up the piece with neutrals is a go. This trend is definitely more for the middle aged woman though…haven’t seen many women under 40-50 wear colored suits. Last colored suit I saw was awesome though – female judge in her 50’s was wearing a knit winter red suit. It was the epitome of class. So I think the colored suit can definitely be pulled off right!

    • Houston, Tx :

      I see plenty of colored suits, but you have to pay attention to see them (that’s how you know it’s done right). But again, it’s mostly the over 30 crowd. I’m not there yet, and still too scared to try. Although, I bought a kahki suit, and wear it sometimes (summer only).

      • I also work in Houston, and I see colored suits pretty frequently. Usually they are in jewel tones (deep purples, reds, etc.), and are worn during the fall/winter.

        I have a summer-only jacket in a light turquoise/sea foam color that I pair with black pants on office-only days . . . I receive compliments from other late-20/early-30 somethings every time I wear it. I think the key to pulling off color is using it sparingly, thoughtful accessorizing, and confidence.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m in DFW and I saw a woman at a community group luncheon last week in a snug coral suit, tall heels, and big hair. (I was walking in behind her so I couldn’t see her face, but I would guess she was late 30s).

      My immediate reaction was that she would look fine as a real estate agent in 1980s Miami, but it was a little ridiculous under the actual circumstances. Everyone else was in more traditional black, gray, and navy pieces, or something similarly understated that I didn’t notice it.*

      *With one exception–saw a pair of pants that were not appropriate material, even for the gym unless you have perfectly cellulite-free legs (and who does?!)

  12. FWIW, this was the original 2008 poll about this issue:

    http://corporette.com/2008/12/16/poll-can-younger-women-wear-colorful-suits/

  13. Elle Woods :

    In London you rarely see pastel suits and if you do it usually results in some humour for the casual observer. I have seen people in bright coloured suits and it works for some people. Full suits in pastels very rarely look good. Certainly one would mostly see coloured jackets with black or grey skirts – I saw someone with a black skirt and bright red jacket today and it was a good look. For her. I probably couldn’t pull it off.

    • Elle, we all know that’s a lie. We saw you vindicate Brooke Taylor Windham by embarrassing that permed Chutney in your hot pink suit!

      • Hee.

      • V. Kensington :

        Lee, Lee, Lee. It was a hot pink DRESS of course (with rhinestone-embellished sash)! I do believe there was a pink suit selected for the “first day” in LB2, though. :)

    • Old Lawyer Lady :

      OK, I don’t know what normal people in London wear, but here in the States, every time the Queen is on TV, she’s in pastel head-to-toe with matching hat & purse…

      • Yeah, but she’s the Queen, not a lawyer/MBA whatever. Plus her style is “frozen in time”.

  14. Eek — I have this suit in “cool dusk” (with the skirt): http://www.jcrew.com/AST/Browse/WomenBrowse/Women_Shop_By_Category/suiting/crepe/PRDOVR~90936/90936.jsp

    It is light blue in person and I have never questioned it’s appropriateness! But it seems very close to a neutral, rather than a pastel.

    • Anonymous :

      Nothing wrong with that suit at all.

      • Agreed. I have that as a skirt suit in the light blue, and a pants suit in the light tan. I think they both look nearly gray and are barely colorful at all (although I do think they’re less formal than a dark suit).

    • I actually think a very light blue can function almost as a neutral.

      • Looking at the picture, it’s so close to a light gray that I’d agree it’s practically a neutral.

    • Chicago K :

      I love it, and also own the same color in a suit skirt from Ann Taylor. I see that shade a lot this season, and I like the look.

    • I wouldn’t characterize that shade as pastel at all.

  15. This is very timely! I was given a true red linen pant suit by a family member recently. I really couldn’t say no to it and I do love red, but I don’t see how I would ever be able to wear it. Any thoughts? It’s VERY red and semi-traditional tailoring.

    • Break them up. Red pants at work = no. However, I could see pulling off red pants as a weekend look, paired with a black t-shirt and sandals, maybe?

      Then, (and again, hard to say without seeing pics), use the jacket as a blazar for work.

      Just my two cents, and neither option may work depending on your office and what the pieces are like.

    • Definitely wear the jacket on its own.

      Depending on your office and your style, you could wear the red pants in the winter with a conservative black blouse and pumps, or in the summer with a white blouse and shoes, or in summer/fall with khaki, or brown. Just a few examples.

      As long as the pants fit well, are conservative enough in cut, and look good on their own, you can wear them in many (though certainly not all) office settings by styling them carefully. A single neutral carried through all the other pieces is the easiest way to tone down one single bright piece.

  16. PSA – Ann Taylor is having their semi-annual sale. Picked up a few cute pairs of pants over lunch.

    • Went there this weekend. Other than a tee shirt, didn’t find anything. In fact, was really mad I wasted 40 min to gather & try on clothes. Everything was just awful, the sizing was off, and the blazers on sale all had a weirdly cut dip towards the front of blazers (imagine a U shape for the front of the jacket, if that makes sense) that was horribly unflattering on my relating flat stomach. Dont know if it would work for other body types, but I seriously haven’t felt this awful in clothes in some time.

      • *relatively, not relating.

      • Biglaw Refugee :

        I had a hard time with the clothes at AT this year also. Bought a bunch online; returned almost all (keeping a few tops I’ll never wear cuz I felt guilty). Tried on a bunch of great-looking dresses and suits while I was there, but nothing worked. Maybe it’s me and not the clothes, but I’ve given up.

    • Ex-3L Sarah :

      I went in there as well this past weekend, and couldn’t find anything. It could have just been the specific store I went to, but they didn’t have any suits that weren’t white or light tan, EVERY blazer had rolled-up sleeves, and did the funny 2x-breast or dip in the front. I didn’t really like the sales ladies either, but that’s not AT’s designer’s fault…

    • I usually never find anything that I like at AT, but I ended up buying a pair of nice boot cut jeans, dark wash, for $40 and wool black trousers for $50. I didn’t like any of their tops or jackets though.

    • Is there an old post that goes over the different fabric types for suits? (I tried a quick search for ‘fabrics’ and got 0 results, which seems odd even if there isn’t a topic on my specific question)

      I ask because 1) so many comments bring up synthetic vs. natural and I don’t really know why I should care (but I’d like to); 2) I can’t seem to find a skirt/dress that won’t wrinkle across my hips from sitting, but isn’t made of an inappropriately clingy material; 3) I live in a hot climate and sweat easily so a “heavy” blazer can be problematic.

      If there isn’t an old post, may I pitch this as a future post topic? I think a rundown of the common fabrics in suits, dresses, and tops could hopefully be helpful to more than just me.

      Suggested criteria–How does the fabric:
      1. feel?–does the fabric irritate bare skin?
      2. breathe?–for those of us in hot, muggy climates
      3. hold up, assuming only ordinary wear and tear?–is it something that will only last one year, or can serve as a classic piece for several years?
      4. wrinkle?
      5. Since I don’t know anything about fabric, I’m probably missing some…please add :)

  17. I’m in CA and one of the female partners here, mid-40s, has a gorgeous light blue skirt suit that’s she worn to court. I couldn’t get away with it, though.

  18. I think one of the reasons you tend to mainly see colored suits on older women is because the older women are simply more confident in themselves and their professional abilities. Nancy Pelosi knows she strong and confident so she wears what looks good on her without worrying about whether someone else is going to think it’s a no-no.

    When I was a young attorney I frequently wore a winter red suit. It fit perfectly and it looked good with my coloring. It didn’t hurt my career that it was red and it became a go-to suit. I think a younger woman can pull off a colored suit if she feels good in it. If she’s worried that she’s being stared at, then it’s going to show in her body language and people will notice. If she’s confident people will notice her, not the color of her suit.

    • Freshly Minted 3L :

      Now I want a winter red suit. Badly.

      • Call me uninformed, but what exactly is “winter” red?
        As for this, I’ll admit to owning a colored piece or two. Except that they’re pencil skirts – a white one and a deep red one also. Usually pair them with simple tops and neutral jacket (black, charcoal, or khaki).

        • I think “winter red” is the blue-undertone red, like a deep cherry, as opposed to an orange-y red.

    • I disagree. I think that certain trends just look more appropriate on certain age groups.
      I had a class mate who was very confident in her many brightly colored suits. I wouldn’t say that it “hurt” her career, per se, but I would say she was known as the “ridiculously dressed” girl in our school.

    • Ex-3L Sarah :

      I agree with the sentiment that if a person is confident in themselves, people would notice her. However, speaking from personal experience, I definitely notice a younger person wearing a colored suit and the first thing I think is “Oh, there must be a wedding around the corner.” If the person came into a meeting with me, I would think “Oh, this fabulous person just came from a wedding/Easter service.” To me, brightly colored suits are for older women, and I have a mental block with a younger woman (my age-mid 20’s) wearing (what I consider to be) an older woman’s suit. Once it becomes obvious she is not going to a wedding, I think she’s playing dress-up.

  19. DC, non-lawyer. Most of my suits are St. John in every color of the rainbow. Well, I still don’t have a yellow suit. I wear all shades of red, aubergine, blue, pale gray, and even lavender. Go to it, I say!

    • I loooove the St. John yellow suit that is featured on Nordstrom’s website right now. Just gorgeous.

  20. Anonymous :

    The Pendleton comment led me to find this dress – beautiful!

    http://www.pendleton-usa.com/product/Women/DRESSES/DRESSES/DONEGAL-BANDS-ON-THE-RUN-DRESS/167698/pc/1815/sc/1710/sc/1710/c/1710.uts#

  21. I’m in DC now but have lived in CA and the South (TX, NOLA, etc), and my current clients and colleagues are in all of those places. I think the cut, fabric, and details of the suit *can* make pastels or bright colors head-to-toe wearable for the office. That said, my mom bought me a bright, banana yellow Jones NY suit for law school graduation (pants, skirt, jacket! Ha!). I hesitate to wear it all at once unless it’s for Easter Sunday. LOL.

    • Even on Easter, wearing the skirt and pants together would be an awkward look.

      All kidding aside, I love yellow but can rarely wear it. If it looks good on you, you’re lucky!

  22. Age definitely has something to do with pulling off a colored suit but it can also depend on how well the suit is made/cut/material etc. I hesitate to bring this up but one of my WORST fashion purchases ever was a mint green pant suit from Talbots back in 1999 – 2000. I was in my late 20s and I just cringe thinking of how I looked in that suit. Big, boxy, shiny material and just an awful fit.

    • AnneCatherine :

      Fear not, we were all too busy at the time wearing our broomstick skirts/Little House on the Prairie smocked dresses/blue zoot-suits paired with square-toed boots, to notice your mint-green boxy suit. Around that time (2001), I had a butter-yellow silk skirt suit from Talbots. To be fair, I got it to wear in an afternoon summer wedding at which the bride wore a bridal suit ala the vintage one Carrie in SATC 1 (“the movie”) rejected/eschewed as too un-glam.

    • Outing myself as another (thankfully past) owner of a late-90s boxy Talbots pastel suit, except mine was shell pink. I looked like a big wad of bubble gum. I have no idea what the heck I was thinking. I only wore the suit maybe 3 times before I realized how embarassing it was and got rid of it. And it had been a pretty expensive purchase for me at the time.

      I think pastel suits are good for only two occasions:
      – Wearing the suit jacket with much more neutral/subdued pants, skirt or dress
      – Wearing the whole thing to church on Easter Sunday, or to a very perky bride’s springtime wedding.

      I just haven’t seen pastel suits work on very many people, at all. Color (the af0rementioned dark green, eggplant purple, maroon, etc.) yes, pastels no.

      (p.s. I wore the broomstick skirts and the square-toed boots also. Sometimes TOGETHER. Eeek!)

      • My broomstick skirt was crushed velvet, dark green :)

        • I had a mint sheath dress with matching duster jacket, circa 1998 from Georgiou Studio in San Fran. It was triacetate (remember that?!) and actually very cute. Slightly too short with a hem the back, in that 90s-appropriate kind of way. Just got rid of it because it got caught in my car door and left an oil stain that I just could no longer abide (even after getting it to down to a faint brown spot the size of a dime after 10 years)

      • My mint green suit was three pieces: jacket, pants and floor length duster/trench coat. Both top pieces had large shoulder pads. Together, they were, um, impressive.

        • I wish I still had the long coat, though. It was my favorite piece until a bird pooped on it while I was waiting for the bus. A blackberry-eating bird. Never could get rid of that purple stain :-(

    • Shudder…I am reminded of the – ack – solid tangerine boxy skirtsuit horror show (complete with huge brass buttons and tangerine inlays AND linebacker shoulder pads) that I definitely wore waaay too many times back in the early 90s when I was 30’ish. I’m getting hives just thinking about it!

      • I saved myself from a silk Dana Buchman peach sheath dress with matching jacket for graduation. Kept it for about 3 weeks but then thought, nah. THANK YOU LORD!

  23. I agree that a colored suit tends to be more suited to an older woman, however, I think younger women can pull off the right colored suit and breaking up a colored suit is a great way for young associate to get a fresh, professional look.

    • Old Lawyer Lady :

      I agree. I think if you practiced law in the ’80s/90s, you can carry off the colors today if the cut/style is current – probably because many women of that generations have always worn color, so it looks familiar when you see a woman of that age wearing it.

    • Old Lawyer Lady :

      I agree. I think if you practiced law in the ’80s/90s, you can carry off the colors today if the cut/style is current – probably because many women of that generations have always worn color, so it looks familiar when you see a woman of that age wearing it.

  24. I don’t see many colored full suits around here (Boston). My suits are black, gray, light gray, khaki and seersucker. The last two are only for spring/summer. I do have several colored jackets (light navy, red, white, yellow) that I wear with non-matching separates, say over a printed skirt.

  25. divaliscious11 :

    I’m in the Chicago area. My GC has been known to wear both pink, and pale blue Chanel, but usually for events (speeches/luncheons etc…) or conferences.
    Same here, (pale pink boucle knit) but alas, not Chanel. I don’t think any of the male executives know its Chanel, but I do…. She also has colored St John suits.
    We’re both under 50….

    • Also in Chicago, and I wear bright suits for events where I want to stand out from the sea of dark grey, black and navy suits. (When I’m speaking, chairing the event, etc.) I think bright or pastel suits should be reserved until you have a solid wardrobe of basics, though, because you can only wear a red/pink suit or whatever 1 time for each 12+ times you can wear a grey suit.

    • If I could afford Chanel, I’d wear it in any color.

  26. Anonymous :

    I’m originally from the LA area and my mother (an attorney) has a fabulous pastel blue suit that she never fails to get compliments on when she wears it. She wouldn’t wear it to a court hearing, but otherwise it’s perfectly suitable for her small law office and it brings out her eyes. I have a red blazer that I adore and have worn to an office in D.C. I’m planning to bring it out for next summer with a black pencil skirt and either a white or black blouse underneath. I am young, but red is sort of a signature look for me and no one has ever hinted that it was inappropriate.

    • Absolutely! If you can match a scarf, top, suit jacket to the color of your eyes, it will emphasize your eyes and help with improved communication. Great strategy in business. http://bit.ly/8ozkk8

  27. I have a pale pink jacket cut identical to the baby blue one pictured with this article, and LOVE it in the Spring and Summer (I’ve even been known to break it out on a really icky Winter day, just to cheer myself up with a bit of color). I only bought the jacket, and not the whole suit, since it was a bit too cotton candy, but the jacket goes great with almost anything — browns, blacks, grays, prints, you name it. I’ve always gotten lots of compliments on it — I’m a 30 year old biglaw associate in the South, if that makes a difference. I also really like blazers in general, since I’m always freezing in my office and can only wear so many twin sets to work each week! I say go for it!!

  28. Pastel suits make me think of a Senator’s wife at a Easter parade. Not the look most of us are going for, sadly.

  29. Sort of on topic, here’s a coral silk suit which is rather different:

    http://www.neimanmarcus.com/store/catalog/prod.jhtml;jsessionid=0BUS5FQ0HTC5SCQAAKRRABA?itemId=prod99750120&ecid=NMALRFeedJ84DHJLQkR4&ci_src=14110925&ci_sku=T2JHJ

    and while I can’t imagine wearing coral to work, the black silk (also on sale) might be a nice daring little number.

  30. I am 33 & live in Seattle but do business in DC, Europe, etc. I have a few colored suits and wear them together or as separates. Just get too bored of the same old stuff. Last week in DC’s 100 degree heat, I wore a Tahari skirt suit that is a boucle cotton/synthetic blend in a pale yellow with gold cross hatches and cream background (somehow the pattern works). The fit/drape are perfect on me, the fabric couldn’t wrinkle if you tried, and the color is summery. I decided to hell with it and packed it despite thinking of it as my ‘grandma suit’. Got compliments both days I wore it! I also have a red Tahari suit- that I’ve worn the jacket with black skirt but not altogether yet. Also a great fit. I really don’t think guys care much or if they do they like something new to look at, and ladies I just don’t care if others are judgy. My dad (DC based) says he likes how women bring the color to a room with their clothes. I have noticed that women execs in my large company OFTEN wear brightly colored blazers. It seems more confident than the same old boring uniform. Also- I don’t care if the clothes make me look older. That can be an advantage in a business situation when you are the youngest in the room.

  31. I’ve worked in both NY and LA and, personally, I always love a touch of color. In NY especially, people seemed to wear all black all the time, which is so boring.

  32. I’m a “younger” attorney in Seattle (read: 3 years out of law school and still in my 20’s) and I wear a lot of black as do most of my younger female attorney friends. I think we are all concerned about looking too young if we were to rock pastels and anything else that could be considered flashy. (Also, black is easy!)

    When I see other professional women walking around downtown Seattle it seems that they stick to nuetrals but that could be that subtle colors seem to be “in” right now. I am in a more casual office environment so I often wear brighter and colored tops or scarves with nuetral bottoms and shoes but don’t own many bright or pastel jackets and probably won’t be purchasing any soon…

  33. Someone in my office wore a turquoise suit last week. I thought it looked…loud. I overhead several people mocking her during the day, both to her face and behind her back. I work in a rather tough office.

  34. Anonymous :

    I live in Philadelphia and one of my favorites suits (until it died) was light blue. I’ve worn many colored suits and frankly gotten more compliments for them than for black or navy.

  35. Texas Law Chick :

    I am in Austin, in finance, and wear suits or dresses & jackets daily. I would feel out of place in head to toe color but love to wear a colored jacket with a black dress, pants or skirt. A favorite is a colorful blouse, white jacket & black pants or skirt. I would not hesitate, however, to wear a colorful suit to a charity luncheon. I guess for me, colorful suits are more social than professional. As a female lawyer in Texas, I have always strived for people to notice & remember me for my expertise and not my appearance.

  36. You’re right when you say it’s regional. I’m always surprised when I leave San Francisco and head down to LA for a day of meetings. Everyone from SF is in a dark suit (usually black), but the last two female Angelenos I met with were wearing colored suits – one in robin’s egg blue and one in canary yellow. I can tell you that stuff would languish on the clearance rack up here.

  37. I’m in Jacksonville, FL and I don’t work as an attorney, but business clothing for women in Florida, especially during the summer, seem to go much brighter and lighter than elsewhere. The colors tend get brighter and brighter as you go further south. The clothing colors in Miami can be pretty wild compared to elsewhere.

  38. I think skin tone can make a difference. I think darker skin tones (as some Hispanics and African-Americans have) look great in jewel tone colored suits.

  39. Colored suits are basic for working women, especailly for those who like to add color in their office.

  40. baby blue suit gal :

    Thanks, everyone! Amazed by the candid responses on age and region. Great suggestion to break up the suit with khaki, black, white, etc. I’m a 33 y.o. in-house strategy consultant living in Munich where full suits in white and khaki rule the summer, but I think I can get away with the blue mix-and-match.

  41. Nicole completed the look with shiny, shoulder-length waves,
    shimmery eye makeup, and glossy nude lips.
    It costs him $1. Tickets for Super Saturday 13 started at $150 for children and $450 for adults, and went as high as $650.

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