Yea or Nay: Light Blue Suits for Workwear

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.

blue suits for women for summer

Pictured: Elie Tahari / Express / Theory / ASOS / Limited Collection / Antonio Melani / Nanette Lepore 

It’s that time of year, ladies: blue suit time! I’m seeing a million suits out, so instead of featuring one in particular for our Suit of the Week, I thought we’d have a conversation about them in general: do you wear a blue suit during the spring and summer? Which shade of blue have you found to be the most versatile? What colors do you like to the wear the suit with, and do you wear the suiting pieces together or mostly as separates?

For my $.02, I was shocked when I first realized how versatile my light blue blazer was (it was a lighter gray/blue, almost the shade of the Theory or ASOS one above). I wore it a ton, mostly with black (pants, sheath dresses) and white tops and blouses, with the occasional pop of color like a red pendant necklace or purple heel thrown in. That said, while I’ve found the light blue blazer to be amazingly versatile, I think light blue pants or a light blue skirt can be a lot less versatile (although I suppose blue pants could take the place of my beloved staple, light gray pants). How about you?

If you’re looking for blue suits in other sizes, here are some plus-size options (Talbots, Tahari, Lane Bryant), as well as petite options (Talbots, Brooks Brothers, Pendleton).

(L-all)

Comments

  1. Anonymous :

    This seems to me like the sort of thing that works well as separates but not as an entire suit. The brights on the left scream 80s (and I love me some cobalt, so it’s not that I don’t like the color). The third from left greyish-blue could maybe work as a suit, but the rest have an Easter Matron vibe.

    • I have one like the 3rd from left one, BR from a couple of years ago, and it’s a nice summer neutral. It does not scream “light blue easter egg”. I think the very pale ones to the right look too much like what you wear to an Easter church service, and the ones to the left are just too bold of a blue.

    • I love the Theory color, but according to one reviewer, it’s gray, not blue. Darn. On the positive side, I don’t need to be buying a $400 blazer so that saved me.

    • Charlotte :

      I just bought the Limited’s Collection suit in Indigo recently and it’s a perfect slightly lighter alternative to navy. It falls somewhere between the second and third suits with a nice slate undertone. But, definitely size up on the matching skirt!
      http://www.thelimited.com/product/collection-one-button-jacket/8716474.html?q=collection%20suits&swatch=y&srule=search-relevance&start=2&dwvar_8716474_colorCode=295&ppid=s2

    • I don’t like pastels but would wear the 3 on the left. The colors are bright but I think the cuts keep the suits modern.

    • I think these could all be done fashionably with the right accessories and style for anyone over 30. Might be too old for 20s. Definitely needs the right accessories to avoid the Easter Mom look though.

  2. eggggghhhh no I can’t see doing that. A cobalt blazer and neutral bottom? Fine. All over? No. Too Hillary Clinton-pantsuit-era for me.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Yeah. I have cobalt pants and a cobalt blazer, both of which I love and wear all the time, but I never ever wear them together.

    • Anonymous :

      I was at Nordstrom the other day and someone who worked there (not a salesperson, I think she was higher up) was wearing a cobalt suit and she looked fantastic. I guess if you’re in a more fashion-forward creative kind of office it can work.

    • anon-oh-no :

      eh. I’d totally wear the cobalt suits. Id wear the light blue ones too. and I’d look fantastic.

    • KateMiddletown :

      I can’t wait for when multicolored pantsuits become the norm for women. I love Hillary’s rainbow.

  3. Anonymous :

    Can anyone recommend casual work pants that won’t get all stretched and baggy after an hour? I’m wearing the “slim cropped pants” from Gap, they’re a chino type fabric, and they fit me perfectly at first but now I look like I’m wearing clown pants.

    • Delta Dawn :

      Have you tried the Old Navy pixie pants? They come in ankle and regular length. They have a chino version, but I like the regular non-chino ones. They have a good amount of stretch. They do get a little baggy in the knees by the end of the day, for me, but otherwise mostly maintain their fit throughout the day.

      • Anonymous :

        I have tried those, but they fit weirdly baggy in the crotch. I think I need a smaller rise? Maybe I’ll try the petite version.

    • Anonymous :

      BR’s Sloan pants — a little thicker but they don’t have the bagging issue.

      • KateMiddletown :

        I just tried their Ryan pant – it’s a bit thicker than Sloan and the leg cut is a bit roomier, so for me it’s more work-appropriate. Be warned though b/c it’s an exclusion item for their sales.

      • Senior Attorney :

        I practically live in the BR Sloans at work.

  4. Anonymous :

    I love cobalt separates, but I think the left two suits are way too loud. The third from left looks almost gray, I think that would be fine in most environments. I actually kind of like powder blue suits, but I think they need to be in a cut that’s not especially frilly or feminine. So I don’t like the right most suit, but I love the second from right and I like the third from the right too.

  5. Anonymous :

    Is this dress (link to follow) appropriate for a business casual office? It’s very flattering on me; it hits just above the knees and there’s no cleavage so I’m not worried about the shape, but I wonder if maybe it’s too [SOMETHING] for the office. I’m not sure what that something is and a lot of the reviews mention wearing it to work so maybe it’s all in my head?

    • Anonymous :

      http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/halogen-pleated-fit-flare-dress-regular-petite/3598186?origin=keywordsearch-personalizedsort&fashioncolor=BLUE-%20RED%20WAVE%20PRINT

      • Anonymous :

        Linked the wrong color. I’m looking at the black or navy.

        • Senior Attorney :

          Still no. Black looks like a party dress and navy looks like a weekend/brunch dress.

      • I have this dress in navy, with the 3/4 length sleeves. Bought in January, so that must have been the winter version. It is a perfect work dress. Very flattering but also conservative. I’m a lawyer in my 40’s, and this dress definitely has a polished look, not a young look. I think the sleeveless one would be fine, so long as you wore a blazer or cardigan with it. The fabric is definitely not “party dress” fabric.

      • I have the black one and I’ve worn it to work with a colored cardigan. I think it’s versatile and could work as a party dress or work dress depending on accessories. My work is more on the casual side of biz casual though so I felt overdressed and never wore it to work again. I think it would be perfect in a biz prof. office.

    • Anonymous :

      Just realized the link might not show up so it’s the Halogen Pleated Fit & Flare Dress.

    • No

    • Anonymous :

      I think it looks a little young. Like something a college girl would wear to a summer party.

    • Senior Attorney :

      This is not officewear. Step away or save it for the weekends.

    • My younger co-workers would wear it, but it’s borderline depending on how casual your office is.

      • I agree (again) with Tesyaa. Personaly, the manageing partner will NOT let me wear pant’s to the office (except if it’s below 20 degree’s outside and I do NOT have to go to court), so this is purley an ACADEMIC discusion. I DO love the color’s, tho, and this is a beautiful blue, for what it is worth. I had this color sweater in college, but my suitemate, who was from Germany borrowed it and wore it a few times. When she wanted to return it, it was realy smelley, so I told her she could keep it as a gift. Thank goodness peeople did NOT associate ME with that smelley sweater, even if it was a VERY pretty blue. FOOEY!

    • Anonymous :

      eh. I think it has a lot of elements to it that take it down too many notches from “serious,” like the pattern, the lack of sleeves, the overall “sundress” aesthetic. I would not wear it in my business casual office, but you know your office.

    • I think it depends on your work environment. Lawyer in Big Law? Probably not. PR person in business casual office? Sure, especially if you added a blazer.

    • If it truly hits *just* above your knees, I’d wear it to work in one of the more neutral colors with a blazer.

    • While I usually don’t wear things like this to my business casual office, there are several more senior associates/counsel who do wear things like this. I think as long as you’re not in danger of looking too young, it’s fine for a casual day.

    • Anonymous :

      NO WAY. I think it’s the fabric. It looks like chiffon, even if it’s not, and that just screams party/fun.

      • Need something to wear to a bar w/ a mechanical bull :

        Where would you wear this? And with what shoes? [And what sort of party?]

        • I think this is why I it didn’t seem quite right for the office. It’s definitely more appropriate for events.

          It would be great with strappy pumps for an evening date or maybe even cute sandals for something more casual like a nice brunch. I think the available patterns make it not quite dressy enough for a wedding (unless it was more casual). It’s definitely too dressy for a bar with a mechanical bull.

    • Clementine :

      Nope. But this one (that Nordstrom is recommending to me) is.

      http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/halogen-ottoman-knit-fit-flare-dress-regular-petite/3568172?origin=related-3568172-0-1-PP_4-Data_Lab_Recommendo_V2-fbt_similar_items&recs_type=related&recs_productId=3568172&recs_categoryId=0&recs_productOrder=1&recs_placementId=PP_4&recs_source=Data_Lab_Recommendo_V2&recs_strategy=fbt_similar_items&recs_referringPageType=item_page

    • Thanks all, I needed the reminder that my gut was right. When in doubt, it probably isn’t a good option. Since this is obviously out, do you all have any suggestions for business casual appropriate (more casual in warmer months) fit and flare or A-line dresses? I am a pretty curvy pear and sheaths take so much tailoring to make flattering.

      • I have not tried this on yet but looks likes a lovely A line dress. I’m digging the yellow although could be too bright for the office.

        http://www.bodenusa.com/en-us/womens-dresses/day-dresses/wh975/womens-maggie-ottoman-dress

      • I bought a few LOFT a-line dresses this winter, and might buy a few more springy type. I appreciate brands with tall sizes.

        Target has had some nice ponte a-line dresses in lots of colors, which work for me (also a curvy pear).

      • Anonymous :

        H&M has a perennial style similar to the Halogen Ottoman dress, its a fit and flare with a crew neckline and vertical seams. It would be perfect for a petite woman (on me, its a bit too short for the office).

    • Anonymous :

      Eh, I’m typically on the pearl-clutching end of the “is this appropriate” spectrum, and I think this is fine given OP’s comment that it hits at the top of the knee. This would fit right into my business casual office, even in the pattern that the link initially shows.

      I don’t really agree that this is a date or other event dress–it works for brunch or church, but it’s a little too choirgirl for a dinner date (again, coming from someone who doesn’t own a thing “bodycon”, backless, cutout, or with hemline more than 3″ above the knee, etc., so I’m not coming from a place of Herve Leger bandage dress or bust for a hot date).

      • This would be fine in my business casual office if the length is appropriate, you threw a cardigan over it, and wore appropriate shoes. Frankly, it would probably be fine even with out those caveats, but those caveats make it appropriate in my somewhat conservative eyes. People wear some super casual and fairly short items in this office, much to my dismay.

      • People wear extremely casual clothes to my office (jeans and even track pants) but I still wouldn’t wear it to work. It looks like a dress for a garden party to me.

    • anon-oh-no :

      I have this in black and wear it to the office with a blazer. not to court. its knee length no me. biglaw partner. I have two other similar dresses in prints as well.

      man people make rash decisions based on nothing here. if you like it and are comfortable in it and pull yourself together, it will look great. if youre not sure and wont be comfortable, don’t do it.

    • Anonymous :

      In my business casual office it would be on the dressier/frillier end of the spectrum, but it wouldn’t be at all inappropriate.

    • Do you like it? Does it fit you properly? Then buy it, wear it and love it. I own a small business and would wear a style like this any day, but in person that dress might be too short for me. What looks good on a 5’2 person with no chest might look obscene on me (5’11, 36E). You probably have good judgement if you’re on here and asking us, so trust it.

  6. I’ve actually been dying to find a light blue suit. It has to be just the right color though, and none of these are. I’m thinking something like the dresses in the two links to follow.

    • http://www.anntaylor.com/textured-sheath-dress/395770?skuId=20367268&defaultColor=2746&colorExplode=false&catid=cata000012

      • Shopaholic :

        I like this one! I feel like the J.Crew one looks like a little “ladies who lunch”. But the AT one is gorgeous!

      • Anonymous :

        This is straight up denim colored

        • I see how it looks like that on the screen. It doesn’t in real life. If it didn’t have that stupid slit in the front, I’d buy it in an instant. But I’d really love a suit in that color.

          • Anonymous :

            I agree with you on that slit, apart from that the shape looks awesome.

    • https://www.jcrew.com/womens_category/suiting/dresses/PRDOVR~E9487/E9487.jsp?color_name=pale-seascape

    • Austin Reed has a skirt suit that might fit the bill.

  7. To be honest, I think it looks little girl-ish (think Peggy in her first season or 2 of Mad Men)
    If it will be long enough on you, if you can make it more sophisticated, if that vibe is OK for you and/or your office, then go for it.

    • Shoot. This was for the Halogen Fit-and-Flare dress above. Looks like other commenters got in first.

  8. Blue Steel :

    I would definitely wear the suit, in fact I bought the Limited blazer and may buy the pants. I’m not sure about the cobalt though.

    I have a light blue skirt that is surprisingly versatile in my business casual office. I wear it with darker blouses in early spring/fall, and pastels in the mid spring, and whites/ivory in the summer. I’ve worn black, medium browns, forest green, burgundy, navy, pastel pink/blush, camel, and ivory with it as toppers. Most floral blouses look great with it too. Although if I had a full suit, I would wear ivory or navy only most likely. I love getting compliments on my blue skirt outfits, I’d wear it every week if I didn’t think people would notice.

  9. anonymous :

    I’m the poster this morning looking for something to wear under a navy suit. What about this top in the Silverpoint color?

    http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/taylor-blouse/4178221?origin=coordinating-4178221-0-4-PP_3-Data_Lab_Recommendo_V2-also_viewed2&recs_type=coordinating&recs_productId=4178221&recs_categoryId=0&recs_productOrder=4&recs_placementId=PP_3&recs_source=Data_Lab_Recommendo_V2&recs_strategy=also_viewed2&recs_referringPageType=item_page&fashionColor=SILVERPOINT

    • Anonymous :

      I love that! It looks like a very versatile colour, it would look great with black and ivory too. I’m tempted to buy it…

    • lawsuited :

      Yes, I love navy and grey! Add a delicate silver necklace and you’re done!

    • I have what I believe is the sleeveless version of that top and love it, but I do feel like I have to wear a cami under because it is deceptively low cut (only when I’m bending over and such). It’s a great top though.

  10. Most of these suits would work for me, but I live on an island and work in a business casual office. All would work as separates.

    • Baconpancakes :

      Good point. I interviewed for a job in the Virgin Islands a few years ago – business casual office, and my friend who comes from Charlotte Amalie advised me that she would see people wearing short suits to work in a non-ironic, non-fashion business.

      I think when you work on an island the rules change. I’m glad now that I didn’t get that job, but sometimes I do daydream about it.

      • Anonymous :

        I know someone who clerked for the District Court in the Virgin Islands — that seems like the most amazing gig ever. One year in paradise, but then you get to return home to the mainland. I wouldn’t want to live there permanently but I sure would love to spend a year there.

  11. anonymous :

    My cousin is planning to marry a woman who has over 45k in student loans and 220k on an underwater house worth maybe 200k. She is unemployed and it will be hard for her to get a job in her chosen field. Before her newly-acquired student debt, she was making close to 100k but decided to switch careers, and has minimal savings. His income is roughly 240k and has 50k left to pay in his mortgage. What advice would you give him as they combine their finances? I have told him to get a prenup several times but he is not willing to consider this possibility. He is thinking about paying her high interest student loans now and having her pay him back over the next decade (he’s not tied to this, but just throwing out ideas), but the more likely scenario is that they will have kids soon and she will be a stay-at-home mom.

    • Anonymous :

      I think their finances are not your business and you should stay out of it.

    • Advice? Be less judgmental of your soon to be cousin-in-law and butt out of their finances. $45k of debt for what sounds like a MA degree is pretty low and casting moral judgement on a real estate investment that lost $20k in this climate is just catty.

    • Anonymous :

      this has to be a troll!

      They’re getting married, he will repay her student loans and then she will pay him back while being a SAHM?

      There are so so many levels of crazy.

    • Why would she pay him back? Wouldn’t it be paying themselves back, since you know, they’re married?

      I think a prenup is smart in all situations, but I think it absolutely makes sense to pay off high-interest student loan debt. 45K isn’t an absurd amount of loans. And if she stays home with kids, all the more reason to get out of debt now.

      The house is underwater, but not gravely–that will likely recover, or they can rent it out and at least make up in rent the mortgage payments until its value’s up.

      Also, why are you giving advice “several times”? Has he asked for advice? You may think you’re helping, but all it will lead to is bad feelings.

    • Anonymous :

      If your cousin makes that much a year and has just about paid off his mortgage:

      — this is truly a rounding error to him
      — anyone else is likely to be in worse financial shape than him (and probably worse financial shape than her)

    • Baconpancakes :

      If he’s actually asking you for advice, tell him he should only pay off her loans pre-marriage with a notarized agreement that she’ll pay them back if they don’t get married. I’m assuming he’s paying them off before the wedding because she has a high interest rate and since their finances will get combined eventually anyway, that’s just smart. But underwater house + 45k loans is not pointing to “she’s a financial train wreck” to me. I’ll come out of my MA program with a little over that in loans. If he’s not asking for advice, I agree with the above – he can pretty much do whatever he wants. If you’d said she had $150k in loans and he made $100k, yeah, that would be a problem, but the guy can basically pay her loans off, have her walk out of the engagement, and be more heartbroken than financially hurt.

    • Killer Kitten Heels :

      Depends on your cousin’s goals. If his goal is to build a life with the person he loves, they come up with a family budget and division of household labor that works for them, and he pays for whatever it makes sense for him to pay for.

      If his goal is to protect his financially advantaged position relative to his future wife at his wife’s expense, then it’s prenup time (and the whole “I’ll pay her debt and she can pay me back” thing sounds an awful lot like a guy who really does want a prenup but doesn’t want to be “the monster who requested a prenup” – it’s probably the worst possible course of action, actually).

    • Anonymous :

      My husband made double my income when we married and I had (and have) law school debt. He lost his job after 9/11. Almost twenty years later, I am the major breadwinner and we are still happily married. My advice would be to buy them a nice wedding gift and wish them well.

    • Agree with the others – Her situation isn’t that bad and he can afford it. Would NOT recommend a prenup over $65K given their respective savings and income potential. Who cares if she ends up a SAHM if that’s what they both want.

  12. Anonymous :

    It’s none of your business.

  13. Anonymous :

    just found out from HR that I’m getting a raise I asked for! As justification, My boss apparently told HR that if I left the organization, it would be a “near disaster.”

    In a world where I’m constantly telling myself to achieve more, work harder, the recognition feels great!

    • That’s awesome!

    • Anonymous :

      That’s really great! I’m going to borrow some of your mojo and maybe jump 3 levels over my boss to talk to a Chief Officer (think CEO/CFO level, aka A) in my company to get my salary corrected (I posted about this a few weeks ago). My boss (D), boss’s boss (C), and boss’s boss’s boss (B) said they can’t do anything after B and C supposedly spoke with HR. I know D’s hands are really tied but I’m not convinced B has done everything in his power. I recently impressed A-D so I’m thinking about going directly to A, which is just Not Done here. But f3ck this, I’m so underpaid and I don’t want to jump ship!

      • I’d carefully asses how hierarchical your organization is. Jumping that many levels would be viewed very negatively where I work.

  14. Curb (lack of) Appeal :

    My front flower beds are a near disaster. Bought the house 9 mos ago so this is my first go at gardening. Where do I start? Good resources? The soil is COMPLETELY overcome by old roots of varying sizes. I have random tulips popping up that are scattered in no particular way. We are south facing so lots of sun. Where’s a girl to start?! I’d love to DIY but I just need some good, to-the-point resources beginning with, how do I salvage the nasty dirt I have in place?!

    TIA!!

    • Anonymous :

      Wait until the tulips are done (soon) and then till the beds. Amend the soil (peat moss is what I use). Plant some sort of perennial (rosemary?) that will work in full sun and in your area (nurseries / garden centers are good for this). Then mulch so that the weeds are kept at bay.

      Basically, plants will invade a space unless something else is already there (good plants you want vs weeds you don’t).

      • In the Pink :

        You can also check with your local county ag agent or look for “master gardeners” who may give you a consult. What you add to your beds will depend on where you live and the climate. There are many full sun annuals that you can put in and then when it cools again, you can put in fall plants… in my experience, daylillies thrive anywhere and would be perennials until it really snows – then they come back. Check AM radio stations for a Saturday morning gardening show in your area. They can help you as well – and usually only have trusted advertisers. If you put mulch atop your dirt, please don’t use color dyed or rubber mulch. It will ruin your soils and not let water through to the plants. Just a heads up. Many big box stores are pushing rubber mulch.

    • County extension offices are good resources for what grows in your area and many of them offer low-cost soil analysis. http://npic.orst.edu/mlr.html
      Also try a local nursery or garden center for advice.

    • Baconpancakes :

      The best advice I can give you without knowing more about your yard/location/free time/patience for maintenance/lifestyle/budget is to tell you to find a local gardening store with friendly people and ask them for help. If it’s a really local place, they’re working at a garden store because they love plants, not because it’s just a job. The plants will be a little more expensive, but you’ll get great free advice along with them, and they’ll know exactly what works in your area and what doesn’t.

      But in general, start here: Take a careful inventory of what’s there already – you’ve found there’s tulips – that’s great, but what did it look like when you moved in? Are there any ground covers? Bushes? Huge swaths of ground covered in nothing but weeds? (These areas are probably meant for annuals.) If there are roots over two inches thick, you’ve probably got some bushes or trees – be careful not to kill anything you’d rather keep. What do you want your flower beds to look like? Search the internet for ideas, and you can plan out a general idea of what you want, keeping in mind space and maintenance constraints. With a south-facing sunny yard, you can probably grow most things. If you want to keep the tulips and replant them (and they can be expensive, so I’d recommend keeping them!), wait until their foliage turns brown, and carefully dig them up, dust them off, and store them in a dark, cool, dry place. With the advice of your local garden center folks, test your soil, rent a rototiller (from a big box garden store), and go to town. Add in any amendments you needs (fertilizers, compost, bone meal, etc) to even out the soil. Then start adding stuff. Big, structural stuff is the hardest decision, as it’s hard to move and expensive, like big bushes. You’ll probably something structural to ground the beds visually. Then you can add in perennials, figure out where you want your tulips to go, and put in annuals and groundcovers in the tulip spot, so that once the tulips die down in the spring, something else will pop up in its place.

      Try this page: http://www.sodgod.com/gardening-basics/

    • Check private garden centers for landscape designers. They can create and install a complete garden design for you OR they can do the drawing and tell you what plants will go where and you can DIY install as you have time and money.

      Over the years, I’ve had plans done for 3 different houses and gone the DIY install route. The last one was 5 years ago and I paid $150 for the plans. It was money well spent IMO for fabulous, professionally designed curb appeal.

      • Anonymous :

        I can’t recommend this highly enough. The actual landscaping work is not that difficult, but getting a comprehensive plan is invaluable and extremely inexpensive. I paid $100 for a plan for my front and back yard and now have layers of plants, consistency, all-year interest, and plants that work well together and in the location. Plus I learned about plants I’d never have considered on my own (ninebark and variegated dogwoods). I have an edible and attractive garden in one area and low-water low-maintenance plants everywhere else. My neighbors love it too.

      • Here’s my vote for private garden centers, period, though I also second getting a landscape plan. I’ve always found the staff to be so helpful and knowledgeable, and willing to take the time to actually think about your particular situation and give advice. Rarely have I found a big box store employee who has knowledge of the products in garden center. Otherwise, you can find anything on google, but make sure you’re looking at advice given about your specific planting zone.

        Oh, and do the soil analysis, it’s worth it. And don’t use the cheap edging for your beds, unless you’re going to be super excited to re-do it in three years.

  15. Sorry, first time posted so may be posting in the wrong spot. What’s everyone’s thoughts on double-breasted suits? They always seemed a little dated and heavy for me, but I’m seeing more of them now (BR, jcrew etc). Are these making a serious come back?

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