Where to Find Suits With Dresses (Instead of Skirts or Pants)

suits with dressesReader M had an interesting question about where the heck to find suits with dresses (instead of skirts or pants) these days:

I’d love an article on buying suits that are dress + jacket combinations (as opposed to skirt/pants + jacket combinations). They look a more polished, they eliminate the step of finding a shirt to go underneath the jacket, and they’re one less thing to pack on trips. AT’s selection is limited – I own both and love them; Talbots’ is matronly. Need ’em conservative enough for court appearances, but not “mother of the bride.” (I’m 35.) Slightly fashionable would be a bonus!

Great question — and you’re right, they are disappearing; it was a bit of a hunt to find some to feature here. Readers, do you prefer to wear suits made up of a dress and blazer — or do you prefer other suit separates like pants and a skirt? Where are your favorite dress and jacket skirts from? (We discussed non-suit dress+jacket combinations in this post…)

Some options I found for you on the market right now, below (the individual pieces range from $159-$435):

suits with dresses instead of skirts
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Above: black blazer and dress / Beige blazer and dress (also in plus sizes) / black blazer and dress / navy blazer and dress

Pictured at very top of post: Gray dress and blazer (actually a tiny black dot pattern). A few other options not pictured: cobalt sheath dress with matching jacket, gray suit with dress, plus size dress and blazer with piping

Some easy tips: On the budget end, check out TJ Maxx and other similar discount places — a lot of times these dress+jacket suits are sold on a single hanger and can be found for some serious steals. If you like colorful suits or suits with a lot of colorblocked details, keep an eye on Macy’s and Lord & Taylor — they have a lot of brands like Kasper, Tahari, Calvin Klein, and Anne Klein that I traditionally associate with this kind of look.

On the higher end, keep an eye on Boss, Theory, Reiss, and Brooks Brothers — they often have suiting separates that include dresses — and on the much higher end, St. John’s suits often have a matching dress.

Readers, let’s hear from you — do you like to wear suits with dresses instead of skirts? What do you see as the pros and cons to the look? Where’s your favorite dress suit from — and where would you go to look for one in 2018?

A 35-year-old lawyer wrote in wondering where to find suits with dresses instead of skirts or pants -- so we went on a hunt for her! What are your favorite dress suits, suiting dresses, and sheath dresses with matching blazers, ladies? Do you like to wear them for interview outfits -- or just as office looks or courtroom attire?

Pictured above, top row: light gray / dark gray; bottom row: black / navy / beige


  1. Visitation attire? :

    I need to dress for a visitation at a funeral home. Rural northeast, Saturday afternoon. I am family by marriage. Options in descending order of formality:

    Black skirt suit (seems too formal/severe?)
    Gray skirt suit (perhaps also too formal? I’d definitely do this for a funeral)
    Black dress
    Navy dress
    Dress slacks and a sweater

    Husband will probably wear a black suit. Deceased is clergy, so maybe more formal is appropriate? But it’s a visitation, not a service, and again, rural area. I miss the days when black was really the only appropriate choice for a bereavement event. (Yes, I know this was ages ago. Call me a dinosaur.)

    • Senior Attorney :

      I would do a black dress, I think.

    • Anonymous :

      I don’t think you can go wrong with black for a wake/visitation. However, I usually go after work wearing whatever business clothes (usually something dark colored and subdued). I’m in rural New England FWIW.

    • Assuming black dress has sleeves, i would choose this over suits.

    • Black dress.

    • Any of the last three are plenty appropriate. If you opt for the last one, somber or muted colors are good. I’ve been to too many funerals on my husband’s side, and people will truly just be happy that you’re there, as long as you’re not wearing something really inappropriate (like a short mini dress).

  2. Kat, thank you SO much for making this post. I have been told many times by the manageing partner NOT to even try to ask for reimbursements for pant suits, and he is not keen on skirts either, even in suit form (i.e, with a matching jacket). However, he LOVES suits with full dresses b/c this way, even if I take off my jacket, I am not “sashaying” around the office with a skirt and a blouse (tho Frank would prefer that–FOOEY on him).

    So this post gives me EXACTLY what I need to reoutfit myself at a 60% reimbursement rate this year! I can’t wait to show him, and to thank you, Kat, when I donate all of my closet clotheing, I will tell them that I found the BEST new stuff on Corporette! Yay Kat!!!!!!

  3. Lana Del Raygun :


    I need to switch to a field where people wear suits. :(

    • Anonymous :

      For any new grads who are reading-

      A number of years ago, I asked a question about wearing a dress+blazer suit to an interview (tech company, dc), and a bunch of commenters shot me down that the combo wasnt formal enough.

      Caveat that I’m not a lawyer and have never interviews in big law or banking, but in my experience in Academia, Tech, and Consulting, almost all of the the options pictured here would have been perfectly appropriate for interviews!

      • This is bizarre–I’m in law and I wear almost exclusively dress+matching suit jacket to court (same color, no difference in fabric), and I think it looks even MORE formal than pants+matching jacket. I practice in federal courts on the east coast and west coast, and I’ve never once had anyone tell me I was too informal. I tend to wear nylons if I’m on the east coast, but other than that, so long as the color is conservative and they’re not frilly lady-who-lunches-styles, I think dress suits are fine.

      • Triangle Pose :

        That is bizarre. Any chance you ommitted the word “suit” and people thought you meant just a non matching dress and blazer?

  4. Hobbs do several dress ad jacket combos

  5. Diana Barry :

    Reiss has 2 right now (look for Huxley, 2 styles of dresses, and Chelton, a neat origami style) and usually several in the winter – I bought a grey one in the sale in January.

  6. Jackalope :

    I am pleased to see the Reiss suit featured here – they have lots of nice blazer/dress combos. The last two suits I have purchased are Reiss, after Theory changed its fit (or at least the way the suits fit changed on my body!). I find the Reiss suits have held up better than the Theory suits as well, particularly in the elbows.

    • Marshmallow :

      I recently bought a Reiss suit and I am obsessed with it– the first suit I feel really GOOD in. I skipped the skirt but went for both the dress and pants and I’m really happy with those. I think I have the Huxley– it’s the current season, navy, with a V neck sheath dress. I had to tailor the dress up in the shoulders a bit to make the neckline more appropriate but it was an easy fix.

      • Marshmallow :

        Actually just to add on to my reply, I think I have the exact navy suit pictured in the post. Highly recommend especially if you are an hourglass shape. The dress has great curves without overkill. I went one size up from my usual US size.

  7. I feel like the reader is closing off a lot of options if she’s written off Talbots. The seasonless wool separates usually have matching dress and blazer. I think the issue may be a boxier cut but that is easily fixed by a tailor by taking in the side seams.

    • The tailor idea is a good one, but at least for me, one of my requirements is that I love the piece of clothing before I buy it (regardless of price).

    • KateMiddletown :

      Yes – talbots can skew matronly, especially some of the styling, but they look different on different body types AND have a huge range of matronly-not matronly at all available. If you’re wearing a suit you probably want to look conservative, which means higher necklines and lower hemlines, which can be hard to find w/ other suiting companies.

    • Literally today I picked up my very first Talbots suit at the tailors, and she complained that she does not like Talbots. She grumbled that they’re not well made (and, indeed, we struggled to find a solution to an oddly fitting blazer). The tailors’ favorite suits are my favorite suits: J.Crew. I’ve never had to have one tailored, and I’ve owned 8 or so. But, yes, they are much more expensive.

  8. Anonymous :

    Where to find this look? I find it everywhere. I only own 1 skirt suit. The rest are sheath dresses + blazer.

    I shop everywhere from Dress Barn (the Jones Studio line), TJ Maxx (Calvin Klein with any luck), Macy’s (Calvin Klein, Kasper, Le Suit), Nordstrom (Tahari, Anne Taylor) and Lord & Taylor (Tahari, Anne Taylor, Le Suit).

  9. One caveat with this look – make sure the blazer has pockets if you are doing an event where you need to mic-ed. I was on a trial team where the lead attorney wore a dress and pocket-less blazer to do closing and it was quite the conundrum figuring out where to put the mic pack since she had no pockets and no waistband.

    • Oh that is a really good comment. My sister did a ted-style talk at a conference and showed up in a pocketless sheath dress. They had to run the mic and the pack up the inside of her dress – the mic up the front and clipped to her neckline, the pack around the back and tucked into her spanx. The tech was at least as embarrassed as she was.

    • Anonymous :

      This. I wear exclusively dresses and jackets (several from Boss, others from that Nordstrom brand — Classiques something) except when I need to wear a mic. Then I wear a dress with a brightly colored jacket with pockets.

      • megmarmor :

        I add a slim belt to my dress suits so that I can clip the mic pack to it. It’s heavy, but works.

    • If Kat wants ideas for a post, the “how tos” of public speaking (conferences, TED talks, TV, radio) would be great. All but radio/reporter also have specific fashion requirements.

  10. kids activities -- quantity of :

    I have 2 elementary school children, same gender.

    During the week, they are in at-school afterschool care from 3-6.
    While there, one kid goes to Girls on the Run (other will also participate next year).
    They also are in a 1-hour once-a-week chess club

    Outside of that, they both have a 1.5 hour choir rehearsal that I take them to once a week (they only sing in church monthly). I do the driving. Our evening and most afternoon time isn’t impacted. Morning activities start at 10 (!) which is so much better than being outside on a cold soccer field at 7 or 8.

    For church, we go to a one-hour sunday school and a 45 minute kids service immediately after. I drive. Maybe we go 50% of the time.

    On weekends, they both go to one one-hour swim lesson (and grownups go b/c we can work out while they do this), one one-hour math tutoring (needed, esp. for one kid), and one art lesson (1 hour).

    Husband thinks this is too much running around on weekends (it is really: 2-hour block on one day, maybe a one-or two-hour block the other day). The kids otherwise would be happy to have 48 hours of screen time but are happy doing these activities that they like. [We have never done travel soccer or anyhting with very lengthy practices, mandatory participation, travel schedules, and that isn’t close by. I played an instrument and choir seems to be a good compromise with no issues of practicing at home at their skill level the way you do with violin, etc.]

    Legimately: is this too much? I am going at least 80% of the logistics for this. And except for younger kid not being old enough to participate, they do the same thing (so it’s not like we have one in basketball and one in ballet, which has been a godsend so far) and always have.

    • Anonymous :

      This is a question for you and your husband. If it is really important to you but not him, then you might have to shoulder more of the burden (or agree to it) but in a way that won’t build resentment (really hard at times). We run around a lot for multiple different sports for different kids (traveling teams), music lessons, add on camps, and one off activities so I read your list as manageable–but every family is different. I do 90% of the driving around/ sports stuff–while spouse shoulders the load on the school stuff. There is crossover but it is a system that works for us and breaks out roughly even.

    • I feel like having something every day of every weekend can be a bit much for kids. I’m not clear on how you’re condensing all those 1 hour and 45 minute slots into 2 hours one day and 1-2 hours the next day. But regardless I think the question you need to ask is why you’re doing what you do and whether your kids genuinely like it.

      For me, that would be a lot of church and choir time, but I know that is a high priority for a lot of religious families. Are your kids into it or are you pushing them into it?

      My kids are teens now and we always made them choose only one extra curricular and one lesson. They didn’t always have to do either or both, but we made an upper limit. And we let it be completely kid-driven. No absolute You Must Continue With This. So my son chose boy scouts and trumpet lessons. He still has boy scouts but dropped the trumpet lessons. My daughter did girl scouts briefly, dropped that, had violin lessons for a while, piano lessons for a while and now has no music lessons but has really gotten involved with a sport at both the high school and at the club level. So we do have those freezing mornings, but except for one or two really special tournaments, we never do both weekend days.

      I really think it’s important for kids to be kids. That doesn’t mean 48 hours of screen time just because they’re not being shuttled around. It means giving them lots of time to explore things they want to do.

      In your shoes I’d write a list of the activities in terms of their priority to you, and then ask your kids to independently list their own priorities. See how you line up. And then using that, see if you can free a whole weekend day every week to have no plans.

    • activities :

      Our household ran better when we engaged in fewer little kid extracurricular activities, although I feel like we did our fair share. Our one child is now 15 and very involved in track and cross country. This – along with driving to an occasional tutor – keeps us hopping, so I am glad we “rested up” back in the good ole days. :) There did seem to be a flurry of weekend activity even when limiting activities when you factor in birthday parties, school programs, etc. This absolutely drove my husband crazy when our child was younger.

      Extracurriculars generally help identify where interests or inclinations fall, except in our case. Our daughter’s only real exposure to running was Girls on the Run, where they did very little running, in my opinion. Let’s just say the year end 5K was a big surprise for my daughter and her group. :) So it was an even bigger surprise when she became committed to running in middle school.

    • KateMiddletown :

      I’ll play for comparison – I don’t know what’s “too much”, but here’s what works for our two working parents, one-kid (expecting #2) family:
      -after care daily 3-5ish – cheer is during after care
      – 1 sport per “season” – cheer in fall, bball in early winter, vball in late winter, soccer in spring. Practices are still @ 1x a week, games are 1x a weekend (usu saturdays).
      – girl scouts every two weeks (most girls are in same sports, so they don’t overlap days – if they did it would be a deal breaker for 1) sometimes has a field trip/obligation on weekends
      – church is just service 1x a week (sunday am) – I attend, my husband stays home and does laundry and watches soccer; there is no kids service, which works b/c she attends religious school.

      In the fall we’re considering adding in dance lessons again, which are held during aftercare, so it’s no extra driving.

      That’s it for us. Considering throwing in private swimming lessons, but realistically we can’t manage much more without getting complicated w/ schedules. What’s more is that she doesn’t enjoy scheduled activity as much as she enjoys going over to the neighbors and playing Barbies or riding bikes.

    • I have four kids ranging in age from 3 to 9. The 3 y/o is in nothing beyond daycare, though she’ll do swim lessons in the summer and soccer and dance starting next fall. By contrast, my oldest two were definitely in activities by 3.

      My 9 y/o currently does 4 hours a week of basketball practice, 2-3 hours of game; 5 hours a week of soccer; 3 hours a week of girls on the run; and girl scouts (1.5 hours a month). This is about to change to more soccer, less basketball plus some softball, so it varies throughout the year. I feel this is enough for her, but not too much. She likes to be busy, and does better when she is. Physical activity improves her self confidence and helps with her anxiety. I have no qualms about it being right for her. She still has plenty of time for play dates, playing with her siblings, sleepovers at grandma’s and trips to the park.

      My 7 year old has a lower need/desire for physical activity. She currently does 2 hours a week of dance, 2 hours a week of basketball and 2 hours a week of volleyball. Plus, brownies once a month. She loves the activities and involvement but does not “thrive” on it the way my older one does, so we likely wont pursue travel sports for her unless she asks, but she will play recreational level unless/until she asks to stop. We will make it a priority to keep her interested and involved in some kind of physical activity in any event.

      My 5 year old has basketball once a week for an hour. That will soon end and be replaced by a couple of hours of t-ball and an hour of soccer. His sports will for sure increase as he gets older.

      It is enormously complicated from a logistical standpoint to keep all the schedules and various balls in the air, but it is important to my husband and I that our kids be physically active and “involved.” When not at their activities our kids are generally running around the yard or the park on our block, kicking and throwing balls, etc. so it feels very natural to include organized sports as part of their childhood experience. I totally get where others prefer less activity, but on our rare “off” weekends, especially in the winter, the kids are bored and we wind up trying to find some physical indoor activity for them to partake in. The days of kids roaming the streets and playing pickup baseball, at least before the age of 11, are just done IMHO, even in my walkable, tons of young kids neighborhood. It is either organized formal play dates or organized activities or sitting at home (usually with a screen). And, even play dates get harder as they get older b.c everyone else is in “stuff.”

      • I’m curious how the logistics work for your family. How do you manage to fit in that many hours of practices and games for multiple kids? Not judging, but I’m honestly curious HOW families manage it. Do you have much family time during the week? I imagine there is lots of dividing and conquering — are you and your DH managing all the pickups/dropoffs, or do you carpool or share duties with other families? Our 8-year-old does one sport per season, plus Cub Scouts, and even that feels like plenty. (We’re not doing the super competitive leagues.) The 3-year-old does dance class at daycare and swimming once a week. There are so many other things I’d like them to experience, but I don’t see how to make it work without running ourselves ragged and losing all free time.

        • My DH works early and comes home early, so he gets them to activities and I’ll often pick up if I’m home in time. If DH cant swing it, we pay a sitter to get them around after school. We also carpool. On weekends, we will utilize grandparents if we have multiple games at one time. We live in a walkable suburban neighborhood, which means everything is pretty close (2 miles or less away), but yet there is parking, so that also helps. In some suburbs of my large city, things can be so spread out, you’re driving fifteen minutes to school and 25 minutes to soccer practice. Fortunately, we dont have that issue. Weekend games can be further away, and this will increase as they get older, but we have accepted that our weekends are going to spent at our kids’ sports during these years. I still manage to work out as long as I go early in the morning and I can still go out with my friends or DH at night. There is way less time for big home/cleaning/organizing/cooking projects, but I’d rather be at a park playing with my 3 y/o and watching my 9 y/o play soccer than cleaning anyways. (we outsource cleaning:))

    • anonforthis :

      It sounds like a lot to me, but agree this is a question for your family. And sure, I’ll play for comparison, which will probably explain why I think it is a lot.

      I think my kids do a smaller number of extracurriculars than average, but maybe spend more time doing them? My oldest two boys are 15 and 12, and are incredibly athletic. My oldest is already in varsity cross country/basketball/track and we’ve been approached by D1 recruiters for both basketball and track. So he is at practice at school basically 6 days a week for several hours at a time. Almost the same for my 12 y/o. They are responsible for getting to and from school/practice on their own. They are adopted, and originally from a different (i.e., bad) part of our city, and both volunteer by mentoring a younger person from their old neighborhood. They meet with their mentees 1-2 times a month and do something like basketball or get pizza, and generally take the city bus for that. I am excited for my oldest to start driving soon – he already has a learner’s permit.

      I have two 6 y/o boys as well. They are in swim lessons two days a week, and our nanny handles pick-ups and drop-offs for that. Their school has a basketball club, and they go to that a few days a week as well. We live close enough to their elementary school that they can walk.

      We’ve aimed to keep driving them around at a minimum, both by limiting activities and only doing things close by. The latter is easier when you live in a city, I get that. Both my husband and I work long hours, and we want family time together where we can spend time together at home, go to the park, beach, pool, etc.

  11. I am a big fan of this combo and have learned a few things.
    I prefer suit-dresses when the fabric is the same, simply cut with a middle v neck or scoop neck. A high neck makes this look too awkward especially in darker colours. A little bit of visual detail is also great to break up the same fabric.

    So far my two favourites have been one from Talbots (from a few years ago)- navy pinstripe dress and jacket set. I got this at an outlet store. There are great pieces at Talbots but you need to be patient, as much of even the suiting is not for the MMLF audience.

    The second is a BOSS suit that I found on clearance at Nordstrom rack. the dress fit perfectly, the jacket was too large. So I got the dress for a steal and paid full price for the jacket separately online.

    Other stores that often use the same fabric for their suiting pieces are: J Crew, Ann Taylor (although these are mostly poly), Brooks Brothers, Massi Dutti and Club Monaco.

  12. biglawanon :

    Boss and Theory. I also only like the combo for things like court if the dress is high-necked. Otherwise, it can look like you are not wearing a top under your jacket. Ymmv, as I try to buy basic suits that will work in any court I need to go to. I practice in some conservative courts where I wouldn’t wear a V-neck or scoop neck because that would show my collarbones.

  13. Rainbow Hair :

    I just got a great nine west combo — the dress is color blocked and the jacket is a flyaway style, so it’s not the most traditional suit in the world, but I love it.

  14. Marshmallow :

    Also check out MMLF’s newest suits. I feel like I’m always the MMLF bandwagon person here, but I was so excited to see they have suits. In several cases they’ve done their classic dresses with matching jackets. Don’t own one yet but drooling over the plaid.

    • I seriously squealed when I got the email about their first true suit. It’s a nice bump up from jcrew suit quality without hitting Boss level pricing. They also make the matching skirt in two styles, at two different lengths.

  15. The light grey Kasper suit is great. Except that it comes in FOUR sizes. 2-8? Seriously? Why include something SO limited in a round up like this?

    • Anonymous :

      If you click “show more” next to the list of sizes (on the right) you’ll see a wider range.

  16. I love suits with dresses. It’s my go to combination. I have found some at Macy’s. They have a lot of different suits that are reasonably priced. I have found some from their Tahari line. The trick is to find one that’s a more modern cut. I have also had luck at White House Black Market. The WHBM options have a bit more pizzazz which i like.

  17. Love this post. My preference is to get a skirt and dress with matching jacket. My favorite dress/jackets suits are Theory, j crew, and classiques entier (did this brand just vanish???).

    Mm la fluer just added an option (with their true suit jacket) in black but not navy yet. I did get their skirt suit in navy and think is is fabulous.

  18. Nice outfit. And also color are nice . i always preferred light color.
    for more designer clothes visit to our website: https://sleepwithme.com.au/

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