Suit of the Week

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

We’re loving this fabulous sculpted jacket and flattering skirt from Dior.  It’s oh so elegant, bu still professional and serious, and those pockets are seriously fun and flattering (look how tiny her waist looks!)  We also love the little details, like the silk lining.  The jacket (Sculpted Fringe Jacket) is $2,750, and the skirt (Front-Slit Skirt) is $890.


  1. I agree, it is professional and serious, and yes, I would love the silk lining, but those pockets are just a little bit too reminiscent of Dior’s “New Look” of the ’50s. In other words, what would those humongous pockets look like on my padded hip bones??? Yikess…

    I’m interested if others think that even on a long and slender torso that 6 buttons isn’t a little corset-like?

  2. I think that the 6 buttons are what make the suit more interesting.
    But haha on the “look how tiny her waist looks” comment – it looks tiny because it IS tiny, not because of the pockets!

  3. Anonymous :

    I agree with KH. the pockets look totally unflattering to me. Also, six buttons is totally corset-like as well. I think for $3,000 you could spend your money 3,000 better ways.

  4. For the very young, rich, and thing, but given those parameters, I like it.

  5. anonymous :

    Help! I need some seriously practical suit options. I have been waiting for them to come about each week to no avail. $3,000 for a suit??? Who does that? The one option from Banana Republic a few weeks back sold out before I could get my hands on it. What is a female attorney to do? I guess I am on my own to fend for myself and find suits the old-fashioned way by blowing a day hoofing it to stores, searching, trying on, getting discouraged, and then if I am lucky, finding one suit I like, and then only having one new suit, thus, having to start the whole process over again several weeks later. If anyone out there has recently purchased a reasonably priced suit that they love, please let me know.

    • I have had some luck recently with Worthington suits from JCPenney. They were totally inexpensive (under $100 per separate, and probably closer to $50, if I’m recalling correctly), but don’t look it. I received compliments on them on the first wearing. I ordered a bunch of sizes online, and then returned the ones that didn’t fit in person, which worked out well. My nicer suits are Banana Republic or Ann Taylor (from previous seasons, when I still liked their suit quality).

      • anonymous :

        Thanks, I will check that out.

      • In the past year or so, I have become a big fan of JCPenney, and am now totally convinced that their merchandise is equal, quality-wise, to that of other, higher-end department stores. They have a terrific dress selection, great tops for wearing under suits, and nice pants. Better quality than Ann Taylor in my opinion, and far less expensive.

        • You know – I’ve thought of JCP as “my dirty little secret”, but I guess I shouldn’t be such a snob. They carry a wide range of sizes and in petite, misses, and womens. I like that they when they introduce a line, there are often more than one fit of pants or skirts available, so I can get what is most flattering, or I can have more options. The other thing is that I think they are aiming at middle America which means their cuts are more forgiving.

          One conclusion I draw from Corporette is that there is wide variety of “acceptable” and a wide variety of taste. JCP won’t be cutting edge, but if you are one of the folks who gets upset when Corporette gets a little too edgy, but you want to be “fashionable” (the word in Corporette’s mission statement) you can do much worse than to build some foundations for your outfits at JCP. Then mix it up with blouses, funky jackets, shoes, or jewelery.

          I do not in ANY way recommend JCP for shoes or handbags, btw.

        • Depends on the brand. I like Worthington for dress and love St. John’s Bay and Dockers for casual wear. But, be careful with some of the brands they carry because they are terrible.

          • I love JCPenney. It is a great place to buy separates for work. But, I basically stick to Worthington only.

      • Second this. I work in politics and the Worthington suits are a great answer to the perpetual problem of comfortable, nice-looking, and affordable. Plus, JCPenney has sales every single week, and Worthington stuff is usually included.

    • This is one of the suits I have, and looks great in person (although a little different than the photo):

      • J – I like the look … how have they held up to dry-cleaning? My only problem with synthetic suits is that they don’t hold up to long use, and after 2 or 3 trips to the dry cleaners they look old and dingy.

        • I haven’t had them long enough yet to be dry cleaned more than once, so I can’t say. So far, so good, though.

      • do you think the worthingtons are true to size? the department store suits that I have tried on are always big-ish, which look terrible on me b/c I have no curves to fill them out…

        • I wear petite, and the 4P fit me perfectly without alteration (both pieces). That said, one of the reasons I needed the suit was because I’ve gained a little weight and my 2P suits in Banana/AT have gotten too tight (training for a marathon led me to believe I could eat whatever I wanted, hahaha). So I’m thinking it’s pretty true to size, but tough to say for sure given my own body changes.

    • Nevadamtnbear :

      I’m with you on spending $3k on a suit. No way in heck. I have a difficult time justifying spending more than a hundred bucks. I don’t know, but paying off student loans is enough of a financial burden to keep me in the affordable suit range.

      And right now I’m in a pickle, I had to go on some medication which low and behold resulted in a 15# weight gain in less than 5 weeks. I’m freaking out trying to figure out options because my suits are not fitting or fitting well right now, I don’t want to go spending $$ on new suits, I have hearings coming up, so I need something, and I have no expectation that I’ll be able to loose the weight anytime in the near future. I think I’ll just cry into my hot tea.

      So, VERY affordable options are something I’ve very interested in for at least the short term.

      • Spanx or alterations are probably your best bet. You can get Spanx and other varieties at discount stores like Marshalls/Steinmart for fairly cheap, so it’s worth a try before going to alterations. If you do decide on alterations, I’d take more suits with you than you plan to have altered and then pick two that will be the easiest/cheapest to do. If it’s something as simple as taking out a skirt or pair of pants, that’s probably going to be a lot cheaper than getting a whole new suit!

      • I’ve always wondered, what sort of medications cause such rapid large weight gains?

        • Nevadamtnbear :

          Due to a spine fracture as a result of osteopenia, I had to go onto steroid and hormone medications. So, I don’t know whether it was one or the other, but it ended up with a horribly rapid weight gain.

          Thanks for the suggestion of Spanx. I think that will help a lot, particularly with my skirt suits.

          • My main with the Spanx is that I still have an issue with lumpy shirts. My skirt suits tend to have shorter jackets, so I can’t leave the shirt/sweater out. However, tucking in the shirt inevitably results in a visible shirt line of sorts I don’t know how to get rid of. Anybody have any suggestions?

      • How are your jackets fitting? I gained weight after I quit smoking so I bought new slacks in neutral colors and wore them with my older blazers to tide me over for a while.

      • Your current jackets should still work. Just layer a blouse, shell or turleneck under the jacket, and don’t attempt to button the jacket. For additional diversion, add a scarf folded into a rectangle so the ends can just hang down between the gap in the jacket and divert the eye. Add some compatible slacks in microfiber with comfortable stretch, and you’ll look great. You also may be able to get a tailor to alter your current slacks to expand them, particularly through the waist.

        I have jackets ranging in size from 6 (OK, obviously awhile ago) to 12. By layering and diverting the eye, they all work as long as the shoulders are still comfortable.

    • Try the Brooks Brothers outlet stores. The women’s suits are usually 70% off. I just got 3 suits for $450. Not as fashionable as Dior, but I needed super-conservative suits for federal court.

    • For what it’s worth, no pun intended, JC Penney clothing scores at the top of Consumer Reports–polo shirts, button downs, khakis, and the like.

      I love Talbots for styling and range of sizes–petites, plus and talls, and usually you can mix them–a tall pant with a regular top, say.

  6. Do you have a better picture? I can’t really see the pocket detailing here.

  7. Am i the only person who doesn’t think it’s a good idea to buy suits online, without trying them on?
    Perhaps more than any other item of clothing, suits need to “fit” perfectly to look good. This is less a problem for bottoms, than it is for tops. Most jackets seem to be cut for very broad shoulders and very thick arms (I guess it’s easier to take in, than out?) . . . and when I go to stores, I find that most dept store brands are way too loose in the arms to be at all flattering. I am completely average weight/height wise — but when i try on, e.g., tahari or calvin klein jackets, i feel like i can stick another arm in the sleeves, even in size 2. For every dozen suits, maybe 1 works without spending a fortune on alterations. I cannot begin to imagine how much returning I would have to do if I ordered them online!

    • I buy suits, dresses, shoes, and lots of other things online because I have little time for brick-and-mortar shopping. I typically order a variety of sizes and colors, try it all on at home, and then return it (via mail or in person). I don’t do all that much returning.

    • I think the problem is less the online vs. instore than with the brands you’re trying. Doesn’t sound like you’ve found a brand that works for you yet. Theory cuts a narrower arm and shoulder, as do J. Crew, Nanette Lepore, DVF and sometimes Ann T. I order online ALL the time, but I generally do it only with brands I’m familiar with and stores with good/cheap/easy returns.

    • I’ve had the best luck with Nanette Lepore and Antonio Melani (at Dillard’s). Semantiks at Nordstrom is also fairly decent. I’m not the burliest in the arm area (understatement of the decade) and all of those brands have narrower arms. I agree with S that AT is hit or miss- some looks are fantastic for my arms while others just look huge.

  8. I agree with AIMS – its is difficult to buy a suit online. But I am finding a real lack of suit (in separates) in the stores. Particularly looking for a classic navy suit this fall (and all I seem to find is black and grey). Ann Taylor offers one online but not in the stores. Any other ideas for classic suits? I’ll try to stop by a JCPenney’s to check out the Worthington brand.

  9. As a recent law school graduation, I’m having trouble finding suits as well. They’re either too trendy/young or matronly looking. I also try to avoid alterations and have been lucky so far. Can anyone offer advice as to average cost of a suit alteration?

    Also looking at these:

    Any advice as to sizing/quality for this brand?

    • newassociate :

      i suggest spending a more money on a better pair of shoes if you’re planning on wearing these to work. cheap patent leather looks cheap, which is not helped by the wooden heel, which i’ve never seen anyone in my bay area big law office wear, assistant or attorney, even though we’re biz casual. wooden heels tend to be less supportive/comfortable anyway.

      i stalked cole haan sales after the bar last year and picked up a couple pairs of the nike air line. they won’t be $60, but they’re worth it in the long run.

      • Alterations can be expensive. It really depends on what you need done. Hemming sleeves/skirts/pants is not bad and will generally run $10-25 (in NY, depending on where you go, and I am not including anywhere fancy here. More in terms of geography [i.e., outer boroughs (cheaper) vs Manhattan (not)]. It is well worth it, though, and should always be done where needed (even an inch off a too-long skirt makes a huge difference in terms of how flattering it becomes).

        But taking in sleeves that are too loose, shoulders that are too big, etc., can get pricey. I have paid anywhere between $65-85, and that’s for relatively simple work (and it didn’t even really do the trick so I wish I just hadn’t bothered). My experience is that if it needs more than basic hemming, it’s not worth the expese and most (reasonably priced) tailors don’t have the skills to do it right anyway.

        One other tip: if you need jacket sleeves hemmed, try to avoid jackets with buttons, etc., on the ends — those can get difficult & expensive. They usually end up having to take in at the arm, and that is a lot of work.

    • Agreed on the shoes.

      If you find a brand you like, don’t overlook eBay. Lots of New in Box, and you can search by size, color, style, etc. Many sellers accept returns, too, and even if you miss with a few, you save enough to cover the few misses. “Buy it now” or eBay Express if you don’t have the patience to wait, but I just decide how much I’d pay, bid that and either win or not. I get Cole Haans and Donald J Pliners for cheap-shoe prices.

    • Yes, alterations can get very expensive. I have been known to spend as much for alterations as the cost of a suit itself – take in sleeves at the shoulder, $80 or so; take in jacket at the waist, $65 or so, take in waist of pants, another $80 or so; hem pants, $25 or so. This is at well-known tailors in Manhattan, so I’m sure you can do much better, but it’s helpful to have a sense of which alterations are more costly so that you can make sure those aspects of the fit are OK. I have read that you should never buy a suit that doesn’t fit in the shoulders.

      I have had tailors want to charge the $80 to shorten sleeves even for suits that don’t have buttons on the sleeve. Taking in a lined jacket at the sleeve still involves work (re-sewing the lining etc.) that you don’t have when shortening pants.

      You should try on different lines and get a sense of what alterations you can’t avoid because you are a non-standard shape, and what varies from line to line or style to style.

  10. Express has a great gray pant-suit/skirt suit set.

  11. I typically buy suits from somewhere like Banana of J Crew where you can order online but return at the store. They have much better on-line selections, especially for suit separates (which are a must for my funky shaped body), and I’ll order 2 sizes and return the one that doesn’t fit.

  12. What a gorgeous suit! And 6 buttons is what gives it such a gorgeous shape. What an odd idea that pockets add to ones figure size? If they weren’t there do you think you’d look smaller? That’s just odd. I think details like that take the observers eye away from any figure flaws & that’s why I like them.

    • Typically, padding on one’s hips makes one’s hips look bigger… It’s the fact that the pockets are poufy that would add weight. But I do like the 6 buttons, corset-like or not.

  13. I needed a decent suit for an interview for a paralegal position, but being in law school and dealing with weight changes (I swear, I lose 5, then gain 10, then lose 10, gain 5) I didn’t want to spend a lot of money. I found a nice black w/ thin white pinstripe at Burlington Coat Factory – it is Kasper originally for $250 and I paid $50. I also bought a chocolate brown at the Kasper outlet for about the same price. They are lined and seem to be well put together, but since I don’t wear suits all that often, I don’t know much about brands. I fully expect to not fit into them a year from now, and $50 was in my price range, so I was pleased.

  14. Another Attorney :

    Really? $3500 for a suit? If I had that sort of money to buy a suit, I don’t imagine that I’d have any trouble finding one! The problem most readers have, I believe, is finding a reasonably-priced suit that isn’t too cheap looking, too trendy or otherwise inappropriate.

    Also, the pockets directly on the hips will NOT hide a figure flaw unless your figure flaw is not having any hips. The slight flounce to the jacket will hide a little extra hippiness and create the illusion of a smaller waist, but the bulky pockets stiched on top will surely make hips look larger.

    I don’t think spending $50 on a suit is reasonably for most of us either. IME, bargain-priced brands usually look like a bargain. I hope to see some reasonably-priced suggestions for suits soon. I actually try to shop for suits when I’m on vacation (i.e., not in the US) since I find that other countries do reasonably-priced suits much better than the US.

    FWIW, I think it is practially a requirement to spend a bit of money on having a suit tailored. A little extra attention to fit makes a hug difference in the overall look of the suit. I factor that into the cost of the suit.

    • Nevadamtnbear :

      I will fully agree regarding having a suit tailored. I have easily spent more money on tailoring a suit than I spent on the suit itself. I have a very short rise, so I’ve had the rise shortened on pants, which is not an inexpensive tailoring job. However, it makes the suit look MUCH better (no one looks good with a poofy crotch). Tailoring can also make a middle of the road suit look much better – fit does wonders.

  15. If I’m going to spend $3,500 on a suit, I’m not going to buy a faddish one like this. I like the 6-button look, but the crazy pockets look like sewn-in fannypacks. Awful.

  16. “Another Attorney” is right – nobody who has $3,500 to spend on a suit needs help finding a good-looking suit, and if she did, she could just walk into a Saks and she would get all of the help she wanted. Further, I could browse the saks website for suits by price and randomly pick anything that turns up on the first page and it would be gorgeous. That my friends, is easy easy easy shopping / fashion. If corporette wants to be useful, “Suit of the Week” should focus on a particular style or flourish exemplified by a suit and then suggest a suit in a high and a low price point illustrating that flourish. For example, this week, the suit of the week should have been “The Big-Pocket Suit” (or something) and included a link to a $200-500 suit that also included big pockets (or some other pocket-flourish), THAT would be amazing – AND SO HELPFUL. If there aren’t enough suits out there to produce a useful feature – do it less often…

  17. No, I heart my weekly suit of the week fix! And I think its interesting to see a FEW high priced suits sprinkled in with the more affordable. Gives a broad spectrum take on what looks are out there. That said, I like the more affordable picks this site has been giving lately (prior to this week).

    • I agree that it is interesting (and quite entertaining) to look at the high-priced pieces here & there. Knowing what’s out there high-end wise gives you a varied sense of what’s available; therefore, if you do get a chance to online shop or even brick-&-mortar shop for yourself, you know what you want. It’s almost like “window shopping.”

  18. Even if I had over $3K to blow on a suit, I don’t think this jacket would compliment my figure because of the pockets, but I’ll never know…oh well, unless I become unexpectedly filthy rich, I’ll just have to settle for Ann Taylor, J. Crew, Banana Republic, Nordstrom, Macy’s & TJ Maxx. Oh, and don’t forget the outlet stores – Off Saks & Nordstrom Rack!

  19. anonymous :

    I would love to see examples of work suits in the $400 to $600 range. Cheap suits I can find. Outrageously expensive suits I try not to look at to avoid the lusting. Fashionable, but not trendy, suits in the mid-range price I am having a hard time finding.

    • Nevadamtnbear :

      Nordstrom’s regularly has suits in the $400-$600 range.

    • Anonymous :

      I really like Lafayette 148–it’s more than $600 for a suit, unless you hit a good sale, but the clothes last. No lining in the pants though. They do have plus sizes and petite sizes as well.

  20. Or, something like Allure’s Lust and Must … Here is the expensive item, and here’s a more reasonably priced item that echoes whatever it is that makes the expensive item so alluring.

  21. Lawyerchik1 :

    Ditto to those who said $3K is … steep for a suit. It sure is pretty, but not $3K pretty.

    I was very fortunate to find a great summer weight suit at an outlet mall on my way back from a court appearance. It was a Kasper skirt suit (Kasper has its own outlet store), and I got lucky – $90.00. I found a Tahari pant suit at Macy’s on their clearance rack for about $100.

    Granted, the Macy’s suit was not … perfect for me. The pants aren’t really cut for my figure, not to mention that they’re too short, but I’ve worn both suits several times, and when you’re sitting down, it doesn’t matter much whether your pants are a little short.

    What I’ve found has been the most beneficial is to always be in “shopping” mode – wherever, whenever. I can’t always buy, but if I keep my eyes open and make occasional trips to outlet malls and other places that sell good quality of good brands that occasionally go on sale, I find stuff that I might miss otherwise if I were to take the position that I’m not going to find “anything” there.

    Some of the sharpest-dressed women I’ve ever met honed their fashion skills at discount retailers. If you can dress yourself out of a T.J. Maxx or Marshall’s, or some of the outlets or bargain places, you can dress yourself anywhere.

  22. I like seeing the expensive stuff, too, even if I wouldn’t actually buy it…It is nice to dream! :)

  23. For someone with a thicker waist and almost-invisible hips, I’d LOVE to have a jacket like this! Or at least the knock-off in a month :) But I adore seeing the slightly riskier pieces and the more expensive ones! You don’t have to buy THAT suit, but can use it to inspire you. Thanks, C!

  24. Talbot’s has great suits. I almost always shop there first.

  25. Love! I would never be able to afford, of course, but I agree its nice to see a few pieces like this.

  26. I really like this suit. I’m one of those women whose hips are a little on the smaller side, so the big pockets aren’t really an issue for me. And I really like how there are lots of buttons- it’s less conservative. Obviously, if I had to be in court, I wouldn’t wear a suit with such big pockets or so many buttons, but for the office I have no problem with it. 3 grand is a little much- but, hey, if I could find a cheaper rendition of this suit, I’d probably buy it.

  27. Re: decent suits at a reasonable cost. I find that Macys almost always has suits on sale. I typically pick up Ann Klein, Calvin Klein, and Tahari suits around $120 – $160 (reg. priced at $300). I’m a federal government attorney, so I like to look nice (who doesn’t?) but not “I bill $700/hr” nice. I’m also a mommy to 4, so chances of me getting my suit wrinkled/torn/spit up on/vomited on/peanut buttered, etc. are high enough for me to avoid super expensive suits at this point in my life.
    Also, re: drycleaning. I invested about $100 on a clothes steamer and love it – seriously cuts down on drycleaning bills and the wear of the fabric.
    Finally, I also find great deals at the Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, and Brooks Brothers outlet stores. I doubt I will ever pay full price for a suit.

  28. The jacket definitely looks too tight on this model, hence the corset-like look. I am sure it did not fit like this on the runway. This would look better on a someone with a smaller frame than this model. I like this; jackets like this are incredibly versatile; they look great on weekends with jeans and ballet flats.

  29. I love the jacket but actually think the pleat-ish things in the front of the skirt look kind of weird. I didn’t initially notice it, but it gives a kind of wrinkled look–almost like a kind of bulge–coming out from under that nice fitted jacket. Still, if I won the lottery I’d probably buy it!

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