Suit of the Week

Classiques Entier Stretchy Melange JacketFor 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.

It seems like we are posting a zillion gray suits in 2010, and we apologize — it isn’t intentional.  (But then, it wasn’t intentional to post so many purple suits in 2009, so who knows.)  Still:  Here’s another beautiful, beautiful suit.  We love the detailing, from the rounded lapels and wide neckline, to the insets below the waistband.   The jacket (Classiques Entier ‘Sketchy Melange’ Jacket) is $268, and the pants (Classiques Entier ‘Sketchy Melange – Midtown’ Pants) are $158. A skirt, not pictured (Classiques Entier ‘Sketchy Melange’ Pencil Skirt) is also available also for $148.  All pieces are available in sizes 0-16.

Classiques Entier Sketchy Melange Jacket Classiques Entier Sketchy Melange Pants



  1. Legally Blonde :

    I put this on my wish list yesterday! Fabulous!

  2. I just ordered this suit (including the skirt) a couple of days ago. I’ll report back once it arrives.

  3. Totally cute, inexpensive suit. Good find.

    • $426 is inexpensive? Geez, I sure hope I can get to the point where I feel the same.

  4. Anonymous :

    Nice! I like that the details make it feminine, but that it’s overall very no-nonsense/businesslike.

  5. Haha, I saw this a few days ago & thought “this will probably be the suit of the week!”
    Must be psychic ;)

  6. Oh, I really, really like this!

  7. I know the pleats on the back of the skirt are intentional but it looks like something went horribly, terribly wrong during ironing…

    • Legally Blonde :

      Ha! So funny. I actually only put the pants on my wishlist because I thought the pleats looked like a tail.

      • Walking Barefoot :

        Really too bad about the tail on that skirt! It’s a great looking skirt otherwise, and appears to be flattering, but that tail is just too much like a woodland creature. yikes.

  8. I love this suit. I have a CE suit from Nordstrom’s that I love. The best part about buying suits from Nordstrom’s is the free alterations. I had one of their staff seamstresses pin it when I bought it and picked it up one week later. It was so convenient and is the best fitting suit I have ever had. I am a little (a lot) too curvy to get suits off the rack, and I will never buy suits any other way again.

    • Does Nordstrom do all alterations, or just the hemline, for free?!

      • Basic things like hems are free. They charge for more complex alterations like taking in the waist. But if you are a good customer, they will often waive all of the fees. Not that being a good customer is necessarily a good thing…

      • They didn’t charge me for any alterations at the Montgomery Mall Nordstrom’s, and I had the waist, hems, and sleeves done. I am not “a good customer” as lulu put it.

        • Montgomery Mall as in Bethesda, MD? Sorry, not trying to “out” you, but I’m near DC, so that would be amazing luck!

          • Me too . . . does Montgomery mall have this suit?

          • Yes, Montgomery Mall in Bethesda. I don’t know if they have this suit, but they have a good selection of CE clothing. I’m a DOJ trial lawyer living in DC, so I need suits that fit properly.

          • Legally Brunette :

            I second the Montgomery Mall Nordstrom recommendation. They have a large collection of CE suits and separates. Ask for Carolina, she is great.

            I’ve had mixed luck with the Nordstrom Rack in Gaithersburg, but that’s another place to try for CE stuff.

  9. Am I the only one for whom this brand just doesn’t work?

    • It wouldn’t have worked for me either if I hadn’t had it altered. I had to have it taken in the the sleaves, pant length, and waist.

  10. I love Love LOVE this suit! Perfect mix of feminine and professional and a flattering cut to boot! Nice pick!

  11. I love this suit and have been eyeing it for a while. I love most all things from Classiques Entier and am getting in the “bad” habit of buying most of my clothes from Nordstrom these days (bad only because it’s a lot more pricey than I’m used to paying). I just bought a fabulous skirt suit on sale (that was recommended on this site) and I just love it. CE is a great brand for more curvy women. Great pick Kat!

  12. Grey is the new black. Just ask any fashion magazine editor. :) I like Classiques a lot but I’ll have to check the fabric. If it’s heavy, I might get it but if it is too light, the detailing on the jacket might not cut it. It’s not a formality issue as much as there are certain types of details that make me feel like I am playing dress up.

  13. Legally Brunette :

    Gorgeous suit, great pick.

    Thread hijack: I am a junior associate in a large firm and have been placed in the “general litigation” group, which as you can imagine, is a really really broad practice area. I’ve spoken with a couple of partners at the firm and they all recommend that I need to develop a competence around a more specific practice area in the next year or so. Problem is that I don’t have much of an idea about what areas of law I enjoy. I know for sure that I’m not interested in patent law or healthcare, but aside from that, I have been pretty happy with all of the litigation projects I’ve worked on, irrespective of the more specific practice area.

    Does anyone have any recommendations on how I go about choosing my area? Are there any books out there that anyone can recommend? As of now I am leaning toward a particular practice area simply because I really like the partners working in that area, but I don’t have much else to go on.

    Thanks for any advice!

    • 1) Are you more interested in law-intensive or investigatory and fact-development-intensive work? The balance between the two varies a lot in different types of litigation.
      2) Do you want to travel?
      3) What do you want to do long-term? Some fields lend themselves to in-house, some to government work at a regulator, and some to small boutique practices. Some will involve the ability to go to court more often, and some will be primarily regulatory or pleading practices.
      4) What is your firm particularly good at? Being in a top-notch practice will affect your ability to move jobs later. My firm is tops in the field I work in; I wouldn’t necessarily want to work in other areas in the firm, however.
      5) Which partners do you like?

      A think a lot of people end up specializing within litigation based on just falling in with a partner that they like. A pretty decent technique, actually, because liking your boss’s management style affects your job more than anything else. But you also should think proactively regarding the first three questions. With more info about your answers, I’m sure all the attorneys on here will be glad to provide more info about good fits.

      • Legally Brunette :

        Thanks MM for your comments. Here are my answers:

        1) Much more interested in law intensive work rather than fact intensive work.

        2) I don’t like extensive traveling, but I have done it in a past career (consulting) and could probably suck it up and do it if I needed to. I anticipate having kids in the next 1-2 years, so that’s a consideration.

        3) My dream job is to be an appellate lawyer, but even that is kind of a general practice area. I’ve been told by numerous people that “appellate practice” isn’t a specific competence area. I could see myself at my firm long term, trying to make partner, or at DOJ in their appellate division (or in the SG’s office, but that’s definitely very very hard to come by).

        4) My firm is very strong is many different areas. It’s probably most well known for its appellate practice, which is the main reason why I chose to come here. I definitely want to get into the appellate group, but again, I have been told that I need to supplement appellate work with competence in a specific practice area.

        • North Shore :

          I think appellate judges should first be trial judges, and appellate lawyers should also be trial lawyers. I hate when I have a case on appeal, and it’s clear the appellate judges didn’t read the record and don’t quite get what happened at the trial level, because they have academic backgrounds and have never tried a case, and don’t want to bother with low-brow matters like facts. By the way, I don’t know your background, but DOJ Appellate offices tend to hire Federal Appellate or Supreme Court clerks. I do aviation litigation, and can’t recommend it to you based on your interests (it’s high-facts, high-travel), but it’s a blast and I love it. You might want to consider antitrust.

        • My advice — don’t try to get into the appellate group. it’s hard to bill the required hours doing writing and research almost exclusively, so you’ll likely be underpaid because you won’t hit bonus numbers. and it’s harder to make partner, because business is not usually driven by the appellate practice. it’s more of a “loss leader” – a prestige thing it’s good to have, but not where the money is directly made. i know a lot of extremely talented and credentialed people (think Supreme Court clerks) who couldn’t make partner in appellate. Far fewer in trial level. Find a trial level litigation team you like and become the critical motions/legal strategy person in that group. You’ll do the kind of work you like, and have a far better career. I don’t know all practice areas well, but lots of them have lots of complicated legal issues (health law, I think, is famous for them). More important, though, is to find senior people you actually like and can work well with. Ask around about reputation. Good luck!

          • Legally Brunette :

            Thank you all for the comments. I definitely agree with you that it’s important to not just focus on appellate but to get your hands dirty and do trial work as well.

            North Shore – I’m a former federal appellate clerk. Not SC though.

            If anyone else has ideas, please share. Thanks ladies!

        • Appellate practice is very definitely a practice area in a lot of firms. The problem with appellate practice is that trial lawyers like to stick with their cases – and also most people kind of like appellate law. It’s a particular area of concentration for me, and I’m in a 450 person firm, but we don’t have an appellate practice practice group. I’m known to be something of an expert in appellate law, so I tend to get involved with appeals when people have issues with waiver concerns, final appealable orders, notices of appeal, etc. But I have a background as an appellate judicial clerk, so that’s how I fell into it. If you want to do appellate law, you need to be an excellent writer and have strong logical/legal reasoning skills. It’s all argument, so you need to be among the best people you know at that.

          I couldn’t keep busy doing just appellate work (pure appellate lawyers are rare), which is why I end up doing mostly business litigation.

          • Just saw that you are a former federal appellate clerk – I’m preaching to the choir. You have the skills, but you need the foundation of establishing yourself as a strategy go-to. The best advice I can give a young associate is to become the discovery god – know the documents in your cases better than anyone else, and you will be the one formulating the arguments. As you progress, you don’t have the same time to review those documents, and you need people you can trust to review them and catch everything. Be that person, and your work will progress from there.

            Still doesn’t help you with a practice area…

          • Legally Brunette :

            Thanks RR. I’ve heard from more than a few folks that becoming an expert in the facts and in the documents is key because that makes you quite important in a case. The appellate practice is an actual practice area in my firm, but like you said, it’s hard to just do appellate work and I want to try and get expertise in a specific competence area. My sense from speaking with a few partners is that if you’re looking at partnership prospects (which admittedly, is quite a few years ahead for me), it helps to know at least a few areas of law well, as opposed to being a jack of all trades litigator. But maybe it just depends on the firm.

            Also, to anon — no offense taken re: your comment. I actually have spoken to some folks at the firm about my question, but I thought I would also raise it in this forum because everyone here is always extraordinarily helpful.

      • I generally agree with the advice that’s already been offered, although if you really think you’d like to do appellate work, I would try to get a better feel for whether the potential intra-firm dynamic anon describes exists within your firm–perhaps have a discussion with more senior associates in that group about partnership prospects, hours, etc.

        Something else you could consider if you are interested in appellate work is a regulatory practice (this is easier if you are in D.C.). While much of your practice will be before a federal agency and appellate work won’t be your bread-and-butter, so to speak, you are likely to have the opportunity for involvement in federal appellate proceedings in connection with your agency work, particularly if your field is sufficiently specialized such that clients don’t really want an important petition for review handed off to generalists in an appellate practice group.

        Finally, I would reiterate that finding people you enjoy working with is almost more important than the particular practice area.

    • I knew I wanted to practice within one broad area of law, but just fell into my specific practice area because that was the job I was offered after a clerkship (for a court that was specialized in my broad practice area). Most people I know chose similarly. I think that liking the partners in an area is a good reason to pick that area; if you get along with the partners, you’re more likely to end up with interesting and rewarding work.

      • Based on your interests, it’s really too bad you’re not interested in health care. That seems like it would actually be a good law-intensive, low-travel field. Another good option is telecomm, which a lot of appellate-minded people I know enjoy. Note that these are both heavily-regulated industries. I think regulatory practices are often areas where you’ll often get more law-intensive work, though they admittedly don’t sound so sexy to new lawyers.

        That aside, I have a background similar to yours and went to a firm for a strong appellate practice, thought I was really a “law” girl. Ended up realizing that I, surprisingly, love facts-intensive work much more, and I’ve been slowly shifting practice to more investigative work over the last few years. (I do tax litigation, which is a great mix of facts and law, big and small — it’s wonderful!) So you might surprise yourself.

        • Legally Brunette :

          Thanks MM. What exactly is a regulatory practice? I hear the phrase thrown around but have no idea what it is and what it entails in terms of the type of work.

          • Isn’t it too bad your law school career services office didn’t teach you these things? I think it’s really appalling how little information even top notch young associates have about the careers they are about to enter. Choices early can have a big impact on your whole career and life, and they are so often made blindly.

          • When I use the term “regulatory practice,” I mean a group of lawyers that engages in both the advice/compliance and controversy side of one particular subject area. Could be environmental, health care, securities, banking, tax, telecomm, etc. Basically, pick a title of the CFR and there’s probably a group that specializes in it. You both help the company figure out how to comply with the regulations and then, when the client’s approach is challenged, you help defend it before the agency and, perhaps, in court. Depending on the firm or office, these groups might be under “litigation” even though they do significant compliance work, or they might be separately classified as a practice group. Certain lawyers within the group may specialize in either the compliance or litigation side, but young associates will probably be expected to do a mix of both at first. The compliance practice gives you the ability to think about complex, oft-changing law and try to determine the “right” answer, and the litigation side may involve more work in dispute-resolution before the agency, rather than in the courts. This often means less time dealing with pleadings and discovery and more time writing on the merits.

            The other advantage of regulatory work, at least to me, is that for many practices, you are *encouraged* to go spend time at the agency to develop your skills and technical expertise. This means the opportunity to transition to better life balance at an opportune time (when kids are young, perhaps) … and stay there if you wish. And if you choose wisely, the clients who are regulated in your field will need in-house counsel. I’ve always gotten the distinct impression that regulatory is an easier route in-house than litigation generally.

          • Legally Brunette :

            Very helpful MM, thanks so much.

          • I don’t see how it is “apalling” that a first year associate in a big law firm wouldn’t know for sure what kind of law she wanted to practice. I’m a mid level associate and only recently honed in on my practice area, mostly because I like the people in that practice area and they give me good work. My understanding of career offices in law schools is that they help you find a JOB, not necessarily a practice area; that’s the responsibility of the law student, and it seems like LB is trying to do just that in asking her question. I knew for sure when I graduated that I loved the law and wanted to practice law for the rest of my career, but I wouldn’t say that I knew what KIND of law I wanted to practice.

          • Maya – I wasn’t being critical of Legally Brunette, who is asking great questions. I was feeling for her plight — in a perfect world, somebody other than anonymous commentators ought to be helping her here, I think. I wish I could sit down with her for just an hour and talk all of this through. It may be that career services people just get you a job, with no thought as to whether that’s the job you actually want, but that seems short-sighted to me. I have always been amazed at how much wisdom about firm size & structure, practice area, etc, exists amongst practicing lawyers, and how little of that finds its way to the people who are in the act of choosing what they want to do. I lucked out and ended up doing something I like, but it WAS luck: I chose my job for reasons other than the ones that have come to matter to me. I know lots of other folks who were not so lucky.

    • My area is “business litigation.” It is broad, and that can be daunting because you aren’t the expert in x,y,z law. However, as a litigator, I think it’s okay for your expertise to be “litigation.” I do work for a broad range of clients doing very different things, so I have to become an expert in many different areas. But that’s what a litigator does. So I don’t know how pigeon-holed I in particular would want to be. That said, I haven’t done patent litigation, I don’t really do any employment litigation. Those tend to be specialty areas – patent, employment, workers’ compensation, mass/toxic tort, class action, insurance/insurance coverage, personal injury, etc. I guess business litigation fits. I’m usually dealing with “business” issues.

  14. Interesting suit, but that jacket has so many details on it that it verges on being strikingly reminiscent of the juniors’ department – not professional, overly trendy, and based on the last two, not worth that much money…

  15. The jacket is cute and the pants are nice, but what I do not like is that little 4-5 inch gap in front between the jacket and the instep. I think that is very awkward looking, where the pants have a flat front and the zipper is just sitting there. It sort of highlights that area, which for many of us is not the very best area to highlight!

  16. Legally Brunette,

    How about Securities Law?

  17. I have a CE suit and I think the quality is good for the price. I am not sure if this is typical of all CE fabrics, but my suit tends to stretch out a bit during the day and I might worry about buying pants like this that do not have belt loops.

  18. wow, that’s a great suit! Although I think I’ll wait to see if it shows up at Nordstrom Rack

  19. I have two suits with a similar waist seam in the jacket – I’m short-waisted, and neither seam hits me in quite the right place. The seam needs to hit right under your bust, otherwise it either flattens you or balloons out above the seam where you bust is intended to be. Does anyone know if this is a fix that can be done at all? Thanks!

  20. I just bought this suit last week! I’m going over today to pick up the hemmed pants.

  21. By the way, I wore this suit yesterday, and the pants are unlined and very itchy. You DEFINITELY need to wear something under them – tights, hose, silk, whatever.