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, 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 nearly chose this skirt for this morning’s TPS, until we realized it was part of a suit set — and what a lovely suit set it is. We like the little unusual details, like the pintucks on the skirt, the wrap on the jacket, and off center buttons on the wide waistband of the pants. The jacket (Classiques Entier ‘Pin Dot Stripe’ Jacket) is $268, and the skirt (Classiques Entier ‘Pin Dot Stripe’ Skirt) is $148. Pants (not pictured) are also available (Classiques Entier ‘Madison – Pin Dot Stripe’ Pants) for $158. All pieces available at Nordstrom, in sizes 0-16.
Beautiful. Love this!
In other Suit of the Week news, I ordered the gray suit from AK Anne Klein that was featured last week. I don’t know how Kat made that suit look good. It’s awful. And the snaps are really distracting and ugly. I don’t see how it could realistically be worn open. The fabric is reasonably attractive, but the whole thing just didn’t work for me at all. Looked great on Kat though!
That’s disappointing — I hate ordering things & not having them work out.
However, I have to say that’s been my experience with just about every AK suit I have ever tried on — something is just wrong, always. I think AK would do much better to keep it simple — but of course they would interpret simple as a gray jacket with no buttons , which is def. not what I mean.
This is so true! There are so many suits that I see from them and go, ok, right size, on sale, cute jacket, but what’s with the ____ on the pants or vice versa!!
I have never tried on an Anne Klein suit that fit right (I am not sure if the ones I’ve tried on have been AK or the other Anne Klein line, or both). They’re proportioned wrong somehow. The sleeves fit, but the skirt is too long. Or the skirt fits fine, but the jacket won’t button right. Etc. Not a fan at all.
I guess my body is strangely shaped. Anne Klein is my go to company for suits — everything fits perfectly.
S in Chicago
I love today’s pick. And I agree–the skirt is even lovely on its own. I might even like it more that way since the jacket already has so much visual interest.
Quick question: Have any of you tried the Shape-ups by Sketchers or the similar Reebok fitness shoes? Do you think they really help tone your legs? Are they comfortable to wear? I’m really curious, since they are a bit pricey if it’s only a gimmick that would end up getting a wear or two.
My mom just bought herself a pair of the Sketchers Shape-Ups for her bday a few months ago, on a friend’s recommendation. I was very skeptical that Sketchers would be worthwhile as sneakers & told her as much.
She absolutely loves them! In terms of comfort, she is on her feet a lot & she says they’re possibly some of the comfiest shoes that she has ever worn (and she is comfort obsessed — wears Merrill, Clarks, Crocs, etc. only).
As for the toning — she said that she definitely feels something in her posture changing, etc., but for the most part it’s more the fact that they’re fun to walk in — you walk more, a bit better in terms of form, and that’s where the positive effect (if any) comes from.
Anyway, I don’t wear sneakers so it wasn’t enough to convince me to go get a pair but that’s my mom’s take on the matter. It sounds like you might be pleasantly surprised.
I’ve never worn them, but my friend does. Every day after she wears them she complains about how sore her legs are from wearing the Shape-ups. So, it seems like they’re working for her at least.
I have the Reebok version (EasyTones), and I love them! As opposed to the Shape-ups, they look just like normal sneakers, so I feel like I can wear them into work without looking funny. I definitely can feel results when I’ve worn them on long walks. I was totally skeptical — I run several miles daily and doubted I’d feel anything — but I was wrong. In fact, I loved them so much that I went out and bought the flip flops, and a pair of the men’s for my husband. Just fyi in case it helps you, I’m mid- to late-20s.
I got the EasyTones in January and love them. It’s really hard to tell over the longterm how well they are working with respect to toning, but I do feel like they are more comfortable than other sneakers I’ve worn and my posture is a lot better. They seem to keep your abs engaged so you slouch less than you might with traditional sneakers.
I try to walk at least 8-10 miles per week and they’re still holding up fine. If you’re not going to do a whole lot of walking with them, I’d probably stick with regular sneakers since it’s doubtful it’s worth the extra cost if you’re just going to be walking a mile or two in them each week. They do run a bit narrow so you might want to go up a 1/2 size or order the wide if you order online.
For what it’s worth, my mom’s doctor recommended the Sketchers to her for her back problems and she absolutely loves them.
Love the suit; good price, too.
Haven’t tried Sketchers, but I have the MBTs and Fit Flops, and I love them both. The MBTs seem to have more of an effect on my body, since they have actually made me sore, but last summer I still found myself living in the Fit Flops. So comfortable, and your feet never get tired.
same with me re: the fit flops. i have 2 pairs of fit flops, barely wore anything else all summer. (do not judge, i know they’re not cute!)
That is too funny – I agree, they are not cute! And I have a closet full of shoes! And yet, every day, on went the Fit Flops … and looking forward to them this summer …
I have the Reebok EasyTones and love them! Very comfortable and look like a regular sneaker. I’m a walker and I feel a difference since I started wearing them. Better posture, more comfortable for the feet. It’s hard to say if I’m firmer or not though. I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt because they are so comfortable.
I saw an attorney wear them in federal court two weeks ago, so I’m guessing she finds them effective. :-)
I really love this, but it’s too pricy for me! Waah :(
I have a general suits question. My mother’s philosophy is that a suit always has to be 100% wool, else it looks cheap; however, most of the suits I see featured here as well as most sold at department stores are polyester blends. I work in a no-suits environment (engineering), so I’m pretty clueless about suits in general, but when I was looking for an interview suit I could only find wool ones at Ann Taylor and Banana Republic (as well as really expensive ones at Theory etc.)
Do you ladies pay any attention to the fabric? Is wool considered better than polyester? Can you tell what a suit is made of, and does is affect your opinion of the wearer?
I generally stick to 100% wool suits (from J.Crew–their wool gab and wool crepe are very nice), although 1-2% stretch fabric can also work. Personally I think poly suits don’t look good (and yes, I think it’s very easy to tell a suit is not made from a natural fiber), and my guess would be that higher-ups would be able to tell the difference . But judging someone based on their suit isn’t very nice or fair. If you only need 1 or 2 suits for those “just in case” moments, then get a year-round wool one–you can’t go wrong and will always look properly dressed no matter who you meet.
I do. Except for one Max Mara suit, which is just so fine in quality it can pull it off, all of my suits are 100% wool. But you are right, you have to dig for them (especially maternity suits — don’t get me started). But I do believe that wool looks better longer and is worth it.
Does a non-polyester (and better yet, non-ugly) maternity suit exist? That would be akin to spotting a unicorn. Please share if you have a source.
I have three wool maternity suits from Pea in the Pod. From my now surprisingly extensive maternity experience, they tend to have one ridiculously overpriced and so-so looking wool suit every season — and every time I’ve been pregnant, I’ve bought it!
And eek! on the price of those Pea in a Pod suits!
I found a cotton one at Lane Bryant during the end of my pregnancy (with twins, so I was HUGE). Not the most fashionable suit, but it worked.
I for one can definitely tell the difference. Poly, in my opinion, looks very cheap. I would never buy a poly suit because I don’t consider it worth the money. Suits are still an investment, so I don’t want to spend money on something that doesn’t look good. And though I would hardly consider myself a clothing snob, I do feel pretty strongly about this. And if you think about it, you’re most likely going to be wearing the suit in an important situation where you’re being judged. Sometimes I think it a poly blend can be pulled off if the suit is just right, but very very rarely. Also helps if a poly suit doesn’t have weird stuff on it that makes it look cheap; simple is better. It is getting harder to find a good wool suit these days. Even Ann Taylor, Banana, etc. have started to cut corners with their fabrics and that has led in a decline in the way the suit looks in its quality. I have suits from both and the older ones look much more luxe.
BEA – it’s also much harder to find good simple suits these days. Perhaps manufacturers think that women are really into odd details like cute-sy buttons, dramatic lapels, funky stitching, or weird sashes & ties, & are more likely to buy more “different” suits & then get tired of these & buy ever more replacements, all equaling in a better bottom line, but I long to find simple, classic, no frills other than fantastic material & tailoring, suits! Where are they?
Couldn’t agree more, AIMS! That’s why I get frustrated trying to find suits. I probably even have a couple that have a little spandex on the outside or are wool blend. I don’t even know. But I’m totally with you – even when you can find a suit now in a good material, it has something silly on it that detracts from its seriousness. I know Mark Shale has some, but they are waaaaay expensive for me (like $700ish), and the old Ann Taylor used to have them before they got a new styling consultant this year. Or you could try ebay if you know of a brand you like but can’t find anymore (could be hit or miss though).
I get mine custom made by an overseas tailor that travels the US and UK. Best money ever.
I think some people on this site have mentioned a wool allergy, so 100% wool is obviously not for everyone.
That said, for me — personally– seasonless wool or at least wool blend is the only way to go. I find that it lasts much longer, looks good much longer, keeps it shape better, makes me feel & look better, etc., etc.
I think the suits must always be wool rule is much more of a mandate for men, though — if a man is wearing a non-wool suit, it shows & it does look cheap 99% of the time (not talking about cotton seer suckers or white linen suits here, obviously). For women, there is more leeway in terms of style, fabric, and the like — but for my money, I’d rather it be wool.
For many of us with allergies, the problem isn’t 100% wool, it’s > 0% wool. So consider that before you judge.
Agree with all ladies above.
I am actually quite baffled that a site like Corporette continues to recommend polyester suits. They are cheap, in poor taste and totally unacceptable for a professional woman. Period. And charging $400 for them, a la Ann Klein, is nothing short of criminal.
Wearing something that fits well and looks good is completely acceptable for a professional woman, and there are polyester and polyester blend suits that do both. Given the comments at the beginning of this thread, Anne Klein may not be a good fit for some posters, but fiber content strikes me as a pretty silly rubric for evaluating someone’s appearance and professionalism.
SD, I completely agree. Also, consider those of us who have to wear suits to work every day and can save considerably on dry cleaning costs by wearing polyester/polyester blend suits that we can occasionally wash at home and hang to dry. For me, polyester suits have been a lifesaver in this regard.
I wash all my wool suits at home, even my jackets. I haven’t had any problems so far … Granted these are 95%+ wool (usually with some spandex) but I don’t see why you can’t do that.
Hit enter too quickly. To clarify: I wash them in my sink with Woolite, then hang to dry and steam if necessary (99% of the time not necessary).
I have some polyblend suits I would challenge anyone to identify, at a glance, as not wool. I have owned some wool suits that wrinkled terribly and looked cheap after one dry cleaning. In the southwest, where I live, wool – even “seasonless” wool – cannot be worn comfortably May-September. We don’t see a lot of formal suits here anyway, and I could count the number of “real wool” suits I see in a given month on one hand. I think it’s very profession-dependent and region-dependent. Saying that all polyester suits are “cheap and in poor taste” is snotty and elitist, not to mention out-of-touch with reality. My very stylish boss would say that a woman who wears nothing but wool suits all the time is frumpy and uncreative. The knife cuts both ways.
ditto. I dont usually even check the content- it either looks cheap or it doesnt.
It probably depends on the region. I doubt you’ll find many women wearing 100% wool here in Florida outside of maybe Dec-Feb. They just aren’t available in stores and are too hot to be practical. Unlined wool is just way too itchy when it’s 90 degrees out and you’re sweating, and lined wool just adds an extra unneeded layer that makes you even hotter. Most of the women I see around here wearing suits are wearing poly or cotton/linen blends.
As for this suit, I like it a lot. However, the skirt is 22″ and based on my experience in a similar Classiques skirt, doesn’t look good unless it’s fairly high up on the waist.
I used to totally agree with you, but now I’m convinced only lower-quality wool is itchy. For the past year I’ve been living in Puerto Rico, where the lowest temperature I have seen so far has been 72F, and it’s mostly in the mid-80s year-round. I wear unlined wool pants and unlined wool dresses from Theory all.the.time here. I haven’t experienced itchiness at all, they are easy to wash with Woolite (see comment above) and they look like new years after I bought them. I have some Ann Taylor pants and a suit from Banana that have also held up really well, but my most recent Ann Taylor wool purchases have not been the same at all. I know wool stuff isn’t really sold that much in Florida (I lived there for a few years) but I am a convert: tropical wool really works in tropical climates.
I have poly-blend suits, as well as wool-blend suits, and one 100%-wool suit. I bought the latter because people here are so judgy about poly suits, honestly, and I have been known to mumble when drunk about how NOW nobody can think I look cheap mumble mumble. On the other hand, it was such a @#$%ing trial to find suits that fit and flattered in the first place that I wasn’t going to look a gift suit in the mouth, as it were. The process that led to buying the former (poly-blend) suits actually started out at stupid Banana Republic and stupid J Crew, trying on fancy wool suits that looked like utter (UTTER) poo on me, and finally making it to Benetton and finding two wonderfully-flattering (albeit poly-blend) suits that finally, really, fit. And the fit on one of them is so good that it’s still my favorite suit, fabric be damned. I sound really defensive about this; that’s because I TOTALLY AM.
Sarah: I agree that fit & feel is the most important factor of all this. Most rules contain exceptions. It’s easier to say, “you shouldn’t mix black with brown” than to say “you shouldn’t mix black with brown except in these circumstance . . . . ”
I think a lot of the broadly made statements here (inc. my own) have loads of exceptions. I think of them as reductions you can follow if in doubt. With suits in particular, I don’t think most people think “wool or poly?” when they meet a person. But they do probably notice when something does not look good, and then they might be inclined to say, “hmm, what’s off about this? Oh, cheap fabric,” walking away with the conclusion that all poly suits are always terrible & going to post something on this blog to that effect. ;)
Your suits from Benetton are probably lovely & fit you great, and frankly that all that matters.
Ha! You make me laugh, because I feel the same way. I think some high quality polyblend suits look totally fine. I bet there are a lot of people who think they can tell the difference on others, but actually can’t. Cheap fabric, cheap cuts, cheap details — all look bad. But nice details, nice cut, nice classic appearance trump the actual fiber, IMO.
The interesting comment to me was that this seems to be much more of a hard-and-fast rule for men, and in fact now that I think of it my mum did make this comment when talking about men’s suits.
That said, I guess I’m in the camp of “prefer wool if I can find a nice wool suit” – I could see the difference in the fabric. I guess I’ll have to pay the price whenever I wear my itchy unlined pants :)
I can’t tell the difference between a nice wool suit and a nice poly blend suit. I can usually recognize a cheap, poorly made suit no matter what it’s made out of. So long as the wearer is appropriately dressed overall and doesn’t look sloppy, it doesn’t affect my opinion.
I’m also going to go out on a limb (and risk vitriol) and say that I very much doubt that all the commenters above claiming that anything but 100% wool is cheap and ugly and unprofessional can actually tell the difference, beyond the price tag. Switch the labels and I doubt they’d notice a thing.
Thanks for the reassurance, I was just thinking about the interviews I went on with a poly blend suit and kicking myself.
I’m glad you said this because I really don’t think I could tell either (by sight, that is – I think I could tell by feel if given the chance), and I was starting to think I was just hopelessly frumpy!
On the other hand, maybe I am…
I can’t wear wool – I break out into hives and itch, so it’s hardly an attractive look! I have several suits that are varying blends of synthetic materials, and have received wonderful comments on them, been hired after wearing them, etc. I do tend to buy higher quality suits (Tahari is my favorite) when I find them on sale or clearance or at Burlington Coat Factory/TJ Maxx, etc., rather than separates from Express or The Limited which I think look cheap not because of the material, but because of the trendy styling and the low rise of the pants.
I’ve never been able to tell whether another woman (or man for that matter) is wearing a wool suit, a wool blend, etc.
Hm, maybe you’re right – the pants I have from Bennetton are a polyester blend but don’t look polyestery at all. I think it’s the “shiny polyester”, the kind that tries to replicate the subtle shine of wool, that looks bad and obviously polyestery.
I agree with the commenters who are saying that fit and style are as, if not more, important, than fabric. I like wool suits, and particularly like tropical wool in the warmer months. But I also bought plain black suit from Ann Taylor’s triacetate collection about 6 years ago now. I have the jacket, skirt, and pants. All fit me well, and the fabric is great for travel because it doesn’t wrinkle much and is very easy to iron if it does. I’m as concerned about projecting a professional image as anyone, and I think this suit holds its own. If you don’t like synthetics, great. Don’t wear them. But labeling others unprofessional or unfashionable says more about you than it does about the person you’re describing.
Love Love Love!!!
I’ve been looking at this suit for a while now. Has anyone tried on the skirt? I’m wondering if the little pleats would make the stomach part look poofy. I love, love love this brand and have had really good luck with most CE clothing.
I’ve tried the whole thing on. The skirt is actually amazing and falls really nicely. I have very narrow hips, but my pear-shaped friend looked good in it as well. The problem I had was with the jacket, which was boxy and horribly unflattering. I bought just the skirt and am obsessed.
See I would think it would just make one hip look bigger…which would be weird, so I’m glad to hear some real feedback!!
Just really not getting the whole “side-tie on the suit jacket” thing which has been a recent theme. It looks off-balance and cheap to me, and it seems like only really lanky and tall women can ever hope to pull it off.
I gave away all of my 100% wool suits when I left Boston, and have never worn one since. But another thing I have never worn is a suit jacket with nothing underneath. The suit jacket shown here obviously has to be worn that way, but what happens if the room gets warm and everyone is taking off their jacket? Oops.
I would think you absolutely wear something under. It may be a simple camisole, but you do not just go for the bra & blazer.
I always wear a “real” shirt under any jacket/blazer. I’d hate to wind up in a situation where I’m in an overheated conference room, clearly too hot (red faced or sweaty) and everyone is removing jackets and someone says “oh, just go ahead and take your jacket off, we all are!” – how exactly do you explain that you can’t??
I would wear plain nice tee-shirt or jewel neck top. I think there is too much going on to put a collared shirt underneath, but never would I wear a suit jacket next to skin.
I would never wear a jacket without atleast a tee or shell beneath. It would be so yucky and smelly when I sweated…esp if the lining was acetate…enough said!
Just thinking about wearing a suit jacket with nothing underneath is making me want to shower. Ick.
2L in Los Angeles
As a petite, I’m always bummed to see some of the Suits of the Week don’t come in my size. :(
Ditto… I’m not a fan of this one, but there are so many things in life that aren’t in petite sizes :-(
Sometimes if the jacket works in the body it’s worth getting the pants and sleeves shortened.
One other question–this doesn’t come in Tall, but are there any tall ladies out there that get their suits tailored to be 3/4 sleeve jackets? Seems like kind of a waste, but I guess, if I truly fell in love with a suit, I’d do it. Any experience? (I am lanky, so 3/4 sleeves look great on me, but wondering how that’d look with, say a pants suit as opposed to a skirt suit, which is sometimes more summery.) Thanks!
I’m not particularly tall or lanky, but I suspect with a really well-tailored pair of pants (I’m picturing a slightly wider leg) that a well-made 3/4 length sleeve jacket would look nice. Maybe you could take C’s styling hints in the winter and wear a slightly tight turtleneck underneath in the winter? I will definitely defer to other tall, lanky stylistas for style ideas.
I’m short, but I basically only wear 3/4 jackets. I hate long sleeves with a passion. It looks fine so long as it’s cut to be that way. If it hits you at the wrong place, it looks like it just doesn’t fit right. So I say find a good tailor, and wear what you like.
Am not particularly tall, but just to add my 2 cents – I think a 3/4 sleeve would look nice on this suit with its feminine detailing.
I have one poly blend suit, and I find that it develops far fewer wrinkles on a plane trip than my wool suits! So it’s definitely worth having. I wonder if pricier wool suits are less wrinkle-prone–mine are all from Banana or J. Crew.
What is with that puckering on the skirt???
Pleating makes everyone’s hips look bigger – so if you’re in need of some plumping in that area (and only on one hip), then this is for you… for the rest of us, just no!
Funny, I just tried this suit on yesterday. I thought it fit weird on me and I just couldn’t justify the price. But the idea of the jacket was so cute!
Actually, I really love the shoes the model is wearing in the skirt picture! So cute and interesting.
Ditto – the shoes were the first thing I noticed, lol.
I think that suits should be either wool, or cotton or linen if it is summertime. Summerweight wool is also a good option for a lot of the warmer months. I’m thinking of buying this suit right now (see skirt or pants on the right of the page): http://www.anntaylor.com/catalog/product.jsp?productId=24981&N=1200008&pCategoryId=3939&categoryId=179&Ns=CATEGORY_SEQ_179&loc=TN&defaultColor=Ground%20Pepper&defaultSizeType=Regular