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.
It seems like eons since we’ve seen a good looking A-line skirt suit, so we sat up and took notice when we saw this one at Dillards. We like color of the “light coffee bean stretch sharkskin” fabric, and the fact that it’s a mix of wool and spandex doesn’t hurt either. The seaming details throughout are nice, as well as the double pocket flaps. The jacket (Antonio Melani “Struss” Jacket) is $199, the skirt (Antonio Melani “Betse” Skirt) is $99, and the pants (not pictured, Antonio Melani “Maxine” Pants) are $129.
It’s cute and I like the color but the jacket seems a bit boxy for me – maybe its too big for the model? Something just seems off proportionally and I can’t quite put my finger on it.
i'm nobody who are you
it’s the shoulder pads. they’re taking us back to the 80s kicking & screaming.
It’s also the sleeves — is it just me, or do they look really, REALLY wide??
So do the uber-flared pants! Sigh, but I still really like it. I think the skirt and jacket are great.
OMG, yes. I’ve been seeing more and more shoulder pads in suits.
Shoulder pads are maybe the worst thing ever for my body, with my already broad shoulders that I’m trying to downplay. I want to push this trend back!
I secretly think that shoulder pads are fab.
Ditto. They balance out my hips.
Anybody have any experience getting a suit like this altered to remove the shoulder pads? I don’t like them at all — they make me look (even more) like a linebacker.
Very tricky (and expensive) to do.
Relatedly: I’ve been going for a number of job interviews recently; my purse is kind of large and heavy (I carry my heels, then switch them with my walking shoes). And I realized this week that the right shoulder of my favorite suit jackets now have creases in them from the weight of the bag digging into the shoulder pad. Does anyone have any ideas on how to get rid of the creases? (I’ve begun carrying the bag in my hand instead of on my shoulder, but beyond that…? The suits spend the vast majority of their time hanging in my closet, but the creases don’t seem to dissipate.)
you could try steaming them. Just buy a little hand steamer–I have a conair that I think was about $30, and it works pretty well for getting out wrinkles between dry cleanings. There’s also the hang your suits up in the bathroom while you shower to try to steam out wrinkles trick, but that doesn’t usually work as well.
Also — you shouldn’t carry a big bag on your shoulder, anyway. Over time it will tear up your rotator cuff, and you don’t want that.
I echo the shoulder comment. I carried a heavy strap bag on my right shoulder for years and ended up with bone spurs and a torn rotator cuff. Four months post-surgery (five weeks off for recovery) and gradually getting my strength back.
Yeah, thats exactly what we need! Shoulder Pads…shudder!
I love the skirt. Cute, and a nice alternative to the pencil which is everywhere. I’m pro!
Skirt is cute but I am not a fan of the rest, and for $99 I would not just get the skirt.
Why don’t any of these cute suits come on plus sizes. It just makes me so depressed. I want to look nice and professional too!
Agree — The woman behind Full Figured Fashion Week (a couple weeks ago in NYC) pointed out the painfully obvious: Plus size women have money to spend on clothing too! Elie Tahari now comes in plus size btw — expensive but (unlike most plus size clothing) very attractive.
The cute suits don’t come in very small sizes, either. I know it’s harder to sympathize but it’s just as much of a problem (esp. if you can’t afford extensive alterations). It’s just a sad fact of life that most manufacturers think its more economic to just make suits for the broad middle and ignore the rest of us, on both sides of the spectrum.
I’m 5’2″ — so I hear you! The petites department is also woe-fully … well, petite. And yes, the extensive alterations sound lovely but often are more of a headache and more cost prohibitive than they are worth.
I like the skirt a lot and the jacket is nice, but I’m not a fan of the pants. If you look at the Dillard’s website you can find them at the bottom. I find them to be too flared and the sheen is a little much on a full pant. Also, they do not have the inseam listed in the description, but the pants are definitely too short on the model.
As for the jacket being boxy – I would normally agree with you, but I think this one looks nice with the a-line skirt to balance out the flounce.
I have a pair of the Maxine pants and they are a straight leg on the hanger with either a 33-34″ inseam. I think it’s just the styling on the model that makes the pants look really short and flared. I’ve noticed that AT pants have the same ultra flared look even though they are pretty normal on.
Not sure what’s scarier – the sharkskin reference or attack of the shoulder pads! Is it me or are jackets/tops trending toward something Magenta (at the end of Rocky Horror) would wear??
I think it’s really cute! Maybe a bit trendy (shoulder pads?!), but not excessively so.
I can’t tell if my comment is stuck in moderation or just never went through, so I’m trying again – sorry if it’s a double post!
I’m thinking about wearing this dress to a wedding
With a colored cardigan on top, obviously, but I’m concerned it’s still too much white. I know white with print is kind of a gray area for weddings, so I’d love some opinions.
I love that dress! I think that with a colored cardigan it would be just fine. My worry would be wanting to take the cardigan off at the reception, because I do think it’s too much white with the top of the dress exposed.
Also, do you know the bride well? I definitely don’t think that brides have the right to dictate everyone’s fashion at their weddings, but if the bride was a friend and I knew it would upset her if I wore a half-white dress, I probably wouldn’t do it. Some people just feel really strongly about that stuff.
The bride is one of my best friends and I honestly don’t think she’d care as long as I didn’t show up in something all white and lacy, but I certainly don’t want to be whispered about, or do something to offend her mother, or whatever.
I likely wouldn’t be taking the cardigan off at the reception – it’s a cocktail reception without any real dancing (neither the bride nor the groom enjoy it) and it’s going to be pretty late in the evening – starting around 9pm, and considering I’m always cold ANYWAY, I rarely ditch the cardigan.
Now it’s just finding the cardigan to match!
If the bride is going to the cool with it, the, I say go for it! If mom is going to be upset about your dress, she will find plenty of other things to be upset about throughout the day.
If the bride’s good with it, and you’re wearing the cardigan all night, then go for it — very cute! Is it a casual wedding? That’s my only concern- that it may be too casual for an evening wedding (but obviously weddings come in all kinds of different dress codes and varieties!)
IMHO, this is cute, but too casual for a 9 pm cocktail reception, esp in a cardi combo – you might feel underdressed.
Nice pick! Personally I think it’s totally appropriate, especially if it’s a morning/afternoon wedding — it will stand out a little more if it’s an evening wedding. Oddly enough I considered buying this exact dress for a wedding I went to in May. I ended up getting a yellow/white print dress instead, but had I worn this dress I don’t think I would have felt at all out of place in comparison to what other people wore.
I guess the caveat I’d throw in is that I’m used to attending DC/Midwest weddings; other geographic regions (e.g., NYC) might follow different conventions. Friends that have gone to recent weddings in NYC have said people almost always wear black, so a dress like this would draw a lot more attention in a crowd wearing dark colors. HTH!
Yeah, the wedding will be in Maine, with an afternoon civil ceremony, late afternoon religious ceremony and a late-late-late reception. Hard to dress for!
Maybe because I’m Indian and we tend to go balls-to-the-wall for wedding regalia, but I always feel uncomfortable if I’m *too* muted (ie, black) at weddings – I feel like the celebration I feel isn’t reflected. Of course, if that’s what the wedding party prefers, then so be it, but it feels so sad to me to wear a somber color at such a happy occasion. Must be a cultural thing.
My take on black is that it’s the most formal in respect of the importance of the occasion… I have always admired the colorful joy that Indian weddings exude though :-)
Yes, I totally feel you on this – I’m NY born and raised and it really surprised me to see how many women were wearing black at the first non-desi wedding I went to.
I think the dress is really cute! That said, you do need a cardigan to blunt the whiteness. It’s more white on top and more colorful on the skirt, so cardigan should solve the problem.
I disagree. I don’t find that amount of white to be inappropriate for a wedding. Looking at it, my eye is far more drawn to the orange and the pattern than the white.
Are there really brides out there that would have a fit about someone else wearing a dress that has white in it?? I can understand being upset about someone wearing an all/majority white dress, but this dress seems perfectly acceptable to me.
Don’t know if you read Dear Prudence (in Slate), but it seems like every week (twice, really — Mondays and Thursdays) she gets a letter from a crazy bride, a groom being driven crazy by his wife-to-be, or wedding invitee who’s being enslaved/mistreated by the bride.
I love Prudie. Glad to know I’m not the only one :)
Dear Prudence is awesome!
I’m not a Dear Prudence fan but a huge Carolyn Hax (Washington Post) fan. Same deal — from the letters she gets, it seems like perfectly normal people go ballistic when it’s time to get married. That dress would not phase me in the least if I was the bride — heck, I barely noticed what guests at my wedding wore. Come to think of it, I think a good friend’s date (now wife) wore an all-off white dress. I didn’t notice until I saw pictures and really didn’t care.
Heck, my own mom went nuts. And now that my brother’s getting married, she’s going nuts again. At my future SIL’s bridal shower, she suggested that my 4 yo son leave with his grandfather because he might detract too much attention from the bride. Not be disruptive or misbehaved, mind you, but detract attention. FSIL and I had a laugh and told her to chill.
That dress is soooooo cute! I don’t think it is too much white at all. The orange really pops and is the dominant detail.
Instead of a cardigan, you could go with a shawl in the red/orange family. That seems dressier to me for a wedding.
What shoes were you thinking of wearing? Silver sandals would be nice…
In response to A-non-lawyer’s comment about taking off a sweater and having the white top of the dress showing: a shawl/scarf would help with that, because if it is hot, you can just slide the scarf down to the crook of your arm to cool off, but the darker color of the scarf still blunts any bridal-competing whiteness.
I love the idea of shawls and scarfs but I feel like I always fail them logistically – I leave them on the pew or can’t manage to hold hors-d’oeuvres and my shawl or drop it in a puddle or still end up freezing and cant figure out how to wrap it so that I’m warm but I don’t look like a mummy – etc. Shawls might just be too complicated for me but it’s a good idea!
Hmm. It’s pretty (I like orange) but I don’t think *I* would, depending upon the bride. I only say that because one bride whose wedding I attended (well, I read a reading so she *did* have a reason for caring what I wore) tore me up one side and down the other for wearing a “black” flowery dress that actually had very little back in it (it was a black, strapless, with a pink grosgrain ribbon around the waist and at the hem, and with pink, orange, white, and purple flowers sprinkled all over the dress. Sort of hard to explain, but not what I thought of as a “black” dress, and fine (I had thought!) for a late-afternoon/early evening semi-out-door wedding in the summer, but what do I know? Point being, you have to know your bride . . . . and white is a significant color for the bride, usually . . . .
I can’t seriously believe that this bride had a problem with people wearing black at weddings. What else are you supposed to do with a LBD other than to have it as your go-to for weddings? That “rule” seems incredibly stodgy and dated. I wouldn’t hesitate to wear a dressy black dress to a wedding. I don’t know anyone who thinks of it as faux-mourning.
They call ’em bridezillas for a reason…
With the amount of white on top, I think you risk offending a good number of brides. Consider how it will photograph… if the photo is from the waist up you will look too much like the bride.
Adorable dress; I think with a cardigan on top you’re perfectly fine, and really, no one is going to mistake you for the bride so I wouldn’t sweat it.
Maybe wear some jewelry that isn’t “bride-ish” – that is, wear a chunkier necklace with some color in it instead of a string of pearls? Or fabulous chunky earrings that pick up the orange?
Ooh, I think the chunky colorful necklace idea is a good one. Then you really won’t look like the bride in the pictures. I’m a soon-to-be-bride; I wouldn’t find this offensive, but I probably wouldn’t wear it to an evening wedding.
Agree with the photograph comment. Honestly, maybe it’s a bizarre rule and maybe many brides won’t care, but if what you really care about is introducing color, then why introduce white instead of just introducing color? Go for an actual colorful dress, that always looks best in pictures: fuschia, teal, emerald, turquoise, yellow, all great colors, and for the mix of day/night stuff that this wedding seems to be, I’d buy it in silk or a cotton sateen.
If you’re in doubt about the white, I wouldn’t wear it. You won’t want to wear your cardigan all evening, and I wouldn’t feel right wearing a white top if I weren’t the bride.
As an aside, have you seen this dress in person? I thought it looked great in the photo but in person, the orange is REALLY bright. I love bright colors but the orange was a bit much for me.
It’s a very cute dress but I think it is much too casual for a late night reception.
Not in Maine!
Looks perfect for a summer wedding. The white is hardly what stands out…it’s the other colours & design. You’ll be fine, IMO…..
My two cents — I think the dress is inappropriate — much too white to wear to a wedding. Part of the reason behind the rule (I think!) is so that the bride is easily identifiable (ie, only woman in white in the room) and attracts the eye (and the photographer’s lens). And, agreed — that much white for a late-evening function strikes me as wrong. There are so, so many other cute dresses out there, why wear this one and risk offending and/or being completely committed to a cardigan? I don’t see the point.
That strikes me as so silly. The photographer knows who the bride is. She’s the one paying him.
I’ve seen weddings in which the bridesmaids dressed in (their own) white dresses and it was a lovely look. This dress isn’t even remotedly close to a bridal gown. If you’re really concerned, I’d just add a chunky necklace and/or chunky earrings (think the kind that look like gumballs) in the orange or perhaps the pink and call it a day.
Really, some bride who gets upset that someone has white in her dress or black in her dress needs to take a breath.
It’s not just about the photographer; it’s about her being the center of attention and standing out in the crowd.
And, true, she probably shouldn’t get too upset–but it’s her wedding–and why be the cause for her to even have the thought, “oh, so and so’s wearing a mostly white dress, that’s not really cool”?
Wear a different dress. It’s not worth the risk.
Agree– it’s cute, but not for a guest at a wedding. Enjoy it any other day or occasion. For the wedding, celebrate in any other dress or ensemble in any other color. It is not restrictive to save this one non-color for this one occasion. You’ll sparkle in something else, and the bride will shine in white.
better than studying for the bar
Love this suit. Can anyone comment on how the sizes run, esp. for the skirt. I’m typically a 8/10 at Ann Taylor to fit my hips and have to take in the waist.
The skirt seem to be a bit baggier in the waist and tighter in the hips/thighs so you may want to go with the 8 in a more flared style like this one. For a pencil/fitted skirt you’ll definitely need the 10.
I think that the suit looks promising. I’d probably have to try it on to get a feel for the pants and the skirt and to see the fabric in person. I like suits with skirt/pant options and I like the price of this one.
I don’t hate the shoulder pad. I’ve got small shoulders, so they don’t look bad on me. But I wouldn’t want them on every suit.
It’s all moot, as I’m post-vacation broke right now.
Anyone who saw the confirmation hearings of Elenan Kagan will understand the shortcomings of 3/4 sleeve jackets for business attire. I bought that same style jacket on sale at Ann Taylor several years ago. I thought it was cute, but I find I have worn it almost never.