A popular mode of dress recognized by all is the suit! The suit is an article of clothing that works well for both males and females, and speaks elegance, sophistication and business.
In clothing, a suit is a set of garments made from the same cloth, usually consisting of at least a jacket and pants. For women, suits can also consist of jackets and skirts. Business suits, which originated in Britain as country wear, are the most common style of Western suit. Other popular suits still worn today are the dinner suit and the morning suit.
The earliest women’s suits were riding habits, which consisted of a tailored coat or jacket and a matching skirt from the 1660s. Riding habits were worn not only on horseback, but also for travel and other daytime pursuits. Jacket and skirt ensembles for women not intended for riding appeared later in the 19th century.
Today, women wear suits (skirts or pantsuits) for many occasions! And ah, she wears it well!
Suit Fun Fact: In the first half of the 20th century, the skirted suit became the common daytime city dress for women, both in and out of the workplace. Dressmaker suits featured softer fabric and feminine details, and cocktail suits were worn for semi-formal occasions in mid-century.
Under the influence of Dress for Success, a working woman’s uniform of a skirted suit, tailored shirt, and floppy tie evolved in the 1970s and 1980s. Pantsuits were introduced by designer Andre Courreges in 1964 but were only gradually accepted as formal business attire.
Suit Fashion Tip: If you want to dress for the office in a business suit, but need to add a spark of femininity and individuality, doll up the suit with a ruffled, silk blouse or a lace blouse rather than a cotton blouse. Add a colorful scarf or tie to accessorize, and slip your feet into high heeled pumps. Your business suit just when from business to beautiful brassiness!
Well, well! Your suit suits you well!
Over the past half-century, the wearing of suits for women has become far less common than it once was, and is now usually reserved for formal or business activities. During the 1990s, many businesses in North America adopted casual dress codes, beginning with “casual Fridays” and then extending to the entire business week. A similar trend followed in Europe.
Suit Fun Fact: The word suit derives from the French word suite, meaning following, from the Latin derivative form of the verb sequor (“I follow”) because the component garments (jacket and trousers, vests, waistcoats, skirts) follow each other, have the same cloth and color and are worn together.
Wow, you look mighty fashion together in that stylish, super suit!
Man oh man, what a suit wearing woman!
Suit Fashion Tip: If wearing a suit seems too formal or business to you, then by all means, add some color. While black, brown, beige and blue suits are more traditional colors for suits, dress yourself in suits of pink, orange, green, burgundy, red, purple or yellow for suit sensibility mixed with fabulous fashion flair!
Also, for a more feminine, edgy look, merely dress in the suit jacket, and a skirt or slacks. The jacket alone (without a blouse or shirt underneath) adds sexiness and individuality to your overall suit appearance!
Parts of a Suit:
- The Cut: The silhouette of a suit is the outline. The two main cuts are the double breasted suit and the single breasted suit.
- The Fabric: Suits are made in a variety of fabrics, but most commonly from wool.
- The Jacket: Most single breasted suits have two or three buttons, while double breasted jackets have only half their outer buttons functional, as the second row of buttons is for display only.
- The Lapel: The jacket’s lapel can be notched, peaked, shawl or trick.
- The Pockets: Many jackets have a variety of inner pockets, and two main outer pockets, which are generally either patch pockets, flap pockets or jetted pockets.
- The Sleeves: Suit jackets typically have three or four buttons on each cuff, which are often purely decorative.
- The Vent: A vent is a slit in the bottom rear (the “tail”) of the jacket.
- The Waistcoat/Vest: Vests were almost always worn with suits prior to the 1940s.
- The Pants: Suit pants or trousers are always made of the same material as the jacket.
- The Skirt: For women, a skirt can replace pants. In a suit, the skirt is also made of the same material as the jacket.
Accessories for suits include neckties, scarves, shoes, wrist and pocket watches, pocket squares, cuff links, bows and hats. Wow, accessorize with all that!
Suit Fun Fact: Traditional business suits are generally in solid colors or with pinstripes. The main four colors for suits worn in business are black, light gray, dark gray and navy, either with or without patterns. In particular, gray flannel suiting has been worn widely since the 1930s. In less formal business context, brown is an important color for suits, as well as olive. In summer, lighter shades such as tan and cream are in demand.
Some popular suits of the past century include the Jazz suit, the Zoot suit, the Western suit, the Beatle suit, the Mod suit, the Safari suit, the Disco suit, the Mandarin suit and the Power suit.
Prance around pretty and powerful when donned in the power suit!
Power Suit Fun Fact: The power suit of the mid 1980s and early 1990s is a double breasted suit characterized by sharp cuts, wide shoulder pads and a stiff rigidity. And who can remember the color of the power tie? Yellow, of course! More power to the color yellow – I simply adore the color yellow!
Suit Fashion Tip: If you’re wearing a black or gray suit, I feel the best color of shirt or blouse to add shine and shimmer to your overall look is pink or maroon. Lovely and striking! Even for men! Masculine and feminine! Tough and tender no matter your gender!
I salute the suit!
“I need to find a suit that simply makes a statement all on its own.”
“One that says you’re confident and powerful with a style that’s tightly sewn?”
“Yes, one that fits to my girlish figure but also shows off my brilliant mind.”
“Than I suggest a fitted jacket with straight legged matching pants as the best kind.”
“The suit will be black and the lace shirt will be pink.”
“Yes, that’s the perfect mix saying “beauty and brains”, I think!”
The modern day suit for the modern day girl! Give it a whirl!
Nancy Mangano is an American fashion journalist and author of the Natalie North murder mystery book series, A Passion for Prying and Murder Can Be Messy. Visit Nancy on her author website http://www.nancymangano.com, Twitter @https://twitter.com/nancymangano, her fashion magazine Strutting in Style! at http://www.struttinginstyle.com, and her Facebook fan page Nancy Mangano https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nancy-Mangano/362187023895846