Thursday, February 23, 2012

Classic Suiting 101

Hi everyone! Hope you are looking forward to this weekend cos the weather is forecasted to be filled with sunshine.

I have noticed for a little while now that young female professionals have started the adoption of smart casuals over the once classic suiting combo. What was once a common clothing affair everyday, has been taken over by cute colourful blouses, smart casual blazers and pretty little skirts. Please don't get me wrong, I love the fact that us girls can get away with semi casual ensembles everyday, whilst most of our boys can't; and the fact that there are so many options and varieties to choose from for work.
Having more options is really great, it gives us more opportunities to be creative, to experiment and to have fun with different clothing and styles. However, if your job is quite serious and demands a lot of professionalism, I would highly recommend the classic 3-piece suiting. For most of my working life, I religiously wore my classic suits and loved this sharp corporate look. A well "suited-up" image should be impeccable, sharp and says you mean business :)

To achieve these three attributes, the appropriate suit selection and fitting are paramount. Below are some of my tricks and tips that I accumulated over the years:

  1. Classic suits are your stable work wear, if you work, then you should definitely consider purchasing at least one suit. There will definitely be an opportunity to wear it!
  2. Dark neutrals are great colours to start with, they are versatile in pairing and project a stronger and sharper image than other colours. 
  3. Go with a classic 3-piece (jacket, skirt & pants) to cover yourself for any weather conditions and allow for chance of wearing them separately. A pair of black suit pants/trousers are the fundamental building blocks to any working wardrobe. A skirt is handy for wet weather unless you enjoy the soggy hem look?
  4. Don't feel that you need to purchase all 3 of the above in the same size. Make sure you try all of them on with your heels (or whatever shoes you are most likely to wear with your suits) and determine the appropriate length and size
  5. Choose natural wool suits, preferably light wool fabric. In my experience, any other material have not lasted quite as long. Wool keeps you very warm in winter, so all you need is an additional coat. All my suits are 100% wool and they have lasted for over 6 years.
  6. Style of the suit is really a personal preference, there are many out there in the market. Many are simply permutations of the classic suiting range. Go with the classic if it is your first suit.
  7. Fit is absolutely critical. Do not settle unless you are 100% happy with how it fits the body. The suit jacket should not be overly tight, otherwise, it will make you look like you are about to burst, which I'm sure none of us want that! :P I prefer my jacket not to be too short too (but that's just a personal preference). Hold your arms out to test the length of sleeves and they should be a little above your wrist. This way, when you let your arms rest, your sleeves will be just over your wrist. Some people may prefer shorter, to show off their shirt cuffs, but be mindful that your suit jackets are not meant to be 3/4 sleeves. Suit pants should be just above the ground, so hem it according the heel height you like to wear for work. Suit skirt is best in pencil because it is the most sleek and streamlined look. Make sure it's not too tight. A really easy way to assess this is to ensure there is minimal (if any) creasing across the skirt when you move around or sit down. In my humble opinion, a well tailored suit is all about the fit!
  8. I leave this one to you and your budget. I personally prefer to invest in suits because they are timeless pieces and also very practical. As such, I buy all my suits from respectable Italian suit retailers. I find their cut is flattering, the fit is perfect (with minimal adjustments) and the material is durable. 
I hope you find these tips helpful.

Finally, suit up and let the perfect suit give you the confidence and power to rule your business world!

Shirt: Herringbone; 
Suit Jacket & Skirt: Satch;
Earrings: Mouche;
Shoes: Nine West

Thank you so much for reading! 
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