The pantsuit has been menswear for a very long time until Yves Saint Laurent creates ‘Le Smoking‘, which was a finely tailored jacket with matching pants made for the woman’s body. Even though nowadays the pantsuit has been seen on many working women, it still is an outfit that has a strong male connotation in our (un)conscious mind. This is why women wearing a pantsuit are considered to be strong-willed, ambitious and bold.
That strong and powerful image should definitely be used at work: not only during interviews, discussions, meetings, evaluations and other important corporate moments do pantsuits have their utility, but also in your daily work life. Wear it, just to empower yourself!
However, being so elaborated and revisited by many brands lately, these women’s pantsuits are wearable in many ways, which gives us too many options to find what we are looking for: it has become so tricky to just find this well-fit, classic but outstanding pantsuit for work. To keep it simple, I’ve gathered some tips & tricks to keep in mind while shopping for your new suit.
Be ready to get suited up!
Set your budget
This is an obvious and quite basic shopping rule: before going shopping, think about what the maximum amount is you want to spend on your garments. Here, you need a suit for work, how much do you want to spend to have it? Depending on the amount you’ve set in the first place, you know which stores you need to visit.
The purpose determines the style
The style of the suit depends on what purpose you want to give to it: are you looking for a full pantsuit to stand out the working crowd, is it for your daily work wardrobe, or is it for a special occasion? The suit you are searching for a special occasion, e.g. to wear at a promotion party, a wedding or at a client event, won’t be the same suit you’ll be searching for your everyday workwear wardrobe. So, keep the suit’s purpose in mind through the process!
Once the occasion is determined, you can think about the style of the pantsuit you are looking for. While you are at it, you better consider the following elements:
- The color
The color of the blazer and the pants is one of the key elements that will give the overall style of your pantsuit. Even though you have a wide range of choices in stores regarding the color schemes of your suit, think about what you want to express with it. Are you looking for a very classic suit, wearable daily at the office? Then opt for a more classic color scheme, like neutrals or navy, grey or even black, which will give a very corporate and traditional tone to your look. Are you searching for a more outstanding suit, suitable for a wedding but also for office parties or other special occasions? Choose for bold and bright color schemes (red, yellow) or very unexpected colors like light green, purple or pastels.
Another thing to keep in mind when choosing the color of your suit is the season. The season will not only have an impact on what you may (or may not) find in stores, but also on what style you want your pantsuit to be. During summer, you can definitely chose more vivid color schemes (even prints!) than during winter. However, the choice is yours!
- The shape
Regarding the shape of your suit, there are different elements you need to keep in mind while choosing your suit.
Let’s start with the blazer. The blazer is the head piece of your suit, it is the garment your work environment will see the most. It is important that you blazer gives you this empowering effect on your appearance… but how do you get this empowering look?
First, are the shoulders is padded (enough)? Strongly padded shoulders give you a more structured and wide shoulder line, which immediately gives you this empowering impression. However, do not overdo it: the shoulder pad should re-enforce your shoulder structure, not disfigure it! Second, check the waist. Depending on what you want (everyday suit or special occasion) you can chose for different styles of waist designs: over-sized for a more relaxed look or fitted for a more traditional, formal tone. Third, how are the lapels? Nowadays, wide peak-lapels are more modern-looking and formal, so, if you can, take peak-lapels! Finally, look for pockets. You know you need them!
Regarding the pants, there are many shapes available in stores nowadays: wide leg pants, carrot pants, straight pants, boot-cut pants, palazzo pants, cropped pants, etc. Many of these shapes are appropriate for the office. Here, the importance is that the shape of the pants suits you and enhances your silhouette.
- Your corporate dresscode, if necessary
Depending on the strictness of the dresscode at work, some suits will be more appropriate for your work floor than others. Keep in mind that falling out of the corporate dresscode may cost you your professional image. So, make sure to understand these rules well before picking your brand new suit.
Before picking up your size and trying on the garments, you should quickly check the quality of the suit. Here are some quality hacks:
The price stays an important (but not the only) indicator of the quality of the suit you’ve picked. The higher the price, the more qualitative the suit often will be. However, do not stare blind at the price of your suit: check the other elements too to get a full sight of the quality of the suit.
The use of fabric in the suit will be one of the most trustworthy indicators in your quality check. By checking out the label (inside your blazer/pants), you will come across a lot of information: what fabrics have been used in your garments and in what amount. For suits, blazers and pants, it can be interesting to opt for a natural fabric instead of synthetic fabrics, since they make you less sweat (natural fabrics breathe more). Garments made with natural fabrics will also last longer due to its more qualitative weave. However, take into account that natural fabrics, like wool, cotton and linen, often wrinkle (very) quickly and often need special washing conditions, which is not so recommended in a garment worn every day at work.
Ideal for a suit is a natural fabric like wool, perhaps blended with synthetic fabrics (which makes it easier to wash/dry).
It can be interesting to explore the details on the outside and inside of the garment. First things first, check the inside. Is there a lining? How thoughtfully has it been made ? Is there a half lining or full lining? How is the finishing? What kind of fabrics have been used for it. When checking the outside, pay attention to the sleeves: How are the details on the sleeves? How many buttons are there ranked at the sleeves? How are the buttons? Small or large? Visible or more discrete? However, there are many other areas that are important to look at: How is the closure at the blazer? How is the closure at the pants? How is the sewing in general? The main question in the back of your head should be: Does the designer of the suit has put some thought in the garment or not?
The more details your suit has, the more it deserves its higher price.
Check the maintenance label: how easy is it to clean and dry your garment?
- Made in [insert country]
Obviously, the garments which can be made here, could be made in every other country. So, it is not about the quality, but more about the ethics. Many people (and in the textile industry, it is mostly women) have to work in difficult conditions. So, if you can, be conscious about this aspect too when buying a garment.
After this brief quality check, you are ready to pick your size and go to the fitting rooms.
You are standing in front of the mirror in your favorite store, with your brand new suit on. These are the questions you need to ask yourself:
- Does it fit?
- Do I feel good/comfortable?
- Is it “me” ?
Here, it is important to be honest with yourself. Do never underestimate the thoughts and feelings you have when wearing a pantsuit at the store: If you do not like how it fits you in store’s fitting room, you will not like it at home. Always seek to feel good and comfortable in your garments when you are purchasing them. If the answer to all these questions is positive, then the pantsuit you are fitting is probably perfect for you.
You are now definitely ready to rock the office-runway with your brand new pantsuit!
If you need some help with getting suited up for work, do not hesitate to contact me via email: email@example.com!