Friday, November 14, 2008

Suitable Dressing

This week’s NYT Thursday Styles ran a story on interview suits in which the designer Nicole Miller talks about how she saw a woman en route to Wall Street, wearing a gray trouser suit. Here’s what she said:

“I hadn’t seen anybody in pantsuit for so long that I thought it looked wrong.”

(Of course she’s forgetting that she must have seen the New York senator Hillary Clinton, oh about a gazillion times in a pantsuit, but that’s another story.)

Miller’s point was that the matching, polished pantsuit (which I unwaveringly call a trouser suit; it has less of a seventies [the decade] feel), had given way to mix and match separates. And the return of the matchy-matchy trouser suit heralded in the return of the job search, by virtue of Wall Street’s sudden downturn.

I’ve said many a time in this blog that I eschew match-matchy, and I do, except for when I don’t.

For I absolutely adore a smashing suit, like the one pictured above. I love the clean lines of a well-cut jacket and how a long trouser in a fine quality fabric lengthens the leg and, frankly, boosts one’s ego. And there’s nothing wrong with a good “mistress of the universe” suit these days, especially when some of us may feel overwhelmed by trying to master the damn laundry or dishes.

When I worked in NYC, my favorite trouser suit was chocolate brown with very thin turquoise pinstripes. The jacket was a classic, fitted shape, the trousers had wide legs. I don’t wear suits often these days (I turn their jackets into separates), but maybe it’s time for a second look.

And just in case you were concerned that this was becoming an all-things-Gwyneth blog, here’s something to fan the flames: that gorgeous velvet Gucci suit from Tom Ford’s beautiful collection.


12 comments:

enc said...

I remember her in that gorgeous suit.

I love suits, and I love separates. I'm partial to the suit, though, because it appeals to my controlled, orderly side. Plus, it's easy to wear, given that it's a bit of a uniform.

WendyB said...

Dang, I have still been wearing pantsuits this whole time. I guess Nicole Miller never saw me around!

miss cavendish said...

WendyB, I was looking for you in the party section of today's New York mag . . . (what's wrong with those photogs?)

enc, What's your favorite color suit (I'm still in the blue family---my turquoise pinstripes count!)?

La Belette Rouge said...

I love suits. Actually, my love of suits, I think is what motivates me to look for a job. I love how I feel in a great suit. I am a boring suit gal: black, charcoal, camel and brown. But, I don't feel boring in them.

Sal said...

I have never need to master, and have therefore never mastered, suit-wearing. Should I ever come 'round to the suit side, I'll be giving you a call for advice, Miss C.

ambika said...

I don't own a pants suit if only because I'm cheap & have matched random blazers to random trousers. Probably because I do eschew matchy matchy (except when I don't, love that.)

Anonymous said...

I love suits so much that it has taken me a couple of decades to detox after a short career in banking, where suits were de rigeur. I had a black suit, a taupe suit, a burgundy suit, all with skirts, and one navy blue Alfred Sung suit. Alfred was a Canadian designer who did quite lovely work in the beginning of his career.

I doubt I would buy a suit today; maybe if it was Gwyneth's suit, and I could look as good as her in it.

Christine (another Canadian expat)

miss cavendish said...

Anon,

I have retained a silk/wool tweed pencil skirt from Alfred Sung that was part of a (gasp) double-breasted suit from the late 1980s. I wore it when I was an ambassador's speechwriter and imagine some day that I might do so again . . .

Songy said...

Oh boy oh boy do I love to power dress sometimes to work! I usually wear all black tux style trouser suits. That kills it every time.

WendyB said...

MissC, I'm sadly underrated ;-)

miss cavendish said...

Tis a fool who would dare to underrate WendyB . . .

-h said...

i love pant suits. when i was a kid Dolce & Gabbana were my favorite designers. i had a white pant suit in high school. and when i graduated high school i thought i want a proper suit. i bought my 1st black pant suit when i graduated high school. a few yrs later i had the jacket especially tailored. i still wear this suit to this day. i'll never get rid of it.

i love theory for their jackets. bcbg always does beautiful suits, but sizing is hit or miss there.