This week for the Spring Capsule Wardrobe I am looking at suits for the business wear section of the capsule. In most cases the best colour options would be Navy, Charcoal or for lighter colouring Silver Grey. Black is an option for some but can be a bit heavy for the warmer months unless it’s done as a monochrome look or teamed with a bright colour. Your blazer from last week could be the jacket of this suit – especially if your funds are tight, in which case I would opt for Navy.
So starting with a Navy suit. This one is perfect for a multi tasking capsule wardrobe because it is tailored but contemporary, made from 98% wool with 2% elastane and has four pieces giving you the most options for wearing together and splitting the pieces up with other jackets, and separates. A lightweight wool blend like this will work all year except the hottest days of Summer. Layer with a knit or cashmere camisole in the cooler months and a cotton or silk top for Spring and Summer days. The only downside is that coming from Reiss it is quite slim fitting and only goes up to a size 14.
If you are on the fast track to or already in the Boardroom you really do need to invest in your career and buy a premium suit. You don’t want to turn up at work wearing the same as your staff, you should stand out as the Boss.
The following two suits are incredibly chic and great quality, reflected in the price of course. As a general rule when looking at European designed suits the Italian and French brands tend to suit curvy and often petite women and the German brands are better on a straighter body. I’ve chosen a silver grey from Maxmara for those with Light or Soft Colouring and a dark Grey from Hugo Boss. Both of these options would be good for a neat hourglass shape or a straighter body.
If you have the budget another option to look at is Armani Collezioni for pieces to suit curves like the softer shape trousers and jacket below.
Good higher end High Street options include LK Bennett and Hobbs both have ranges up to a size 18, as well as Jigsaw (below right) for those who are small (generally only up to a 14). Another option for 3 season wear is a lightweight tweed like this one below. Suits like this are equally versatile because the pieces can be split up and worn with a plain piece making a mismatched suit. For example add a coloured jacket to the skirt or black trousers to the jacket. The jacket could also be worn with more relaxed trousers for Friday dress down.
Budget high street suits can be found for between £160-£200 from House of Fraser and John Lewis own ranges. The black suit on the left has some nice detailing that makes it stand out from a sea of black. A dress suit is another alternative if you prefer wearing dresses to separates. Again this suit can be split up and the dress worn with other jackets or a knit and the jacket with black or grey trousers or dressed down for the weekend. The black panelling down the side of the dress is great for slimming the silhouette.
For petites choose specialist petite ranges or make sure you choose options that are neat or have a cropped jacket. The white vertical lines on the dress suit elongate the body. Choose tights and shoes in the same colour to make legs look longer.
Finally for those who are a size 16+. As I mentioned above some of the High Street brands go up to an 18 as do the department stores own brands. In fact the Budget colour block suit and the dress suit above go up to a 22. There are also specialist brands you can look out for like the suit below by Samoon which goes up to a size 26. If you have great legs show them off in a pencil skirt or a tapered trouser.
Final tips for choosing suits
- Don’t skimp, this is a key part of your business capsule wardrobe so invest as much as you can
- Make good fit a priority and have it tailored to fit if necessary. When trying on sit and move around; make sure the jacket doesn’t pull across the bust, the skirt does’t ride up too high, the sleeves don’t cover your hands and the trousers work with the shoes you want to wear.
- If the suit needs altering check seam allowances – usually the better quality will have more leeway for letting seams out.
- Look for a detail that makes it stand out from other suits.
- Choose a neutral coloured suit first as you will get more wear from it. You can always add a coloured jacket or suit later to mix it with.
- Look for a suit that is timeless not frumpy. Boxier long jackets particularly double breasted ones with a plain straight skirt should be banished from your wardrobe.
- When it shows signs of wear replace it. If the trousers are worn but the jacket isn’t get rid of the trousers and wear the jacket with other pieces in your wardrobe.
- Split the suit up and wear it in different ways so that you get good cost per wear.
So that’s it for suits. Next week I will be bringing part three. There is loads more information on creating the perfect capsule wardrobe in my upcoming book – sign up here to be kept up to date on release details.
If you would like a done for you capsule wardrobe you can buy online here.
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