Fashion & Beauty

Suit Up for Now and Later

February 25, 2020

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YEARS AGO I asked Relish DC boutique owner Nancy Pearlstein her advice on what to wear to an upcoming job interview. “A suit,” she said.  (I wore one and got the job.)

She and my mother must have been communicating on the sly because that’s exactly what my mom would have counseled. Not counting the brief pantsuit moment when Hillary Clinton was running for president, though, suits have not been on anyone’s wish list for a while.

Then last September, Marc Jacobs, Proenza Schouler and other high-profile designers, including Plan C (founded by the daughter of long-time Marni head honcho Consuelo Castiglioni) and Paris-based label Gauchère, all showed suits on their spring 2020 runways—in neutrals as well as vivid colors. And department stores—Saks and Neiman’s—and online-only fashion sites Net a Porter and Matches Fashion began including the long-absent suit category on their clothing menu. We’ve also noticed news anchors—we’re looking at you, Norah O’Donnell—trading in their ubiquitous sheaths for form-fitting jackets and matching sleek pants.

And just like that, all things tailored and coordinated look right this season, and a suit makes a smart sartorial addition. Fresh updates include vests, cropped or long jackets, pleated, wide-leg or sleek pants, and, wait for it, Bermuda shorts.

It’s the perfect way to do one-step dressing, requiring minimum effort. Style yours with a turtleneck or men’s shirt or a half-zip knit. Add a high-neck blouse with flowing cuffs for evening wear or just wear a camisole under a jacket. And, by the way, it’s not a requirement to wear the jacket and pants/skirt together all the time. Mixing and matching permitted.

See our suitable suggestions below.

—Janet Kelly

Plan C minty-green suit from spring/summer 2020 runway. Vince hammered satin pantsuit.

LEFT: Carolina Castiglioni launched Plan C a few seasons ago. The jade green jacket and matching wide-leg pants (now available at Farfetch) are from her 2020 spring/summer runway show in Milan. / Photo/ Ivan Marianelli for NowFashion.

: Shades of Pantone’s Color of the Year are a natural for spring, but we wouldn’t blame you for wanting to wear Vince’s oversize Boyfriend Blazer ($445) and pleated-waist Tapered Pants ($345) in hammered satin right this minute.


LEFT: J. Crew’s Tweed Motorcycle Jacket ($138) and Pencil Skirt ($98) look new and fresh when combined with a denim work shirt underpinning.

CENTER: Helmut Lang’s cropped silk-wool blend Double-Breasted Blazer ($795) in a snazzy military style, paired with pleated Wrap Straight Pants ($695), make a fetching outfit for a dinner date.

RIGHT: Farrow’s relaxed-fitting wool-blend Bethany Heathered Suit Jacket ($178) with matching Suit Pant ($118) are a savvy shopping buy for mastering that “I have nothing to wear” transition period from now until spring.


LEFT: Although Theory‘s Ruffled Slip Skirt in Stretch Silk ($355) and lightweight ribbed, body-hugging Short-Sleeve Turtleneck Sweater ($245) do not technically make a suit, they’re perfectly coordinated. “Matchy matchy” are not dirty words anymore.

RIGHT: Still a barometer for what’s fresh in fashion, Marc Jacobs sprinkled his spring catwalk with suits in bright greens, canary yellows and blues. /Photo / Marc Jacobs Spring/Summer 2020 Runway Show, New York.


LEFT: Veronica Beard made a case for the look of classic navy with her double-breasted, structured-shoulder Miller Dickey Jacket ($645). Remember dickeys? The jacket comes with its own front placket with a hidden zipper. It makes a perfect marriage with the brand’s cropped, slim Lago Pants ($395) with a split at the hem.  Wear with a kitten-heel mule.

RIGHT: Summer-weight wools and crisp poplin cotton take the formal out of suiting. So do long, loose Bermuda shorts at Gauchère’s 2020 spring runway show in Paris. /Photo /Gauchère.

LEFT: We’re loving lilac (and green), which we saw a lot of in the spring selections in Montreal‘s boutiques and department stores. Look long and lanky in Zara’s slouchy V-Neck Blazer with padded shoulders ($69) and matching High-Waisted Belted Pants ($49.90)

RIGHT: Not a suit, but Acne Studio’s midi Textured Fitted Pencil Skirt ($340) with micro pleats and ruffled hem paired with matching Textured Mock Neck Jumper ($340) is a fine substitute for one with its slimming, head-to-toe look.


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