by Laura Leiva
Women's suits are often part of the professional dress code, and many offer the choice between skirts and dress pants. Although women's suits need to be professional, a variety of fabrics and colors keep wardrobe options fresh and offer you the ability to pair your suit with existing blouses in for a new look. Even if you work in a casual setting, it is wise to have a women's suit on hand for special occasions.
Look for flattering skirt styles. Many professional offices observe a conservative dress code, and skirt suits are dressier than pantsuits. Keep dress suits simple and classy in neutral colors such as navy, beige, black, and brown; white and cream are good colors for summertime. Skirts should be hemmed right above the kneecap or just below it, and suitable blouses for conservative skirt suits are high-cut to avoid showing too much cleavage. To ensure skirts look flattering on any figure, look for styles that offer waist reinforcement and lines to provide structure.
Pick a pantsuit. For more casual settings, a pantsuit is professional and comfortable. Look for pants that are straight-cut or slightly flared at the hem to pair with heels or dress boots, and try a high-waisted style for a structured look. Flat-front pants tend to be the most flattering.
Choose appropriate fabric. For year-round wear, a dress suit made of worsted wool keeps you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The high-quality wool fabric is soft and lightweight and commonly comes in such colors as gray, black, and navy. For summer, a lightweight suit made of seersucker or linen creates a crisp appearance and provides comfort in warmer weather. Additional suit fabrics to choose from include wool blends, polyester-cotton blends, cotton, and synthetic materials, such as polyester and rayon blends.
Get a great fit. To get the most flattering suit for your body shape, note the areas of the body that need special attention. For curvy women, suits with wide necklines, rounded lapels, and double-breasted jackets balance out the body. Suits that have pointed lapels and straight-cut jackets, skirts, or pants mostly flatter tall, angular women. Petite women can create the illusion of being taller with solid-colored suits and those that feature a subtle pinstripe pattern. A-line skirts are flattering to women of all sizes because they hug the hips and slightly flare out at the hem, balancing out the body.
Published January 5, 2010
Updated December 3, 2014