Monday, November 9, 2009

Ah the Navy Suit

Tomorrow I will trek to Long Island to visit it's famous outlets, and expansive shopping malls all in search of the elusive navy suit. This is the piece of business wear deemed most conservative, and most versatile by many sources. It is most appropriate for an interview, the courthouse, office meetings. It can be taken apart, the jacket paired with trousers or jeans, the skirt paired with less formal button down tops. It is the standard for formal business wear.

And yet, it is extremely difficult to find, particularly for women. When googling navy suits, millions of pages appear for men, dwarfing the number available for women. It is a fine line we walk. To find a suit that is not too dowdy, yet not trendy. To find one that fits well, but is not too curve hugging. To find a suit that looks like a quality item, but does not cost nearly $500 like the one pictured to the left by Terani Couture.

As if it is not enough to try to avoid any fashion misstep, to find the style (double breasted or single?) that flatters your bust line and to choose between skirt and pant, the fit is even more of a challenge.

I have been combing the department stores of Manhattan to find this ultimate piece of business wear without spending half my month's rent. I have searched Filene's, Macy's, Bloomingdales, TJ Maxx, all the big names for women on a fairly reasonable budget. I have had modest success. The jackets of Kasper and Calvin Klein fit me very well, in a size much smaller than I had initially expected. Even the skirts are easier to fit. Yet, when I finally found a navy suit that matched my standards of style and price guidelines, it happened to be three piece. The jacket and the skirt (slightly ruffled at the bottom) fit perfectly! I was ready to rejoice. But alas, the pants were about three inches too short.

I discussed this problem with woman I know who wears suits all the time. She complained that she cannot buy suit sets nearly ever because she is one size in the jacket, and one in the pant. This is a problem we have all encountered before--swim suit season anyone? So I ask, designers, are we taking women of all sizes into account when making suits? Can we perhaps mix and match jackets and pants? Do men have the same problems?

I will be searching for this answer and more in the vast shopping expanses of Long Island, stopping into Anne Taylor Loft, Banana Republic, Anne Klein, Jones NY, and more in my quest for the perfect navy suit. Wish me luck! I know I'll need it!

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