Suits are easily some of the most coveted essentials in a modern woman’s wardrobe, and it’s easy to see why. Versatile, chic and effortless — they are the ultimate all-purpose attire.
Suiting constantly transcends itself. It’s at once one of the most modern and avant-garde womenswear items, and at the forefront of many trends. Yet also one of the most timeless, and classic aesthetics — and a direct nod yesteryear’s aesthetics. It’s seen countless reinventions, from Yves Saint Laurent’s smoking suit through to being the outfit of choice for celebrities gracing red carpets in recent years.
Fortunately for us suit-lovers, this momentum isn’t slowing down. Local and international designers have worked in this much-loved icon to their collections, giving us endless options to embrace this trend. Here are some of our top picks for suiting pieces for each and every occasion.
The Classic Suit
When it comes to suiting, there are certain staple silhouettes that immediately spring to mind. With good reason -these classic styles are chic, versatile and perfectly encapsulate the timeless and effortless nature of suiting. One of the most iconic of these silhouettes is the ever-elegant equestrian suit; the ultimate nod to the archetype of ladylike suiting. A daintily cropped jacket hem, slim-fitting lines and well-proportioned tailoring are the hallmark of this timelessly preppy style, so it pays to invest in a piece donning excellent craftsmanship. Our pick of this season is the aptly named Equestrian Suit by Zambesi—which you’ll find alongside a coveted range of other suiting pieces in their current collection.
Another option for an exquisitely timeless suit style is the double-breasted blazer. Synonymous with preppy, formal, classic and military aesthetics (to name a mere few), this piece has seen it’s fair share of fabulous reinventions. Much to our delight, this shows no signs of slowing down. Local and international labels are creating their own spin on their cult-classic season upon season. Elongated hems, asymmetrical panels, statement buttoning and tapered waists have all made recent appearances, as have timeless and classic structures like Ingrid Starnes’ Showater Jacket.
For a bolder spin, take suiting back to it’s roots and embrace the masculine look. Forget tapered waists and dainty proportions — this utilitarian-chic look is all about upsizing the jacket, opting for maximised lapels, rigid shoulders and side seams, and boxy shoulders for that extra sculptural touch. Accentuate those functional features by adding a dainty waist belt for a bit of shape, as seen on Karen Walker’s Vera tie jacket, or rev up the garçonne look with a statement cummerbund.
Cult classic blazer, $450 AUD from Salasai (left), Satoshi jacket, $725 and Tokyo trouser, $509 from Jojo Ross (centre), Iago jacket in hunting check, $569 and Iago pants, $499 from Ingrid Starnes (right).
The Modern Take
Suits don’t have to all be about serious business. They may have become wardrobe cult classics thanks to their simple, stark roots – but gone are the days where was the most edge you’d find on a suit was a quirky button or two. Season upon season we’re seeing designers shaking up the traditional suit, and putting their own spins and statements on these wardrobe staples – and we can’t get enough of it here at FashioNZ.
One such spin that we’re loving is Salasai’s aptly named cult-classic blazer, which features stunning sleeves ruffles on a simply tailored piece. Sometimes, kissing traditional suiting elements goodbye can give the garment all the modern edge it needs. Jojo Ross’ Satoshi jacket is the perfect example of this, with its sharp lapel-free neckline. Of course, it doesn’t have to be all about the jacket. An avant-garde pair of pants can give your whole suiting ensemble an edge too. Sculptural flares, bell-bottoms and slits have made all made bold appearances on suit pants in recent seasons. Playing on proportions is another way of modernizing the bottom half of the suit ensemble, so don’t be afraid to size up with a wide, sculptural pair of pants like Ingrid Starnes’ Iago Pant.
The Formal Suit
A gown may be touted as the go-to garment for formalwear; however, the ladysuit is here to glamorously rival that. For black tie soirées, cocktail dos, and formal affairs, take a cue from the boys and embrace the tuxedo-inspired suit. Elegant and timeless, this ensemble lends itself to infinite styling possibilities. Impeccably tailored pieces like Dadelzsen’s chic evening suits make a worthwhile investment, which will give you mileage throughout your social calendar for occasions on end.
When it comes to styling an evening suit, the world is your oyster. Pop a crisp collared shirt under the jacket for the ultimate nod to the masculine tuxedo. Or rev up your inner siren with a lace and silk camisole, or a peek of a beautiful bralette for a sultry, Saint Laurent-esque look. Accessorizing with pieces like statement earrings, necklaces and a fabulous clutch are also great ways of adding a healthy dose of glamour.
Of course, you can maximise the glitz-factor with pieces made from luxurious fabrics. Heavy jacquard and silk fabrics make great options, as do velvet pieces like Karen Walker’s Temptation blazer. For a little more sparkle, jewel-encrusted, sequinned, beaded or metallic-woven fabrics like Yvonne Bennetti’s Jewel Blazer bring a healthy splash of glamour.
Speaking of fabrics, let’s talk tones. Suiting may traditionally lend itself to neutral tones like black, greys and beiges for reasons of versatility – but let’s not forget the well-tailored rainbow of bright suiting options that are out there. One such option we’re crushing on at the moment is Harman Grubiša’s Rosetta Suit in Floss Pink. This gorgeous ensemble is the perfect contrast of what has been a traditionally masculine silhouette, revisited with an equally iconic feminine colour. For an extra splash of fun, try a patterned piece. Stripes, along with small, dainty designs will add a subtle touch of ‘je-ne-sais-quoi’ while bright and bold patterns will certainly ramp up the wow-factor. We currently love new label Sweepstake Winners’ range of head-turning, androgynous suits – which come in both patterned and plain candy-coloured fabrics.