Dress for Success: To Suit or Not To Suit?

Dress for Success: To Suit or Not To Suit?

I am a huge fan of the law satire/drama series SUITS which will soon be airing its 3rd season this coming March. Being called SUITS, you would expect a lot of corporate black jackets and full suit regalia for both the men and women in the show, however what you will get are its female characters in power dresses, pencil skirts and super gorgeous sky high pumps, accentuating their already statuesque figures.

The trio of leading ladies Gina Torres, Meghan Markle and Sarah Rafferty might all look like different archetypes, but they are bonded in the way each carry themselves in their own unique outfits, which has led to a mini renaissance for me in terms of rethinking my own corporate wear.Three years in and the initial girl big on outfits of black skirts, white button down long sleeve tops and black jacket combinations (in a bid to match the corporate gentlemen) have given way to bright coloured dresses and statement accessories, albeit with a professional touch.

So what does that mean in terms of certain golden rules to live by when it comes to corporate dressing?

The Rachel

Key Trends: Pencil Skirts, Button Tops, Cardigans

The RachelThe paralegal of the show, Rachel is classic corporate wear with a twist. Keep those hemlines conservative and save the short, glittery gold skirt you have for the weekend. Knee length hemlines saves you the embarrassment of skirts riding up when you sit down and diminishes the uncomfortable tugging that happens every time you have a short skirt on. On the plus side, pencil skirts are close to universally flattering on all figures. Pick one that fits well, especially around the hips and tailor the waist in if you’re blessed with larger hips to ensure a perfect fit.

Button down shirts are still the way to go when it comes to corporate attire. Pick one that fits well, especially around the shoulders and front, cheap shirts often end up with gaping holes in the front as buttons are never placed well, leading to plenty of potential mishaps. You can never go wrong with a classic white shirt, or pick one in an uncommon colour such as teal or ruby to add some spice to the wardrobe.

The Jessica

Key Trends: Fitted Dresses, Shoulder Lifts, Pearls

Managing director, brilliant and power hungry. The quintessential power dresser who knows how to be in charge, yet is still feminine. She wields her dresses like men wield their suits, as an armour of authority.


This look requires investment in good quality material for dresses which should and can last for years in both style and substance. Classic colours such as black, white and grey are safe bets, however go for a red if you are feeling particularly adventurous.

Make sure the fit is right, too tight dresses leave little to the imagination and will be uncomfortable for the 8 hours of work you have to sit through. Structured dresses made out of fabric such as heavy cotton or jersey adds weight and shape to your form in the same manner as undergarments do. Key word, invest!

The Donna

Key Trends: Feminine Details, Wrap Dresses, Accessories

DonnaDonna might only be a secretary in the legal world of Pearson Darby Specter, however she holds the key for making sure the ship runs smoothly. Her dress sense is effortless, feminine and with a shock of red hair, she stands out in the crowd. In the same way, pick richer, darker colours such as emerald, ruby or violet and use colour as your signature.

Accessories should also be used as touch ups rather than statement pieces. Simple elegant gold bangles, hoop earrings or a long chain help accentuate and pull an outfit together. Look for good quality metals and try and get real materials such as silver or gold if you can afford it. Otherwise, try and avoid plated accessories as these will likely chip over time.


In general, remember to dress for the position you want. It might be tempting to dress casually because you just cannot be bothered, however wearing something nice will boost your mood and make that workday just that tad more bearable.


Source: polyvore, pinterest, livejournal,

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