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I have always loved a good rumage in a charity or second hand shop and back when I was little you could still find some amazing vintage gems. In more recent years vintage has become so on trend that you can't go anywhere without finding yourself faced with a store professing to sell clothes from a bygone era.
With this in mind people aren't dropping their seconds off at their local salvation army, they're selling them to vintage stores, and more recently ebay.
So where do you go if you want that vintage feel? Why! Get it handmade for you, somewhere where you can specify the design as well as the cloth. With our relaunch of our ladieswear back in October we expanded our choices for our female customers, with so many different designs you could pretty much dress from any era you fancy. Here is a little run down of my favourites, bearing in mind that there are always lots of different styles from different periods in time. I have just included one style from each decade but if you have specific ideas in mind don't hesitate to drop in and discuss it with me.
1940's - Wartime Chic
Now this look it probably one of my outright faves, it so stylish but also very auster at the same time. It's not really a look that would suit my body shape but it looks asbsolutely fabulous on a slender less curvasous build.
The style is to have a high neckline with padded shoulders and pocket flaps placed on the hips. This type of jacket is then worn with a pleated skirt. This is all done to make the hips and shoulders look wider and the waist look small creating a very extreme hourglass with boxy shoulders. As I mentioned before this look is better on ladies without curves as the agressive tailoring can make curvy ladies look too extreme and the shoulders too masculine.
A beautiful example of this kind of look is the outfits that Cate Blanchett wears in the film 'Charlotte Gray.' She looks absolutely stunning and her suits are oh so very wartime Chanel. 1950's - Hourglass suiting For my 1950's styling I've taken inspiration from America. Rationing was still going on here in the UK but across the pond fashion returned to normal. Although the shoulder pads are still present they have begun to soften and the jacket looks less boxy with the seat of the jacket starting to kick out. The skirt has become more fitted and the whole outfit is a lot fresher and sultery than our austier ladies of the 1940's. This look would be great on someone of an hourglass figure but could work well on a less curvy person provided the waist was very nipped in. Pencil skirts are great for all different size. Have them cut high on your natural waist if you are short. This shortens your tourso gives the impression of longer legs. This style is also good for ladies who are conscious of their bellies. I like a very tight skirt and tend to go for an ultra fitted but a slim looks good too.
1960's - Swinging Suiting
For this decade I'm going to skip back over the water to the UK. The look of English suiting for ladies in the sixties was very adrodgenous. The boxy look of the jacket from the 1940s was still prevalent but the shoulder pads were softer and the waist less fitted. The look was a lot more casual than previous decades with smaller collars and more simplistic detailing.
So, you've planned the party, the pimms are on ice, the cucumber sandwiches are cut and you've heard whispered on the winds that June (fingers cross) is going to be a heat wave, but suddenly it dawns on you, what are you going to wear to your Diamond Jubilee garden party?!!! Well fear not us Style Advisors at A Suit That Fits have ideas for every eventuality.
Now, working on the assumption that even if it rains it should be reasonably warm I have gone with the idea of . is a lovely cloth for the summer, it does have the tendency to crease but it is incredible airy and cool.
Keeping with the theme of Britannia I've gone with red linen trousers and a navy linen jacket. For the trousers I suggest two pockets on the back and turn ups at the bottom. If you have them cut a little tighter and shorter at the ankle than normal and wear them with loafers you'll get a great summer casual look. With the jacket I'd suggest slanted flapped pockets and a single vent to keep the style modern, going with a single button, continuing the casual theme. Some gents may want to stay with a notched collar but I think seeing as it's the Jubilee be bold and have a peaked. If you wanted to make the jacket really casual a half lined look with red piping would be a great option.
On the other hand, in keeping with our red, white and blue theme you could go with fully lined and have white lined and red piping. 'That's great!' I hear you cry, 'but what about the ladies?' Never fear I have thought of all eventualities. Now, with us ladies I think if the sun does really shine we should pass on jackets and instead go for a fitted shirt, umbrella skirt and a summer boater with a ribbon in red, white and blue tied round it, perfect! I think seeing as it is the Jubilee we shouldn't shy away from colours, have a shirt in a bold red and white stripe and pair it with a skirt in one of our VBC mohairs in royal blue. I wouldn't normally recommend a mohair for ladies but done it an umbrella style it really works.
With the whole country gearing up for the diamond jubilee all eyes are on the Royal family and here at A Suit That Fits we have an extra special interest in the Duchess of Cambridge. Kate Middleton is a great example of how tailoring can enhance your potential, both visually and socially.
Since her wedding to Prince William last April her tailored outfits have been showing us her more serious side. While the shapes Kate has chosen have enhanced her figure the tailored look has portrayed her as a lady that means business.
On a recent trip accompanying the Queen to Leicester Kate Middleton wore a very stylish skirt suit. With the belt emphasizing her small waist and the layers around her hips giving her small figure a more hourglass shape. Kate not only looks stunning beside the Queen but she also gives the impression of a worthy companion. Another perfect example of the Duchess of Cambridge looking great in tailored garments is that of the coat that she wore to meet the Irish Guards. Kate donned a navy blue double breasted coat dress with three quarter length sleeves and a short mandarin collar. The dress like overcoat was ultra fitted with a high neckline to keep it demure.
Kate Middleton is also a great advocate of mixing up tailored garments with more relaxed items. She was recently photographed wearing a heavy woollen three button jacket . It had slanted flapless pockets with a curved edge. The Duchess team this fitted piece with a relaxed patterned scarf and a beret at a jaunty angle. I perfect outfit for a royal.
It seems that Kate has really settled into meeting and greeting the nation and with a wardrobe to match she's definitely giving ladies tailoring the thumbs.
With Merly Streep's recent Oscar win it is just a reminder that there is so much to love about this amazing actress. Already this year she has not only won an Oscar but a Bafta too, with many other awards to follow I expect.
Streep is condsidered one of the best actress' of her time with her career stretching from roles like Kramer and Kramer to her most recent depiction of Margeret Thatcher in 'The Iron Lady.
' But Merly Streep is not just a great actress, she is also condsidered a major style icon. It seems that her appeal stems from the fact that Streep never tries to be fashionable, having regularly claimed she knows nothing about fashion.She never looks uncomfortable or unsure in what she wears. This relaxed feeling she emulates comes across in the way she carries herself. When Merly Streep dresses for an event she does it in a way that is not over considered. Merly Streep's Oscar winning dress.Unlike a lot of actors and actress' Streep's style is very much her own. She does not always look perfect but she manages to always come across as natural even when looking extremely glamours.
Meryl Streep recently won a the Bafta for best actress. In many of her roles as well as her personal life Merly Streep has chosen a more tailored look. This is a style that really suits her shape and angular face. In 'The Devil Wears Prada' Streep's character was very hard and austere. By using large sharp collars and contrasting colours the director used Streep's angular face to emphasis this feeling of power and control. Looking at Meryl Streep's overcoat you can see how the stark difference between the black and white collars emphasis' her pale complexion giving a harsh look.
This is a look that Streep has donned in the past for earlier roles in her career. While playing Joanna Kramer in 'Kramer and Kramer' she wore the same style collar on an overcoat. The look had a softer feel than her later role in 'The Devil Wears Prada.' This was done by giving her a relaxed floaty hair style, with loose strands. This softened Streep's face and although she still looks very professional in her overcoat it is a more relaxed look than that of Miranda Priestly.
Meryl Streep in Kramer Vs Kramer In more recent years Meryl Streep has taken this more tailored look into her own personal wardrobe. For a promotional evening for the musical 'Mamma Mia' Streep attended wearing a ladies large shawl collar jacket. The jacket had a one button fastening and an extremely cut away front, enhancing Meryl Streep's natural curves. Merly Streep at the photocall for Mamma Mia The most amazing and recent transformation of Meryl Streep into character is that of her role as Margeret Thatcher. Not only is her acting superb but her grasp of the iron ladies' speech is uncanny. The shoulder pads and server cut do help though. These extra large shoulder pads on ladies really signifie the eighties, with wide notched collars and nipped in waist, you could be forgiven in thinking that old Maggie had risen again! Meryl Streep as Margeret Thatcher in the Oscar winning picture 'The Iron Lady.' Here Streep wears a dark heavily pad suit with contrasting collar.
Known for her stunning performances and kooky style Helena Bonham Carter looked stunning in her ladies suit as she collected her CBE at the end of February. I'm sure her bold and touching performance in 'The Kings Speech' was at the forefront of the Queens mind.
I love Helena's bold use of traditional detailing and gorgeous patterned . I don't think I've ever seen her look anything less than stunning. We all have our off days but Helena still manages to look beautifully dressed on hers.
Below is a photo of the quirky two piece ladies checked suit she wore to 'The Kings Speech' photo call. Bold check with over-sized buttons and a carefully nipped in waist. This worked very well with her more petite figure, the longer skirt balances nicely with the detailing and large check. One of the key things in this suit is the flapped pockets with a gentle slant enhancing the curve of her waist.
While I wouldn't recommend wearing just a bra under you suit at work it seems to be one of Bonham Carters top style quirks. It makes for a feisty, sexy evening look and easy to pull off especially with a waistcoat. If you want to carry this type of look off at work choose a cute vest-top with a lace edge, polka dot silks work fantastically.
Two great looks for both work and play. Helena's style adds a fun twist to traditional ladies suiting. Proving that bold and smart can be beautifully combined. I can't wait to see what she'll wear down the red carpet for the premier of the new adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic Great Expectations (2012). Book in with Rachel Harries at our City Road studio
Suits, the hit series on TV channel Dave is sweeping across the UK. Here at A Suit That Fits we do love the style of one of the central characters Harvey Spector. He looks amazing in his three piece bespoke suits.
He tends to wear a , which gives a powerful masculine look. This works really well as his tall and slender shape is broaden at the chest allowing for a very smart silhouette from the shoulders to waist, In the picture below Harvey is wearing a , you can not beat a fine bespoke , very dapper!.
Harvey Spector played by Gabriel Macht is one of New York City's top attorneys who has recently been promoted to senior partner at his firm. He is forced by company policy to hire an associate and after an accidental interview hires Mike Ross, played by Patrick J. Adams. Harvey is impressed by the younger man's quick wits, his encyclopaedic knowledge of the law, and his genuine desire to be an attorney. Due to the fact that Mike lacks a law degree, and because the firm prefers Harvard alumni, they both pretend that Mike is a Harvard graduate. Harvey's dapper fashion sense is starting to rubber off on the young Mike.
Being more of a renegade Mike though prefers a two piece suit. He teams them with a belt and a more classic notched collar. By wearing a belt he gives the traditional lapel a modern twist.
I'm Rowan McKinnon, stylist and whatever your wardrobe woes, I have the answers. You can read my style advice at styleeyesme.blogspot.com and you can check out my styling services at www.styleeyes.me .
This month, I've a special work wear blog for all the A Suit That Fits ladies as hitting the right note when it comes to dressing for work can be super tricky.
Many of the career girls I see really struggle and when I edit their wardrobes we find nothing but a stock of dull grey and black skirts and trousers. It doesn't need to be this way. You can dress sharply for work as well as showing off your femininity, personality and sense of style
Start to think in colour, it is not a sack-able offence to step away from black. Invest in a work staples in some other neutral shades. Navy is much more forgiving than black in winter, and for spring think about introducing light grey and camel.
Ditch the boxy suits and shirts. If your wardrobe resembles your husbands or boyfriends in shape and colour then you are not dressing to your full potential. Opt for pencil skirts and tailored suits which flatter your shape. Women are different shapes to men, so wearing a cut down version of their suits doesn't work. Instead invest in getting something made to measure your shape.
Add some femininity by working in luxe fabrics. A silk blouse or scarf will add interest and colour to your work wear without compromising practicality.
Don't be afraid to try out a dress. As long as it is an appropriate length and cut, dresses look-ultra stylish and professional. Not to mention a time saving option as there is no need to match trousers and a top, just pop this on and go!!
Keep your accessories simply and smart for a sleek look that shows you mean business.
Now off to work you go!!
StyleEyes personal styling takes a fresh approach to image consultancy, advising women of all ages and sizes on how to make them most of themselves, enjoy their wardrobes and feel utterly stylish at all times.
On Saturday, we saw the very stylish Kelly Rowland rock the androgynous look. The X Factor judge wore a monochrome two piece suit , compared to her usually glamorous dresses. The suit, however, still looked very glamorous and is certainly one that could be worn to an evening out.
Above you can see Kelly in the she wore on Saturday nights show. The jacket is black and in a dinner jacket style, with a shawl satin lapel.
Here at A Suit That Fits, we keep a close eye on the dapper ladies and gents in the new series of The Hustle.
Mickey Stone, the leader of the crew, looks very dapper indeed. He wears some great modern tailoring - I particularly like the double breasted he's been sporting recently.
Being the leader of the crew, he really does like to power dress. He always looks sophisticated and usually sports a pocket square (handkerchief) and matching shirt. His shirt sleeves are about half an inch longer than his jacket sleeve length, which is just right.
Here at A Suit That Fits, all of our bespoke shirts are cut half an inch longer in the sleeves than the jacket sleeve length - for that perfect fit. He also wears quite slim fitting suits - perfect for his shape. We tailor three different fits, starting off with the ultra fitted style which is 2.5 inches from skin to cloth; the 2.5 is the tolerance level between the two. The slim fit ( 3.5 inches) is perfect for a great fitting suit which isn't too tight. Our third fit is a relaxed fit, which is 4.5 inches from skin to cloth, allowing quite a lot of movement in the suit. Mickey is also known to wear single breasted, single button suits very well indeed - for that ultra modern look. Teamed up with slanted flapped pockets, which follows the curvature of your body, he also wears a stylish half width notched collar on the jacket.
Albert Stroller si the father figure of the crew; he sports a three-piece single breasted two button jacket teamed with a double breasted waistcoat with a flat base, which is a very flattering style - perfect for a very classy gent!
Albert has a relaxed fitting suit allowing him a little more movement. His pocket watch makes his whole look totally dapper!
Ash Morgan, Mr. Fixit, wears lots of shirts and trousers. You do see him in the odd suit; normally a two piece single breasted, three button suit, dark in colour and a relaxed fit. Sean, being the youngest of the bunch, is very stylish. He has a very slim fitting modern cut three piece suit. Here, he is sporting a mid-grey slim fitting suit, teamed with a peaked collar, making him look a little broader than he is. Also, slanted flapped pockets, again which follow the curvature of his body. He has a one-button single breasted style suit with matching single button on the cuff. A great modern look for the young entrepreneur. Emma, Sean's sister, always looks great. She doesn't worry about using bright colours, she has very sophisticated style,whatever she wears. Take a look at our women's suits or blouses and treat yourself and get 'The Hustle look!'
My style icon is a Hollywood starlet and rebel of the silver screen. She was labelled 'Box Office poison' by Hollywood bigwigs, but went on to gain the most 'Best Actress' Oscar wins ever - 4 out of 12 nominations.
Despite starring alongside (impeccably suited) cinematic legends Cary Grant and Humphrey Bogart, she still managed to wear the trousers, both in screen presence and in her sartorial choices.
A clue? Her surname's Hepburn - but she's no Audrey. It's Katharine Hepburn, the star of The African Queen and Bringing up Baby. My love affair with Katharine started when I saw her striding across the screen in a pair of high-waisted slacks in The Philadelphia Story - and since then I was smitten with her long and lean silhouette, and love of tailoring.She defied conventions during Hollywood's Golden Age, when actresses where supposed to be sweet and submissive rather than straight-talking and sharply dressed. Never one to shimmy around in a pencil skirt and full face of make up, Ms Hepburn knew how to work a wide-legged trouser, and was notorious for wearing pantsuits, sweaters and comfortable shoes.
Whilst most leading ladies were curvaceous femme fatales, she was tall, athletic, wore her hair in a bun and preferred to go au natural. And when Director John Ford demanded that she couldn't return to a film set until she dressed 'like a lady'. Kate responded she would only comply when he came to the set 'as a gentleman'.
Her costumes were incredible - designed by Hollywood and fashion legends like Muriel King, Edith Head, Cecil Beaton and Coco Chanel - but her legacy will be her own, non-conformist sense of style. She adapted men's suits to wear off set, and popularized slacks for women, a look that was dubbed 'The American Style', and worn worldwide.
It's partly thanks to Katharine that ladies love to wear a sharp trouser suit, or try an androgynous look today. And her legacy lives on. She demanded that her collection of clothes should be given to an educational institution rather than sold at auction after her death - they were last displayed at a University in Cleveland!
So ladies, if you've ever wanted to be one of the boys, I urge you to start taking style tips from Kate the great. Just slip on some loafers, a crisp white shirt, a tailored jacket, and wide legged pants - and pretend to be on your way to meet Cary Grant.
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