A suit is not a wardrobe essential but in many instances it’s a useful item to have at your disposal. The following suit-friendly situations spring to mind:

  • Formal interviews and presentations
  • Reserved business settings
  • Cocktail parties (a suit can look alluring if matched with the right pieces)
  • Desk to dinner occasions
  • Fancy nights out
  • Theater and auctions
  • Funerals

Think further than the traditional, black wool crepe pants suit paired with a white button down shirt and black pointy-toed pumps (unless that is precisely what the setting calls for). You have several alternatives, including skirt suits, interesting fabric textures, attractive style detailing and a colour that isn’t black.

If you don’t need to conform to a conservative dress code, take your suit look to the next level by dressing it up in cheeky ways:

  • Wear it on its own with a pretty camisole or shimmery top
  • Add a skinny belt to the natural waist for an eclectic vibe
  • Throw in fishnets or textured hose for a bit of edge
  • Go to town with funky accessories, shoes and handbags
  • Create a fun androgynous look and watch those heads turn

Nowadays, suits are seldom a look or wardrobe item of choice. And if you’re required to wear one frequently (e.g. for work), you’ll probably gravitate towards a completely different look for other occasions. But I’m defending the suit. It can be a practical, easy and flop-proof option if you think outside the box with the ensemble. Especially as you get older, because it is such an elegant option. A woman in a fabulous suit looks killer.

The pictures below illustrate the point that suits can look far from boring and severe. The belts, the texture of the fabrics, the addition of feminine layering and the boldness of the accessories and shoes creates a completely different suit mood. I have a baby pinstripe black pants suit that I love. It comes out from time to time with a ruffle top, belt, tomato red pumps and zebra print clutch. I’d love to add an interesting skirt suit to my wardrobe as well. Maybe I’ll score one on sale in the next couple of weeks.

Theory Women's One Button Jacket, Button Front Shirt, and Tailor Pencil SkirtBoucle JacketNanette Lepore 'Long Ago' JacketMartine B Crinkled Taffeta JacketMarcela Pinstriped JacketWool Gabardine Two-Button Jacket

(1) A modern, minimalist monochromatic Calvin Klein-esque skirt suit belted to perfection with patent that adds just enough texture to the black-on-black ensemble. (2) A belted cream boucle skirt suit with hose and peep-toe pumps. (3) A romantically styled textured skirt suit with lacy camisole, stockings and of the moment booties. (4) A classic black skirt suit made of an unexpected black crinkle sateen, matched with over the top ankle strapped pumps. (5) A classic one-button pants suit in a bold grey gangster pinstripe matched with an alluring shawl collar top. (6) A traditional black pants suit comes to life with a bright shiny blouse, belt and chunky eye-catching necklace.