Suiting Tutorial: When It's Over

After a couple of years of wear, one of two things will happen to your suit, either a) it will start to show it’s age, or b) you will get bored and stop wearing it.  Whichever affliction hits, your suit is likely to end up on the Island of Unworn Clothes also known as the back of your closet.  But what if it didn’t have to be that way?  What if you could reinvigorate your suit piece by piece?

Bringing Back the Jacket

Andy & Debb Short-Sleeved Suits (Neiman’s, $1,100)

Please note that I am not advocating turning your suit into into a short suit.  That would be cray-zee talk.  Instead, I am telling you that for a few dollars a talented alterations person can shorten the sleeves on your blazer and give you something new to wear.  If you want to get really creative, you can even have it turned into a boyfriend style vest.

Livening Up the Pants

Valentino Lace Trip Pants (Neiman’s, $1,480)

These Valentino pants are incredible, even though they’re cigarette leg.  They also provide inspiration for how to add a little oomph to your old trousers.

Using a product like Fusible Web, you can attach a satin ribbon to the side of your wool suit trousers turning them into tuxedo pants.  Want to go even further?  You can add a lace detail to the waist band.  If you want to do better than fusible web, you can follow these directions and try to sew it yourself or pay an alterations person to do it for you.

Restyling the Skirt

Tri-Banded Skirt (Bebe, $59)

Colorblocking is one of the hottest trends in fashion.  If you have a navy pencil skirt laying around, you can add colored strips to the bottom or the top to create something brand new.  For a navy skirt, try two bands at the bottom, a thin grey one and a thicker citron yellow one.  If the skirt is black, you could add a feather trim for a look straight off the runway.  Who says that boring pencil doesn’t have personality?

And if all else fails, and you can’t breathe new life into the suit you’re just plain tired of, you can always sell it in the CHS Resale Salon.  New items are posted in groups every other Sunday.


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  1. Katherine says:

    It’s a good thing I’m reading this at work with my wardrobe out of reach. This will give me at least a few hours to rethink my plan to hack the arms off my old jackets 🙂 I know you wrote “talented alterations person,” and I don’t even have a decent sewing kit, but I do have a vision and a great pair of scissors!

    June 17, 2010/Reply