Ask Belle: Three Queries About Suiting
Nov 5, 2015
Medical residency interviews are picking up and I need a suit. Is there one style or color that you recommend for a first timer?
For any job-seeker, I recommend owning two suits. First off, you need a second suit in case you get a call-back interview. Also, it’s good to have a back up in case your first suit is at the cleaner or gets a stain/rip. So it’s always good to have two suits on hand if you’ll be doing several interviews.
As for style, keep it simple. A one-button or two-button jacket (depending on what’s flattering to your figure), long sleeves (none of that 3/4 BS), and a simple skirt or trouser on bottom. I advise against skinny pants; they can look juvenile. If you wear a skirt, knee length or just a hair above (no mini-skirts).
I recommend a mid-weight or lightweight wool for wear in all seasons. I also recommend sticking to black, grey, navy or dark brown. Now is not the time for a hot pink business suit. White is also a bad choice because it’s less professional and can easily get dirty when traveling.
Ann Taylor is a great place to start. This black triacetate suit is a great basic in a modern cut. I usually hate brown suits, but this coffee-colored wool suit looks great. And this charcoal suit looks great.
I work in a very conservative government legal office in the Midwest. Some of my male coworkers were talking recently about suits. Two of them stated that black suits are inappropriate for anything but weddings and funerals. I see so many black suits for women, and I don’t imagine they are for weddings or funerals alone. Can you shed light on this?
Thank you! KB
I’ve heard the bit about men’s suits before. My former Chief of Staff was adamant that men should only wear black suits to funerals and weddings. But I have never heard this argument expanded to women.
Most women’s suit-makers sell a black suit as their foundation color, so it would be very difficult for women who wear suits to avoid black. Plus, I don’t think a black business suit is standard attire for women at a wedding.
This strikes me as a men-only rule.
My suit game is pretty on point (if I do say so) and I want to add two or three more blazers. You talk sometimes about “swapping” other colors. What colors do you think work best for navy and black suits?
Love the blog bunches! Lia
I like to wear my suit bottoms with jackets of different colors and textures to keep things fresh. For those colors I would recommend a few different styles.
Tweed or textured jackets are always a nice option. A collarless boucle jacket with a black pencil is nice. Or a navy and white tweed jacket with navy pants. With the navy, you could also bring in a color like this red tweed blazer with a coordinating red blouse.