Style + Career Style, + Work

Career Style: A Pantsuit Good Enough for Gov’t Work

It’s difficult to find style icons who wear work-appropriate business suits.  When stylish people who aren’t lawyers or government staffers wear suits, they usually wear brightly colored or sparkly ones.  So when a bright start like Amal Clooney appears to make work clothes look chic, you embrace her fiercely.

The Suit // Banana Republic is a great place to buy a suit.  And Banana Republic Factory is a great place to buy a suit on a budget.  This sculpted blazer and bootcut trouser gives you a chic pinstripe suit for $178.  The sizes run 0-20, in misses, petite and tall.

Other spots to be affordable suits include NY & Co., for both stylish suits and work ones, JCPenney, for intern-wear that won’t break the bank, and Express.  For a mid-price suit that isn’t Ann Taylor or J.Crew, I like White House Black Market and Antonio Melani.

Prefer a splurge?  Scanlan Theodore’s crepe knit suiting is probably my next big purchase.  And, of course, Hugo Boss.

The Blouse // Mock neck blouses are very popular right now.  They have a little bit of 1940s drama.  Ann Taylor has several mock neck options.  If you need a v-neck (because mocks are not for every woman), this Vince Camuto blouse is a great place to start.  Or for an affordable option, try this twist-front top.  Plus-size? Try this mock neck with a subtle ruffle.

The Heels // I love the ruffle front on this Journey pump.  It takes a basic pump and makes it more dramatic.  The shoe comes in several colors, but I think this charcoal is sublime.

The Purse // This Tuscany Leather bag is a little smaller than your average work bag, but it is a fantastic basic. Did I mention that it’s also under-$125?  If you want a slightly larger size, try this one.

Earrings // These Bony Levy drop earrings are a great piece.  They have incredible workmanship, and they go beyond the basic.  For something under-$50, these Karine Sultan medallion earrings are great.

Lipstick // Every red lipstick I’ve worn recently seems to make my under-eye circles more prominent.  Luckily, Amazing Amal, a berry shade gives me the punch of a red without the sleepy eyes.

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  1. ALLISON says:

    I see that she’s not wearing a belt. I struggle with that with my navy pantsuit, a brown belt seems to interrupt the sleekness. Thoughts on going belt free? (Assuming my pants don’t fall down without one, haha.)

    February 15, 2023/Reply
    • Belle says:

      I don’t wear belts with pants. I know that’s a hot take for some, but I don’t. I think I would match the belt to the shoes if I did.

      February 15, 2023/Reply
    • Diane says:

      I have had the same issue as I sometimes need a belt with trousers, and I tracked down a navy belt. Ann Taylor or Talbots or something like that. It’s so boring I don’t even remember what it looks like. It’s extra basic so it just disappears into my outfit.

      February 15, 2023/Reply
  2. Emily says:

    Yoox is new to me, but the handbag linked & others by that brand on the site are beautiful.

    February 16, 2023/Reply
  3. Jenn says:

    THANK YOU! It makes me crazy when I see companies and influencers recommending completely inappropriate suits for the office. I love a bright colored suit but there’s nothing better than navy pinstripes. Ordered the BR Factory one immediately after getting your email. ❤️

    February 16, 2023/Reply
  4. Jill says:

    This is the ultimate of petty gripes but BR’s website is driving me crazy lately. So many pop-ups and photography that might work in Vogue but makes it hard to see the clothes at times. I just want to see the jacket. 🙂

    February 16, 2023/Reply
  5. Rebecca says:

    I work in industrial manufacturing for Government projects and it’s difficult to find the right mix of business casual mixed with professional for women. A formal suit will not work well on the manufacturing floor but I still need to maintain a professional appearance. Any recommendations for a casual but structured sport jacket for women?

    The men I work with easily get away with something they’d wear on the golf course and just toss a simple sport jacket over a polo with some khakis.

    February 26, 2023/Reply
    • Belle says:

      What kind of clothes do you like to wear? Colors, styles, etc. I’ll see what I can come up with.

      February 26, 2023/Reply
      • Rebecca says:

        I’m normally in Lee Trousers with solid color sweaters or blouses and my color palette is pretty earthy. Work shoes are Sam Edelman loafers in neutrals. I have the basic staples of grays, black and navy but also incorporate olives, dusty rose and golden yellows/oranges. I’d consider my style to be structured casual.

        February 26, 2023/Reply