The age of the suit is dying a slow but deliberate death. While I love the menswear pieces made feminine by Yves Saint Laurent, I do not love the customary, stuffy, predictable suit. It’s a misconception that a standard suit connotes professionalism. This month’s Elle profiled Susan McEvoy, a senior analyst at a New York City investment firm, who wears anything but the drab suit when visiting clients and managing millions. McEvoy notes she needs to be professional, but she “can do it with personality”. Rather than dull poly-blend and acetate, McEvoy opts for Chanel jackets, de la Renta shifts, and Carolina Herrera dresses.
I have an interview today (my second on the road to finding the illusive post-law school job) and I will be sporting a twist on the classic, appropriate staple (but since I cannot finance de la Renta or Chanel, I turn to my professional 'go to's', Ann Taylor and J.Crew). I don’t recommend being so unconventional as to show up for a consultation in 80’s inspired neon with shoulder pads and studded leather. But I do suggest stepping to the left of perfunctory, and flirting with different fabrics, textures, and colors. For today’s interview I have selected a gray wool blend blazer with deep sapphire velvet trim, paired against a golden silk camisole with a draped neck (which I scored on sale, always a plus). Below I’ve chosen navy ankle length J.Crew pants and brown, suede ankle booties. The blazer is a standard, safe silhouette but the trim and color give it edge. The slacks are sleek, and the length is modern. The booties are of the moment (not a trait I necessarily value, but I happen to love the look) and give a touch of ruggedness to the otherwise simple ensemble. I also love the mix of textures (nubby wool, refined wool, velvet, suede).
The next occasion you feel calls for your most professional face, turn around, take off the suit jacket, and replace it with something that whispers your style to those near by with subtle words of color and hints of personality.