A suit can make you look “old-fashioned”
The fashion model Tatjana Patitz once said
Suits are so easy to wear, whether in a casual or dressy way, a woman in a suit is the sexiest thing.
Well, I agree when she would have started the sentence with “For twenty somethings.” Once you are over 40, a suit becomes tricky. We have to compete with those twenty somethings, and in many jobs, we have to wear suits. Now what?
Resist the urge to wear your suit like you did in the 80s
In the 80s, we wore cheap suits with a shirt to look professional and/or older and to be taken seriously, especially when we had jobs in a men dominated field. We added a faux pearl necklace and 2.5 inch (5 cm) high pumps and a structured work bag or briefcase.
Don’t search for the extra keys just because that was a success in the past
Did you ever read The Cain Mutiny? Canned strawberries seemed to have been stolen from the pantry. The commander was suspicious that there was an extra key and let the entire high ranking officers search for it. He did that because in the past there was a theft case that he successfully solved because he detected the guy with the extra key.
Looking to the past didn’t work for Commander Quick. Yes, we had success with that outfit back then. It was a winner. It worked! Why shouldn’t we wear the look again? Because such an outfit would look so old-fashioned even when we would go for expensive instead of cheap items! Such an outfit would make us also look like an Old Lady. Both would convey the wrong message that we aren’t on top of things anymore. That’s not a message you should ever send!Your clothes send a message about who you are. Make sure they send the right message. #dress4success #midlifestyle Click To Tweet
For us women over 40, Audrey Hephurn’s statement
Givenchy suits gave me “Protection” against strange situations and people, because I felt so good in them.
becomes a farce. Most of us can’t even afford a Givenchy suit, not to mention that in most jobs, which require a suit, such an expensive suit would look over the top. In other words, your supervisor, colleagues, and clientele would wonder about your touch with reality.
Create a look with a suit that reads up-to-date
While on a twenty something a suit indicates “I am serious and professional”, on a forty something it may indicate “I am conservative, I am plugging the same old road over and over again, I am stuck in old times.” Thus, we over 40 women have to be creative to look professional up-to-date, and not conservative and stiff in a suit.Create a look with a suit that reads fashion-forward and modern, to send the message that you are up-to-date. #dress4success Click To Tweet
Speaking of Dress for Success. If you are interested in dressing for success in midlife you can buy my book for styling recipes for all kind of dressing situations in midlife.
Modern suit styling suggestions for women in midlife
Here are some outfit suggestions how to look modern, and up-to the tasks in a suit over 40.
- Choose an ensemble that has unexpected details like a zipper instead of buttons or an asymmetric skirt hem.
- Go for a set in colors beyond the usual neutrals, but not too bright. For instance, blue instead of navy, chocolate brown instead of tan or camel, hunter green instead of loden green.
- Pair a suit in neutral colors with bold colors instead of further neutrals.
- Add an unexpected piece to show off your personal style.
- Wear the pieces in an unexpected modern way like untucked, rolled-up sleeves, chopped-up sleeves.
- Go beyond the court shoe and higher than a 2.5 inch (5 cm) heel to look tall, slim and healthy.
- Unmatch your suits, i.e. go for a fake one.
- Never wear an ensemble with items from the same designer.
- Have the suit altered for perfect fit if needed.
- Only wear double breasted jackets if your frame can take them. Be aware that they add weight. Looking heavier than you are can give wrong perceptions about your health. You don’t need that.
- Be aware that pink and red add weight, while darker colors have a slimming effect.
- Avoid pieces that look trendy (e.g. extremely wide or thin lapels, ruffles on the skirt hem, strong shoulder pads). They look dated faster than you can get them below a dollar per wear.
- Flappless pockets look better one everyone.
- Stay away from linen suits as they wrinkle faster than you can iron them. Instead go for lined cotton ensembles in summer.
Other suit styling inspirations
Fake or unmatched ensemble outfit inspirations
The easiest way to look great in a skirt/jacket or trousers/blazer set is to go for an unmatched one. Below are some examples for inspiration how to get the look right.
Lookbook Store motorcycle style inspired leather jacket with Sienna Studio leather pencil skirt, Jeanne Pierre sweater, Russian scarf, GNW tight and Harley Davidson booties (all own)
Ann Taylor tweed skirt with a blazer as an unmatched ensemble for the office. The floral weave of the tweed skirt looks unexpected and modern. L.K. Bennett pumps, Kieselstein Cord belt, GNW sweater, Longchamp bag (all own)
Work look with Adidas sweat pants, hounds tooth blazer, black turtleneck, Harley Davidson booties, BCBG statement belt, three string different size pearl necklace (all own) and Akoya saltwater pearl necklace c/o The Pearl Source
Oliveo leather skirt with leather jacket, hat, scarf tied as a bow, Modalo shark Pippa bag, and pumps (all own)
Don’t forget to style your outerwear
I wore a shearling coat over the suit. I styled my outerwear with a Russian scarf. The gloves and tight pick up colors of the floral print of the Russian scarf.
When you liked this post let your friends know by tweeting them to have a look at this post on ageless style in a suit!
How do you wear a suit? Do you wear “fake” suits? Do you have to wear them at work? What are your styling challenges when you have to wear them? Let me know I am curious how I can help you. Just drop an email. Thanks. 🙂
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Photos: G. Kramm
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