Ladies Business Suit:
Seven Selection Strategies

When you're making a ladies business suit selection, knowing the following seven tips for buying business suits for women will come in handy, whether you're buying trendy womens dress suits or pluz size pant suits...especially if you follow fashion writer, Constance White's, philosophy.

White suggests "it is wiser to buy that five-hundred-dollar suit and wear it till kingdom come than buy five suits for one hundred dollars each."


“One shouldn’t spend all one’s time dressing.
All one needs are two or three suits, as long as they,
and everything to go with them, are perfect.”

Coco Chanel on Ladies Business Suits

Regardless of whether you're going high- or low-budget when you buy your next ladies business suit, regardless of if it's a women's pant or dress suit, buying the best suit that your money can strategically buy is a good idea...a really good idea.

Here's what to consider when you make your next ladies business suit selection:

Cut

Flatter a smaller bust-line with double-breasted style suit jackets, especially if you’re working to balance out a fuller lower half. Deep V-neck, single-breasted jackets compliment a fuller bust.

Ladies business suit s that are well-tailored can help to add curves strategically...banana body shapes look curvier when the jacket is fitted in the waist creating the illusion of a narrower waist and wider hips, especially if the lower part of the jacket is a peplum style, add in a knee-length pencil skirt tapered at the knees for instant curves...looser fitting suits make for a boxy looking banana.

Fabric

Avoid shiny looking polyester blends for the longest-lasting, best-fitting business suits for women...beware of too much sheen or cling, it cheapens the appearance of the suit and the wearer of the suit...lightweight wool blends can be an excellent fabric choice for durable and attractive women’s business suits.

Lapel

Be sure there is a layer of interfacing or fabric between the lapel lining and the ladies business suit fabric. A well-structured lapel helps it hold its shape long-term. A well-tailored lapel lays with a slightly rounded fold on the inner edges of the lapel and the outer edges of the lapel lay flat (btw...never iron a crease or flat edge into the inner edges of lapel and a talented dry cleaner will also know better). If there is a pattern on the suit fabric, make sure the pattern is symmetrical on each side of the lapel.

Lining

Ideally, any professional ladies suit that you select will be lined. The highest quality ladies suits feature all-silk linings. Cheap suits often have no lining at all. If a ladies business suit has a lining, silk or polyester, be certain that it lies flat.

Pattern

Check to make sure patterns along the back seam (or any seam for that matter) of the suit garments are lined up evenly...all prints should match up from one side of the seam to the other side and should be symmetrical across the lapels.

Sleeves

Womens business suits with long-sleeved jackets should stop below the wrist, but should not reach past the thumb pad. Sleeves should fit, but not too tightly on any part of the arm (make sure you can bend your arms without feeling like there is a tourniquet wrapped above your elbow). Three-quarter length sleeves can help to minimize fuller hips...as can jackets that do not stop at the fullest part of the hips.

Waist

A smooth and shapely curve here is ideal, so beware of muffin-top making pant or skirt waistbands and poorly shaped jackets. Short-waisted or high-waisted body types are complimented by skirts or pants with no-waistband styling and jackets that fall below the natural waist...longer waisted body shapes are flattered with high-waisted skirts and pants or jackets that fall slightly above the natural waist.

So, those are the seven strategies for selecting a professional ladies suit related to assessing quality and your body type. But there's another very important factor to consider as well...

know why you're buying the suit and what you want to accomplish by wearing it.

Mission & Money

Before you select a suit, think about what your purpose for wearing the suit is.

Do you need a classic, durable, beautifully designed women's pant suit that will serve as one of the building blocks for your business wardrobe that will help reinforce your professional image? If so, choose absolutely the best quality, timeless, flattering design you can find and afford. Think quality because this will be a go-to garment and it needs to be built to withstand fashion trends and repeated dry cleaning.

Looking for a more trendy, but smart womens business suit to spice up your business wardrobe? Invest in a well-designed, rather than disposable dress suit, but remember cost-to-wear ratios (well, always take CTWR into consideration).

Consider the cost to wear ratio...if you're going to wear the suit or its pieces say 10 times and never wear it again after this year, how much do you want each wear to cost you? Spend $100 and each wear will cost you $10...spend $500 and that'll be $50 per wear...$1000 and you're out of $100 every time you slip it on.

You know your budget, the demands of your industry and whether you're wearing the business suit to make a co-worker envious or snag a new gig...think about what it's worth to you and if you can afford it.

However, cost per wear isn't the only financial factor to consider. If the purpose of wearing the savvy suit is to clinch a new job or contract...the opportunity cost could trump the cost per wear. Land a $75,000 job in the fashion industry and in addition to all of your other fabulous qualifications and experiences, your $500 investment could help net you a 14900% simple return on your investment in only one year. What if that same $500 suit helped you land a $500 contract? What about a $300,000 contract? See my point?

Regardless of the CTWR, wearing an inappropriate suit for your business environment can be career suicide (e.g., boob-bearing, overly revealing suits have no place in the banking industry...obvious stretch...but think you get the point), even if the racy suit flatters all of your assets.

As the old saying goes, if you don't understand the purpose of a thing, you're bound to abuse it. So, it is a good idea have a clear purpose and strategic criteria in mind when you're suit shopping.

Click here to leave the Ladies Business Suit Tips page and return to the general Womens Suits page.

If you want to learn more about dressing for your body shape, click this link to visit the "How to Dress for My Body Shape" page.

Click here to leave Ladies Business Suit page return to homepage for Womens Business Clothes web site.