Reader Gail the Goldfish solicits:

Hi! I'm looking for a basic medium-grey wool or wool-blend suit. Think lawyer interview suit. I've tried the usual suspects of Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, and Talbot's, and everyone's jackets are just too long right now. The leading contender is the J.Crew super 120s 1035 jacket and pencil skirt in heather flannel grey, but it's still on the long side, so before I pull the trigger, maybe you can find something I'm missing. I'd like to keep it under $350 for jacket/skirt, and if it had a pants option as well, that'd be a bonus. I'm a 0/2 on top and 4/6 (usually a 6 lately) on bottom, so separates are a must. Thanks!


So first, if I may, a picture of the main contender.  (For reasons that escape me - J-Crew doesn't seem to have taken a picture of the 120s pencil skirt on the model in the heather grey....but I'm sure you can envision it in all of its heather grey glory.)
So - basic interview suits.  They are an essential wardrobe staple for anyone going into a "business"-like or law field (my friends in academia tell me they get buy just fine without them...I can't quite get my mind around that fact.)  Now, I think suiting is one of the few places where women could take some sartorial lessons from our X-chromosome deficient brethren; generally as men move up in the world and start buying nicer suits, they also start getting those suits tailored as a matter of course.  Yes there *are* men's off-the-rack suits, but even Men's Suits departments at stores like JC Penney have a tailoring department.  So while I think the ideal would be for us to find The Suit that fits our body perfectly and makes us look trim and fitted in a comfortable suit, we might be better off finding a really nice suit that comes close and then getting it tailored so that it goes all the way.  Does that make sense?  

Okay - moving on.  What I am getting from your question is that you are probably short of waist/torso and that you are finding that the popular brand suits, as epitomized by this J-Crew suit, are simply too long these days.  Well, you are preaching to the choir sister.  I made the mistake of buying one Ann Taylor suit that was too long in the torso and, needless to say, I never wear it because I feel like I'm wearing my mom's suit or something.  (And I know I could just see my above rant about tailoring....but I have since acquired nicer suits so...)  So - I am going to collect a few of my favorite places to find suits for people with slightly shorter torsos or with a more fitted blazer.  One tip - some of these may be over the $350 retail - but they often go on sale - or you should hit up the outlets (the Brooks Brother's outlet brand is actually great and two of my interview suits comes from there.)

I'll start with Brooks Brothers (my favorite suiting - bar none - which has a few items that might work for you.)
But - they are making it more than a little difficult for me to do my job - because all their pencil skirts are sold out on-line (bet they have them in-store though.  Would be worth a call.
Wool Two-Button Jacket at Brooks Brothers ($159.20 - I like that its still a full length jacket - not actively cropped - but it sits high enough on the waist that it won't make a short person look, well, super short.  Nice construction as well.)
Wool One-Button Jacket from Brooks Brothers ($159.20 - a nice, shorter waisted option.  There is also a two-button wool jacket not available in your size on the website - but if you went into the store they might be able to track one down for you.)
Lambswool Blazer in navy from Brooks Brothers ($139.20 - not at all what you were looking for - but I own this blazer - or a similar earlier version and  it is the BEST purchase I've made in years.  It is amazing for work or weekends and I love it so much.  I should buy three more.)

So as I said above, these options all come from the primary Brooks Brothers brand of suiting.  But if you live near a BB outlet, I would go check out their outlet suits, they are made specifically for the outlet and so are cheaper (and I guess lower quality) - but I've never had any issues with them.  Definitely at least worth a look see.

Another place I would look for suits is Nordstroms, especially the Classiques Entier suits at Nordstroms.  I especially like Nordies for this because, if you purchase from them and have (or open) a Nordies debit or credit card, you get a certain amount of tailoring for free.  Here are a few of the suits there I like best.
Classiques Entier Speckled Weave Jacket and Pencil Skirt at Nordstroms ($160.80 and $94.80 - though this jacket has a slightly different peplum cut, I think its still conservative enough to be considered an "interview" suit and would be quite flattering on someone who was short waisted - especially if you have a bit of an x-shape.)
Classiques Entier Platine Weave Jacket and Pencil Skirt at Nordstroms ($160.80 and $94.80 - more traditional suit shape, but I like that its nipped in nicely at the waist and the light gray color would be very flattering for a lot of people.)
Halogen Pinstripe Suit Jacket and Skirt in navy at Nordstroms ($70.80 and $41.40 - I'll confess, I know nothing about the Halogen suiting line - but the price is so good on this suit that I thought I'd throw it out there in case you were interested in giving a deal a chance.)

Another few options for other places where you might find good fits are:
Anne Klein Blazer and Pencil Skirt in gray at Macy's ($150 - Anne Klein has several nice, simple suits at Macy's - not 100% sure about quality but they look like decent interview suits and they come in separates.)
Platinum Washable Wool Jacket (2-button) in navy at Jones NY ($229 - see matching skirt here.)
Boss Black Juicy 6 Jacket ($356.98 - above budget - but maybe keep an eye on it if it goes on sale at the Annual Sale - because its a lovely suit and seems to really fit your needs.)

Okay!  That's enough suits for this morning.  What do people think?  Where do you get your interview suits?  I know I've left out some obvious choices (Theory) - but I did it on purpose - those don't work as well for the shorter and stumpier amongst us.  But feel free to share what the taller and willowier like too.  We clothe everyone around these parts.  :-)  Happy shopping and may interviewing ever be in your favor.
5/20/2013 02:58:04

We have the JCrew 120s suit in heather grey, and we love it! The jacket is a little long when worn with the skirt, but we just ordered the pants (and they should come tomorrow...). Love the jackets you found, TCFKAG!

Reply
Lisa
5/20/2013 11:24:10

So it's light grey, not medium grey, and there's no wool in it to be found, but I tried on this suit from The Limited the other day and decided not to get it because the jacket ended so high on my hip that it looked funny (to me, on me) worn with pants. Might be an option for someone with slightly different criteria? http://www.thelimited.com/Grey-2-Button-Blazer-Essential-Pencil-Skirt/February_Suit_06,default,pd.html?start=29&ppid=c29&cgid=suits

I like that BOSS blazer a lot - why do I always fall in love with the most expensive thing you post?

Reply
5/20/2013 12:21:24

That BOSS jacket is...beautiful. Seriously. Though the crotch of the pants are, in the immortal words of the great Michael Kors on Project Runway....CRAaaZY.

Reply



Leave a Reply.