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How to Get Suited Up … In Style

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Marji asks: I want to wear a suit, but how do I choose and style one that will look youthful and unstuffy?

My answer: I love your desire to take a personal fashion risk, Marji! Since a suit is a pretty traditional style, a lot of people lose sight of the fact that if tailored and tucked in isn’t what’s familiar to you, it can be as scary to wear out for a day as a set of sequined pasties. That being said, there’s no reason to fear this professional fashion staple! You expressed that suits can seem stuffy, but that’s all in the styling. A skirt suit in a neutral color like navy can be made cutting edge and cool with the right accessories and elements, and a short suit in a bold pattern can help you completely reinvent this two piece tango. I made some moodboards to demonstrate what I’m saying, so check those out and pick up my tips for some suitable style options … haha, get it?

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  • Have a party with no pants: The first (and best) way to invigorate your suit with a young, stylish energy is to ditch the pants! Try a pencil skirt for a more corporate or formal atmosphere, or even some high waisted shorts if you’re feeling crazy!
  • Navy = the best neutral: I picked a skirt suit in navy here, which is such an understated and elegant color. Pairing it with a third navy piece in a different texture, as seen with the left shirt, will land you a look straight out of the pages of Vogue. Navy will also aid in your quest to make your look youthful since it complements almost every color out there. Want to add a pop of red or pink? Fair game, and totally fashion forward!
  • Keeping things casual: Since a suit in such a traditional structure and color as this will look formal regardless of what you pair it with, mess around with high/low and throw on a white shirt printed with palm trees or your favorite band tee under the jacket for a look that’s a favorite of it-girls everywhere.
  • Shake it up with your shoes: Fact of life — the shoes make the outfit. If you’re all prep up top, bring a little personality into the mix with a pair of bubblegum pink pumps or crazy chic chestnut booties. These bold accessory choices can set the tone of the outfit and let the world know that you mean business.


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  • Leopard is lovely: Suit yourself, but I think there’s no better way to make a statement with a two piece set than to wear one in a bold and beautiful pattern. I liked this leopard print because it was instantly both sophisticated but also full of mystique. No one messes with a lady wearing leopard, and that is a fact!
  • Bring in unexpected metallics: Everyone expects (and loves) shiny metallic jewelry, like the Wide Band Ring or the Forest Horizon Cuff, but a great way to add your own style to a suit that’s setting the rules is by bringing in a luxe, luminescent purse or pair of shoes. They say high fashion while your suit says high class.
  • Try for a different texture: Unless you have something like a tweed suit, in which case I recommend wearing something basic underneath, a two piecer always presents a fantastic opportunity to play with and layer different textures. A lace top with some denim shoes, or studded sandals and a swaddle of oversized tee all bring dimension and interest into an outfit that is often thought of as pretty straightforward.
  • Spend time with soft colors: Suits can seem harsh, and a suit in a loud print like leopard can seem especially loud. It’s important to balance out the structure and definition with delicate details and serene colors. Pastel blues, peachy pinks, and rose golds all add a femininity and youthful charm to this look that rounds it out in a riveting way.

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