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How to Design Your Own Women Suits

Women Suits

How to Design Your Own Women Suits

Women Suits are a staple in many women’s wardrobes. Whether worn as a full suit or mixed with separates, they can work for any occasion.

Women’s suits have a rich, boundary pushing history dating back to Sarah Bernhardt scandalizing Parisian society in her men’s clothing and Georgio Armani championing androgynous shoulder pads. The modern women’s pantsuit emerged in the 1980s.


Women suits have had a long and varied history. Coco Chanel may evoke images of cool femininity and pink perfume bottle elegance but she was also one of the first to take menswear designs and make them more suitable for women. Her tweed women’s suits from the 1920s were designed to allow women to breathe, a welcome departure from restrictive corsets. Her effort was echoed in Katherine Hepburn’s tom-boy look of the 1930s that made it possible for women to work outside the home in pants or skirt suits with wider shoulders and more masculine fit designs.

Giorgio Armani introduced tailored trouser suits for women in the 1980s that helped reintroduce the suit to the workplace. Often referred to as “pantsuits” but officially known as skirt or pant and blazer suits, these new styles took the gender out of fashion and ushered in a era of career-minded women clad in power suits. The suit went through a brief lull in the 1960s as many women sought more traditional domestic roles following World War II. But by the 80s with the share of females in the workforce growing and Georgio Armani championing androgynous shoulder pads, the suit was back with a bang.


Women’s suits have a rich, boundary-pushing history. At one time, wearing men’s clothing was scandalous and illegal, but actress Sarah Bernhardt wore her “boy’s clothes” with conviction in Hamlet, and her style set the precedent for modern women. Today, a suit is considered chic and effortlessly cool. Anthony Vaccarello’s re-invention of the suit at Saint Laurent proves it is still a relevant style choice.

It wasn’t until the 1980s that suits became commonplace in the workplace for women. At the urging of designer Giorgio Armani, tailored trouser and skirt suits pushed back against the sexy dress culture that Women Suits had defined women’s fashion in the 1970s and ushered in a new, more serious era for career girls.

Pantsuits have also become a common women’s workwear staple, as exemplified by Hillary Clinton’s rotating wardrobe of power suits. To build a suit for yourself, start by finding your perfect blazer at Sandro Paris, Maje, Nordstrom, Pinko or the Outnet and then shop Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, Sezane or Yoox for the trousers that match. For a more fashion-forward look, choose a blouse in the same color family as your suit for a monochrome effect and add gold jewelry to elevate the style.


After determining the purpose and basic style of your suit, consider what messages you want to convey. Choose 3-5 messages and jot them down. These will guide the design process.

In 1925, Coco Chanel was the first to introduce casual chic to women’s tailoring, ditching the corset in favour of a flatter bust and more streamlined silhouette. She also introduced trousers to women’s suits, a major breakthrough that allowed them to move freely and comfortably in the workplace.

For a sleek and sophisticated look, tailored velvets, satins and metallics bring a seductive edge to after-dark parties. Embellishments such as diamante trims and feather embellishments add a touch of drama to the mix.

A good tip for making the most of your tailored suit is to have a friend take pictures of you from the front, side and back. This will allow you to easily spot fit issues or proportion problems. It’s a great way to identify the best accessories and hairstyles, too!


When it comes to designing your own suit, the right fabric is key. Choose a material that is breathable, soft, and reflects your style. This will help you create a tailored look that will leave a lasting impression on others.

Wool is a popular choice for suits because it’s both warm and breathable. It also resists wrinkles and is soft against the skin. Wool is available in a variety of weights and weaves, including flannel, worsted, merino, and tweed. These fabrics are typically reserved for colder weather, but they can be worn year-round if you want to look stylish during the fall and spring seasons.

Another great option for a suit is linen. This material is breathable and can withstand high temperatures. It can be a good choice for women who live in areas with hot summers and want to wear a comfortable outfit.


Women’s suits aren’t just a formal wear, they can be reimagined for casual outfits too. A sleek designer suit can Women Suits look chic and sophisticated with jeans or a casual top when accessorized with the right accessories. The classic black suit will always be in style, but this season colour is key. From high-waisted trouser suits in burgundy, navy or olive to cropped suits and matching blazers that are great for office wear.

For a contemporary take on the suit, style it with a simple white tee neatly tucked into your trousers. This keeps your neckline high and professional but with a stylishly edgy twist. Exact match accessories like a sharp handbag and heels look incredibly polished and well-thought-out, giving you that extra professional edge.

If you’re after a cheaper option, Macy’s has a selection of suits that are made for the brand by designers. This includes AK Anne Klein, Calvin Klein and Tahari by ASL among others. They also have a line called ‘Everyday Value’ that features designers at a more affordable price. Alternatively, you can find suiting separates and sets at designer stores like Nordstrom.

Women in Suits

Women Suits

Women in Suits

A suit looks effortlessly cool. It certainly does for Yara Shahidi, who opted for head-to-toe Marc Jacobs at a Women In Hollywood recognition event.

BR’s Factory sector has good suiting options, including a blazer and slim pants in this season’s on-trend color, pink. Other good suits include those by Theory (separates) — Nordstrom and Macy’s carry this brand.

History of the Suit

Unlike pants that have a long history, women’s suits are relatively new. It is said that the suit rose to prominence in the early 1900s. This is likely due to the industrial revolution and women starting to work outside of the home. Women wanted to dress professionally, while still being stylish. The suit fit the bill perfectly.

Originally, the suit was a men’s outfit that women borrowed and modified to their liking. This was done so they could be taken seriously at the office or in society in general. The first notable instance of this happened in 1870 when French stage actress Sarah Bernhardt scandalized Paris by wearing a custom-made trouser suit that she referred to as her “boy’s clothes”. This was the beginning of blurring gender roles and the unofficial birth of the power suit. Bernhardt continued to push boundaries when she played Hamlet in 1899 in a suit, further proving that women could wear suits just as well as men.

Coco Chanel is also credited with the creation of women’s suits as we know them today. Her fur-trimmed suit was a departure from the corsets of the day and Women Suits a clear nod to the growing women’s rights movement. The 1930s saw the rise of Hollywood icons such as Marlene Dietrich, who wore a skirted tuxedo suit with a soft felt hat and mannish topcoat.

The Suffragette Suit

By 1910, when the suffragette movement was in full swing, women began to demand more than just votes. They also wanted to shake off the restrictive clothing of the 1800s, which had long restricted movements and caused skeletal deformities in wearers. Enter the suffragette suit, a tailored trouser and skirt that was a clear response to the mainstream hobble skirt (which literally hobbled the wearer around due to its tightness).

Actress Sarah Bernhardt is credited with the earliest iteration of the women’s power suit when she scandalized Paris by wearing a man’s suit while performing Hamlet in 1899. She continued to blur gender roles by incorporating androgynous designs into her repertoire, further cementing the idea that suits were meant for anyone who was willing to break down gendered stereotypes and do it their way.

The suit has since become the hallmark of progressive women and a symbol for the fight for equal rights, with the first women’s suits worn by the WSPU to rally for their cause. In 1913, more than 8,000 suffragists marched in Washington D.C. in a uniform of white, which was chosen to signify a clean slate and the beginning of a new era. Today, we see suits reimagined for the modern woman, from Max Mara’s puffed sleeves and velvet blazer to Louis Vuitton’s tuxedo-inspired silhouettes layered over a slinky tank.

The Modern Skirt Suit

After a brief lull in popularity following World War II as women returned to traditional domestic roles, the female suit experienced a resurgence in the 1960s thanks to feminism and women’s equality movements. Designers like Coco Chanel and Christian Dior’s era-defining ‘New Look’ embraced 1950s housewife silhouettes with nipped waists, full skirts and feminine details, while Georgio Armani championed androgynous shoulder pads that were considered a sign of power for women in the business world.

Today, the modern skirt suit can be seen worn by everyone from celebrities to politicians (our favorite example is Kamala Harris in a white, pleated minisuit). A softer iteration of tailored separates favored by 2023 runways shows that suits are no longer consigned solely to afternoon tea get-togethers and fundraising committee meetings.

A smattering of brands are reviving the skirt suit with sleek Women Suits silhouettes that can be dressed up or down with ladylike accessories and casual wardrobe staples for everyday wear. Look for blazer and skirt combos with a sleek, pleated skirt in neutral hues like cream or gray, or opt for a short style that’s playful and perfect for spring.

Shop a handful of our picks below, or find your perfect fit with the many online retailers that carry suiting separates in regular, tall and petite sizes including ASOS, H&M, Topshop and Zara (and, sadly, the defunct Ann Taylor Factory). Also check out Talbots for wool suits in a wide range of colors that are seasonless and classic enough to work at any level.

The Tuxedo

The tuxedo is not just for men – women can wear it too. And while it had a short lull after World War Two when women retreated to traditional housewife roles, the sixties brought a resurgence as women entered the workforce. Designers like Yves Saint Laurent introduced the suit into elegant eveningwear with a nipped in effect and full skirts.

The term tuxedo (or dinner suit) comes from the early 19th Century when upper class British men began rejecting formal tailcoats in favor of shorter dinner jackets. The trend likely originated with a custom made tailless silk smoking jacket designed by Savile Row tailors Henry Poole and worn by Prince Edward VII.

When paired with a black bow tie and dress sock, a classic tuxedo creates a sophisticated silhouette. It’s easy to see why it became a favorite of the likes of Marlene Dietrich, who wore a tuxedo in Josef von Sternberg’s 1930 movie, ‘Morocco’. Dietrich’s style was boldly androgynous at a time when gender fluidity was still not widely accepted or embraced.

The tuxedo is the ultimate power outfit for women. The look can be dressed down with a pair of trainers and a T-shirt for a smart casual ensemble or elevated with luxury accessories for an evening out. The Reiss jumpsuit combines the classic hallmarks of a tuxedo with a flattering shape and modern finish. Complete with a satin lapel, front pleat trousers and satin buttons this suit is ready to wear – just add a clutch bag, statement cocktail ring and polished shoes.