How far can you stretch a black suit?


Rebecca is a thirty something recruiter who works in the city.  Like many professional women, she has a uniform for work –  a trusty black suit,  muted shirts, flat shoes for comfort and conservative accessories.  She wanted to dress younger and let her outgoing, bubbly personality come through with what she already had.  Our blank canvas included:

  • A black suit
  • A pale blue button-down shirt
  • Two work bags – in black and beige
  • Pearl earrings and her favorite watch

Here are the types of outfits we came up with by just adding one or two different pieces and accessories at a time. You can do the same too.

  1. Unless you have a very formal meeting, it’s more current and versatile to split up a suit.  Substitute the jacket with a fitted cardigan or coat.  Swap out the skirt for a dress and you’ll get so much more mileage from each piece.
  2. Jazz up the ensemble with pops of color and prints.  It’s unexpected and creates a memorable impact.  If you’re nervous about being too loud, apply the color accents to your shoes, a removable scarf or a partially hidden bracelet.
  3. Accessories show off your creativity and personality. Be careful though.  Your jewelry is the supporting role.  Don’t let it dominate you.  So best leave the chunky statement necklace for the weekend.
  4. Dress the way you’d normally dress and change just ONE item to make your outfit less predictable.  Add a contrasting belt instead of a coordinating one.  Replace several finer rings with one bold one.

The old matchy-matchy rule has gone the way of legwarmers, power suits and white stockings.  Have fun trying things out.