Business Attire – Section 1: Business Suits

Your suit is your armor. A clean, crisp, fitted skirt suit is the best way to project a polished and professional image.

Suits are typically the preferred genre when selecting formal, professional attire. They should be of a solid color or contain only a faint pinstripe or pattern. Traditionally, black is the safest choice, but navy, brown, tan or gray will also suffice. Colors don’t not have to be limited to dark, so long as they are not too flashy or overly casual. People will judge you based on your appearance so choose wisely and follow these guidelines.

General Guidelines

  • All suits and skirts should be tailored to fit close to the body, but not overly tight.
  • A dress suit should have a skirt that goes no higher than two inches above the knee.
  • Smart-looking skirt suits and pantsuits are appropriate choices for women.
  • Traditionally, a skirt suit is considered more formal than a pantsuit.
  • Pantsuits should be tailored and creased, not flowing or too tight.
  • Jacket sleeves should fall one half inch below your wrist.

To Be Avoided

  • Miniskirts, even in a suit, are not appropriate for business wear.
  • Don’t wear skirts that are too long or billowy.
  • Don’t wear pants that are too snug on the body.
  • Avoid wearing trendy lapels or buttons.
  • If suit wear is not required, wear dress pants and skirts, never jeans.

Skirt Suits
Skirt Suits are the core of your work wardrobe. They are a great way to make a polished professional impact in any workplace or formal setting. When it comes to skirt suits keep three things in mind. First, invest in high quality clothing – it’s better to have fewer high-end suits than more of lower quality. Second, fit makes the fashion work – always have your suits altered to fit your body like a glove. Third, handle with care – a great suit is timeless and properly cared for, can last for many, many years to come. Here are some examples of conservative, professional women’s skirt suits that do and don’t follow these guidelines.

Skirt Suits (Proper Examples)

Skirt Suits (Poor Examples)

Trouser Suits
Everything I mentioned for skirt suits above applies equally to trouser suits. In addition, be sure to pay particular attention to the length and break of your trousers (more on this under “Trousers” – so you’ll have to keep reading!) It’s a tailoring decision that can drastically change the appearance of a pair of trousers, and it’s very important. Here are some examples of conservative, professional women’s trouser suits that do and don’t follow these guidelines.

Trouser Suits (Proper Examples)

Trouser Suits (Poor Examples)

Women’s Suiting Guide
Knowing how to properly select the right women’s suit will make all the difference when purchasing your professional attire. Quality, construction, fabric, color, fit and style are just a few of the elements one should pay particular attention to when considering what to buy. To aid you in this endeavor, a comprehensive ‘Women’s Suiting Guide’ has been included. Click the graphic to the right to review the material.