Women’s suiting has come a long way since the days of drab dark brown boiled wooden skirt suits – and it being an essential work wear item, too.
The skirt suit transformed into the women's trouser suit in the Sixties with the likes of designers such as Foale and Tuffin paving the way for women to break free from traditional workwear, with bright yellow versions and corduroy styles that matched the time.
Now they’re less compulsory as work uniform in many jobs, and as they have become far less constrictive, the suit has become far more versatile and fun.
Tailoring styles have gone back to favouring the double breasted fastening, and here we’ve not only found a mix of colours from canary yellow to rusty terracotta and pastel pale blue, but styles range from Sixties inspired flared trousers, to boxy fit jackets harking back to the Eighties with shoulder pads, while others come in the more contemporary straight leg designs that graze the ankle.
The bright colours follow the spring/summer 2019 catwalk trends where tailored suits from designers including Escada, Emporio Armani, Gucci, David Koma and Balenciaga ranged from bright orange to teal, purple, green and red.
But they’re not just for 9-5: pair with a chunky knit, or a white tee and white trainers, and you’ve got an easy dressed down look for the weekend too.
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Whistles linen double breasted blazer and suit and wide crop trousers: £139 and £99, Whistles
Is there anything that makes us feel more like spring than this colour? We think not. Reminding us of freshly cut grass, this vibrant linen number is both office and weekend worthy which means it will give you bang for your buck. But if you can only stretch to one part of this suit, we think there’s not much the trousers don’t go with, and you won’t want to take them off thanks to their very flattering fit. The jacket is a boxy design, with contrasting buttons on the sleeves and front and can be dressed down with mom-stye dark blue jeans.
Topshop double breasted suit jacket and unlined suit trousers in rust: £49 and £30, Topshop
We loved this suit jacket as it nips in at the waist and gives a really elegant silhouette. The double breasted jacket has tortoiseshell buttons and a third pocket above the usual two at the side, and is lined. It also has very lightly padded shoulders for more shape. The slim leg trousers are high-waisted with a slightly cropped leg, and have enough stretch to sit down comfortably.
Zara double breasted blazer and flared trousers: £79.99 and £39.99, Zara
Yes, it’s bright. Really bright, but we love this Sixties inspired suit and what we love most about it is the fit. The well tailored jacket looks just as good undone as it does done up, making it one of the most versatile on the list. And because it’s quite thick – as well as pretty long – it will also see you through to the colder months as it looks just as good undone and worn over knitted jumpers for autumn. The full length trousers also have a kick flare. Wear the suit now with navy top for a casual nautical look.
French Connection sundae suiting pastel suit jacket and tailored trousers in Kyoto blossom: £140 and £80, French Connection
This is how millennial pink can be grown up and sophisticated. This well made two-piece sticks to the traditional modern women’s suit form with its single breasted blazer style jacket – that has a contrasting white lining – it has an almost brushed feel to it, making it rather luxurious to the touch. While the trousers have side pockets and are cropped with a slim fit design. We were pleased to find the trousers were very stretchy and comfy too. The addition of the the top right breast pocket adds a slightly masculine touch which we like. It also comes in a very icy pale blue.
Asos Design gutsy linen relaxed blazer and culottes in saddle up brown: £50 and £30, Asos
Suits don’t have to be all slim leg and tailored, as this duo proves. Almost all of Asos’s suits are mix and match, but we love the design and terracotta colour of this one: the boxy double breasted jacket has a real Eighties feel, but if you prefer a more fitted style, go down a size. We love it paired with the high waisted and very wide-cut leg culottes, which are also nicely designed. The linen is very light weight and it’s a really versatile set that can be mixed and matched with other things. There's also a pair of high waisted shorts in the same style with a chunky belt.
Jigsaw Portofino linen jacket and trousers: £199 and £125, Jigsaw
Pastels are always a go-to come spring time and paired with gorgeous Italian linen, this suit is exactly what we want to wear right now. The cut is one of the best of the list and we especially love the single breasted jacket for it’s curved hem at the back and excellent fit across the front with just a single button to fasten it. The mid-rise trousers are cropped and we love wearing the whole outfit dressed down with a simple white tee and white trainers, making it an investment buy you’ll wear year after year.
The verdict: Women's coloured suits
Linen is the fabric of the summer, and for us, there’s no better colour to ward off the shackles of winter than the grass green of the Whistles linen suit. And we love the excellent design of the trousers too. We also really like the cut of the Jigsaw Portofino suit, but it is the most expensive of the list. For a more affordable option, we think the Topshop suit is a really great fit, both in size and on the pocket.
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