Just a few months ago, I would go to work looking the same as if I had just come off my shift at Coyote Ugly. Now I dress like a fancy prosecutor in Ally McBeal. I get up every day and button up a business suit: a black striped Dolce and Gabbana ensemble (vintage, from The RealReal), a brown, slightly baggy Giorgio Armani coat, and a cheeky Ralph Lauren Collection shirt (a bit Dick Tracy) So how and why Have I gone from a cute closet full of Chloé from the Stella McCartney era to wearing a constant routine of sober court clothes?
The unsexy answer is that I’ve grown up. This last season I felt like I was fed a mountain of clothing options. There were so, so, so many clothes on the runway. Too much. A Sisyphus mountain of ‘fits and -cores’ to keep up with. The sense of urgency was compounded as I looked at my own closet and faced my approach to vintage fashion: a pink shirt; a Celine PVC bag from the Michael Kors era; and a pair of skintight green Gucci pants from the Tom Ford era. I was even happily walking around in a Chloé tank top from the Stella McCartney era. (By the way, I’m a Taurus.) I wasn’t buying on purpose or because of how I felt: more serious, more direct. When I woke up in October and put on an old suit I bought on a whim a few years ago, I felt buttoned up and liberated.
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Once I put it on, I couldn’t help but see the outfits around me, worn by people who were breaking their office dress code and choosing a corporate look instead. A settlement is taking place tailor suits.
The RealReal reported a 45% increase in searches for pant suits for women. The runways are always full of suits, but I did see a few from unexpected brands. Batsheva, the queen of ruffles, offered a look of two-piece tailored suit in white latex modeled by singer Alex Cameron. (Chopova Lowena, known for her fantastic plaid pleated skirts, showed off a slouchy black beaded ensemble.
To better understand how designers are reinterpreting the tailored suit, I reached out to Swaim Hutson, known for his traditional silhouette look on his brand The Academy. I found that Hutson and I had a similar journey: ‘I was burned out on marketing and disenchanted with streetwear. In 2019, I introduced the suit and the ready-to-wear in the offer of The Academy New York ‘, he describes. “Like a crew neck sweatshirt, a classic striped cotton shirt and well-tailored double-breasted blazer are just as essential.”
And when I asked around to see if others had experienced this phenomenon off the catwalk, a large number of women wrote to me about their need to aerodynamic garments. My friend and former colleague Brooke Bobb needed to get away from the flowy dresses and wild prints she clung to while pregnant: ‘Four months after giving birth, I want to wear sleeker, more minimalist silhouettes from the ’90s and specifically , Armani’ style vintage suits.
Others, like the writer Megan O’Sullivan, were inspired by the catwalks. O’Sullivan was influenced by an ideal model from Interior’s Spring 2023 show who strode wildly down the runway in a suit, her blonde hair trailing behind: ‘The models carried the energy of someone who is serious and hasn’t come to do nonsense That business suit I really embodied that specific person,’ he told me, ‘It was my homecoming suit, because I didn’t have one yet.’ She was inspired by Meg Ryan’s wardrobe in the early ’90s and Julia Roberts’s with a male Armani suit at the 1990 Golden Globes. He then found two second-hand tailored suits at the Leisure Center vintage store.