Couture Comment: Skirt Suits – the Iconic Two Piece Outfit

The skirt suit, a tailored fitted jacket, accompanied by a tailored skirt, is one of fashion’s iconic style pieces, as it lends itself to numerous social settings.

The skirt suit, once considered a boardroom staple, metamorphosed in the early 1980s to ’90s, with American Football-sized shoulder pads, mini skirts and flamboyant detailing (for which I blame Dynasty’s Joan Collins and Linda Evans). However, the tailoring was impeccable.

Women, were also moving up the corporate ladder, their suits as armour, providing an opportunity for their way of dressing not just to be a focal point, but also addressing their professionalism. Does that mean that women today, who do not wear a skirt suit, are not considered to be professional? Far from it… the fashion landscape has changed, and dressing for work, has become somewhat more relaxed in certain companies; it’s neither good nor bad, just different a different landscape.

However, and yes, there is always a ‘however’ with me, I can’t help but wonder, for those to whom the only form of dressing they have known, and want to disown, is a school uniform, having never worn a suit, skirt suit or trouser, you could be missing out on one of fashion’s simple, yet definitive fashion statements. Yes, such is the dressing power I believe a woman’s suit wields.

In the 1940s skirt suits for weddings were not uncommon, be it for the bride-to-be, or female guests. An outfit considered to be both practical and fashionable combined; the tailored jacket with an often nipped in waist, subtle cut, perfect proportionally in terms of looks, provides a clean aesthetic; the tailored skirt, either pencil skirt or ‘A-line’ completed the look.  Clothing size was not an issue, be it ready-to-wear or bespoke,  all women could look immaculate in a two-piece skirt suit, the fabrics from boucle to wool to psychedelic patterns (which came later in the ’60s), all added to the mystique of the women in a suit.

Women’s suits, and tailoring is just as relevant today as when worn in the in the ’40s,’60s and ’80s: a tailored jacket with its structure and detail can be worn with other items, the same applies to the skirt, blouses, shirts, dressy tops.

Investment outfits, their price tags do carry a higher premium in terms of cost, but when you think of the skirt suit in terms of fashion co-ordinates, and pragmatism, the cost is negligible, especially as it can be worn – complete, or separately – for a day at the races, plus other social occasions. Two clever items of clothing that can provide value in terms of cost per wear, in addition to making you look fabulous, now that’s something to think about for your wardrobe.

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