The return of the ladylike suit

Suits were very popular in the 1980’s and early 1990’s and I absolutely loved the look.  As far as I was concerned a suit was the epitome of elegance and sophistication.  I purchased this Norma Kamali design in the early 1990’s after falling in love with the retro styling and velvet collar. I wore the suit quite a bit at the time, mostly for work but for parties and formal occasions too.  But fashion changes, and it wasn’t too long before suits were out and other things were in. I couldn’t let it go though.  After all, I changed into this suit at the end of my wedding to run off on my honeymoon with my new husband.  So it went into a bin and lived in the attic for a long time. Every so often I would pull the suit out of storage but it no longer fit. I couldn’t even get the skirt zipped. Still I kept hoping that one day I’d be able to wear it again.

With the popularity of Mad Men came the return of the lady-like look and I started to think about my beautiful houndstooth suit living up in the attic just waiting for the wheel of fashion to spin back around. This high-waisted pencil skirt and matching jacket goes so well with the retro trend. Even shoulder pads are coming back into style.  So I pulled down the suit, removed it from its plastic bag, and tried on again. It fit!  I’m rather amazed that I’m now wearing the same size I wore in my early 20’s.  Unfortunately some moths got into the wool during its stay in storage.  There’s a big hole in the skirt, but thankfully the jacket was not damaged.

Here’s how I styled the skirt for a Saturday brunch date with my husband.  Looking at the photos I feel I could use some bright shoes and maybe seamed stockings to make the ensemble even more fun, but I’m pleasantly surprised to see how current this 20-year-old suit looks today.

I no longer have s skinny belt that fits. The waistband includes belt loops and it looks naked without a belt in there. I’m actually wearing a removable purse strap around my waist.

As much as I love this outfit I must tell you that I got a lot of stares.  Clothing has become so casual these days that I really looked dressed up in comparison to everyone around me.

  • Suit – Norma Kamali
  • Blouse – Black House White Market
  • Beret – vintage
  • Shoes – purchased at “Off Broadway” for a song

Do you have anything from years ago that you still keep in case it comes back into fashion? Do you ever wear suits outside of work?

 

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26 Responses to The return of the ladylike suit

  1. mary jo
    Twitter:
    February 24, 2012 at 11:05 am #

    Love a ladylike suit, although suits in general seem to be too much for LA these days. I constantly regret giving away some of my great thrift finds and other clothes from college when I was a teenage thrift-maniac, but I guess there’s no use crying over spilled milk.

    Hope you have a wonderful weekend Heather!

    xo Mary Jo
    mary jo recently posted..eye on style: daniela belmondoMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca February 27, 2012 at 9:21 pm #

      I’m sure I gave away some things I should have kept. I only have a few left now, and of course I kick myself too.

  2. Patricia Streeter
    Twitter:
    February 24, 2012 at 11:20 am #

    I got an e-mail about your new post and was to busy to check, then I saw your tweet and remebered to check it out. Honestly, if you didn’t say this was an old suit, I would of thought you recently bought it and wanted to show us how great it looks. The lesson in this is, some trends come back. If you love something protect it an keep it in storage. However, if you see yourself going “Why did I wear that?”, you should donate it.
    Patricia Streeter recently posted..Wear this, Not That: To WorkMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca February 27, 2012 at 9:18 pm #

      Oh, that’s totally true. When I purchased this suit I knew it was an investment and I felt the look was so classic that it couldn’t ever go out of style. Well it did, and now it does feel very formal, but the look is coming back I think.

  3. Lisa
    Twitter:
    February 24, 2012 at 12:33 pm #

    Wow. You look amaaaazing. I adore the red beret with this gorgeous ensemble. With the beret on you remind me of Faye Dunaway – stunning!
    Lisa recently posted..My ABC’sMy Profile

  4. Alexis Grace February 24, 2012 at 12:33 pm #

    CONGRATS on the suit fitting! Pretty amazing!

    And it does look great. I struggle with including suits in my wardrobe, just doesn’t feel very LA…. but then again, on you it looks fantastic!
    Alexis Grace recently posted..Laptop Bag Chic: The Matt & Nat RitualMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca February 27, 2012 at 9:17 pm #

      It’s true it doesn’t feel very LA. I wore a different suit from the same designer (I bought 2 others when I bought this one) and it actually felt pretty “right”, but I was attending a business lunch and I think that made all the difference.

  5. Terri
    Twitter:
    February 24, 2012 at 3:53 pm #

    It’s a beautiful suit. I love the jacket and your belt solution is ingenius!
    Terri recently posted..Capsule Wardrobe Challenge: Breakthroughs & BloopersMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca February 27, 2012 at 9:15 pm #

      I’m so glad everyone likes the belt idea. I would like a “real” one but it’s so hard to find one’s that fit just right.

  6. anne the SpyGirl
    Twitter:
    February 24, 2012 at 4:37 pm #

    I thought that was a “real” belt and liked the clever fastening on the belt loop and then you revealed that it’s a purse strap! You clever girl, you.
    Agree with the Faye D ref above.
    You look stunning, as always!
    anne the SpyGirl recently posted..Threads and Surfaces: Heather from The Style Confessions™My Profile

  7. Hugo February 24, 2012 at 6:06 pm #

    Maybe you’ll start a beret trend:

    http://dollyrockergirl.blogspot.com/2010/04/she-wore-raspberry-beret-kind-you-find.html

    • Heather Fonseca February 27, 2012 at 9:14 pm #

      Thanks for the link Hugo! Love those beret photos.

  8. Dress Code: High Fashion
    Twitter:
    February 24, 2012 at 9:14 pm #

    What a beautiful Gaultier- and Galliano Woman! Makes my heart jump with joy as I also remember how all the supermodels were dressed like this in the 80s and 90s Vogues.

    Suits you very well!

    Have a nice weekend, Jen
    Dress Code: High Fashion recently posted..Jean Paul Gaultier Tattoo Collection S/S 12My Profile

    • Heather Fonseca February 27, 2012 at 9:11 pm #

      Oh they really were! I used to love the suits worn with short-shorts. It was such an early 90’s look but not one that’s come back yet, not that I’d be able to wear it now. Glad you like it!

  9. Sylvia
    Twitter:
    February 24, 2012 at 9:57 pm #

    How fun Heather. This suit fits you really well, and I love your accessorizing with the red beret! The low shirt is perfect too. Great pictures again!
    Sylvia recently posted..Posing before Prada and the 6 inch heelsMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca February 27, 2012 at 9:10 pm #

      Thanks so much Sylia. Glad you like it.

  10. Sarah Reece February 25, 2012 at 1:32 am #

    Pretty fascinating, couldn’t believe that is a years old suit. I was quite impressed by your idea of using the purse strap to fit in as a belt.

    And yes, the fashion trends do keep coming back, so sometimes I do preserve a dress or two that I like, but fitting into an old size seems to have become a big problem with me now. Guess need to workout harder to get into my old fashionable style.
    Sarah Reece recently posted..BluehostMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca February 27, 2012 at 9:09 pm #

      I don’t have that many things I can wear again. I’m sort of the opposite of a pack rack! I have two other suits by the same designer that I purchased at the same time. I can’t tell you how great it is to fit into them again!

  11. THE-LOUDMOUTH
    Twitter:
    February 26, 2012 at 10:56 pm #

    Amazing suit! I’m so glad you kept it, and it looks awesome with the shoes, top and hat. A wonderful outfit, indeed. 🙂 And you’re adorable in it!
    THE-LOUDMOUTH recently posted..5 Steps to the Easiest Makeup Look Ever (AKA This is Why I’m Not a Vlogger)My Profile

  12. A Brit Greek
    Twitter:
    February 27, 2012 at 4:16 am #

    Oooh, such an amazing look, perfect Faye Dunaway chic! I’m glad you kept this suit and re-worked it into your wardrobe again!
    x.o.x.o
    A Brit Greek recently posted..Red Carpet Ready: Preparing for the Oscars & Major EventsMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca February 27, 2012 at 9:04 pm #

      Thanks so much! It is rather Faye Dunaway isn’t it?

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Wool Fashion Beret Raspberry - March 1, 2012

    […] The return of the ladylike suit | The Style Confessions™ With the popularity of Mad Men came the return of the lady-like look and I started to think about my beautiful houndstooth suit living up in the attic just waiting for the wheel of fashion to spin back around. This high-waisted pencil skirt and . Unfortunately some moths got into the wool during its stay in storage. There's a big hole in the skirt, but . Maybe you'll start a beret trend: //dollyrockergirl.blogspot.com/2010/04/she-wore-raspberry-beret-kind-you-find.html . […]

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