With that in mind, here are 4 tips for choosing your investment suit:
Tip #1: Buy the full set. If you're going to pony up for a suit, don't choose between pant or skirt options. Budget enough to purchase both and maximize the wear-ability. Some suits even come with a dress option. I'd take that too. The more ways you can wear your suit, the more often you'll wear it, plus you never have to worry if they "go".
Tip #2: Mind the fit. This should seem fairly intuitive, but it's included because so many choose an ill-fitting suit, completely sabotaging the intention of looking polished and powerful. If your suit has buttons, they should button easily with no gaping. None of this "I'll just wear it open" business. Lifting arms above your head should be comfortable. The blazer should graze your natural curves, nipping in at the waist, yet the cut should also camouflage your trouble zones. Your skirt length should sit just above or at the knee and pants are best in a straight leg. A very light shoulder pad might feel a little old school but offers a really great silhouette for many body types.
Tip #3: Get in with a tailor. Purchasing off the rack might save you some coin, but pay your tailor a visit anyway. One of the key indicators of an expensive suit look expensive is the impeccable fit. To keep it simple, I'd recommend having a custom suit made. This sounds super extravagant, but it really makes sense. You have full control over colour, cut and fit and adjustments (within reason) will be made at no additional charges. A great clothier will even recommend the best styles based on your body type and lifestyle.
Tip #4: Stay out of the black hole. I'm a colour lover and might feel content if another stitch of black fabric was never created, but I get why black is the go to for most women. It goes with everything, it's slimming...but it also does nothing complementary for most complexions, shows little personality and can look really harsh against other colours in an office environment. Think about a charcoal gray, chocolate brown or even a true navy if you'd prefer to stick to neutrals.
Bonus Advice: Once you've purchased your suit don't let it sit there gathering dust until a "proper" occasion arises. Your investment suit will cost $500 - $1500 depending on the number of pieces you choose so put it to work! Break up the pieces to create more casual looks. Your blazer over a tee with denim or your skirt with a belted flowy blouse. Use accessories like brooches or scarves to mix things up when you do sport the full set. Also, don't be afraid to take your suit out at night to social events. Adding a dramatic blouse, strappy heels and bold accessories will take you from desk to dinner in no time flat.
-- Tamika Auwai is our resident Style Editor, Shopping Enthusiast and Wardrobe Expert.
Images via Ann Taylor