The Workaday Suit Returns with a Twist

I have a number of goals for this blog: to encourage creativity and self-expression in dressing for work; to bring elegance and joie de vivre into the workplace; to develop confidence in selecting clothes and putting together outfits, and; to optimize, or get the most out of everything in, one’s closet. It occurs to me that these goals should be apparent on the face of the blog, but if they aren’t — Now You Know.*

Such worthy goals!
Today we shall optimize, by making a dull suit a little more interesting.
It’s such a small trick, I almost feel embarrassed reducing it to writing.
Here we go: Wear a belted cardigan under your suit jacket.
Dull suit, made a little more interesting

Enjoyment is disproportionate to innate charm of the cardigan
I said a little more interesting. I didn’t say show-stopper.
But I must confess that adding this cardigan to the mix makes wearing this suit very enjoyable.
There would be no joy whatsoever in wearing the suit with just a white blouse underneath.

The cardigan came with a self belt, but you could do just as well with a skinny black patent leather belt. A skinny yellow or red belt would also be very effective.
I bought this cardigan in two colors at JCrew two winters ago — this medium grey one and another in an aquamarine blue — and I wear them all the time.
I am pro belted cardigan

By all the time, I mean, I wear them with yoga pants on the weekend and with pajamas in the evening. So cozy. And then occasionally, the sweaters go to work.

You’ve seen this suit twice before
From the side, it’s the same old workaday suit.
I could tuck in my blouse, but I am lazy. This dotted Swiss blouse is very light and crushable.

Why does this work? Why a cardigan and not a crewneck?
You are asking the right questions. I’ll address the crewneck first.
A crewneck would look cute, but would create a different look, which we will call School Uniform. The focus would be the collar, not the sweater.**
We’re breaking this down

The cardigan pulls the focus to the vertical line of buttons down the front. That’s something to look at. The belt creates shape, even though only a hint of that shape is visible. But we all know it’s there. And thus the boxy suit becomes shapely. Implicitly shapely.
I like the elongated bow, which I have tied slightly off-center. It, too, creates a little visual interest through depth. Depth, you may remember, is the ultimate goal.
Depth is the goal; layers are the instrument, the method, and the code

I would be remiss if I didn’t share one additional tip, which you probably have observed on your own. A boring suit can also be elevated by a great pair of shoes and a lively bag. All Hail the Oil Slick.
Suit, cardigan and blouse: JCrew; Boots: 8 from YOOX; Bag: Car Shoe

* And you thought the goal of this blog was to provoke and delight you with outlandish ensembles. That’s just a collateral benefit.
** School Uniform is a good look, and you know I love a white collar — I’m just trying for something different today.

4 thoughts on “The Workaday Suit Returns with a Twist”

  1. OO! Fantastic post!!! Please do more of this, i.e. breaking down the elements into general whys and wherefores. You do go into detail about your outfits, of course, but it tends to be more along the lines of ‘how I made it fit me’ or a colour challenge, which are also good, but THIS is gold. 😀

  2. This is brilliant. When it comes to tricks to help me dressing myself, nothing is too insignificant to share! I’ve always avoided those belted cardigans because as standalones they look ill-proportioned on me. But layered like this is genius.


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