Classic, tailored skirt suits are still worn in
a number of professions from banking to law,
real estate to advertising. Larger cities often
require more formal
work attire at
all levels from secretaries to executives.
Plus-size career dresses
and jacket dresses also fill part of the void
and are a very popular alternative.
While women of all sizes are an important
percentage of the work force, curvy career
women can find it particularly challenging to
locate tailored skirt suits at any budget level.
Consequently many rely on basic black which
stretches further as a core basic mixed and
matched with a variety of career tops
-- even in fields that allow more expression of
color, trends, and personal style.
This has more to do with lack of choices and has
led to low consumer expectations, rather than a
lack of demand for more trend conscious options.
This is a significant gap in the apparel market
in that 60% of women in the USA wear a size 12+
with the average in the 14 to 20 range.
In many professions it is increasingly
acceptable to mix
or even less structured cardigans with
career skirt separates,
but more conservative fields and professions
still require matching pieces. Since many women
wear different sizes on top and bottom, it is
common for better quality matched suiting to be
sold as separates for the best fit.
Even in less formal professions, skirt suits are
a wise choice for job interviews and
can be another alternative, depending on the
and special occasion skirt suits have
a different flavor, often with added beading and
embellishments and are found in our evening wear
Draper's & Damon's
offers both classically tailored and quality
knit skirt suit sets in size 4 to 26W.
Meanwhile, career clothing specialist Jones New York
offers a value
priced basics line through
in size 14 to 24W. Excellent quality,
classic tailored styles are a staple at
Talbots which offers many styles in both
women's and women's petite sizes up to 24W.
Although stocked in many of the better and
upscale department stores,
offers much of their popular professional career
clothing line direct on-line in sizes 2 to 24W.
offers good quality contemporary business
suiting on their website, although not in most
stores, in sizes 14 to 28W. Those looking for
both classic tailored interview styles and more
contemporary looks will want to check out the
new collection of sleek styles offered by
Eloquii in size 14 to 28W.
The best department store
selections for skirt suits are at
Lord & Taylor.
Look for suits from Tahari, Calvin Klein, Evan
Picone, and DKNYC. In addition,
Dillard's carries separates from
designers such as Ming Wang and usually has a
very good selection of classic, interview style
Very high-end designer suits from
labels such as Max Mara, Gucci, St. John, and
Albert Nipon are regularly available through
in misses sizes up to a misses 16 / 18, while
suit separates and other career looks from Marina Rinaldi, Misook,
Lafayette 148 and Kay
Unger in size 14 to 24W are also occasionally
available there. Less structured
contemporary office looks from Caroline Rose and
Eileen Fisher are also regularly available in
size 14 to 24W.
Options from luxury
executive tailored clothier Lafayette 148 are
often available through
Saks Fifth Avenue
in size 14 to 24W, in addition to harder to find
labels such as the luxury Italian knitwear
has a limited number of core black suit
separates including skirts and jackets from
labels such as Louben in size 14 to 24W.
Their main misses collection offers many higher
end designer labels in size 0 to 16. Look
for Armani, St. John, and Akris Punto, among
Traditional to contemporary styles at more
moderate prices can also be found at
with sizes from 6 to 28W, and petites often as
large as 20P.
Those able to wear
extended misses sizes to 18 / 20 will enjoy the
Ann Taylor Loft
New York & Co.
The latter offers a capsule collection from Eva
Mendez that has softer work appropriate styles
at value prices.
has also begun to carry more business
appropriate attire with jackets and coordinating
skirts available from time-to-time in size 16 to
32W, with petites in size XL to 5X.
Tall women will want to check
Long Tall Sally
for sizes up to 20T. Petite styles as large
as 20P are often available from
Old Pueblo Traders.
Flash sale sites such as
can often be a good resource for name brand
suiting at discounts with a good inventory to
size 24W. You'll find brands such as
Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, and DKNY.
Markdowns on designer skirt suits from labels
such as Lafayette 148 can sometimes be found at
Saks Off Fifth
in sizes to 24W. Occasionally suiting in
extended sizes is also stocked at
Nordstrom Rack for sizes up to 24W.