How to Find the Perfect Suit
Once upon a time, when medieval knights went into battle, they protected themselves in shining suits of armor. If one interlocking link was out of place, their lives could be kaput. For today’s career woman, the power suit is the modern equivalent of the shining armor of yore, and while a wrong move at the suit rack won’t endanger queen and country, a poor choice could cost you crucial battles in your career. Even the most delectable Chanel ensemble is just another suit on a hanger if it fails to accentuate your personal confidence and strength. But where to start, and how to choose?
YOU, YOU, YOU
Scouting for power suits can be far more fun for women than for men simply because we have more options. At the same time, the staggering volume of jacket/pant/skirt/blouse combinations can be overwhelming if you don’t have a plan of action. Power suits should empower you, and so that’s where you need to start. What styles, colors and fabrics coax out your inner Warrior Princess?
PERUSING FOR POWER SUITS
Flip through fashion magazines, though remember that pictorial spreads often represent the extremes of fashion; the underfed models might sport cherry red micro suits on every glossy page, but that look will not translate well to the boardroom. Stroll through the mall (or Wall Street), taking note of what you like and what makes you recoil in horror. And before you fork over your credit card, make sure the store has a return policy (because what looks perfect under the store lights might reveal its inner hideousness once you get it home).
GIVE YOUR SUIT A TEST DRIVE
Well before the big meeting give yourself a dress rehearsal. Don the suit as you would on that day-working with all the props (the shoes and accessories you intend to wear)- and evaluate how it looks and feels. Does it sit well when you’re standing but balloon up when you sit down? Is it itchy? Do the pants ride up your ass? Does it collect lint with every move? Trust your instincts: if it doesn’t feel right during the test drive, it’s probably not the right suit for you.
RULES OF DISTRACTION
The power suit is an aid: it should motivate you to succeed without defining who you are. If you discover that you can’t take your mind off some aspect of the suit (itchiness, lint, etc.) while you’re wearing it, leave it on the hanger. Be wary of suits that are figure-flattering to the point of distraction: if it’s too short, too tight, or otherwise reminiscent of Halle Berry’s Catwoman costume, save it for the nightclub. The ideal power suit should keep the focus on who you are and what you’re saying. You’re worth being heard! A thoughtfully chosen power suit can give you the chutzpah you need to get your message across.