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Catching Rae

Parsing Trends: Pantsuit Pandemic

Vivienne Tam, Jonathan Simkhai, Faith Connexion, T by Alexander Wang

Vivienne Tam, Jonathan Simkhai, Faith Connexion, T by Alexander Wang

Happy Monday, everyone! 

Last week was a blur of Nordstrom Anniversary Sale coverage celebrating my personal styling "alma mater" in the aim of getting us used to seeing all the Fall stuff that's hitting the sales floors. IMO, the sale is much better than last year, and I did come home with a small handful of items myself (which doesn't happen every year)!

Today, we're back to talking about the Fall trends, taking a look at the pantsuit look that has completely saturated the runways. 




It isn't hard to imagine the history of the pant suit, evolving first from the very elaborate outfits worn at the royal court in the 17th century, then to a more somber-colored upper-class trend started by a British dandy, gradually growing more casual and ubiquitous until suits were worn by businessmen and, finally, most men about town. Women's suits came later, and were originally only for practicality whilst riding a horse.

This year's pantsuit is characterized by a long, fitted blazer paired with fun pants - wide legs, flares, crops, split-hems... anything but the stiff corporate dress pant. They more closely resemble the jazz suits of the '20s and the zoot suits of the '40s - which the US War Production Board said wasted materials better used on WWII military efforts. 

Attributes connected to this relaxed take on the pantsuit include:

  • Formality
  • Masculinity
  • Status/Power
  • Authority
  • Music/Liesure/Fun
  • Luxury 
  • Rebellion
  • Freedom


How to Wear It

Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren

For a current look, try a longer jacket that ends around the crotch point. It should also be fairly slim through the waist to account for wider, looser-fit pants. If you are short, have short legs, or worry about adding width to your hip/thigh area, you can choose a slightly shorter blazer that has a hi-low or cutaway hem. 

Personal preference is the name of the game when it comes to these suits - runways show plenty of sexy options, such as going shirtless or layering blazers over bustiers and crop tops, but they also show them paired with high-necked silk blouses.

Suits are no longer the norm outside of very corporate offices, so the suit becomes the statement in itself - the rest of the outfit can simply help you make it your own!

These days, suits will strike many people as far too stiff and formal, even in this relaxed incarnation - and some women will find pantsuits in particular masculine and un-alluring.

Personally, I was surprised to find myself very drawn to the idea of the pantsuit! I dusted off an old black suit and actually just purchased a second suit in brown.  For me, this will be a fun alternative to jeans that will allow me to add some polish to my concert tees and other casual tops.

Anyone else out there jumping on the pantsuit pandemic along with me?