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Date : May 19, 2024
the best suits for women 2023

The Best Women’s Suits of 2022: Affordable, Designer, and Everything In Between

some of the best suits for women in 2023

5 professional women wear affordable suits for interviews; all suits shown are under $500 for two pieces

Our favorite mid-range suits for women as of 2022: one / two / three / four / five

This post was last updated in October 2022.

Which are the best women’s suits of 2022, whether for a stylish interview outfit, a power suit, or some other major career event? (Or, hey: a simple, chic suit often makes a great work outfit all by itself!)

We’ve recently updated The Corporette Guide to Interview Suits, but we haven’t talked about the best suits for women in ages (aww, here was one of our first discussions on suiting basics for women!) so I thought we’d do a roundup.

(We’ve also updated guide to plus size suits, petite suits, tall suits, and more in the coming weeks as well!)

Readers, which are your favorite interview suits right now? What do you consider to be your “power suit”? What are you looking for in a suit right now?

Stay tuned for our upcoming course on how to feel more polished!

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Table of Contents

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General Tips on Suits for Women

First, some general tips on what to look for in a great suit:

Confidence is the key to interview attire and power dressing.

The goal of any interview suit or other suit like this is to let your brain do the talking and let your fashion sense take a back seat — so if you feel best in a pants suit, or flats, go for that.

You don’t want to be that “baby giraffe” trying to walk in uncomfortable heels that are too high for you and sitting awkwardly in your interview fussing with your jacket.

Really: whatever makes you feel like a polished professional is what’s going to make you the most confident.

So take the rest of these tips with a grain of salt, BUT for my $.02, here are some shopping, styling, and budget tips: 

Skirt Suits Fit Better Off the Rack.

If you’re hunting for a budget-friendly interview suit: go for a black skirt suit rather than a pants suit, because pants fit is by far the hardest thing to get right.

In my experience, a $60 skirt suit looks OK but a $60 pants suit makes you look like you come from Planet Frump.

Furthermore, the skirt suit will go farther — you can wear the pencil skirt as a basic bottom in your wardrobe (but always dryclean all pieces of a suit together!), plus if you have a “dressed up” occasion, a skirt suit is always going to be the more formal option.

Another pro for a simple pencil skirt: you completely avoid the issue of what length/type pants to get, which really does feel like we’re in a period of flux. (For a while all you could find were ankle pants, even though they were too trendy to wear to most conservative workplaces — now that flared pants and bootcut trousers are coming back I feel like the ankle pants may be outdated pretty quickly.) 

Other trends I’ve seen with suits: jumpsuits! culottes! short suits!

You want 1) a pencil skirt + hip length jacket or 2) a fitted sheath dress + hip length jacket — these combos have been in for years and probably will be for years to come.

(Here’s our guide to pantyhose, which yes, if you want to be “safe,” you should probably wear for any interview if you’re junior, particularly in more conservative areas — but go back to our first point on confidence/comfort and factor that in.)

Hunt for seasonless, all-season fabrics for your suits.

If you’re shopping online, look for words such as: seasonless wool, stretch wool, tropical wool, gabardine, triacetate.

Avoid words like sateen, shimmer, linen. Crepe can be really tricky — sometimes it means a polyester drapey blend for suiting and sometimes it means a bridesmaid’s dress/MOB type thing.

More Bust? More Buttons.

If you’re busty, the traditional wisdom here is that you want more buttons on your blazer, not fewer. I’m plenty busty and have had some favorite one-button jackets over the years, though, so your mileage may vary here.

Depending on trends you can sometimes find suits with as many as four or five buttons. Check out this post for more workwear style tips for busty women.

A Few More Random Tips on Women’s Suits

Treasure hunting for a suit (where you MAY or may not find something good): Nordstrom Rack, Topshop, T.J. Maxx, Yoox, ASOS, OFF5TH, River Island, and Abercrombie & Fitch. Nordstrom brands Halogen and Open Edit sometimes have good deals on basic suits; Nordstrom also sells suits from Topshop and 4th & Reckless.

Consider taking your suit to the tailor. Common suiting alterations include shortening sleeves, adjusting the waist. Note that the blazer (specifically the shoulder/arms) is the hardest to tailor, so focus on that fit when you’re shopping.

Please don’t forget to cut your Xs, always dryclean suiting pieces together, and — if you’re wearing the suit somewhere Very Important like an interview, make sure you use the mirror trick.

For other tips on buying a basic interview suit (including considerations on colors, care, accessories, layering, and more), please check out The Corporette Guide to Interview Suits, as well as our recently updated guide to tops to wear under suits.

And, of course, complete you look with a walkable pair of comfortable heels or flats.

These are some of our favorite heels as of 2022, but check out our entire Guide to Comfortable Heels!

collage of 5 heels for work

Pictured above, some of our favorite black heels for the office: one / two / three / four / five

Looking for older versions of this post? Here’s our roundup in 2016, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2010, and (aww) 2008.

We’ll put a few handy pins at the bottom of this post for you with general prices for suiting alterations and general advice for what to wear on interviews. But first: on to our roundup of the best women’s suits right now!

Affordable Suits For Women

All of the suits in this tier are generally under $250 for two pieces. Note that the two big risks with a budget option will be frumpiness on one end — and “sexy secretary”/ formality problems on the other.

Try to look for a material that drapes well, doesn’t wrinkle, isn’t too seasonal (such as a cotton suit — a tropical wool or triacetate will go farther) — and be wary of trendy cuts like collarless jackets, huge slits in your skirt, cropped pants, and more.

5 professional women wear affordable suits for interviews

Pictured above, some of our favorite brands for affordable women’s suits as of 2022: one* / two* / three / four* / five (also, and* sometimes here* and here) (* = some plus sizes also)

Anne Klein (separates) – Nordstrom has a few Anne Klein suits; Macy’s also carries them. They also have an exclusive line at Macy’s called “Anne Klein Executive,” but note that those are full suit sets, not separates.

Banana Republic Factory – Like J.Crew Factory, BR’s outlet sector has a lot of good finds for work, particularly on the more affordable, classic side of things. Note that because these pieces may be produced just for the Factory Store it may mean that there are differences in fit and quality — so keep that in mind when ordering.

Calvin Klein (separates) – It’s next to impossible to find a good link to one online, but Calvin Klein suiting separates are also sold at Macy’s and are pretty reliable; here’s a link to the classic two-button blazer. (Amazon also has a ton of them, many of them eligible for Prime Wardrobe.)

Chadwicks – I have no experience personally with these suits, but some of the blazers are under $20 (!) and the brand offers regular, petite, plus, and tall sizes — and they have suiting separates.

Express – If you’re a fan of their Editor/Columnist pants, do check out their matching blazers and other suiting options. As always with these brands, watch or fit — but note that Express has been stepping up their workwear game lately, so these may be a great option if you’re looking for an interview suit on a budget.

J.Crew Factory – J.Crew’s factory outlet is a great source for workwear, particularly affordable wool suiting separates — inventory comes and goes, but when it’s in stock it’s pretty great.

Kasper (separates) and Tahari (separates) – Kasper and Tahari both used to specialize in full suit sets, but in recent years they’ve had a line of separates for sale, which is great for people who want, say, a petite-sized blazer but a regular-sized skirt. I haven’t tried them on for quality or fit, though.

Kasper / Tahari / Le Suit (not sold as separates) – You can find huge deals on these brands at places like TJ Maxx, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Lord & Taylor, Smart Bargains, and Overstock — but it’s very hard to break the pieces up and wear them as separates, at least in my experience.

If you need a skirt suit for under $100 all in, though, these brands are the first places I’d look. Note that because these suits are sold as one product (rather than as separates) you usually have to pick a single size — if you’re a 10 on top and 14 on the bottom, for example, this is not going to be the way you want to go.

In my experience these suits may trend towards the frumpy side, particularly as pantsuits — in a skirt suit the fit issues will be less noticeable. (You may also want to check out our guide to suiting alterations!)

Kohl’s – It can be tricky to find matching separates online, and inventory tends to move quickly – but some of the brands could have great options for basic suits, including Croft & Barrow, Lauren Conrad, Nine West, and Simply Simply Vera.

Lands’ End – Particularly if you’re looking for a washable wool blazer in a wider size range (such as tall, petite, plus or cusp sizes), Lands’ End can be a great, affordable option.

Loft – Sometimes you can get a basic dark suit here, although I’d be worried about wrinkling and trendiness/formality (compared to other options, like Tahari or Anne Klein)

Mango – Mango has really stepped up their office wear line recently, including a ton of basic suits and more; they even sometimes have plus sizes.

Marycrafts – This Amazon seller has been a reader secret for years; they often have both pieces of a vintage-inspired suit for around $50.

Nine West (separates) – I usually think of Nine West as selling “fun” suits in classic cuts (like bright pink ones) but from time to time they have neutral suits. If you see one on the rack in a color you like but are hesitant to try because you think Nine West only sells affordable shoes, think again…

NY & Co. – I’d be wary of the fabric and fit here, so it’s hard to recommend them online — but if you have a store near you, these are some of the most budget-friendly suits you can get. They have a line called “all-season stretch” that would be the place I’d start.

Uniqlo – Their inventory changes frequently, but they usually do have basic blazers and pants, often machine washable and under $100 for both pieces.

Vince Camuto – This brand is carried at a lot of department stores like Nordstrom and Macy’s, as well as at Amazon – their ponte pants and skirts are some of the reader favorites, and they often have matching blazers. The looks often come in plus sizes, as well.

White House | Black Market – They’ve expanded their suiting collection lately. Keep an eye out for their Comfort Stretch pants line which often has matching blazers. It’s nice that they offer pants in curvy cuts as well as short, regular, and tall lengths; some of their petites go up to size 20.

Bonus notes on Affordable Suiting for Women

Brands that regularly make “fun” suits that may occasionally have neutral suits include ASOS, H&MNine West, Topshop (also at Nordstrom), Zara.

Also, a sad trombone for The Limited, which used to be one of our favorites in this space — it looks like Belk has what’s left of their inventory (or perhaps just the rights to the name). Ann Taylor Factory also no longer exists, at least online.

Mid-Range Suits For Women

These suits are reliably under $500 for two pieces — but they’re going to be a bit higher quality than more affordable suiting options in the first tier.

5 professional women wear affordable suits for interviews; all suits shown are under $500 for two pieces

Our favorite mid-range suits for women as of 2022: one / two / three / four / five

Ann Taylor – When we took a closer look at which Ann Taylor suiting line was best, there weren’t a lot of wrong answers – many have pockets and are washable. For a basic suit, I’d probably look first at their long-running seasonless stretch suiting or Bi-Stretch line.

Watch for sales (historically they’ve had them early June), but note that it’s hard to go wrong with Ann Taylor for your first major suit.

{related: what to buy for work at Ann Taylor}

Antonio Melani – Dillards’ line of workwear is a solid option if you like the styles or if you can find them in the store.

Banana Republic – I’ve really been liking a lot of BR suits lately, and it’s great that they’ve got a ton of machine washable suits — they can be very difficult to find!

Boden – I normally think of Boden for fun suits, but they do have some more traditional options as well. (Don’t forget to check out our recent roundup of how to build a work wardrobe at Boden!)

Hobbs – This British brand is sold at Bloomingdale’s and they have a few boutiques in the U.S. – they’re one of the few brands that is reliably machine washable, often including their suits.

J.Crew – J.Crew has come back strong with a lot of great suiting options after a few years where they just focused on work dresses.

{related: what to buy for work at J.Crew}

Of Mercer – This workwear indie has a solid section of suiting section with blazers topping out around $250.

Talbots has been gaining in reader popularity over the years — note that if you’re hard to fit, they often carry multiple suit separate options in regular sizes (often up to 18 or 20), tall, petite, plus sizes, and (holy grail of rareness here), plus size petites. Do check out their line of seasonless wool suiting.

Investment Suits For Women

I also call this category “fancy affordable” — they’re expensive, but generally worth it if you wear a suit a lot. For many women this is going to be the first “splurge” suit — two pieces will cost you more than $500, but less than $2000.

5 professional women wear affordable suits for interviews; all suits shown are around $500-$2000 for two pieces

Pictured above, some of our favorite investment suits as of 2022: one / two / three / four / five

Brooks Brothers – Brooks Brothers’ is a conservative basic, and they’ve occasionally had suiting especially intended to keep you cool in warm temperatures. This silk cashmere sweater has been a reader favorite for years, and layers nicely under suits.

Elie Tahari – This brand has a ton of sleek basics for work; their Judith top is one of our favorite sleeveless tops for wearing under suits. They have a lot of stores in malls but can be a bit tricky to find in department stores.

The Fold London – I mostly think of this brand for their gorgeous origami-like top, but they make a lot of neutral suiting and other tailored pieces, so if you’re looking for something different (or happen to be in London), keep the brand in mind.

Hugo Boss – My admiration for this brand has only grown the more I’ve done this blog — everything they do is beautiful quality, extremely classic and stylish. They have stand alone stores, but you can also find the brand at Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s.

Lafayette 148 New York – If you’ve got curves or are in need of cusp sizes or plus sizes, take a look at Lafayette 148 New York — the quality is lovely but the cuts are much more forgiving. Their suiting pants are incredibly highly rated at Nordstrom, as well. You can sometimes find the brand on deep discount at Nordstrom, NordstromRack, or OFF5TH, and there are usually pieces included in the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.

LK Bennett – This British brand has a ton of tweed suits and feminine suiting options, but they also carry neutrals — if your goal in your interview is to feel like a super confident Kate Middleton, this is where I’d go.

M.M.LaFleur – This brand nearly went in the above tier, but two pieces would be around $600, so technically it’s in this one (although you may be able to find them used for less money). The independent maker of the reader-favorite jardigans has had a suiting section for a while; a lot of it is travel-friendly and even washable. Nordstrom and Zappos both occasionally carry the brand.

Reiss – This British brand is always droolworthy for me — they specialize in classic takes on modern styles and have a robust suiting section. Note that their fits can be a bit body conscious. Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s both carry the brand; also that the sale/outlet section on their site has some amazing deals. 

Ted Baker – Another British brand that is fabulous if you want a slightly feminine take on workwear. Although they’ve gotten away from basic suits recently, you can still find them occasionally. They have a lot of mall stores, but you can also find the brand at Nordstrom.

Theory – The classic, particularly among BigLaw lawyers — but be warned, if you have curves you may have to size up here. Note that you can also find the brand at a lot of spots, including Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, and Saks. They’ve become more eco-conscious in the past few years through their use of Good Wool.

Scanlan Theodore – This Aussie brand is slowly growing in the United States; their suits are drool-worthy; blazers start around $650.

Sportmax – This brand is hard to find online, but if you happen to see a store, do pop in — the fabrics and cuts are amazing, and a suit should run you less than $1000. (The brand is owned by the same company that owns Max Mara.) Nordstrom sometimes carries it.

Vince – This brand has a ton of lux basics in regular and plus sizes. Nordstrom and other department stores carry it.

Fun, trendy brands that might have a suitable interview suit: L’Agence, Alice + Olivia (also), AllSaints (alsof), Capsule 121, Commando (!), Rebecca Taylor (also), Tibi, Trina Turk – also keep an eye out at more traditional sites like Ralph Lauren.

Designer Suits for Women

5 professional women wear affordable suits for interviews and c-suite style

Some of the usual suspects for basic designer suits: McQueen / Altuzarra / Akris / Michael Kors / Veronica Beard

All of these brands are classics for designer workwear — when you win the lottery (or, hey, make partner after a ton of hard work!), stop here first. (I’d also call this “c-suite style“!)

Brands in this tier who might have a classic, simple suit: Alaïa, Altuzarra, Akris, Armani, Veronica Beard, Victoria Beckham, Burberry, Chloé, Dolce & GabbanaJosephMax MaraMichael Kors, The Row, Saint LaurentSt. John and Zimmerman.

Keep an eye on designer stores for newer brands with designer suits, such as FarfetchMatches, My Theresa, Net a Porter (as well as sister site The Outnet) as well as the upscale department stores like Neiman Marcus and Saks.

Ladies, what are your favorite suiting brands for basic, classic interview suits? For those of you who’ve bought suits for women across the different price ranges, what differences have you noticed in quality? What pieces are the most worthy to stalk at sales and on eBay? 

suiting alterations for women
what to wear on interviews advice for women 1

The post The Best Women’s Suits of 2022: Affordable, Designer, and Everything In Between appeared first on Corporette.com.

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