(This piece is taken from an article I wrote for my student paper; The Courier)
Suits have undoubtedly been all over womenswear this past year; from casual tailoring looks pairing them with chunky trainers to evening showstoppers styled up with a killer heel. This AW their presence has certainly peaked, with the high street providing offerings at all price points, in all manners of fabrics and prints (I’ve got my eye on a leopard print number from Topshop!) making the trend an inclusive one that we can all get on board with!
But what does the resurgence in popularity for the two piece suit signify?
Is it simply a sassy timeless trend re-emerging for a new generation or does it represent something much bigger; the empowerment and emancipation of women?
Like any garment you wear, it’s always your intentions that carry the largest message, whether that be one of comfort when opting for a snuggly cable knit jumper, or that of musical fandom when choosing to proudly wear your Arctic Monkeys tour t-shirt. We are always saying something with our outfit choices, deliberately or not.
As we all know, personal style is endlessly expressive, therefore to attach one meaning to the current ubiquity of suits would be doing them an injustice. However, there’s definitely something undeniably intoxicating about a woman wearing a traditional male garment, turning their back on gender norms, and completely rocking it.
The woman’s suit has been around for decades but it’s a look generally most associated with the 1980’s economic boom, a time when women began to gain more command in the workplace and manifested that authority visually by wearing incredible trouser suits. Thanks to Giorgio Armani, suits were finally being cut to flatter and fit a woman’s body making them increasingly appealing to the working women of the time, of course with the added eighties pizzazz of shoulder pads big enough to double as pillows!
I believe that women today gain the same surge of confidence and empowerment when they slip into a flared trouser suit from Zara that the executive women of the 80’s received when wearing a chic trouser suit. It’s clear that the term ‘wearing the trousers’ and asserting your importance in patriarchal society remains increasingly potent through fashion.
At Elle’s Women in Hollywood ceremony on the 16th of this month, Lady Gaga opted to wear an oversized Calvin Klein trouser suit, adverse to the recommendations of multiple stylists whom insisted she should wear a dress. Speaking about her seemingly unconventional wardrobe choice, Gaga stated “Today I wanted to take the power back. Today I wear the pants.”
As an LGBT icon whom is incredibly vocal in her fight for equal rights Gaga’s statement incites a fire, a desire to use fashion to speak volumes about your belief system and inner feelings, without having to utter a word. What we wear each day, for most of us, is a choice. The way we present ourselves to the world through personal style tells a story about ourselves, or who we are choosing to be that today.
Wearing a suit as a woman not only looks bloody fantastic, it’s also pretty iconic in its message. For over 30 years the suit has represented the independent and emancipated woman, a message all women should be proud of.
My Suit photographed here is a bargain find from eBay (£22 for the blazer and trousers); my go-to place to buy incredible suits!