Suit Shopping

Last week, I had an occasion that required me to wear a suit. I haven’t worn one since I was job searching in 2007, nearly 70lbs heavier than I am now. Clearly those suits won’t work–and they were donated a long time ago.

I spent hours in several stores: JCPenney, Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, the Gap, etc. I was Goldilock’s shopping at the Bears’ house but Mama Bear’s wardrobe was conspicuously absent.

  • Banana Republic: Shirts fit (evidenced by the fact that I bought 2 or 3) but the pants were too small.
  • JCPenneys: Plenty of nice dresses (I may have purchased 3!) but no suits or suit-like separates. Probably because it was a factory/outlet store.
  • The Gap: Nothing even remotely resembling a suit. And is it just me or do their clothes look like they’re made more cheaply? I feel like they’re following the Old Navy path of cheap and disposable clothing (only with a bigger price tag).
  • Ann Taylor Outlet: my favorite of the three but the suit I wanted didn’t come with pants in tall lengths. I really need longer pants–especially if I’m wearing heels (which was the plan). I easily could have purchased several tops, but limited myself to a short sleeved v-neck sweater with a classy button detail on the sleeves.

I know what I want which both helps and hinders the suit searching:

  • pinstripe suit (in navy)
  • a feminine top (not a button down) with a bright, splashy pattern and bright colors (purples, blues or greens)
  • simple, round toe pumps. 2-3″ heel. Patent leather or suede. Especially if they’re gray.


What did I get? A simple black suit, kelly green top and these heels. It felt and looked good, but lacked oompf.

Any ideas for where to find nice work clothes in tall lengths? Most places don’t carry talls in size 16 or 18, which is what I need for pants.


5 responses to “Suit Shopping

  1. Lord & Taylor & Talbots are my go to for suits and work clothes in general. Granted I’m in plus sizes, but their regular sections are AMAZING and I cant wait to get into them 🙂

  2. I am so with you with the Gap – I was there on Saturday and two shirts I tried on had tears in them, and they hadn’t even walked out the doors!

    Have you tried NY&CO for pants? Not the best quality, but they have almost every size in long I think. I’ve gotten a few pairs of staple black pants there before…

  3. Gap has really gone downhill. I haven’t bought anything there in years.

  4. Macy’s… I’ve always gotten my suits there without any issues… always have sales… they usually go up to 16 too.. I’m not sure about the 18…

    I haven’t had any issues with Gap and their dress pants, jeans or sweaters but their casual clothes have def gotten cheaper. That happened when Banana/Gap/Old Navy combined…

    NY&Co does have tons of suits in the size your looking for but I don’t like their quality as much.

  5. I have the opposite problem, usually pants just roll around my ankles they are too long!

    Best score ever? I also needed a suit for a job interview 5 years ago. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money, so I figured I’d check out a thrift store by my old office.

    Score! I bought an Anne Taylor petite suit – all black – three pieces – jacket, skirt and pants for . . . $9! Sadly a short 5 years ago I was a size 10, now I am a 14. I still look at it hanging in my closet though!

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