19 Apr 2017

Borrowed From The Boys: Suit Up

Borrowed From The Boys: Suit Up on vickiarcher.com

I like borrowing from the boys

Especially when it comes to the suit.

I wax and wane about blazers, jackets and the prescription of a suit but I always end back in the same place.

They work.

A suit is ageless, a suit flatters most women and above all else a suit is confidence inspiring. If our dressing motivates and buoys us then we feel fabulous and that makes every difference.

A power suit is not called power for nothing.

When I wear a suit, whether classically tailored, slightly oversized or even tuxedo style, I like it. It may not be as extravagant as the women next to me or as outrageous as the one behind me but wearing a suit makes me feel elegant and of the moment. Yes, it is a classic and yes it is a style I have worn for years but the suit never ever lets me down.

Borrowed From The Boys: Suit Up on vickiarcher.com

Recently on my Japanese adventures I packed a suit, a pin striped version. I wore both the jacket and the pants separately and together. Two pieces allowed me to style them in a variety of ways. I wore the jacket over a very feminine blouse by night, larger sleeves and a ruffle front and by day I paired the jacket with a tee or a fine cashmere sweater depending on the weather. I added the pants and a pair of trainers with the tee and I swapped into more elaborate mules for the evening. The combinations worked and more importantly I felt well dressed.

I wear the same suit to meetings to press shows and anything fashion related. Sometimes working in this game at my age can feel daunting and nudges the confidence. “Digital Influencers” or “fashion bloggers” as we were once called are generally in their 20’s and wear all that is current and covetable. Yes, I have age on my side and a confidence in my own abilities but it would be untruthful not to admit to a slight nervousness at times. We are human and not always 100% on the up. The questions of “what to wear” and “how to look of the moment without seeming ridiculous” inevitably rear and as much as I don’t buy into all that, let’s just say it does cross my mind from time to time.

And that is where a suit saves the day.

I wear the classic and own it; make it mine. Fashion must be about that for fashion is universal. Age is no longer a negative when it comes to dressing. We wear what we love and what makes us feel fabulous about us; the rest is irrelevant.

Add the amazing blouse or the extravagantly fantastic shoes. Wrap the wrist in layers of bracelets or go crazy with an over-the-top handbag and dingle dangle pair of drops to die for. Personalise, personalise and personalise again.

The suit let’s us get away with everything. And I’m ok with that ;) xv

Borrowed From The Boys: Suit Up

**boss jakinala pinstripe  ||  pinstripe pants  ||  boss jabina wool jacket  ||  boss ankle pants  ||  theory gabe blazer  ||  theory stretch pants

rag & bone club wool blazer  ||  stella mccartney one button jacket || akris long blazer


A little “suit” trick that works for me and allows a corner or two to be cut.

Invest in a better blazer where possible and co-ordinate with a lesser pair of pants. If the blazer is well fitting and in a classic wool pinstripe or plain then a match with pants is easy. I often wear a J.Crew inexpensive pair with my very best. We don’t always need all stars and no chorus line. Know what I mean?

Thank you Nordstrom for partnering with, Borrowed From The Boys: The Suit

images annie liebovitz for jones new york, 2010

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david terry

Yes, Vicki……your instincts are, as ever, quite on the mark.

I always opt for a traditional suit either when traveling, patronizing an upscale restaurant, or attending a business-meeting (even if only in the capacity of a visiting consultant).

Once (maybe twice), and in my younger days, I opted for a a flouncy-hemmed “Flamenco” number I’d picked up during the previous year’s Feria in Seville, but I somehow sensed afterwards (and, actually, during the conference, for that matter) that I hadn’t been accorded the respect/gravitas I and my professional accomplishments deserved.

Perhaps it was just the hat. Pink and Tangerine are so hard to play-off successfully (particularly in the rural provinces). Since then, I’ve played it safe by wearing a “business only” suit. Who wants to waste time entertaining the sort of offers you didn’t come for?

As sincerely as ever,

David Terry


Ha ha.. yes, why is it the offers we receive are the ones we don’t necessarily want ;)

Pink and tangerine.. Flamenco… a wonderful combination… I don’t know… maybe we should re-think it ;) ;)

david terry

You do know by now, Vicki, that I know next to NOTHING about wardrobe and/or cosmetics. I don’t have any sisters, have entered my mother’s bathroom perhaps twice (at most) in my entire life, and spent my early years at boys’ schools (and college) where one wore an utterly predictable uniform of coat&tie (invariably a blue blazer or tweed, with khakis, and a white shirt).

You do (I mean this sincerely) actually write about this stuff in a way that’s genuinely interesting…although I do find myself (as you’ll also know, I’ve never lived with a woman) wondering how in the hell women keep TRACK of all these details, pretty much every day.

Just for the public record?…….Weirdly enough, the only magazines I actually subscribe to are “World of Interiors” and “Vogue”. Both are fascinating (to me, at least) windows into worlds that have next-to-nothing to do with my own daily life…..and they both happen to be invariably well-written and wonderfully photographed.


You are correct about personalizing! Suits too often come across as school marm, librarian or dominatrix!! A big fashion turn off ( although depends on one’s profession I guess:) At 62 I remember when business meant a suit but it seems today a tad ‘old school’….As a health professional I work exclusively with women ( no we are not nurses) even our manager at 36 very rarely wears a suit to meetings. Truly I have never felt comfortable in a suit unless it was hip length le smoking ( black) with very skinny black bottoms and heels. That particular jacket came with a very narrow pencil skirt that had an adorable double kick pleat. I usually wore that ensemble to dinner not work or business.


Now I think a suit translates anywhere… almost less for work and as much for play… I think your le smoking sounds fab… time to get that one out and on :)


I agree Vicki, a well fitted blazer always makes us look instantly in command. Of something. It looks professional, and is so classic, that even when paired with jeans it says ” knows who she is”, I think. A good blazer will be the corner stone of the warderobe for many seasons. I agree with you, it can be intimidating when surrounded by other influencers who are young, beautiful and can wear anything, but a suit always makes me feel well dressed.

Nelson Bartley

I was thinking about this as I just rearranged my closet and found an old blazer of my son’s that fits me perfectly. As I’m working in an office now after years of “being mom”, I need something to ward off the chill of constant AC and was thinking…a little blazer thrown over these pants might just do the trick. It’s not a natural look for me…I tend towards cardigans. But a blazer or suit coat really ups the style quotient. Time to upgrade.


I think you will really enjoy this look… and particular the structure that it gives to the silhouette :)


Yes Vicki, you’ve nailed it! It’s the structure of the blazer that I love. The structure that it gives to the silhouette. Cardigans are dreamy but no structure there. Structure above the waist gives a more youthful silhouette and that’s why I wear a blazer with trousers almost every day to work. Structure gives me confidence, and when I am confident about my look, I can focus completely on my patients, my team and my mission. Thanks Vicki!


I noticed you mention an article the 10 French Wardrobe Essentials. I would love to read that, how do I find it.
Also I am definitely a plus sized American woman…I still love fashion. I’m told I always look well groomed but I am always interested in “upping” my game. Thanks Vicki, I love your beautiful books!


I do love a good suit and being a professional woman of many years I have owned a few but I have yet to find a jacket that truly flatters a large bust. On me the jacket, regardless of length, brand or quality, makes my bust and stomach look bigger than they are already so I end up looking top heavy. I end up on sleeveless dresses with a jacket or long line cardi but then the issue arises of bare arms as I cannot sit working all day in a jacket. I agree with Lidy in that a jacket makes me feel well dressed but a good high heel is the icing on the top.


Vicki, love the black silk blouse, any chance you found it somewhere else at a lower price–in other words
Enjoy reading your blog and have tried new things and learned a few too. So, thanks for all the inspirations.

Anita Rivera

Oh, give me this style any day. For work, even for play, this is such a smart way to go.


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