Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The suit I don't want

From shirtwaists - the perfect female equivalent to the male suit - to the male suit for women.

If I could find enough shirtwaists to fill my wardrobe, I would do it in a second. But unless Joe has another retro moment or I'm on an unbelievably luck thrift store roll, it's simply impossible. Maybe I should start an online shirtwaist store. Who's in?

Until then, I'm looking for the easy winter solution - the pant suite - forever damaged as the colourful diurnal outfit of Hilary in campaign mode. It's a tough act to follow only of course because your damned just for using the term 'pant suit'. But damn those men anyway, they've got it so easy. I don't know about your ville, but here in the great white north I swear they wear the same suits across four seasons and are deemed fashionable because they're pairing everything with brown shoes. I mean, what does it take really? It's just so unfairly effortless.

Regular readers know that I have one or 15 skirts at my disposal but I still want access to the same perfect ease men are entitled to enjoy at 6:00 am. And so I'm looking for the perfect pant suit, and the suit shown above is not it.

Why not? Jacket too short. Forget that. As soon as the jacket is short it exposes the butt and what is the next issue - panty lines. I don't even like to write it let alone say it. Why should we have to worry about panty lines? It sounds so '70s of me but really, men's butts are always covered: Men don't worry if their short lines show, they can tuck their voluminous shirts in without concern of 'lines'. Can you believe the number of factors that go into wearing pants? Will the shirt lines show? Can I even tuck a shirt into these pants? Is it pantyhose or knee-highs (the latter an absolute circulation strangler), and will my shirt collar even fit under or within the jacket collar? Why is it so complicated?

This is what I have in mind

The jacket covers the butt, the pants are loose enough to sit down for an hour or two. O.k. the waist is a little high, maybe a couple of inches lower but more midstream than low-rise. And the collar of the blouse/shirt fits in the jacket. Why do women's jackets press so at the neck? Why can't a woman's suit be more like a man's?

And what is the likelihood that I might find the perfect woman's suit? Zero?


  1. Absolutely! I don't know why women hadn't revolted against the short jacket pants suit ages ago - they really do look out of proportion, and the uncovered derriere is always a tricky look. For now I am keeping my trouser suit bought 7 years ago when jackets still covered the posterior, and won't buy another until the longer jacket comes back.

  2. So right. I hate those kind of suits.
    Marlene had theirs from a men's tailor what declares that perfect fit.
    Unfortunately I'm not a passionate collector and preserver, so, a few years ago I gave my wonderful Gaultier Jackets (double-breasted, slim waist, long enough) to a thrift store.
    Now I could cry into my pillow.
    Since I saw your shirtwaist dresses, I remember my mother wearing a blue/white striped one (a lighter version of blue from the Gitane's package). I remember white gloves, dark hair and blue eyes, and a hint of red lipstick.
    I'm on the track if you become an online dealer...

  3. There's one brand worth a look: "Peterman Company". They have several nice dresses in Popeline fabric at their homepage.
    But shipping costs for international orders, plus taxes can be enourmous.

  4. All summer (we've had a cool-ish one, unlike you), if I've dressed at all, I've relied much on a combo of jacket (Smythe, 3/4 sleeve, black), a white T, and jeans -- a low-key version of the pant suit, in a way. I find it remarkably reassuring to wear, and like you, I'd be happy to have a matched version, but like you as well, I want it to smarten me up, not expose my flaws and make me feel I have to live up to its sleekness.

  5. AB: I'm with you, I'll wait for the longer jackets. Just like I'll wait for the right skirt, the right shoe ...

    Barbara: You're brilliant - J. Peterman has shirtwaists and they're the classic ones. I was so excited I was unable to focus long enough to calculate the actual price. But they're worth a blog post so, thank you so much!
    Sorry to hear about the Gaultier Jackets. Ouch.

    Mater: Sounds like a great outfit. Aren't you glad you don't have to go the matching suit route if you don't want to? I'm way past wanting to feel the least bit self-conscious in my clothes. Absolutely bang-on flattering and relaxing to wear!

  6. Just got an E-mail from Peterman, that they reduced once more!
    I am not sure about the size, but the dresses are so inexpensive so it's not a big risk.
    I also love the Texas Minute Striped Dress and the 1947 Short sleeve Dress, printed or pink.
    I am very attempted...