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Suits for Women

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MOD EDIT: WELCOME TO THE GIANT MERGED TOPIC OF ALL WOMEN'S SUITS TOPICS! PINNED FOR YOUR CONVENIENCE!

 

 

Hello fellow ladies! There is a huge thread about men's suits, but I couldn't find anything for women. I'm under the impression that I will need a suit a few times throughout law school, so I was hoping to get some tips about where to shop. I want something that is not too ruinously expensive (so nothing from Holt Renfrew) but I also don't want anything that looks cheap. Do you have any tips for finding something that won't break the bank, but that will look nice (I'm willing to pay a little more for quality that will last, but I simply can't afford to pay Holt Renfrew prices, I need a new computer too!)? I'd really like some idea of who has a good fit for petites, since I am only 5 feet tall. I know I will need alterations, but I'll need fewer alterations on a petite cut (regular jackets are usually too big in the shoulders, pants have too long of a rise etc). Thanks for any help you can give me.

Edited by Hegdis
all merged together because we had about six of these floating around.
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I remember my best friend excitedly buying her first suit the summer before law school. She is in her second semester of 2L at Queens and to my knowledge she has not worn it more than once.

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If I were you I'd just go to somewhere like Banana Republic and buy a suit there for what, at most $200. For that you'd probably get three pieces in a basic colour. Fitting well and looking appropriate is more important that looking like you spent a lot of money on it. You're really only going to need to wear a suit a few times during law school anyway so it's not going to get a lot of wear and tear. You might need it for doing a moot court or for making appearances during clinic work and obviously for job interviews. By the time you're articling you'll have a better idea of what you need and how much you want to spend.

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I've had the best luck at Mexx and Jacob.

 

One suit should get you through law school wine and cheeses etc.

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hey - i'm also petite - 5,2" - and I'll be getting one at Jacob - they always have a few styles in, and their sizes fit me. Mexx seems to have a larger fit model and never fits me, and Zara doesn't often have a suit set in (although they have great seperates if you wan to go that route).

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I never wore a suit in 1L...you might need one for the summer after 1L if you have a law-related job (so you can shop in December if you are interviewing, boxing day deals), but you probably won't need one until 2L (OCI, Moots, etc.)

Banana is good because they have a petite's section...I agree with the Mexx suggestion and Club Monaco has some nice stuff (make sure that the suit isn't too trendy!) Carriere is good too but they are a bit pricier than Banana - there is an outlet at Vaughan Mills though. I think Zara and Mango look ok but they wrinkle a lot and it doesn't look right...

 

Also - suits tend to go on sale (end of spring/early summer) - and a friend of mine bought a suit (jacket, pants, skirt) at holt renfrew (the Bloor St. one) for like half the price - they generally have 1 line that is like $1000 for all 3 pieces ($450jacket; $250pants; $200skirt) and another line that is like $2000 - I know hers was regular $1000 and she got it all for about $500 - so if you are willing to go that high you can get a really nice one on sale.

 

One last thought...if you are wearing the suit for wine and cheese's at school (p.s. find out if people do at your school - at mine, they DON'T) then it can look trendy; same with wearing it for a moot. But - if you are wearing a suit for an interview - make sure it looks traditional/classic - you don't want the interviewer thinking that you are super into fashion (read: gonna ditch work early to hang out with trendy fashionistas).

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omg I'm tots going to ditch work to hang out with those trendy fashionistas...then try and find a rich husband. What suit is best for that....or is it spelled suite...lol i dont know. I'm confused.

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The school dependent comment is a good point.

 

At UBC you will definitely want to wear one to wine and cheeses as well as to the various open house events through out the year.

 

Sometimes you can get away with business casual, but I feel more comfortable over than under dressed.

 

Also, with respect to colour, it helps to have a basic coloured suit, but I like to stay away from black as you it can sometimes look like you belong behind a make-up counter in a department store or selling gaunch at La Senza.

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iheartbooks, you're going to UofC, right? If I were you, I'd get at least two suits right away -- like, for the first week of school.

 

For the first month of 1L there's a recruitment event almost every day. If you are involved with Student Legal Assistance, you'll be appearing in court starting in mid/late September. If you apply for firm jobs, you'll have interviews throughout October. There's also things like moots and debates and other random functions (Bar Association, etc.) that require business attire.

 

I'd estimate., and I think this is even being conservative, that you'll wear a suit an average of once a week. I mean, sometimes you'll (mercifully) get to go three weeks without having to play dress-up, but other times it's literally two to three days a week. So use that as your gauge :) .

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Hey Comic! Yes, I am going to UofC, so thanks for responding. I knew I would need a suit, but I thought it wouldn't be until later, like Nov/Dec at the earliest, so this is good information to have. Fortunately there is lots of time before school starts, so if I keep my eyes open I should be able to find some that I like for a bearable price.

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I fear finding a suit. I'm 6'1" and stick-shaped. My shoulders are painfully narrow and I have a loooong torso so that jacket waists generally sit a couple inches above where my waist is. I pray that Banana Republic carries their tall collection in Canada. If I have to shop at Tall Girl I will die because all of their suits are made for 55 year olds who weigh way more than me and love mom jeans.

 

Do women generally wear skirt suits or pant suits? It'll be ok if I skip out on wearing heels, right? I have no desire to be 6'4".

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Hey Comic! Yes, I am going to UofC, so thanks for responding. I knew I would need a suit, but I thought it wouldn't be until later, like Nov/Dec at the earliest, so this is good information to have. Fortunately there is lots of time before school starts, so if I keep my eyes open I should be able to find some that I like for a bearable price.
I'm pretty sure comic sans is being sarcastic and I'm worried that you didn't get that. But I could be wrong.

 

I went to UofT. See my comment above for how often you'll need a suit. I think I wore one in the second half of 1L to do some legal clinic work. That was probably the earliest. Suits are generally useful items of clothing to have. I used mine for funerals and graduations and other events unrelated to school. Once you graduate you may very well be wearing a suit every day for the rest of your life. It doesn't hurt to 1. start keeping an eye out for styles, sizes, colours that work for you and 2. avoid wearing them when you don't have to.

 

Women wear pants or skirts about equally. You don't need to wear heels.

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Could anyone from UofT comment on how often one would wear a suit?

 

Also at U of T. I'm male, but a dress occasion is a dress occasion. I tend to err on the side of overdressing, so you can take this as kind of the extreme pole of wearing a suit too often.

 

Apart from job interviews (which I didn't do in 1L), I'd suspect you only need to wear a suit in your first year for actual formal parties (which are optional) and legal clinics. If you're going to be doing a criminal rotation, you might be asked to do 'set dates', which can have you in a suit, in court a couple of times a month. Other rotations appear in court/before a board less often.

 

I tend to wear smart casual at least (blazer, oxfords) and sometimes a full-on suit for any client meeting, though, which can also be a couple of times a month (it'll less than that in 1L). I figure, if it were me in need of a lawyer for a divorce, eviction or expulsion from school, I'd feel uncomfortable trusting my future and family to someone in jeans. I'd like to walk into the clinic and get the feeling that I have an almost-lawyer rather than a recently-undergrad. So depending on how much you buy into that theory, you may be suited up two or three times a month at the extreme end: maybe two set dates and a client meeting. (I didn't do DLS in my first year, though, so maybe someone can correct me if this is a very optimistic number of court dates for a 1L.)

 

Honestly, you can probably get by with one suit for 1L, and maybe none at all if you don't do legal clinic or job interviews. In 2L, though, I really don't see how you can survive with fewer than two. I'm in court three or four times a month, client meetings maybe twice, I got through OCIs and also have firm events to attend now. Three suits is quickly becoming an insufficient stock -- but then again, I'm doing criminal rotation, client meetings, OCIs and firm commitments; that's just about the maximum demand for suit that you can rack up in 2L.

 

If all you're planning to do in 2L is OCIs, two should be sufficient: one for the OCI, another for the in-firm.

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bumblebee, iheartbooks,: to clarify, I wasn't being sarcastic. I stand by my once a week estimate.

 

I mean, it will definitely depend on your involvement -- I went to pretty much all of the recruitment events, and I applied to all of the big firms in Calgary, meaning I had probably more interviews than average (about eight or something? No offers though!). I've already done two extra-curricular moot-ish competitions. Most people in SLA have three or four files at a time, with maybe one court appearance per month each. Some people have more.

 

But besides the optional activities, you'll definitely need one suit for the mandatory stuff. We did a mandatory moot in the fall semester, and we're doing another one this semester. And with all the other activities I do, I'd feel self-conscious with just one suit.

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To clarify further, I'm also male.

 

I hope ihaveseoul or lightsout or some of the other UofC students show up to back me on this. I mean, on the suit issue.

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I`ll back comic up. If you do criminal clinic and interview in 1L, then you need at least one suit.

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can someone comment on whether you would need a suit at osgoode or western?

 

Western male 1L, I have worn a suit several times at this point in the year. You will at minimum need one during your January term moot, though one could probably get away with only a blazer and dress pants (not sure what the female equivalent of that is). You will also need a suit for certain extracurriculars you may or may not decide to partake in, e.g. competitions and the legal aid clinic.

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