Wednesday, September 4, 2013

September Fashion Alert: What About The Pantsuit?

By Amy Russo of Vienna’s Grace

I am sure most of us would agree that there is nothing more perfect than a man in a great suit! This, and of course functionality, must have been the allure for the 1930s androgynous look of Marlene Dietrich. Photographs of her in a trouser suit by Coco Chanel began to make some fashion waves during this time. The style was quickly embraced throughout the Hollywood Scene, with Lauren Bacall and Lucille Ball as some of the high profile stars to sport the new popular trouser suits. But no other comes to mind than that of Katharine Hepburn, with her casual trousers and matching jacket, from which we start to see the first signs of feminine tailoring in the women’s pantsuits.
During World War II, when men were called to war, all the men’s suits left hanging in the closet sent women to their sewing machines, altering and darting in waistlines to create a working women’s suit. They sported this new fashion with pride for the men defending their country and with pride in themselves for changing the workforce forever.

In the 1960’s, two styles of the pantsuit hit the fashion designer scene. Andre Courreges created what was thought of as a space-like pantsuit. The close fitting design, with collar and sleeve variations, was made in the newest stretchable fabrics. I think this look later evolved into the women’s leisure suit. Although it is not my favorite fashion look, this did serve a purpose for the style evolution of the women’s pantsuit. Then in the 1960’s, Yves St. Laurent hit the disco fashion scene with the femme fatale look of the Le Smoking suit, a men’s classic tuxedo designed for a women’s body. No doubt, the well-known tuxedo scene in Flashdance owes some credit to Yves St. Laurent.
Here are some of the pantsuits that have hit the recent runway, some with bold prints, and others classic in design. There is something so flattering to a women’s silhouette in a suit jacket and trousers. I guess that is what has sent women through the last 90 years, in search of the perfect fitting pantsuit.

Etsy treasury for individual listing links
(reading left to right)
1. Kinseysue-Simplicity 6193 2. Finickypatternshop-Simplicity 9215
3. Fancywork-Simplicity 2395 4. Sutlerssundries-Butterick 6929
5. Retromonkeys-Hollywood 899 6. JFerrariDesigns-Butterick 4202
7. ThePatternSource-Vogue 2956 8. CloesCloset-Vogue 8491
9. Vogue 1326 10. Patternshop-Simplicity 6104
11. MantueMakerPatterns-Simplicity 8866 12. Paneenjerez-DuBarry 6038
13. ErikawithaK-Vogue S4640 14. DesignRewindFashions-Butterick 3916
15. Sewbettyanddot-Vogue 1428 16. Allthepreciousthings- Vogue 8519


  1. Great post! I love pant suits - they make most women look elegant, yet powerful.

  2. Such cool styles...these gals all rock the pants, don't they? Thanks for an informative post.

  3. Great post and so on trend!!!
    Hope you don't mind if I share it with my FB fans? Will link them back here. ;0)

  4. Photos of my mother in the 40's with her high waist trousers and rolled up hems were my first "favorite" look. In high school Levis were the jeans of choice but they were in men's sizes and do you remember breaking them in? But it was Diane Keaton in Annie Hall that sent me on my fashion identity quest. I even had the hat.

    Love this post. Great info. Great choices of pics too!

  5. I think the pantsuit is an amazing piece of fashion and one made exactly to your measurements even better! Thank you for another wonderful and informative post!

  6. I love a wide legged pantsuit with a stunningly fitted jacket.

  7. Another reason I wish I was taller, at 5'3" I just can't pull it off. Great post :)

  8. I've always liked wearing pant suits when I worked in Banking. I have scarred legs and the pants would cover them up while still wearing a "suit"!

  9. I'm more of a "frock" kinda girl, but this is a great blog post!