danny devito in business attire, beyond even sirmixalot's wildest dreams
April 29, 2014 7:51 PM   Subscribe

What suit designer makes suits (preferably skirt suits?) that fit and flatter a small yet curvy woman?

I sometimes have to wear a suit and I hate to wear a suit. I hate to wear a suit because suits are generally made for people shaped like pencils and every time I have worn a suit, I have felt as though I look like Danny Devito.

I am 5'2" and my measurements are 34-24.5-37.5. I am not shaped like a pencil. I have a tiny waist and medium boobs and a huge butt and wide hips. I do really well in dresses. I would do really well in 1955 fashion-wise. But sometimes, I have to wear an actual suit.

The crux of my problem is that if something is big enough in the butt/hips, it is huge in the waist. This problem is compounded by the fact that, apparently, petite sizing allows less curve: a peek at the Ann Taylor bottoms size chart shows this. Even the regular sizes aren't allowing my butt to exist, but the petite sizes are much worse. I require petite sizes unless I want my skirt to be of the length that Hasidic women wear. I am not Hasidic.

So I ask you: who makes a flattering, nice suit for people like me? Short, curvy women? In which curvy is not a euphemism for plus-sized.

I know someone is going to tell me to get a bespoke suit, or to get something tailored. Fine, fine, but let's pretend I need this suit for an important event next week, and thus do not have time for all that. This isn't actually pretending: it is true. I need this suit ASAP and do not have time for a major restructuring, or really, any tailoring at all.

The suit I seek is is available in a brick and mortar store in NYC. It is also extremely normal and conservative. Black or grey. Skirt preferred, but I would deal with pants in a pinch, but pants suits generally make me feel the most Devitoish of all. In a pants suit, I am the Penguin.

Please help.
posted by millipede to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm also 5'2" and I have a similar body type, though my measurements are larger (my waist is 31" around and my hips are 41" around). I usually wear a size 10.

I found a suit at the Ann Taylor Factory Store two months ago. It was like a suit unicorn. I bought the jacket in a 10P and the skirt in a regular 14, and it's wearable without alterations. It's navy blue with a subtle pinstripe, though (not black or gray).

I'm not sure whether there are Ann Taylor Factory Stores in NYC, but it's worth calling around for this particular suit (I found mine at an outlet mall in New Jersey). I tried on a million suits this season, and that was the best suit I found. The runner-up was a suit from The Limited. It wasn't as nice, though, so I didn't keep it. I didn't have any luck at Banana Republic or regular Ann Taylor.

Also: I found a fitted Tahari dress last year that actually fit me perfectly, so you might want to look into their suits. Either it was a fluke, or they cut their clothes for pear-shaped people. I think you can buy Tahari suits at department stores.
posted by topoisomerase at 8:16 PM on April 29, 2014

You might also find the comments on this post at Corporette helpful.

I found my Tahari dress at Stein Mart for less than $50, so we're not talking expensive Elie Tahari here. It was the mid-range version. If you don't want to make the trek down to New Jersey, it looks like they sell it at Macy's and Lord and Taylor.
posted by topoisomerase at 8:30 PM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm very curvy, but average height. Banana Republic pencil skirts fill my closets. The quality is acceptable, but not great. However I keep going back because their pants and skirts actually it me and don't make me look boxy.

I've also had great luck with dress suits and find them much easier to fit than pants or even skirt suits. I've virtually given up on pant suits because they consistently look god awful. I have a great dress suit from j. Crew, so that's worth a shot. But really try BR.
posted by whoaali at 8:40 PM on April 29, 2014

Calvin Klein, Macy's petite section.
posted by lovableiago at 9:20 PM on April 29, 2014

Two words: Vivienne Westwood. She may be a little out there for your needs, but I urge you to go try on some of her tailoring. Nobody designs better for curvy ladies.
posted by Elizabeth the Thirteenth at 5:25 AM on April 30, 2014

I am the exact same size as you plus I have huge cyclist's thighs, and I wear Banana republic petite 6. I also wear a lot of Vivienne Westwood Anglomania - maybe not conservative enough for an interview, but great for any other formal events (and I'm in a conservative profession).

Also have you tried just wearing the skirts on your hips? Sorry if that's a bit obvious, but I actually don't think high-waisted skirts are actually that flattering anyway, I wear mine on my hip bones and not only do they fit better like that, I think it lengthens my body and is more flattering. Also I manage to not look like Danny Devito in trousers (and I'm the same measurements as you remember), try the BR Jackson trousers in 6P. Pull them down so they sit on your hips, and put a slim fit V-neck or jersey wrap top on top. If you think you look like Danny Devito in those you have body dysmorphia.
posted by tinkletown at 5:29 AM on April 30, 2014

Tahari Petites at Macys.

I'm the plus size version of you, big bust, small waist, big butt, thighs that could crack a walnut. I find that Tahari suits are lovely, classic and elegant and fit me very well without tailoring.

They also do suit separates, which will allow you to mix and match for a better fit.

For skirts, I find that a-line work a lot better than pencil skirts because I can buy the waist to measure, and the fabric flares over my hips and butt. You may look good with a pleated skirt, but try it on, sometimes, that's not a good look.

I also have good luck with Jones New York separates.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:14 AM on April 30, 2014

@ruthlessbunny, my dream suit has always been an a-line, but i've never been able to find one! all pencil, all the time, and pencil skirts are very hard for me (i'm sure you can relate). Does tahari make an a-line?
posted by millipede at 6:35 AM on April 30, 2014

I found a black A-line suit skirt from Bandolino. Total fluke, but it matches a black jacket I have perfectly.

Lord and Taylor appears to lousy with A-lines, lucky you, you can go in person!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:20 PM on April 30, 2014

I am 5'2" 33/25.5/37.5 and I love J.Crew's Telegraph pencil skirt in their Super 120s fabric that coordinates with all of their Super 120s fabric jackets. it fits higher up on the waist so allows for more curve (I usually have the waist gapping problem but this one's actually a little snug in the waist for me!)

comes in 5 colors, merino (not polyester crap) and is 30% off right now. this one does need to be ordered online, but their shipping's quick and you could get a coordinating jacket in-store. note: I can't wear ANY of J.Crew's other types of pencil skirts because they are all made for literal pencils, so don't even bother.

oh, also - if you do eventually want a pantsuit, Theory pants in any of their slim/tapered cuts in a size 4 should do the trick. the trouser-style pants make anyone of our height look dwarfish.
posted by dynamiiiite at 1:28 PM on April 30, 2014

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