Menswear inspired suiting for 16 year old
September 12, 2021 6:19 PM   Subscribe

My daughter has a role in an upcoming high school production of 12 Angry Jurors. She wants to wear a pant suit, but one that leans solidly menswear. I’m aware of brands like Wildfang, and their aesthetic would be perfect here, but I don’t want to pay $$$ for a suit that will not be likely to see much wear beyond this play. I would love to spend less than $150.

Can you recommend a brick and mortar store that might sell this sort of a suit? I have a little more than two weeks to make this happen. Daughter is usually a US women’s size 6, and she is petite (barely 5’3”). It’s important that she be able to try things on, and I’d like to leave time for the likely hemming I’ll have to get done. She wants to wear a button down and a tie as well, so if you are a lady who rocks this look and you have favorite shirt/tie brands to share, I’d gratefully accept those as well.
My daughter is more Cattra at the princess prom or Cary Grant on the Riviera and less Corporette, if that makes sense? Thank you in advance for helping me locate an acceptable ensemble.
posted by little mouth to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: When I was 16 and slender, I used to wear the trousers and vest from a beautiful old suit that had been my brother's. Check thrift shops, post on a buy nothing group or freecycle, craigslist, etc.
posted by theora55 at 7:33 PM on September 12, 2021 [13 favorites]

Best answer: Thrift stores, for sure.
posted by SLC Mom at 7:51 PM on September 12, 2021 [7 favorites]

Suit separates in "big boys" sizes (16-20) might work. An example: LRL Big Boys Black Windowpane Suit Jacket, Pants & Shirt separates, at Macys. Target. Men's Warehouse (unsure of in-store try-on availability). Nordstrom. Nordstrom Rack.
posted by Iris Gambol at 10:09 PM on September 12, 2021 [2 favorites]

Try Uniqlo—they have small sizes in menswear (and I think I’ve heard they do hemming for free.)
posted by needs more cowbell at 10:15 PM on September 12, 2021 [4 favorites]

Men's section at H and M. This is where my non-binary partner and most of their friends buy cheap masc clothing that tends to fit small frames well.
posted by Sweetchrysanthemum at 7:37 AM on September 13, 2021 [3 favorites]

Nothing thrift store. You might not find something, but if you do the savings over retail will give you some extra cash for any alterations you need.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:03 AM on September 13, 2021

Best answer: I would definitely nth the suggestion of looking at thrift shops or vintage stores. Some of my AFAB suit-wearing friends have had good luck buying older suits (70s especially for whatever reason) and then getting them altered to fit.

Couple of specific suggestions included:
  • Look for pants that fit well through the hips (pockets don't pull open etc.) and then have the waist taken in by a tailor. Can be done at the same time as hemming them for length.
  • If possible look for pants that have buttons for suspenders/braces or have the tailor remove the belt loops and put buttons in for braces (any old buttons will do since nobody will see them), this lets you adjust the waist of the pants so they sit where you want them without having to cinch a belt tightly or having them slide down.
  • Look for a jacket that doesn't have heavily padded shoulders so as not to look too 1980s unless that's the desired look.
  • Try to find a jacket that fits well at shoulders, then have the front buttons moved in to create desired silhouette at waist.
  • Jacket sleeves can be shortened if needed, should be a little shorter than a women's blazer, aim for maybe 1/2" of cuff showing
  • Split decision on "athletic" vs. "slim" fit dress shirts. "Athletic" leaves more room in the chest and tapers towards waist while "slim" is more straight fit. Probably depends on build.
Oh, and try everything on while wearing the appropriate shirt and shoes.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:43 PM on September 13, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: We found a tweedy suit at a thrift shop for $7 that just needs hemming! Thanks for the guidance!
posted by little mouth at 3:11 PM on September 20, 2021 [3 favorites]

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