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3 Chic Ways to Style a Black Suit


How to wear a black suit

There are a few things I wish someone had told me when I started college:

  1. “Don’t get Netflix.”
  2. “You’ll regret eating pizza every day.”
  3. “Buy a black suit. ASAP.”

The first time I needed a suit was in my freshman year, and then again during my sophomore/junior hybrid middle years. Without a doubt, I will need a suit again when I’m a senior.

Since you are way smarter than me and obviously already own 50 black suits, let’s talk about how you can wear them. You bought one, so don’t let it waste away in that mess you call a closet! Here are three ways to style a black suit:

1. The Career Fair

Women's professional outfit

Is that a secret agent? A young CEO? Nope, just a student going to a career fair. This is the standard formal wear: a basic neutral blouse, a black blazer and pants, and black pumps or flats.

This outfit is modest, non-offensive, and says “I-let-my-resumé-speak-for-me.”

2. Business Casual

Business casual outfit

Dear girl at an event earlier this week, 

Business casual does not mean running shorts and a sorority pocket t-shirt.


The Business Casual Fairy

Here, I wore my black suit pants with gold zippers, along with this burgundy blouse with a bow, and comfy black ballet flats. Unlike formal/interview business wear, business casual lets your personality show.

Adding color, accessories, and comfy shoes is perfectly acceptable, as long as the overall look is clean, crisp, and modest.

3. Who Says You Can’t Look Smart Every Day?

Casual black blazer outfit

Blazers can make everyday outfits look smarter and more put-together. I am totally smitten with blazers that have roll-up sleeves and elbow patches (anyone know where to find an inexpensive one?).

The rest of my outfit is casual and comfortable. I have on dark skinny jeans and the soft gray peplum top from my March Favorites article. Since this outfit was begging for some color to match the beautiful flowers outside, I added flirty floral wedges.

I have major respect for people who can pull off blazers in class and make them look young and flattering. Suits don’t have to be stuffy, and I think this outfit proves it!

Your turn!

Do you own a black suit? What’s your go-to business casual outfit? Which of these looks is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below how you style your black suit.

Posted on on April 20, 2014 / Filed Under: Fashion Tips / Tags: , , , , , ,

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15 Responses to “3 Chic Ways to Style a Black Suit”

  1. 1
    April 20th, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    Great post! I love the outfits. Do you have any ideas on where to buy a nice, relatively inexpensive black suit?

  2. 2
    April 20th, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    Cute post :) I love pussy-bow blouses! Thanks for sparking some ideas!

    And Holly, I got mine at Express when they had a 50% (or 40%, can’t remember) sale going on. LOFT also seems to have constant sales (like 40% or more all the time!) on their clothes. They have a lot of cute skirts, pants, blazers, you name it. I decided my rule for LOFT is “never pay full price for anything” because of how often they have sales. Hope this helps!

  3. 3
    April 20th, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    I love those suit pants with the zippers! It’s unique and cool while still looking professional.

    Also really digging the last outfit, especially the pattern on those wedges!

    Keep up the good work! I always look forward to your articles. They’re an awesome mix of cute and funny. Cause who doesn’t love a little humor? lame-o’s, that’s who!

  4. 4
    April 20th, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    Nice post, but as someone who works with pre-service teachers, I’d like to offer a little advice: it is better to be too conservative than too trendy.
    I like the first outfit a lot, but I would be careful with the sheer blouse. I know that there is a black tank underneath, but it is still sheer. In a school, that would not be allowed.
    If you attend a career fair, and you are wearing a dress or a skirt, please put on pantyhose and a slip. Trust me- recruiters talk and you are being judged by your appearance. You don’t want to be known as that girl.
    Finally, when you do land that internship, it is never okay for your bra straps or your stomach to show. Ever.

  5. 5
    April 20th, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    Holly, I love the H&M one I’m wearing. I was in a time crunch at the time, and this one was perfect for my petite frame and budget. I also have one from Express, and readers have suggested the Limited as well. Good luck on your suit hunt!

    Thanks Lauren! I didn’t know what that term meant until I saw an article on Blair Waldorf’s style the other day, haha. I love them too! Those are great suggestions for suit shopping.

    Thanks Gerry! Zippers for life!

    Vicki, thanks for the awesome advice. I couldn’t agree more. Also, at the career fairs I went to, many people wore super tight, poor fitting clothing. Definitely not a look you want to go for at a professional event!

  6. 6
    April 20th, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    Something to consider – black suits are actually not traditionally considered the most classic suit color in many places. If I only had one suit, I would go with a charcoal, grey or navy. It’s actually seen as more appropriate for an interview. Black separates though, are perfect.

  7. 7
    April 20th, 2014 at 9:53 pm

    I adore your pussy bow blouse… I recently bought a cream colored one and am in love.
    I have a charcoal suit, and although you look adorable, I personally prefer either a pencil skirt or a fuller pant for suits (probably just because I’m short and a size 12, so I think that flatters me more in regards to business wear)
    ALSO, in regards to the blazer question, I’m almost POSITIVE I saw some roll up sleeve blazers at Target last week in white, navy, and coral? that were like $25 or so. (And, if you have a JCPenny around, they have a lot of business attire clothes, and it would be a good place for a “starter suit”)

  8. 8
    April 21st, 2014 at 2:25 am

    Hi Leah!

    Can you please let me know where you got those business casual pants? I love the zipper detail!!
    Also, great response to Vicki. She came off quite pretentious and mean, and I give you major respect for such a mature answer :)
    Thank you!

  9. 9
    April 21st, 2014 at 6:30 am

    If you don’t mind the question, how much did that beautiful pussybow blouse from look #2 cost?

  10. 10
    April 21st, 2014 at 11:15 am

    Melissa, thank you, I didn’t know that! I love charcoal and grays.

    Kelsey, I’ll have to look there. A cream top with a charcoal suit sounds like a winning combination.

    Melissa, I love the zippers, too. They are from H&M and were super affordable. Although I don’t view her comment as negative, it’s easy to misinterpret comments, just like text messages. As long as it’s feedback and not just spam or strange insults I don’t mind. I consider myself fortunate I’ve had mostly really nice, encouraging comments like yours! :)

    Hi Kathleen! I’m not entirely sure, but it was Forever 21 so I’m almost positive it was under $20 :) Hope that helps!

  11. 11
    April 21st, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    I second Vicki and Melissa’s advice – as someone who’s been in the post grad interview world, I’ve seen a lot of girls wanting to look trendy rather than classic and clean. At a professional event last month, I saw a girl wearing a blazer with a bandage skirt from Forever 21 – maybe cute for going out, but not meeting potential employers! Also, finding a good tailor for suits is a great investment. I’ve found that most off the rack don’t fit perfectly, and spending a little bit more to make sure you look completely polished really makes a difference.

    As a sidenote, it would be nice to see constructive criticism or additional input from others better accepted. There was nothing about Vicki’s comment that was pretentious or meant she was having a bad day – she was posting what she has experienced in her field and should not be attacked for that. As a reader who usually loves CF articles and the extra commentary in the comments, it’s sad to see others being negative because someone is trying to add to the discussion.

  12. 12
    April 21st, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    Sam, I couldn’t agree more. Definitely cute for going out, but not for professional networking.

    On your side note, like I said, we accept almost all comments (we do get irrelevant, spam ones) and nearly all CF comments are positive and constructive. I sincerely hope no one ever feels attacked in anyway on this website! In my experience as a writer (and reader before that), CF has been a great place for comments and creating dialogue with readers. Sorry if you’ve had a different experience!

  13. 13
    April 22nd, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    Leah, I just want to clarify that my comments weren’t directed towards you or towards any of your outfits. I think you’d do very well at an interview or a career fair, and I’ve interviewed my fair share of people.
    My comments were directed more towards the readers of this blog because, as one poster said, I do work with many college students and I know what is, and is not, acceptable in the professional world. In no way was I intending to mean or pretentious.

  14. 14
    April 22nd, 2014 at 9:48 pm

    LOVE this article!!

    Two questions: I have difficulty finding chic black suit pants like yours here. I can only find wide-legged ones. Where did you get yours?

    Also, in regards to outfit three, do you think it’s okay to wear dark jeans with a black blazer? I always feel like I’m clashing navy and black.

  15. 15
    May 10th, 2014 at 11:06 am

    Thank you so much, Vicki. I did not think you were!

    Hi Laura, mine are from H&M. My jeans look almost black in the picture, but they’re more a true blue in real life. I think it’s okay if they’re both dark, as long as they’re distinguishable from each other.

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