Cast your mind back to a time, not that long ago, when the only reason you’d pull that tired old trouser suit (black, of course) from the depths of your wardrobe was for a job interview - or a funeral.
Well, that’s all about to change.
Because for autumn/winter 2014, the two-piece tailored number is back, and it’s anything but boring.
On the catwalks, Stella McCartney - who’s always been a tailoring trendsetter - sent out slouchy double-breasted jacket and trouser combos in petrol blue, while at Dior and Gucci, suits were sharp and came in deep turquoise and mustard.
And now the high street has, well, followed suit. From mannish daywear to sleek evening looks, here’s how to embrace the return of the trouser suit...
BORROWED FROM THE BOYS
There’s only one rule when it comes to the new season suits: no starchy white shirts allowed. Whatever your choice of tailoring, stick to soft layers underneath. For day, this look is relaxed, but pairing your menswear-inspired tailoring with a fine jersey top or Peter Pan-collar blouse will mean it’s still office-appropriate.
Follow Ms McCartney’s lead with a loose-cut but sharp-shouldered jacket. Worried that a double-breasted blazer is a bit bulky? Then go for one with a narrow overlap, or opt for single-breasted and wear with a V-neck draped blouse. Look for suits with slim-cut trousers and add heels to balance out the slouchy top half of the silhouette.
Alternatively, suit up with a sharp-cut tuxedo-style jacket and trousers. Add this season’s patent or metallic brogues for extra androgynous appeal.
lRed Herring Notch Neck Jacket, £40, and Black Trousers, £22, Debenhams
lGeri Jacket, £60 (reduced from £120); Chiara Silk Blouse, £34.50 (reduced from £69), and Grace Crepe Tapered Leg Trousers, £49 (reduced from £69), Phase Eight which is stocked by Harveys of Halifax
lDorothy Perkins Burgundy Blazer, £38; Polo Neck Top, £16; Peg Leg Trousers, £20, and Ankle Strap Court Shoes, £23.
PRINTS THAT POP
Hot on the heels of summer’s co-ordinates trend, suits in punchy prints are the coolest way to do matchy-matchy this season.
Take your cue from the catwalk with deep blues and jewel tones, pairing with a plain navy or neutral top and accessories.
Loud prints can be a bit daunting on fuller figures, so look for subtle geometric motifs in darker hues and steer clear of ‘boyfriend’ blazers - go for a curve-skimming cropped jacket or one that emphasises the narrowest part of your waist.
If you’re dashing about, a pair of Sixties-style pointed-toe flats are perfect with a power print, while ankle-strap sandals are just the ticket come cocktail hour.
lLouha Geo Suit Jacket, £249 and Louhat Scale Suit Trousers, £149, Ted Baker.
lSophia Jacket, £90 (reduced from £200), and Dasha Trousers, £70 (reduced from £140), Fenn Wright Manson.
Give your LBD a rest this winter and make a chic trouser suit the star of your party season wardrobe.
Go down the vintage route with a fitted Seventies-inspired two-piece. Flares aren’t compulsory though; you can amp up the retro vibe with platform heels and decadent disco-era accessories.
For a seriously sexy after-dark look, wear a sheer blouse under your suit jacket - or nothing at all (if you dare). Styling tip: add a long draped necklace or skinny silk scarf so you won’t feel quite so exposed.
A pastel-toned trouser suit offers a fresh take on winter wedding dressing. Choose tonal jewellery (violet jewels with a mauve suit, for example, or ruby hues with pale pink) and shoes to pull the look together, and drape a faux-fur jacket over your shoulders for a glamorous finishing touch.
lBrixton Jacket, £129, and Brixton Trousers, £89, Ossie Clark
l Limited Collection Jacket, £59, and Trousers, £35, Marks and Spencer (in stores only)
lHeine Trouser Suit, £89, Kaleidoscope