Our We Try Before You Buyseries aims to take the stress out of shopping and eliminate the number of post office visits you make each month to return failed online orders. We test new-season buys and styling ideas so you don’t have to. Here, we’re letting you know what is actually worth investing in.
One common side effect of looking at all the street style pictures from 2019 is that by the end of your scrolling sesh, you’ll want at least one trouser suit. Suits have shaken off their corporate reputation, thanks to new relaxed silhouettes and fabrics that go way beyond the standard law firm–friendly navies, greys or blacks. Think sugary pinks and baby blues, not forgetting, of course, the colour of the season: green.
But if you do want to wear navy, grey, black or traditional checks, there are tricks to ensure these look relaxed, rather than formal, too. It’s a super-easy outfit that requires little additional styling, making it unsurprising that it’s become a street style secret (okay, not so secret) weapon. To show how versatile—and surprisingly casual—a suit can be, the Who What Wear team have tried on dozens of suits to bring you our edit of the very best around.
Arket Checked Suit
“The theme for this week’s We Try Before You Buy was right up my street. I am a huge fan of tailored pieces—be it a blazer or pair of high-waisted trousers—and so a suit is well within my comfort zone. This Arket number is particularly fab (you can always rely on the brand for quality pieces) with its boxy, slouchy fit and checked fabric. There is a risk that this style could end up looking a little ’80s stockbroker, so I felt it was important to use my accessories to dress it down, and a pair of white trainers and Chloe’s bum bag is just what it needs to bring it back down to earth and offer a modern finish”—Joy Montgomery, Acting Assistant Editor
“Samsoe’s pink checked suit is obviously more of a statement but I think it still works for multiple occasions. I’d wear it to work with a tee and to a wedding with a silky camisole and big earrings.”—Hannah Almassi, Editor in Chief
“I decided to break out of my trouser comfort zone and opt for a short suit, and in a colour I’ve never worn before too: green—and I love it!! The shorts are roomy but still tailored enough that you feel put together, and it looks great worn with a simple white T-shirt so I know I’d get lots of wear out of it. I’m sold on short suits and green forever more.”—Alyss Bowen, Social Media Editor
“It doesn’t take much to persuade me into a trouser suit (I’ve been a fan for a long, long time—way before they became a mainstream trend a few years ago) so I now feel ready to experiment with bolder cuts, colourways and details. For a really classic suit, I’d go designer, but for something more exciting and of-the-moment, high street and contemporary brands are doing a fantastic job at a lower price point. This colour-block version from River Island is all kinds of adventurous—but it’s still neutral enough to be styled with different tops and shoes, and therefore can be worn on repeat.”—Hannah Almassi
A linen suit might sound a little off-putting thanks to the inevitable creases, but this Massimo Dutti fabric is a thick enough to still look polished, at the same time as maintaining the casual ease that makes linen such a summer favourite. I’d wear this on holiday and to the office in the summer with this palm-print shirt, a raffia handbag and strappy sandals.
“The John Lewis suit was well and truly out of my style comfort zone—I tend to wear a uniform of flowy maxy dresses and trainers or jeans and jumpers. However, I LOVED this suit. I really liked the slightly wide-fit of the trousers which were super-flattering, and wearing the jacket oversized kept it from feeling too formal. Pairing it with a T-shirt kept me feeling comfortable and not too polished. Honestly, I think I might be a suit convert.”—Mica Ricketts Deputy Editor (Beauty)
I feel like I’m ready to be in a 2019 all-female remake of Miami Vice in this powder blue light-weight suit from ASOS. The white croc ’90s shoulder bag by By Far and tan sandals only add to the Miami vibes, but instead of wearing a pastel T-shirt or shirt like Sonny Crockett, I go for a mesh printed roll-neck by Topshop.
“While Arket’s checked suit was 100% me, this white Topshop two-piece was definitely not something I’d usually pick off the rail. Initially, I felt a little ‘cougar at the races,’ but once I had added a simple silky cami and a tortoiseshell bag it started to take on a slightly more contemporary feel. It also helped that the fabric hung well, and most importantly, wasn’t see-through. Personally, I would prefer the jacket to be a little boxier, but I can imagine this being a real winner for those who like their tailoring a little more streamlined.”—Joy Montgomery
“I chose this suit because I had never worn a suit before and, honestly, I was scared! This one was a great compromise because of the tracksuit bottom-style trousers (yay to an elasticated waistband) and relaxed fit. I styled it with trainers so I was truly in my comfort zone and a faux leather backpack for a relaxed feel. I loved the baggy fit but feel this was slightly too oversized to be completely flattering. I’d probably size down if I was going to invest.”—Mica Ricketts