In 1966, designer Yves St. Laurent created “Le Smoking,” a tuxedo suit specifically for women. It brought lots of controversy and attention to the fashion world for its depiction of masculine vs. feminine for women. Sure, stars like Katherine Hepburn and Marlene Dietrich had pioneered androgynous style with their black and white and their trousers, but it was YSL that promoted the use of pantsuits as power suits for women in modern day society. The women who wore these suits took on the idea of wearing clothes for influence, like their male counterparts and subsequently, slicked back their hair, smoked cigarettes, and posed provocatively for photographer Helmut Lang, who captured them in photographs in1975.
Today, pantsuits for women are still going strong. Whether it’s a unique fabric like velvet or a loud statement print (i.e the bold floral print suit worn by Florence Welch as she partied at the British Indie Music Awards afterparty,) these suits are getting our attention and making the women who wear them both beautiful and powerful at the same time. And of course, stylish too…
1. Lily Collins
She may have been attending a Cartier jewelry party, but it wasn’t the diamonds we were noticing on Lily Collins in New York City. The actress and daughter of singer Phil Collins wore a Dolce & Gabbana suit with lapels plus Paula Ka pants that hit at the waist. Kudos on the styling—I’m loving the high-waist pants with a suit jacket plus the ruffled shirt underneath (gotta love that Victorian high-collar style) complete with slicked-back hair, red lips and a red clutch. The only qualms I have about the outfit is that the suit jacket didn’t exactly match the pants. Does it have to? What do you think?
For your own attempt at this super chic style, grab this Dolce & Gabbana Fucca Peaked Lapel Blazer, now $845.
2. Elizabeth Olsen
The younger sister of style aficionados Mary-Kate and Ashley has confessed she doesn’t have a stylist and that no designers are clamoring to dress her (except HELLO Karl Lagerfeld, who posed with her at the recent Chanel runway show.) That’s not what we’ve noticed thanks to her superb style which boasts a mix of avant-garde, trendy looks and tomboyish mixes. Perhaps the best example of this? That head-to-toe burgundy velvet pantsuit she wore to a “Today” show appearance with sunglasses from Elizabeth & James (the brand of her twin sisters.) Sleek and unique with a white button down shirt underneath, the pantsuit is one of those outfits that we’ve always wanted to wear but never had the guts to. No word on the designer behind the uber-chic ensemble, but we’re guessing it’s Altuzarra since the designer recently showed a similar pantsuit in his most recent collection.
Perhaps head-to-toe velvet is a bit too much, but pulling off a velvet jacket is always nice, like this Halston Heritage Electric Blue Velvet Blazer, $765.
3. Victoria Justice
Disney actress Victoria Justice may still be in her teens, but she’s taken the power suit style to a whole new level. Showing up at the Kids Choice Awards in a matching coral tuxedo jacket and coral shorts, the 19-year old certainly gives new meaning to the word pantsuit. Like her suit, her shoes are flashy as well, but they seem to go with the powerful ensemble. We love the fact that the jacket matches the shorts perfectly and the gray and brown boots tie the whole look together.
The outfit comes from Elizabeth and James (perhaps Mary-Kate and Ashley got some influence from younger sister Elizabeth for this look) with the Elizabeth and James Spring Jim Blazer, $395 being paired with the Elizabeth and James Colby Shorts, $235.
We all know Rihanna is about making an impact especially with her clothing and hair looks. That’s why we weren’t too impressed with her recent pajama style at events promoting her new movie Battleship. We know pajama-inspired looks are all the rage right now (they were all over the Viktor & Rolf’s Fall 2012 runway), but we’re not really feeling it. Luckily, she recently wore something that we really are feeling. Rihanna’s Stella McCartney from her Pre-Fall 2012 collection may be attached, but it’s definitely got power suit written allover it. Not only did Rihanna prove she has clothing that covers her assets but she can also look gorgeous and strong. This time, the shaved hair look seemed worth it and the leather sandals and scarlet lips were perfect.
Stella McCartney makes a bevy of beautiful jumpsuits in various fabrics and style which are great for business or business casual. For something in a suit-y style, try the Stella McCartney Wool-Blend Crepe Hopsack Jumpsuit, $1695.
Celebrity Photos: Lily Collins, People.com; Elizabeth Olsen, Huffington Post Style; Victoria Justice, People.com; Rihanna, People.com
– Simona Kogan
Image Layout: Second City Style