Spring wardrobes offer the opportunity to wear shorter hemlines and go bare-legged as the weather warms up. The newest trend to grace shop shelves is the short suit, seen on the runways of Givenchy, MaxMara and Rejina Pyo at SS20 fashion week.
They’re a relaxed take on a formal fit, ideal for wedding season, workwear wardrobes and off duty dressing.
For an office-appropriate piece, fashion stylist Aoibheann McMahon Tynan recommends a high waisted Bermuda short. “A pair with neatly pressed creases and belt loops is a nod to traditional tailoring to keep things sophisticated and chic, avoid a linen short suit for the office – after a day of sitting down, those shorts will be much shorter,” she says.
As for what to wear with it, it’s an opportunity to embrace a summer palette of pastels and neons, with nothing at all or a classic shirt (jacket done up of course) for the more formal occasions.
“A tip to matching a printed or coloured shirt or top to your suit is to look at the lining of your jacket – most suits have colourful linings, use these colours as a guide to what shirts would match your look”, says Tynan.
Ahead IndyBest brings you the co-ord suit sets to keep you suited and booted.
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Reiss wool linen blend blazer and shorts: £235, £110, Reiss
Don’t be mistaken into thinking all linen is made equal, as we found with this piece of tailoring from Reiss. This single-breasted blazer is thick, thanks to its full lining on the inside, thus providing a more structured piece. Plus, it will wear easily throughout the year, paired with tapered trousers, jeans or leather midi skirt in colder months. A white t-shirt is a staple accompaniment to wear underneath no matter where you’re going.
The coordinating shorts are cut in a straight fit, which stopped them being too tight around the thigh, especially when sitting down. But as they come down to mid-thigh, perhaps leave this pair out of your workwear wardrobe and instead keep it for weddings, BBQ’s and brunch. While the pockets on the shorts aren’t deep enough to hold anything bigger than an oyster card, the blazer pockets easily fit our iPhone 8, bank card and AirPods without disrupting the tailoring.
Asos splendid linen suit blazer and shorts: £50, £25, Asos
For a less formal affair, this linen suit is lightweight and breathable, perfect for hot weather. The long ling blazer provides ample coverage and the tie waist is great for highlighting an hourglass figure, which will stop you looking swamped in the material.
The shorts are high-waisted, and suit-like in style with shallow side pockets, although we wouldn’t recommend keeping your phone or cards in them, as the material is quite thin so you’d run the risk of your pockets looking bulky. Grab a clutch bag instead.
Staud cotton linen woven blazer and shors: £245, £190, Net-A-Porter
Ideal for the boardroom, this woven grey co-ord is an easy way to embrace the trend if you’re new to suiting. A nod to tradition, it’s still playful and feels new, while the Bermuda-style shorts that finish just above the knee keeps things cool (literally). We found it fit true to size and a muted grey palette lends itself to colour well. Opt for lilacs and pinks to brighten it up, or if you’re in a strict corporate environment, a white shirt is always a safe option.
Nasty Gal square up to em oversized blazer and shorts: £24, £15, Nasty Gal
Offering up the trend in a monochrome check print, this co-ord is for weekend dressing if you want a nod to formality while still keeping your outfit playful. The blazer is oversized, so if you want it a little fitted, we’d recommend going a size down, but we found the relaxed fit allowed room for a chunky cropped lilac knit underneath without being restrictive, especially on the arms.
It’s not structured, but still holds its shape and the sleeves can be ruched up without staying creased. Again the longline shorts will suit a workwear closet and if you can’t quite commit to the matching set, a black blazer will also work.
Mango blazer and Bermuda shorts: £79.99, £49.99, Mango
Traditional suiting is often limited in colour, pale blues, navy, grey and black are the dominant hues, but try a light brown shade for an easy-to-style refresh that won’t feel like a stray too far from your comfort zone. Again the roomy pockets on this linen mix blazer were appreciated, especially if you’re off to a wedding and you’ve got your heart set on a box clutch, which whilst pretty, won’t hold much.
The lining on both the shorts and jacket are cotton, which will keep you cool amid rising temperatures. Cut to just below the knee, they’re almost culotte length and the most flattering shape for all body types.
River Island green double breasted blazer and shorts: £65, £36, River Island
Colourful and fun, this will be our go-to outfit for sunny days off and balmy nights out. A dash of vibrant green will keep this style from looking overdone, and we found the fit of the shorts will suit a curvier shape well. They weren’t too tight upon sitting down and when paired with heeled mules, elongated legs.
The gold-crested buttons add a touch of embellishment, we’d suggest keeping the accessories neutral with this set; simply nude strappy heels and a perspex clutch bag will do.
Zara faux leather blazer and Bermuda shorts: £49.99, £25.99, Zara
Of course Zara has joined the trend, with this faux leather wrap blazer and shorts set. We like this for its ability to suit all body types, the tie waist can be adjusted easily, and with a V-neckline, we found it to be flattering on bigger busts too. It also provides enough coverage, when belted to wear without a top underneath.
The shorts are long enough to wear on the commute without feeling over-or-underdressed and the thick belted waistline stops it from looking like cheap plastic (it is faux leather after all). The only downside is this won’t be the most comfortable in the summer, as you’ll work up a sweat quite quickly running from A to B, as we discovered.
Marysia northfold jacket and shorts: £342, £225, Marysia
Denim but not as you know it, this kimono style jacket is surprisingly lightweight, and the bell sleeves are a modern take on a classic piece. The matching shorts are high waisted and impeccably tailored, even if the price is eye-wateringly expensive, and we found it fits true to size. When worn with the jacket done up, the shorts are thigh-skimming, so keep these for your holidays rather than the office.
We also found that a black bodysuit worn underneath with the jacket worn draped across the shoulders added a formal touch that would make this co-ord suitable for a wedding reception, as long as your heels are high and your hair is perfectly coiffed.
Zara tweed blazer and tweed Bermuda shorts: £59.99, £25.99, Zara
Suit up, look sharp in a matching tweed duo, that you’d be mistaken for thinking was a mini skirt. It’s certainly Chanel-inspired without the price tag, we would expect nothing less from the likes of Zara. If you’re curvier around the hips and legs, we’d suggest going up a size so it’s not too tight, as we found the cotton blend fabric to have very little give. While the tweed definitely isn’t twee, the blazer however is cheapened by the faux leather pocket flaps, which this suit could definitely do without.
Topshop IDOL floral bloom short suit set: £108, Asos
This floral set doesn’t have much stretch, thanks to it’s 100 per cent polyester fabric, but does hold its shape well, and we found the bold print hid creases picked up throughout the day. Proof that you don’t need to stick to a traditional print to make this trend work.
To avoid looking reminiscent of curtains, wear a plain top underneath an open jacket to break up the pattern, and as Tynan advised, match your top to the lining, in this case a simple black.
The verdict: Women’s short suits for spring
While we loved the Mango blazer and bermuda shorts for its modern take on traditional tailoring, it’s certainly the easiest way to dip your toes into the short suiting trend, it’s hard to fault the Reiss wool linen blend blazer and shorts co-ord. The structured linen is the perfect compromise between formal wear that also keeps you cool and the deep pockets are both fashionable and functional.
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