Suits may, in fact, suit you!

Way back in 1989, the NY Times ran an article about no-frills brides who wore suits instead of the usual gowns. Suits, the author asserts, are for women who want to avoid looking demure or overly fem. Then she goes on to call bridal suits sexy — which reads a bit like a contradiction, but really isn’t. There’s no reason a suit has to be frumpy, after all.

”Wearing a bridal suit portrays a woman as being sure of herself, of having a sense of power,” said Louise Maniscalco, a personal shopper at Barneys New York. ”In a suit, she is dressed the way she wants and not the way tradition demands. It’s having your own identity.”

Many — if not most — brides-to-be reject bridal suits out of hand because wedding gowns are such a huge part of the Western cultural consciousness, but in the years surrounding WWII, suits were de rigueur!

The two happy people in the middle are newlyweds…they’re also my maternal grandparents. They were married in Germany sometime in the 50s, and I’m pretty sure the my gram still has that suit hidden away somewhere in her vast closets. I know for a fact that the suit she wore saw plenty of post-nuptial wear because the children of war didn’t waste a thing.

In these shaky economic times — which are shakier for some of us than for others — I’d urge brides-to-be to consider the classic bridal suit. Suits (even very well tailored varieties) can be a great budget option. They bring with it the advantage of being entirely re-wearable because even if you marry in white, natural fibers can be dyed. Paired with gloves, they are as classy as can be!

I’d venture to say that bridal suits are also a wonderful nod to the grandmothers and great-grandmothers who made the most of what they had and who, without gowns, veils, or $30,000 wedding budgets, managed to look chic and gorgeous.

13 Responses to “Suits may, in fact, suit you!”

  1. Margaret says:

    My maternal Grandmother wore an aviator-blue suit for her wedding, which I believe she had made herself, and wore it again to the christenings of her first two children. It was a fabulous, gorgeous outfit.

  2. blablover5 says:

    This just reminds me of Katherine Hepburn. She wore some amazing suits, and even some white ones.

  3. La BellaDonna says:

    Awww! And how cute and happy they look, NtB!

    People more famous than your grandparents did it, too: less often seen than the wedding dress for her church ceremony is the lace suit that Grace Kelly wore to marry Prince Ranier. It’s a pity, too, because it’s a fabulous suit, with a full (but not overwhelming) gored skirt, and a tiny fitted ladylike jacket in the same lace. It is, in fact, a fabulous choice for anyone who is perhaps not as young as she once was, but would like something romantic but not frilly.

  4. I’m off to find a picture of said suit, La BellaDonna, for I have never seen it and it sounds amazing!

  5. Little Red says:

    Don’t forget the white suit that Carrie originally picked out for the wedding to Big, before the hoopla took over.

  6. Oy — if you don’t see your comment, please do repost. WP goes a little wonky sometimes where comments are concerned!

    UPDATE: I reposted those I could find…

  7. De says:

    Your grandmother looks so very lovely and to me QUITE feminine in her suit! Her loving/flirtacious gaze, those gloves…that hat!

    I must say as well, that the gentleman on the left looks rather dashing with his overcoat and light scarf.

  8. Mandy says:

    I adored the vintage suit that Carrie chose in the SATC movie. It was simple, classic, gorgeous, and absolutely re-wearable. And consider how many ways you can accessorize it and truly make it unique!

  9. Twistie says:

    NtB, I second LaBella Donna’s love for Grace Kelly’s wedding suit (Monaco, in common with several other countries requires a civil ceremony whether or not there is a religious ceremony). While not as spectacular as the gown for the church service, the suit is every bit as dignified and classic.

    A good suit definitely gets a thumbs up from me!

  10. Sarah C. says:

    My maternal grandmother wore an early-50s shirtwaist dress that had a great small pattern. If I could have found something similar, I so would have worn it for my wedding- instead I went the other route and did the really big white dress at the courthouse civil ceremony thing (it was a friend’s dress) and went extravagantly over the top.

  11. La BellaDonna says:

    NtB, my linkmaking abilities are lacking, but I have appended below what should be a link to the suit. The suit was original described as “Alencon lace in a blush beige, reimbroidered in pink, over a lining of pink taffeta.” It is, in my opinion, as stylish if not more so than the iconic dress for the church wedding. By the way, for those partial to that gown, a version is available as a Vogue pattern!–Grace-Kelly/1$64

  12. rabrab says:

    That link doesn’t seem to work right, so go to

    and use the search site window to search for Grace Kelly. The first hit in the list has a picture of the suit. And it is beautifully understated.