Stylish Suits

While the holiday season typically calls for sequined dresses and embellished heels, top-tier members of the fashion pack are reaching for a different sort of festive fare this winter: stylish suits! Perhaps a reaction to the overtly feminine silhouettes that captured the spotlight on the fall runways, many resort collections are celebrating unfussy and streamlined shapes, including sharp suits of all shapes and sizes. While these borrowed-from-the-boys separates may not be new per se--after all, Yves Saint Laurent pioneered this look for women in 1966 with his iconic Le Smoking suit--they do look decidedly of-the-moment, thanks to unique silhouettes and chic, monochromatic palettes. Whether it's a plunging neckline like Vanessa Traina or a playfully androgynous look in the vein of Agyness Deyn, this smart after-hours wear is a perfect alternative to your beloved cocktail standards and is, dare we say it, well-suited for all your seasonal soirees.

Since suiting has taken many forms over the year, in order to eschew any sartorial confusion, we'd like to take a moment to contextualize its current place in fashion. We first noticed the power of these solid-colored coordinated separates when we spotted them at Stella McCartney's Resort 11 show. The mid-season collection was a breath of fresh air that took fall's minimalist trend and brushed it with strokes of high-impact color. While the display included whimsical floral frocks and jackets, one of our favorite looks is the featured Blue Jacquard Silk Jacket ($1735, 212.255.1556) and Trousers ($875, 212.225.1556), which also came in a lovely rosy hue. Intrigue is provided not only by the vibrant use of color, but also through the sophisticated textural mix of quilted jacquard pants and a silk jacket. Finally, a thorough, suitable examination of said look would not be complete without drawing attention to its fresh ankle-length trouser shape and sharp, single-breasted blazer.

In case you're still not convinced that a pantsuit is for you, let's take a look at our quartet of stylephiles for more ways to wield this trend. First up is Jessica Alba, who looked absolutely smashing in a D&G Black Satin Blazer ($865, 800.979.3038) and Black Sequin Pants ($965, 800.979.3038) when she attended the Footwear News 24th Annual Achievement Awards at The Museum of Modern Art last month in New York City. Her sexy all-black look is anything but basic, and the harem-shaped pants immediately designate the outfit as sartorially intriguing. Additionally, in light of the holiday season, we appreciate all the festive touches at play: sequin-embellished fabric, a bow-bedecked Christian Louboutin LouLou Clutch ($795, 714.752.9200), and beautiful baubles in the form of an Antique Diamond Riviere Necklace ($485,000) and a Platinum & Diamond Art Deco Bracleet ($425,000) both from Stephen Russell. Of course, a suit-sans-shirt doesn't always require embellishment, as demonstrated by Vanessa Traina when she selected a seriously smoking Givenchy ensemble consisting of a Grain de Poudre Jacket ($2110, 888.222.7639) and Trousers ($825, 888.222.7639) from Resort 11 to attend Givenchy's S/S 11 show during Paris Fashion Week earlier this fall. The plunging neckline and strategically buttoned blazer imbue the look with loads of sex appeal while the proportions--a knee-skimming jacket and flood-length pants--make it feel totally new. Plus, we can hardly ignore the thrilling crimson color; it's a bold choice that works due to the dearth of accessories and overall unfussy approach.

Yet, sultry isn't the only option one must cleave to when trying out this trend. Take, for example, fashion insider Gaia Repossi who dressed with her signature soignee for Altuzarra's S/S 11 show during New York Fashion Week. Ever the paragon of sophisticated neutral dressing, Repossi's all-white, wide-leg Celine suit--comprised of a Cream Linen Jacket, Off-White Crepe de Chine Blouse, and Cream Linen Trousers from Resort 2011--did not disappoint in its Riviera-worthy appeal and effortlessly posh air. Finally, we have Agyness Deyn, who also stayed true to her personal style when she suited up for the New York premiere of the James Franco-headliner 127 Hours in November. The edgy model opted for head-to-toe androgyny with a fitted, menswear inspired suit from the emerging New York line The Cast and Comme des Garcons boots.

While we realize we've often pushed mixed separates in the past--meaning, a jacket from one suit, a skirt from another--this season we're interested in the whole shebang! Enthralled by these head-to-toe ensembles, we recommend taking this opportunity to invest in at least one exceptionally well-made stylish suit you'll wear again and again. Dying to recreate Jessica Alba's directional proportions? Suit yourself with Alexander Wang's Essential Tailored Blazer ($625) and Essential Pleated Trousers ($395), which have a cropped, slightly harem shape akin to Alba's D&G selection, or 3.1 Phillip Lim's Double Breasted Cropped Jacket ($625) and Cuffed Tuxedo Trousers ($375), which mimic Alba's silhouette in a resort-appropriate blush color. Wide-leg style seekers--à la Repossi--should be sure to scoop up Stella McCartney's Lightweight Wool Double Breasted Jacket ($1545) and Trousers ($525) in an always-chic navy hue. Of course, some of you may prefer a lighter-colored variation, so we're also including Gucci's Leather Trim Techno Pants ($384) and Techno Garcon Jacket ($1450) in our roundup.

Still not sure you're suited for this trend? Perhaps Agyness Deyn's sexy androgynous take on the trend is more in keeping with your personal style! If this is the case, you should try Zara's False Plain Blazer ($80) with their Fine Wool Trousers ($60) or Gucci's Knit-Back Flannel Jacket ($1890) and Leather-Waist Flannel Pants ($1195), which are just as stylish but with a slightly longer, more feminine line. Finally, if you're out to make a stellar statement like the trendsetting Traina, opt for Tahari's ASL Ruth Herringbone Suit Jacket ($168) and Madeline Herringbone Pants ($128); the metallic silver is festive and eye-catching while the cropped, flared pant-leg is a undeniably fashion-forward choice.--Liza Kaplan

Photos of all, courtesy of Getty Images.