Salute yo’Suit

In which a combination of stripes and leopard are no longer neutral.


Women wearing female clothes is not a very novel concept. Women wearing mens clothes is probably even less novel. Women wearing womens clothes designed to emulate those of the male variety–here sparks a bit of interest.

I used to have a theory about women being drawn to mens clothing for the sake of quantifying an absolute sense of equality among our gender counterpants–this is a typo I will not fix, the pun is serendipitous. I put said theory to sleep after reading an article in the New York Times titled, “What’s So Wrong About a Boy Who Wants to Wear a Dress?”

I wondered why it registered so universally alarming for a boy to want to wear a dress and yet not much at all for a girl to want to wear pants. Maybe we should use our own assets to quantify our power, I thought.

I should be fair though. This was a very easy conclusion to draw as the F/W 2012 shows had already previewed and the resounding noise of menswear in suit-formation had been broadcasted loud and clear through the tents, the Tuileries…the twitter.

Yes, outfits cut from the same cloth percolated through all four major fashion cities. In Milan, Prada reintroduced the notion of matching sets. In Paris, Prada (well, Miu Miu,) did it again. And not just outfits or even matching sets, suits. Pant suits. Those initially and originally intended for men were at last, now for women.

Not without, of course, a bit of credit to the purveyor of just this, Yves Saint Laurent–who created Le Smoking, the pioneering female suit, in 1966 in order to celebrate a more androgynous, powerful woman.

Vogue UK’s September Issue cover girl, Karlie Kloss lent a very complimentary suit-salute to Jonathan Saunders in book. This is interesting. Even in spite of it’s overwhelming male attributes: there’s a tie, there are printed socks, a conventional suit blouse inside the jacket, it’s a look artfully manufactured for the-us.

Now, I should be fair one more time. Dries van Noten has been doing this since his beginning. Last fall, less conventionally, he offered black (photographed here) and gray, with asymmetrical details, see: the enormous gold embroidered dragon at left. More currently–this past runway season, Rochas conjured up its interpretation of, let’s call it the summer suit, with one very high waist panty, a bustier bralette and riding cape.

Think Little Red Riding Hood if the big bad wolf were actually, I don’t know, Robert Pattinson? One more salute to socks as footwear, too.

And finally, already on the streets:

At left, myself in Zimmermann and at right, Natalie Hartley wearing what looks like Stella McCartney however may not be (Paul and Joe) and a pair of orange Thakoon cowboy sandals I’d have been able to spot from across the Pacific. (Images via Glamour, Stylesight.)

In conclusion, girls rule and boys drool. How many do you know that can successfully pull off brocade, panties, a plaid shorts suit, effectively anything that Karlie Kloss has ever advocated?

Sartorially speaking, ladies, it seems we have it all.

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  • Elisa

    Girls do have it all, and men are, well, much more limited by society, sartorially-speaking, although I don’t think they realise it (most of them).

    Elisa – Wandering Minds

  • kerrin

    totally diggin it, and karlie looks perfect per usual. xx

  • fashionisserious

    Is it wrong for a boy to wear a female dress? No, if he want. But it would be a revolution that hide something more. Women began to wear male suits as symbols of their social conquers. Clothes make the monk. However, I love the matching sets!

  • Perry

    I guess feminism is dead.

    • fashionisserious

      If I were a feminist, I would not live my time. But, dear friend, a thing can die when there’s no reason to exist. Don’t you think so? However, I love men suit! 🙂

  • June

    On the right is Natalie Hartley – from Instyle UK magazine…

    • Leandra Medine


    • Clem

      And she’s wearing Paul and Joe….

  • lavieenliz

    I love a good suit! these are all amazing! I love the title! Were you a 90s Nickelodeon gal? Salute Yo’shorts!

  • monkeyshines

    inspiring prints!


  • dd
  • Eva

    LOve your Zimmermann suit. The print is so cool!! xx

  • Denisa

    I like the post and that style. Great.

  • Chelsie | Chelsie, Darling

    I’m not cool enough(tall enough) to wear a suit. 🙁

    chelsie |

  • Stacyco

    I like geometric print! That made clothing is unusually!

  • Erica Moody

    I love this! I have a collection of my favorite suits on Socialbliss. It includes my very favorite, Miu Miu!

  • thais yoshioka

    Suits are brilliant, theyre sexy but powerful and instantly make you look a little clever. Especially dries one. Never thought of it how you described as women seeking power from the men… so that kind of answers the question about why cant men wear dresses, because men rely on their power, wearing a dress makes them lose it! Great post

  • ohkate

    I am all for the return of the suit set! And you rocked your Zimmerman one perfectly. I’m excited to wear a floral blazer with a matching floral pant. Don’t even get me started on the brilliant colors!
    Once again, another wonderful post.

  • Are those eyeballs peeping out of your sweater?

  • Jenny

    YSL was certainly a credit to the evolution of women’s suits, but let us look to Coco Chanel – when we talk of pioneers. ~ ~

  • Z B

    rockin it pretty good there leandra!!!!your hot chicken legs help too!!!:))

  • Oh man, clothes and gender, that’s a sensitive subject. I think in the future it would be better for everyone if we stopped associating gender and clothing. Clothes don’t have gender, we do, and attributing this human quality to clothing is not a very positive thing in the long run ya know? The whole reinforcement of gender roles etc etc but maybe I’m diverging from the original subject. Yay pretty suits I look terrible in!

  • Brett

    who makes the shoes you’re wearing with the Zimmermann suit?

  • Little Red Book

    I”m going nuts for your eyeballs sweater!

  • sophie

    really digging the black and red bra/shorts/cape look

  • I am loving these amazing prints! xo, Christina


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  • Mr madchic

    Very efficiently written
    information about dresses . It will be helpful to everyone who uses it, as well as me. Keep
    doing what you are doing – i will definitely read more posts.

  • Bonnie, Clyde + Marni
  • Lady V

    This Summer I saw a local news report about a schoolboy who wanted to wear shorts to school. He was told no as it was against school uniform rules so he bravely challenged the rule by wearing a skirt instead…going to track down that NYT article now.

  • Ida Eerola

    The Miu Miu suits are perfection.
    And I think the fact that you called the Rochas look a summer suit, was so well discovered, because that totally haven’t crossed my mind earlier.

  • B.

    Great article, once again. Your suit looks really cool, I’m definitely a fan of this trend. But its definitely important that the suit fits you well and the accesories are feminine
    new outfit post

  • point very well taken and … worn (chapeau). I absolutely second the “outfit cut from the same cloth”, but. can’t help but wonder: will everyone wearing it be able to pull it off properly? I mean, will we see a lot of our grand mother’s curtains and tableclothes walking down the streets, or taste and common sense will prevail?

  • Love the women suit!
    The ones from Dries van Nooten are gorgeous
    and love your Zimmermann suit!


  • Love the outfit from you and Natalie! The shot from Vogue UK makes me dizzy, too much going on.

  • Sarah

    Love the outfits! Simply fabulous.

  • Susie Stenmark

    I love a short suit and you can wear that Zimmermann version (as a fellow Aussie, I’m a long-term fan of Zimmermann) and clashing patterns, particularly worn in a trouser suit, is such a dynamic way to dress! Instant energy!

  • Love the women’s suit look! It’s a great nod to the 60s while still being fashion forward and not dated. I love how for spring this look is getting blended with the simplicity and modernity of the 90s… beautiful all around!

  • Christine

    it’s moments like that Vogue UK picture that make me wish I didn’t work in rural East Africa. ^_^ LORD but what an arrestingly excellent two pieces of clothing.

    • Cismyname

      some how I think the prints would be more sought-after and appreciated in rural East Africa- here they are just too crazy for office wear.

  • ELLE D

    What an articulate and well thought post – and the pics are divine! Quick question but where are your boots from in the Zimm outfit? They look vaguely Chanel-ish but could be wrong….most probably am! x

    • Leandra Medine

      Yes, Chanel!

  • silvia

    I am all crazy about prints. Combining them… more is more!

  • Jenny Reid
    definitely investing in a patterned suit! to die for!



    I’m so glad it’s coming back and making a HUGE statement. Women in suits are seen as chic and powerful in my eyes. PLUS adding all of the eclectic textures and prints only makes these looks more playful!

    LOVE the article and the suit you chose. Beautiful color choices!

    I hope to become as successful as you are one day!
    I’m going to NYFW in February, hope to run into you there! It truly would be an honor (: