In the last five years or so, if you were to believe fashion publications, there has been a resurgence in women’s suits. Marketed as an evolution of the ‘80s shoulder-padded Power Suit, this new crop of pantsuits has been designed to be worn to work but also casually and even as an alternative to formal wear. The trend continues to dominate every runway from Givenchy to Marc Jacobs (whose most notable piece in recent memory was a yellow suit that Lady Gaga and Harry Styles went on to wear). Some have linked the trend to the #MeToo movement, and the rejection of dressing for the male gaze, while others have pointed back to Yves Saint Laurent’s Le Smoking and the cyclical nature of fashion.
Whatever the case may be, as more cis and straight women have begun to wear suits, brands, both high- and low-end, jumped on the chance to make masculine-leaning silhouettes cut to the female body. What gets lost among this is the fact that suits have always been part of the queer wardrobe — a community that has long rejected fashion’s outdated ideas of the gender binary.
It’s for gender-nonconforming clients that many brands have been making suits for years now. As queer style continues to become mainstream, and co-opted by non-LGBTQ+ designers for profit, it’s important to acknowledge the brands owned or run by queer designers who have, from the start, created gender-neutral suits. In fact, many have founded their respective brands because there were no markets that catered to them at the time, with issues ranging from fit to an unwelcoming suit environment that can still have a boys’ club mentality.
With that in mind, ahead, queer brands that are offering suits, bespoke and ready-to-wear, for women, nonbinary customers, and anyone who’s ever felt left out from the traditional suiting industry.
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