The first time I seriously went shopping for a suit, right when I graduated college, I went with my guy friend who was picking up his tailored suit from Macy’s. Walking through the men’s suit section, I was amazed by the neat rows of suit jackets in all colors and sizes. And that set my expectations for how the women’s suit shopping would go… boy, was I wrong.
The women’s business apparel industry is a disaster. It is extremely difficult to find business suits in my size, which happens to be petitie. And most of the suits have fancy bells and whistles to make it “fashionable” - for example, I went suit shopping with a friend once, and she tried on a jacket that fit perfectly, but had two collars on it for decoration - it looked stupid. Other suit jackets have little rhine-stones or just look like something my grandma would wear. Believe it or not, it is really hard for women to find just a normal-looking suit in one color that also fits.
The suit industry is really biased toward men, which became really apparent to me after I watched my guy friend’s suit packed up in a really nice travel bag upon purchase. When I bought a suit from the women’s department, they wrapped mine in a cheap plastic bag. I demanded a travel bag, just like my guy friends from the exact same department store - after all I expected to travel for my work, just like he did (we had the same exact job) - and had to go through 5 managers and put up a pretty big fight to get them to actually give me a nice bag at Macy’s. At Nordstrom’s, I didn’t have to put up quiet a fight like that, but I still had to request a nice bag. Apparently, the men’s suit manufacturers pay for the bag, so that’s why men get one and women don’t.
This makes sense, since men used to dominate the business world. But why is women’s business fashion stuck in the 50s - where only secretaries needed suits? That is why I was so excited to discover Quincy Apparel, a company that is looking to help business women find the perfect fit.
Quincy Apparel has gotten a bit of traction recently, after launching a few days earlier and getting coverage in several popular publications includingBusiness Insider today - the “Strategy” section, not SAI. With Quincy Apparel, women can choose to buy a nice-looking jacket based on their bust side and length (good news for petites everywhere!). According to co-founders Alex Nelson and Christina Wallace:
“Every brand today only does A-B cup sizes. Every jacket is for a B-cup or smaller. We’ve added the C-D sizes, which allows us to reach 50 percent of the population, because most women are a C-cup or larger.”
They founders are also veryconsciousof putting up real-life curvy models of different sizes to model the apparel on their site:
“When you go our site and look at a jacket in a certain size, you’ll be able to see a model wearing that exact size,” Nelson told Business Insider. “From a smaller woman with a B-cup to a larger busted woman with a D-cup. I don’t know any other brands that does that. Usually it’s one model, she’s stick thin and a lot of women don’t relate to her.”
The site is only limited to jackets right now, but the team plans to add pants based on a women’s body shape (e.g. hourglass), blouses, pants, skirts, and full suits soon.
Like I said, business clothes shopping is a HUGE pain point for women. And it doesn’t hurt that women who wear business suits happen to make enough money to afford the $100 - $250 price tag for these custom-made clothes. That is about the pricing at most department stores anyway. The team is on AngelList with some great reviews in the comments section, so check them out.
If you’re a woman in the business world, do you have problems finding a suit that fits?