Dressing ultra feminine doesn't always cut it. Enter the female suit — and not the boxy, unflattering silhouettes of the '80s. We’re talking about the sexy suits some of today’s most fashionable female celebrities — most recently, Angelina Jolie at the 2014 British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards — are making popular and anything but manly. And at the height of awards-show season, with suits more in fashion than ever, we can’t think of a better time to not only try out the look, but to nail it like a pro. Ready to suit up? Here, five star-approved tips:
1. Stick with a tailored pant
Sure, high-waist harem pants look cool if you’re Ashley Olsen, but that kind of adventurous suit style is best left to the pros. Instead, opt for a tailored pant — like the one Jolie wore on the 2014 BAFTAs red carpet — that hits right above your waistline, is slim through the legs, and comes to a stop at the ankle. Paired with a sleek tank or chic button-down; a simple black blazer; and a great pair of heels, the suit combo will look casual cool and totally put together.
2. Go for a classic color combo
It’s a style rule that applies to anything you’re wearing: If you can’t choose a color or the idea of a print freaks you out, sticking with a fail-safe black and white combo is always a smart choice when it comes to nailing the female suit. You can even try the palette in a unique pattern — the way fashion icon Alexa Chung did at the 2012 ELLE Style Awards — but be sure to anchor the look with accessories, shoes, and a shirt in the neutral shades of black or white.
3. But don't be afraid to add some color
Bold souls and color-lovers rejoice: One of the simplest ways to stand out is by wearing a stylish suit in a bright hue, like the red number model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley wore to a Burberry Prorsum fashion show in London. For a look this wow, stick with tailored, classic shapes, as well as minimal jewelry and accessories to avoid looking too costume-y.
4. Add feminine details to keep it looking soft
Afraid a suit won’t let your inner girly girl shine? That won’t be a problem when you incorporate feminine details like delicate lace, leather trim, jeweled embellishments, or sequined collars into your look. You can also turn up the sex appeal like actress Blake Lively by leaving your shirt at home for a daring, low-cut style that’s sure to turn heads in all the right ways.
5. Make it playful with shorts
For those occasions when a full-on suit is just too serious, nothing looks chicer than a blazer and shorts combo, like the one actress Ashley Madekwe wore to a Nylon magazine event in Beverly Hills. Keep it casual in a neutral color and flats, or amp up your style quotient with heels and a metallic fabric.
Now, rock it.