The Best Suiting for Curvy Women

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the best suiting for curvy bodies

A reader emailed me asking for work suiting advice.  She is looking for a power suit but has a curvy shape.  She wanted to know if I had any suggestions on where to find a great suit for curvy women:

For years I struggled to find suiting to accommodate my soft curves. I am 5'3″ with an F-cup bust and in the past decade have varied between a size 12 and 16. Every suit I found was either too boxy or looked like it was leftover from the cast of Melrose Place (remember the super tight and short suits Amanda Woodward would wear?).

Luckily in the past couple of years, brands have caught on to the need for great suiting for curvy frames while trends have made suits stylish for everyone, not just stockbrokers. Below I share my favorite places to shop for suiting for curves along with some photos of me in suiting from the retailers I have shopped from.  The other retailers I recommend come from feedback from multiple Wardrobe Oxygen readers.

The Best Retailers Offering Suiting for Curvy Women

suiting for curvy bodies where to shop
Wearing a Talbots Italian Doubleweave suit.


At Talbots, I can find suiting for my 5’3” size 14 curvy body and they fit right off the rack. Offering most of their suiting in misses, petite, plus, as well as plus petite, you can create a more custom fit for your unique shape. Talbots suiting is clean, classic, shaped for a woman’s figure. You can find a great pantsuit in a solid color or subtle pattern that will be classically stylish now and seasons from now. The quality is excellent, and the customer reviews help you know which size to purchase and if the silhouette will work for your form.

universal standard workwear review
Wearing a black pantsuit from Universal Standard.

Universal Standard

I’m glad you mentioned Universal Standard because I think they do offer great suiting pieces – good quality, classic styles, and a size range from 00-40 with some pieces available in petites. They have suiting in ponte, a classic stretch wool suiting fabric, and a classic luxe twill suiting fabrics. Each fabric has one blazer and a variety of skirts and pants to coordinate. I love how they will show the same piece on a variety of bodies at different sizes so you can better assess how it will fit on your frame.

Universal Standard has a unique sizing system where 4XS is 00/0 and 4XL is 38/40. Every item, regardless of style or color, is available in every size. The Universal Standard size chart is very detailed and I recommend measuring yourself and if unsure, contact their customer service to ensure you order the right size.

best suiting for curvy women banana republic review
Wearing a hot pink tropical weight wool pantsuit from Banana Republic.

Banana Republic

I’ve had surprisingly good luck finding suiting that fits my curves at Banana Republic. Offering sizes 0-20 and most pieces with tall and petite options, you can achieve a better fit before visiting a tailor. Often employing stretch and tech fabrics that resist wrinkles and are travel-friendly while offering a variety of jacket and pant cuts for different frames, the suiting is very curve-friendly and a lot of it is also machine-washable.

If unsure, I recommend sizing up with the blazer and then visiting your neighborhood tailor or seamstress to shorten the sleeves and do a minor nip or tuck along the torso for a custom fit.

tan satin pantsuit
Wearing a camel matte satin pantsuit from Ann Taylor.

Ann Taylor

Ann Taylor carries suiting up to size 18 with petite and tall options, and a specific category of suiting pants and skirts in curvy fit. I have had a lot of luck with Ann Taylor suiting in the past year or two, finding the curvy fit works really well with my frame and the jackets having great fit over fuller shoulders, arms, and bust.

talbots suiting for petite curvy women
Wearing a dark red suit from Talbots.

Of Mercer

Of Mercer was created for businesswomen who want to look powerful but also embrace their feminine side. Offering 00-14 as well as 14W-20W, Of Mercer offers matching suiting separates in three different classic fabrics, all with stretch to work with a woman’s curves. Fit is important to Of Mercer and they have a detailed size chart and online instructions on how to measure yourself to find the right fit.

best plus size petite suiting
Wearing a petite plus sized pantsuit from Talbots.


Wish it was possible to get a custom-made suit without being a millionaire?  Wish such a feature was available without leaving your home?  Sumissura creates custom-made suits for women and when I say custom, that goes beyond your body's measurements.  Being able to choose fabric, label style, fit, even number of buttons on the cuffs, Sumissura gives you the luxury of designing the suit perfect for you without spending an arm and a leg (custom suits are under $300). 

I have never used Sumissura, but I love the idea of it and love how they don't have a size limit.  If the idea of creating a suit from scratch is overwhelming, Sumissura carries popular business suit designs already set up and you can just enter your measurements to get it made for you.  Sumissura also offers dresses, trenches, and more made to fit.

banana republic suiting review
Wearing a ponte knit pantsuit from Banana Republic.

Tips for Curvy Women Buying Suiting:

  • Size up, tailor down. To make sure there is room for your curves, purchase a size up.  Ensure the sleeves are roomy enough for your upper arms and shoulders, even when wearing a blouse, that your bust doesn't cause the jacket to pull, that you can sit comfortably in the trousers.  A tailor is your secret weapon in making any suit look twice its pricetag and give you twice the confidence and air of success.
  • Consider a single-breasted, one-button style.  A one-button style creates an hourglass shape, working with a curvy frame.  It also looks more current and looks good when left unbuttoned.
  • Consider a “column of color”.  If you wish to minimize your curves, creating a column of color with your blouse and pants the same color will elongate the frame.  If the color is dark, it will recess under the blazer making your figure less of the focus.  No need to have it black with a light-colored blazer; other dark colors will work and the blazer doesn't have to be high contrast to achieve the effect.
banana republic suiting review for curves
Wearing another Banana Republic pantsuit. While I chose it in hot pink, when it was still available it came in more conservative colors like black and navy. Click here to read the original blog post featuring this suit.

While this list is not exhaustive, these retailers are known to carry professional looking suiting season after season, offering fabrics and fits to work with a woman’s curves. If you are reading this article and know of another retailer that regularly offers professional suiting for curvy women, do share it in the comments to benefit other women looking for this workwear must!

A woman with curly hair wearing a plaid blazer holds a green fur coat over her shoulder on a city street.

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  1. apple here too. long, slim legs, no bum, weight carried around waist and back of waist, big bust, long thin arms and narrow shoulders with no muscle on them due to rheumatoid arthritis. Big waist, kinda smallest at top of legs. Thick midriff and look wide, not flat side on and top heavy. All blazers look too big in shoulders. When I was 5 kg lighter, could fit a Vince blazer. Now even that looks too mannish and solid. Recently bought a Max Mara jacket which has small shoulders and inset sleeves which bell slightly at wrists. Just above top of leg length so doesn’t shorten legs. Double breasted without decoration, subtle buttons, matt woo fabric, loose through the body so it falls from the small shoulders and camouflages the thick middle and large bust. What an exercise in research! Also have a kind of swing style Sofie D’Hoore which does the same. Will have a look at these others though.

  2. I have tried Sumissura myself because it sounded perfect. however, I wasn’t able to get well fitting trousers from them, even after sending them back twice with feedback. Every body is different, of course, so they may work very well for others. But I was really disappointed that they had tiny seam allowances, so I couldn’t even take them to a local tailor to have them fitted! My tailor assured me that in most made-to-measure, seam allowances are about an inch, not a quarter. Also, no stretch fabrics.
    I would be interested in hearing other experiences, though. If my experience is the exception, I might be willing to try again

  3. I love the Premier Bi-stretch work blazer and pants on Eloquii. Makes me feel sexy in a suit, which is hard to do! I’m hourglass and 5’7 if that helps.

  4. As more of an apple shape myself, I prefer Ann Taylor. I have two of their suits and wear their dresses with the blazers as well. I have built a nice work wardrobe with AT pieces.

    1. I used to love Ann Taylor but in the past couple of years I’ve found the quality and fit inconsistent which is why I didn’t include them. But that may be me focusing too much on the Ann of a decade ago instead of seeing them as who they are now!

  5. This was a great roundup! I don’t have to wear a suit every day anymore, but when I did I also found J. Crew to have good options. J Crew and Banana Republic were my go-tos, and I also had some luck at Nordstrom with its Halogen brand (hit or miss with the fabrics), Vince Camuto, and Theory (the best wool suit I’ve ever had). I found some good pieces at Ann Taylor as well. With a curvy hourglass figure, muscular butt and thighs, and big shoulders, I size up and tailor down in every single one of these brands from the sizes I would buy in regular clothes.

    1. Also – Saks Fifth Avenue online has a great (but small) selection of heavily discounted suiting pieces and work dresses. Think $450 reduced to $100.

  6. I notice the questioner is an apple shape, as am I. I often wear suits to work, and find that many “curvy styles,” esp those from Talbots, are more suited (no pun intended! 😉 to women with smaller waists and bigger hips and thighs — the pear shape. FWIW, since your reader is an architect and likely appreciates design, MM LaFleur might be a good option. I love how their pieces indicate whether they’re “middle friendly” or “hips friendly.” Plus, they offer creative options in knit fabrics and beautiful colors that can spice up the office.

    With all this said, I’d like to add that I remain super annoyed at Talbots for no longer offering their suit pants in Talls.

    1. I am exactly the shape the questioner describes and agree that Curvy fits do not work for an apple shape. Waists are too small, hips too big. Curvy is not = a little extra weight in the middle with a large bust.

      I also find one button jackets rarely work unless the “stance” – place where the button is placed – is close to under the bust. It just gaps, emphasizing the fact that the girls aren’t small.

      I’ve never tried MM Fleur, but I have had no luck at Talbots or Banana Republic ever. Same with Theory-they don’t like boobs. J Crew cuts have sometimes worked. My best blazers are Eileen Fisher, J Crew and Ann Taylor.

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