The Plus-Size Suit That I'm Living In For Spring 2019

Rochelle Johnson

As I grow older, I'm learning to cherish my cozy nights in rather than uncomfortable nights out. I'd much rather spend my time binging Billions and ordering the best Chinese takeout that Flatbush, Brooklyn has to offer than bumping into strangers at a crowded bar while double-fisting watered-down cocktails. But because this is New York City, there are some occasions where I can't avoid going out — whether it be for a client dinner, product launch-slash-happy hour, or a friend's birthday. And in those instances, I've found the ideal uniform: a trendy plus-size suit rather than a clingy dress and heels that I can't walk in.

This is another preference that came with age — because when I was in college, pantsuits had a bad rap. They were seen as dated and unstylish by my peers... and most of them tended to be boxy on my frame, anyway. It wasn't until I found the right suit (and the right tailor) that I saw how powerful a matching set can look and feel. At Re/Dress, a plus-size consignment shop in Brooklyn that's since shut down, I stumbled across a great tweed suit by Abby Z. — another line that also no longer exists. I remember feeling really special because of the way the items were sized... I believe that a 1 was a 14/16, a 2 was an 18/20, and so on. Aside from that, I loved how easy it was to get dressed whenever I wore it for a career fair — all I needed was a silky white shirt, a statement necklace, and heels.

My first (and favorite) pantsuit from my college days.

I carry that same approach with me when I wear suits casually, too. I often like to pair them with a concert tee or a rolled-up button down to make the look feel more informal, and I always have fun with my shoes — my go to is a white bootie. If I have a busy day of events (like during Fashion Month), I'll wear a pair of Adidas sneakers. And even though I only likely took 10 minutes to get dressed, I still like to think that I look pulled together and presentable. It makes choosing an outfit a no-brainer — which is helpful when my mind is occupied by how I can make a viable excuse to go home.

Khalea Underwood

These LOFT suit separates helped me survive Paris Fashion Week this season.

Ahead, I'm outlining a few of the suits that I'm eyeing for every occasion this spring.

For A Formal Event

I'd love to pair this sleek Christian Siriano tuxedo with a pair of spiky stilettos that I'd undoubtedly remove before the night's end.

For Everyday Wear

Technically, this isn't a suit — the checks on the blazer are slightly larger than the print on the pants. But, I happen to like that mismatched element... plus, the material is so soft. I wore the pants, blazer, and a plain white T-shirt for a long day of press previews, backstage beauty reporting, and croissant eating in Paris last month.

For Girls' Night Out

A red dress always makes me feel so powerful, so I can only imagine what a red suit could do. I see myself wearing this Simply Be suit for a night of Lower East Side bar hopping, with the blazer's sleeves rolled up. And since the separates are so affordable, I wouldn't even care if someone splashed a bit of their $6 wine on me.

For A Saturday Stroll

I know, I know... florals for spring are "groundbreaking" (insert Miranda Priestly's eye roll here). But personally, they never get old to me! I'd love to wear this for a leisurely weekend of brunching and shopping. Even if I'm only going down the street to the grocery store.

For Date Night

This was another Paris Fashion Week outfit that I loved. I paired the blazer with a lacy red bra that matched the piping, and felt so sexy. The compliments rolled in all night, and I got the phone number of a really cute Frenchman that I'll likely never see again. But if chance happens to bring us back together again, I know what I'll be wearing.