November 8, 2016: a very important day for pantsuits. Historic, even. As I’m writing this, the Presidential election is still underway, so we’re still waiting with baited breath to see whether Hillary Clinton—and her pantsuits—will indeed win the White House, but whatever the outcome, the connotations of her ensemble of choice will never be the same.
A pair of pants and a matching jacket are innocuous on the surface (in fact, they’re pretty much a symbol of corporate blahness for the male population), but for women, they’ve been the symbol of major strides in political power and personal freedom throughout history. Did you know that women weren’t allowed to wear pants on the Senate floor until 1993?! And now here we are in 2016, when the potential future president is such a noted fan of the getup she has “pantsuit aficionado” in her Twitter bio and chose a photo of three red, white, and blue suits hanging in a closet, captioned “hard choices,” as her inaugural Instagram post.
That the pantsuit is a power outfit is self-evident, but can it actually be cool? Clinton, for all her dabbing on “Ellen”, selfies with Kim and Kanye, and “Yaaaas” campaign T-shirts, is probably not overly concerned with that, and nor should she be. But standing on stage next to Beyoncé last week, with Bey wearing a fitted polka-dot blazer and matching pants, it was clear that the nominee’s influence extends to the upper echelons of fashion.
Street-style takes on the suit have also been manifold the past few seasons, between silky printed pajama-style sets, tailored versions in bright, poppy colors, and trend-setting styles with avant-garde silhouettes, like Balenciaga’s broad-shoulder, padded-hip jackets and Ellery’s exaggerated-flare trousers.
Ahead, see 50 undeniably cool pantsuits to copy now—so you, too, can look like an HBIC.