That suit is her : redoing suitable styles to subvert feminine identities in the professional workplace : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Masters of Design in Fashion at Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand
The homogeneous western business suit typically worn by female professionals is, I would argue,
disempowering because it functions as a reductive version of male power dressing and denies its wearer
any opportunity to express her individuality. This practice-led research project has involved re-figuring
the woman’s business suit. This suit type been interrogated, analysed and reflected upon; this activity
has formed a significant part of the research study. As tailoring is the central discipline of my practice, I
utilise these skills to offer women multiple suit forms to challenge stereotypes of feminine representation
in professional organisations.
My project is situated within the context of research from the perspective of the fashion practitioner and
utilises conceptually-led design methods (Bugg, 2006, p. 2). A multi-method approach has been taken to
interrogate the design practice and this includes the application of different pattern-making and tailoring
methods to various suit studies and the analysis of wearers and viewers responses to these suits.