Emily Meyer first noticed the power of a woman in a good suit watching the four coaches of the Stanford Cardinal women’s basketball team stride along the sidelines, screaming instructions to the players during the frenzied games. Impressed, Meyer began asking her parents for a suit whenever there was an occasion to dress up. Fast forward to 2018, and the rest of the world seems to have caught on. Pantsuit sales have grown 167 per cent since 1990, and women from the C-Suite to the front row now don them like professional armour.
It’s tough not to link this sartorial revival to Hillary Clinton’s run for office. In 2016, Googling ‘pantsuit’ kept you up with presidential race as well as NPR. Trump may have won, but women across the globe now wear Hillary’s taste on their sleeve. Though Meyer believes it’s not her style they’re wearing. It’s what she represents. “When Trump was elected I think a tidal wave of women put their feet down in a more radical and more vocal way. Women want to fill the vacuum and step into power. They want to stick both middle fingers in the air and look fabulous while doing it. They want to be a badass.”
Meyer typically sees new clients three times over a two or three-month period. At the initial appointment she’ll take measurements, look through books of fabrics with the client and together they’ll decide on a style. “Measuring women is personal,” says Meyer. “That’s been one of the surprising parts of the job—how much energy there is around each woman and her body. Generally, much more than I’ve experienced with men.” Meyer points out that there are no sizes in the bespoke experience. The suit is made to fit one body and is a manifestation of what makes one woman feel her best. “I don’t have a magic answer about how people can have fewer complex feelings about their bodies,” says Meyer. “I have insecurities too, but I try to assure whoever I’m with that this is a cool, luxurious experience, we are doing it together and they’re going to look beautiful.”
At the second meeting, the client tries on a muslin version of the suit. (Meyer’s tailoring shop will have made a pattern and from that pattern a muslin version of the suit.) She’ll adjust and pin the suit while it’s on the body. The third meeting is the delivery of the final product and she’ll make additional adjustments if need be, but that’s rare.