Clothes for the Serious Business Lady
I have a friend who’s been talking about creating a line of products for the ‘serious business lady’. Because women ARE serious business ladies, but we don’t necessarily want to surround ourselves with bland, colorless office products, nor wear black and gray all the time. And after attending many networking events trying to manage my drink, my bag with laptop, and my coat, all while attempting to exchange business cards and establish rapport with the fascinating new people I was meeting, I mentioned to her that she needed to include a ‘networking suit’ in her line of serious business lady products. Something feminine, professional and smart, flattering to most every woman, and with pockets to handle all those business cards.
Turns out she doesn’t need to. Because Sali Christeson and Eleanor Turner have already done it with Argent.
Women’s Suits With Pockets
I’m not even sure where I first came across Argent, but I was immediately interested in what they have to offer; fully reversible suits (the pants too!), jackets made with cool-max breathable linings, blouses with hidden elastic on the sleeves so you can push them up and they stay pushed up, and a sweater that can be worn four different ways. And pockets, lots of pockets. Taking men’s suit design a little farther and not just incorporating the interior pockets, but adapting them to today’s woman – pockets for pens, pockets for your phone and earbuds, and yes, pockets for your business cards. And no, you don’t suddenly appear bulky and strangely shaped when using said pockets, you look smart and actually turn heads because the jacket you’re wearing is attractive and distinctive too. Argent likes color as much as I do!
After combing through Argent’s website and seeing a lot of things that got me very excited, I needed a field trip to see, and more importantly, feel the fabrics for myself. Because as you may know, I’m a big fan of natural fibres, and dare I say it, a little old-fashioned when it comes to what I wear. I am increasingly disheartened at having to pay a lot of money for the essentially polyester suiting that is available at most retailers.
My dear friend and sometime style advisor (everyone needs a friend like this!) and I planned a field trip for a cold, cold January day to visit Argent’s pop-up DC location.
Field Trip to Argent
And oh, what fun we had! Because the stars aligned that day, and even though the first two places had hour-plus wait lists, the third let us sit down for lunch, and by some amazing luck, we got to Argent and discovered that the two founders were not in San Francisco and New York as they usually are, but here, in person, in DC. And they were thrilled that we were there too. And we got to hear first hand about the thinking behind this amazing design, how the fabrics are sourced and why they are chosen, and the reason Argent was started in the first place. Like most innovative businesses, out of frustration, but also because there are studies that show that the way a woman looks can impact her earning potential by as much as 40%. Ugh. Clearly, we need functional, serious business lady clothes that make us look as amazing as we are.
The Completely Reversible Suit
I had to start with the reversible suit. I mean, really, how cool is that? A fully reversible suit? Yes, indeed! With interesting contrasting stitching details, a fun multi-length hem, and non-wrinkle, super packable fabric. I HAD to see this in person!
It didn’t look as fantastic online as I had hoped it might be, and truth be told, this is no wool suit, but it doesn’t matter. Because in real life it looks smart, professional, and a little sassy, and it FEELS amazing on. I almost never put on a pair of pants that actually fit properly without tailoring and these didn’t just fit, they were comfortable and I could really move in them. And all three pieces, the jacket, the pants, and the shell top are completely reversible. So, while you may pay a little more for this ensemble than you would at Ann Taylor, you’ve actually got the foundation of most of your working wardrobe right there. Argent manufactures all their garments themselves, in Manhattan’s garment district, and so removes the wholesale middleman. You get a made-in-the-USA piece that is the quality you’d find in a department store, without the big scale pricing.
Now about those pockets. Argent’s jackets are either reversible, made with breathable linings, or constructed with an entire portable office’s worth of pockets. Which I road tested because my need for business wear (and pockets!) is more about local networking and less about traveling. I bought their most popular jacket, the crossbody, in tomato. And I tested it out, filling up the pockets with all that essential stuff I would normally carry in my handbag. I can say that I looked professional (and comfortable – every jacket has a little bit of stretch) and my loaded pockets didn’t make me look misshapen. I think I’m going to really love having this super versatile and super practical jacket in my wardrobe!
Here’s another of their fantastic, I’m no shrinking violet, suits. Now that’s a pinstripe! The top was also something unusual – things that fall away from the body don’t normally work for my shape, but this one did somehow. And what an interesting piece with its asymmetrical hem and multi-layer design. I also tried the simple navy cropped blazer which fit and flattered me and had not just those amazing pockets, but a fun red contrast stitching.
Four Ways to Wear It
How about this for a great cost per wear piece? This sweater (also in black and white) can be worn four ways: front to back, back to front and turned inside out. That seems like a winner for anyone’s wardrobe. I think it would be fair to say that every piece I tried on could be dressed up or down, including this sweater.
Where to Find It
If you’re like me and you really appreciate good design, corporate color, and just plain old practicality, run, don’t walk, to Argent’s location in DC at 1921 8th St NW. And if you live somewhere else, Argent will ship to you at no cost, even including a free shipping return label if the item isn’t quite what you had in mind.
Aside from the fact that I really enjoyed spending time with Sali and Eleanor, (they clearly love what they do), I’m always going to support a woman owned small business when I can. And when that business is doing amazing things to revolutionize women’s office wear, I’ll be checking in regularly. My wardrobe needs more super cool clothing like this! Yours probably does too – give them a try – the clothes are much, much better than they look on the website.
HI, WE’RE ARGENT—a collective on a mission to make clothing that equips women to take their seat at the table. Like many, we’re at our best when we look great, feel comfortable and don’t waste hate on our closet. So we made the wardrobe to achieve it.
We’re into those who take charge and make noise. But change can’t stop at the closet door. Join us in a community aiming to dropkick the glass ceiling.
Here’s to changing the conversation—and your clothes.