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Do we have Mercury retrograde to thank for the return of the leisure suit?


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Photo: Stocksy/Audrey Shtecinjo

There are two types of people in the (fashion) world—those that embrace the revival of the ’80s with shoulder padded open arms and those who have a hard time stomaching the resurgence of the fanny pack and scrunchie. For the latter, you can stay in the lane of ’90s athleisure but for the former, it’s never been a better time to shop (well, apart from the actual ’80s).

The next item to return from the graves of nostalgia is (drumroll, please) the leisure suit. Unlike the traditional suit which likely feels stuffy and fit only for an office or black tie environment, the leisure suit is, as the name implies, fun and relaxed. This is a unstuffy two piece akin to something you’ve likely seen and salivated over in Pretty Woman, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Nanny, Clueless or most recently on Celine Dion’s Instagram.

Wearing a leisure suit exudes the vibe that your look is well thought out and that you generally have your life together—without, you know, either of those things being necessarily true.

It’s really just a matching set—jacket and a bottom (skirt, pants, shorts)—that’s a low-effort, high-reward situation. Wearing a leisure suit exudes the vibe that your look is well thought out and that you generally have your life together—without, you know, either of those things being necessarily true. As far as styling goes, any T-shirt (á la Meghan Markle), cropped sports bra, or swimsuit will do for the top and keep things casual and playful with a pair of sandals or comfortable sneakers.

The allure of the leisure suit is that “it’s not overtly trendy and resonates with everyone,” according to a rep at W Concept (essentially the Soko Glam of the fashion world). “A two-piece also allows for various styling options, whether worn as a suit or as separates, making it a very functional piece.” Basically, it’s one of those things you can wear (potentially) several times in the same week without raising eyebrows. But unlike, say, splurging on a velour track suit that may go out of fashion as quickly as it came back in, a leisure suit has staying power thanks to its versatility.

For a very authentic and actually vintage two-piece, I recommend you carve out six hours of your day (just me?) and sift through Etsy or your local vintage store for something that may or may not fit. But since the leisure suit is making its way back to ready-to-wear brands, there’s also a slew of new and modern options to, well, suit your needs in materials ranging from denim to linen. Find a suit at your leisure below.

Finish off your look with this summer’s celeb favorite updo or some modern and cool pearl jewelry.  

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