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The Next Neutral Suit Your Closet Needs—Plus, Seven Ways I’m Wearing It Right Now

Hint: It’s not black or navy.

By Emma Steinbergs

If someone told me to conjure up an image of a suit, I’d immediately picture something black—the color of formality and authority. (It’s no coincidence that “black tie formal” denotes the fanciest of festivities or that Men in Black is synonymous with secret agents.) Personally, I wear a lot of black suiting styles and love the way they help me feel like a slightly more formidable version of myself (not to mention their uncanny ability to conceal spills). But it’s for this very reason that I gravitate toward lighter neutrals, too. Sometimes, I want to enjoy all the confidence-boosting powers of my tailored separates but also achieve a vibe that leans more tranquil than badass, more soft than sharp. On these days, I turn to my Horton pants and/or my matching Yiyan blazer in our deliciously rich shade of camel. 

Featuring a high rise and elegant flare, the Horton is one of my favorite trouser styles not only from M.M. but just in general. It gives you legs for days and can be paired with anything from a T-shirt and sneakers to a matching jacket and pumps. At 5’6”, I had mine hemmed two inches, since we designed this silhouette (and most of our suiting pants) with extra hem allowance to accommodate a wide range of heights. The Horton is a perfect pant in my book, and I even wear them on the weekend. (Prefer a tapered silhouette? Try the Mejia pant. Prefer a straight-leg silhouette? Try the Smith pant.) As for the Yiyan blazer, I admittedly rely on it a little less frequently—my black and navy blazers are the real workhorse layers in my closet—but I wear it enough that it still boasts an excellent cost per wear. It has the look of a traditional single-breasted style, but thanks to our signature stretch knit seams in the back, it allows you to move without any tightness through the shoulders. Genius.

Since camel is a season-agnostic neutral and our wool twill is fairly lightweight, I wear both my Hortons and Yiyan year-round. Below, see seven of my favorite ways to wear these separates, featuring several of our recently released spring and summer styles.

Shop all the looks from this story here.

Look #1

The Full Suit

M.M.’s office leans business casual, but since a healthy portion of our customer base still wears a full suit, I like to try my hand at a more formal dress code every now and then. Typically, a button-up under a traditional blazer like the Yiyan feels a bit too, well, buttoned up for me. Luckily, our knit poplin Clemens top was designed specifically with layering in mind. Its crinkle-resistant material and anti-bunch fit tucks into my Horton pants with ease—making me actually want to go full corporate-chic. For a touch of texture and personality, I added a pair of leopard-print calf-hair mules I got from Nordstrom years ago as well as the coiled Valeria earrings.

Look #2

Keep It (Slightly) Casual

If you’re in Power Casual most of the time, like me, try pairing your Horton pants with your button-down styled as a shacket (shirt-jacket) over your favorite tank top. While the aforementioned Clemens top could work, I prefer a more relaxed fit for layering. The Mila button-down is an excellent option, but lately I’ve been obsessed with my Lacie top, whose bold check pattern gives the pants a slight edge. Here, I wore it fully unbuttoned over a black tank from AYR and bookended the look with a pair of black Mary Janes from Vagabond.

Look #3

My Go-To Trouser Outfit Formula

At least three days a week, you’ll find me wearing a deconstructed suiting look that involves a pair of tailored trousers like my Horton pants + a relaxed knit that balances them out. As the weather warms, I’ve added the Melina vest into my rotation, since it’s sleeveless, features an open neckline, and is made from 100% cotton. The vertical stripe combined with the trim at the neck, hem, and armholes add texture that beautifully complements the Horton’s more one-dimensional wool twill fabric. To tie it all together, I added my black Kati blazer—a bafflingly underrated blazer of ours that’s currently on sale—a pair of vintage Ferragamo kitten heels that I scored on my recent trip to Italy, and a chunky set of silver Mejuri earrings.

Look #4

Sporty & Stripey

The Horton pants’ sleek, leggy silhouette makes them surprisingly conducive to sporty looks, too. On the weekend, I’ll wear them with an easy T-shirt, some sneakers, and whatever type of jacket the weather calls for. Here, I’ve gone for a classically athletic aesthetic, pairing the Owen T-shirt with my also-blue-and-red-striped Onitsuka Tiger sneakers. (Tip: As of last year, Tiger no longer distributes to the U.S, but you can still shop them via third-party sellers.) It was unseasonably brisk in NYC last weekend, so I layered the Kane jacket on top. I didn’t need another jean jacket, but its dark wash and collarless, cropped cut serves a completely different purpose in my wardrobe than my distressed, oversized Levi’s one, you know?

Look #5

All Dressed Up

When I need an evening-ready layer, I typically reach for something black, but come warm weather, I’ll throw lighter colors into the mix. Lately, I’ve been wearing my Aisling dress at every chance I get, including to a work party last week, and I’ve discovered that my camel Yiyan blazer really makes the kaleidoscope print pop. To achieve the nighttime vibe I was going for, I finished the look with a pair of old strappy, square-toed sandals from Miista (similar: Alohas) and an Etsy dupe of the Bottega Veneta drop earrings (similar: Karis).

Look #6

From Classic to Cool

The Yiyan’s incredibly classic cut isn’t as inherently “cool” as, say, the boxier, double-breasted O’Hara blazer, but it becomes more fashion-forward when paired with super-special pieces and unexpected silhouettes. I’m picky about my prints, and the ones that resonate with me usually fall into one of three categories: black and white, stripes, or small in scale (see: outfits #2, #4, and #5). Borough print, which we recently re-launched as part of our New York Liberty capsule, is obviously black and white, but it’s a little busier than what I typically go for. I made an exception for the Annika tee, however, because it feels more like an interesting artifact than your typical statement pattern. I like to pair it with a wide-leg pant like the Milo jean or a dramatic slip skirt like this one from La Ligne, which forms a chic column silhouette. My black Franco Sarto loafers add visual weight to this silky ensemble.

Look #7

Show Some Leg

Since I went long in look #6, I want to show that going short has an equally eye-catching effect. For a springtime date night, I layered my Yiyan blazer over the Sabine top, featuring our moody amaro hue, and incorporated some lightness (and leg) via a pair of pleated shorts from Reformation. If you want a bit more coverage, you could switch out the shorts for white jeans, but I’d wear this to the office if I swapped the shorts for a pair with a slightly longer inseam. For shoes, I went with a pair of Sam Edelman flats, whose nude hue further elongated my silhouette.

Written By

Emma Steinbergs

Emma is M.M.LaFleur's Brand Manager. She previously worked as an M.M. stylist and still loves thinking through styling challenges and solutions for customers.

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