Someone found my blog by Googling "Buying an MLA suit," so I thought I'd toss up a quick note about the process.
I've also been talking to a few of my anguished female colleagues who are going on the market. Everyone's concerned about purchasing a well-fitting suit on a grad-student salary. I just perused Nordstrom's online, and I still (with the job) can't afford their $300-$400 suitings. I think there's a Nordstrom outlet in Durham, but if you don't have access to such things (as I didn't in Knoxville), that leaves you with local department stores like JC Penney and Marshall's and shopping online.
I've already mentioned how much I love JCP's Worthington seamless tanks under suits. They're not too low cut, you never have to worry about wayward lapels, and they're super easy to pack.
I had an issue buying suits because my body isn't proportional. I found Victoria's Secret's suits to be the right cut for my body. (Sans come-hither look, though I guess that might work for some people in some jobs in some departments.) I struggled with designers like Calvin Klein selling their suits in top/bottom sets, so I couldn't mix the sizes. VS's suits are sold as separate pieces, and the jackets are cut with a slight nip at the waist, so no boxy silhouette. I chose the trouser pant in one size larger than my regular size, but the jacket in my regular size fit just right. I caught the suits on sale (both pieces for $100). These VS suits don't boast the same fit and finish as the $400 Nordstrom pieces, but for $100, they offer everything I needed to feel put together and comfortable.
I'm in no way compensated for my review here. I'm sure I'll get some kind of cease and desist email from one of those companies, but in the meantime, maybe this info can help. Guys, apologies. I'm sure you have just as much trouble searching for well fitting and reasonably priced suits as we do, but I can't attest to the boxiness of your jackets.