If the Suit Fits

Oaklander starts a menswear line for women.


Mary Going

All Uptown resident Mary Going wanted was a suit for her 2008 wedding. Not just any suit, but something that made her feel as important as the day.

“I didn’t know how I was going to do it without something to wear,” says the 46-year-old Oakland mother of two who recently graduated from Mills College’s MBA program.

So her then-fiancée and now wife, Martha Rynberg, recommended getting a custom-tailored suit. With help from the Escobar brothers at Escobar Master Tailors in San Francisco, Going found the perfect suit.

“I felt great in that suit. I felt like a million bucks,” says Going, sitting in her Fruitvale office. “I wanted other people to feel like that.”

It was that feeling that inspired her to launch Saint Harridan (www.saintharridan.com) last November after a highly successful Kickstarter campaign, which surpassed her $87,000 goal and raised more than $137,000. Saint Harridan offers unique off-the-rack suits and shirts for all shapes of women, sizes 8 to 18, with the quality and structure of a man’s suit.

 “Men’s suits are designed to go out in the world and do business. Women’s suits are designed to show our bodies,” says Going, whose suits mimic a man’s but fit a woman’s curves without being overtly feminine. But hers is not your typical woman’s business suit. Even the name of the company is nontraditional, embracing a negative term for a mannish woman, Harridan, and a little known definition of saint, leader of a movement.

Going is planning a U.S. pop-up store tour in the fall and is in the process of working out the logistics of what cities to visit.

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