THE golden era of Hollywood glamour may be long gone, but the spirits of Marlene Deitrich, Greta Garbo and Lauren Bacall must be smiling up in the great movie theatre in the sky as the classic look the made their own - 'women in suits' - is making a glorious comeback.

Twitter has been awash for days with dazzling images of female celebrities looking sharp in suits – and all because of a tweet by the US critic film and TV critic Inkoo (“pronounced in-goo”) Kang.

“I need an afternoon pick-me-up,” she wrote on Tuesday. “Please reply with your favourite pictures of women in suits.” As an example she tweeted a picture of the female stars who play Marvel Studios superheroes. Scarlett Johansson and Scotland’s Karen Gillen were among them – but the one who had caught Kang’s eye was Tessa Thompson, in a boxy plaid suit.

The thread – pun intended – caught on. Other Twitter users posted inspirational pictures of female stars in suits.

Cate Blanchett was a popular choice. As the star told Vogue last year: “I’ve always loved a well-made suit”. Last March the magazine ran a photo of Blanchett in what it described as her “sleekest iteration yet – a modern and sophisticated take on the smoking suit.” The fashion bible also observed that her street style should be seen by women as a “reliable source of inspiration: one moment she takes rock-chic cues from Kate Moss, while other looks follow the cues of Savile Row tailoring.”

Other suggestions poured in online to Kang and soon social media was alight with millions of images of the world's coolest women in suits. Diane Keaton, Eva Green, Léa Seydoux, Sigourney Weaver, Jessica Alba, Rihanna, Tilda Swinton, Alexa Chung, Grace Jones, Bianca Jagger, Evan Rachel Wood, French pop star Héloïse Letissier from Christine and the Queens, Cara Delevingne, Kate Bush, Kate Winslet, Kristen Stewart, and Janelle Monae. The latter, it turned out, wore a black and white herringbone suit to the Alvin Ailey Opening Night Gala in New York last week, pairing a tailored suit jacket with a bodice and attached trousers.

Still other Twitter users had their favourites: Emma Watson, Kim Basinger, Lauren Bacall, Katherine Hepburn, Greta Garbo – and Marlene Dietrich, looking particularly striking in a tux, top hat and white bow-tie, her groundbreaking outfit for the 1930 film Morocco. Julie Andrews was another popular choice thanks to her role in the 1982 film Victor/Victoria, in which she played a woman playing a man playing a woman. The sensational 1920s entertainer Josephine Baker was put forward, too, as was Hillary Clinton, who has said that she wears pantsuits "because they make me feel professional and ready to go."

The enthusiastic response to Kang’s tweet was a potent reminder of what many people believe – namely, that suits really suit women - and some would say better than men.

“Female suiting tends to work best when it fall into one of two camps,” says Eva Arrighi, the Sunday Herald's fashion editor. “The first is that homage to Audrey Hepburn, Laurel Bacall and Greta Garbo – wide-legged, big checks, double breasted, shoulder pads, that really plays with ideas of masculinity and is equally subversive when treading a more androgynous rock and roll line.

“In the second camp, the influence is Helmut Newton's evocative shot of Yves Saint Laurent's Le Smoking, with sleek lines. The advent of velvet, glitter and brocade for the party season is certainly giving suiting a glam new appeal.

“Either way this upsurge of women in suits might be celebrities signalling in a post-Weinstein/Trump era, which has seen many news anchors, studio executives and politicians falling from grace, that they are over being seen as tulle-clad eye-candy on the red carpet circuit and are striking a pose in something altogether more empowering.”

In terms of those designers and outlets that specialise in suits for women, Arrighi nominates Net a Porter, which “has some of the best exponents”. She adds: “The Belgians do it awfully well – for example, Swinton's beloved Haider Ackermann and Ann Demeulemeester – although Isabel Marant and of course Saint Laurent in Paris are the finest exponents of effortless female tailoring.”