Give Those Basics a Twist - Blazers to Bombers
To recap, so far we have touched on style tribes and fashion camps (remember minimalist, eccentric, boho and classic with a twist), the basics, which outlines the foundation pieces to build your wardrobe on and jeans (because they are so damn hard).
I would like to talk about another one of these basics, the blazer, and how we take it to the next level by adding a little twist. I know a lot of you ladies are headed back to the office and are looking for ways to energise and elevate your workwear while maintaining a classic and polished aesthetic.
Here's The Breakdown
THE BASIC - BLAZERS
The blazer is a wardrobe basic; chic, timeless and easy. But sometimes, well, boring. Especially with coordinating trousers or skirts and personally my most hated ensemble, over a dress. So what would I do instead? Take the concept and give it a twist. What makes fashion interesting today is taking contrasting styles and ideas and finding a unique and interesting way of combining. One way of doing this is to sub out your classic blazer and opt instead for another jacket with a little more personality.
Here are my alternative jacket choices for the season.
The point here is to mix styles, play with proportion, add in details and contrasting ideas.
If your office is more laid back, a bomber is a super cool choice for this season. Pair one that has more feminine details or softer materials to balance this ultra masculine garment and voluminous shape. This way you can make it workwear appropriate with trousers, skirt and yes even dresses, but equally cool for evenings and weekends with jeans, leather trousers and embellished skirts.
The proportion is crucial here as it can make your shape look larger, especially if it hits mid hip vs on or just lower than your natural waistline. I would reserve a longer length bomber for straight/boyish shapes and look for a cropped version if you have a curvy or pear shaped figure. For inverted triangle silhouettes (broader shoulders than hips), I would perhaps avoid unless the bomber is in a very soft drapey fabric to avoid adding extra volume on the top. Remember we want to balance our tops to bottoms (refer to Style Foundations: Part 3 where I discuss more).
Cropped jackets are an easy way to either draw attention to, or create a feminine shape, due to where they fall on the waistline. If you are wearing a feminine dress, I would say a cropped more masculine jacket would be a great addition to finish the look. You could wear this jacket in the autumn/spring with an oversized scarf as outerwear or instead of a sweater/cardigan in the office in the cold winter months.
As the garment is versatile in function, I also like to choose ones that are versatile in palette, meaning I look for jackets that are neutral or have a weave/print that incorporates a lot of the colours that I love and have or intend to add in to my wardrobe. This way you can easily pair many garments and combinations of looks with the jacket to really get the most out of it.
For this reason, I like to look for one special cropped jacket a season to add into my wardrobe as I know it will be a workhorse and if good quality, well designed and perfectly tailored, will be a go-to for many years to come. Just think of the longevity of the Chanel boucle jacket. Seriously iconic. The risk of having too few of these jackets is that you will wear out the ones you have quickly from so much use. So build a strong selection of cropped jackets that cater to different moods and equally are as versatile as possible.
Here are some I love for all the above reasons.
Okay, double-breasted blazers are super cool at the moment. That means you can take this trend in two strides. Either totally embrace it and vow to wear your blazer heavily, or opt for a more classic mens evening inspired option that will carry you through the years as a quiet but powerful garment.
The trendy ones this season are typically in some kind of check or tartan. For the office, I would explore with caution and only recommend if you have quite a liberal dress code as you will need to create a cool ensemble to ensure your look is modern and not an '80s power suit. Mom jeans or frilly flairs (juxtaposition of masculine/feminine) are perfect pairing options. You only need to look at the instagram feeds of most influencers to see a slew of examples.
The other, more classic, is a double-breasted tuxedo jacket complete with satin lapels and fabric covered buttons. Incredible and very chic over tailored trousers and blouses or knitwear alike. Amazing draped over the shoulders while wearing a form fitting dress or a slip dress for evening. Always a great idea with leather trousers and a silk camisole for evenings out.
There will be seasons to come where we will all the sudden be totally over our double-breasted tuxedo jackets, as all fashion comes and goes. But when that day comes, put your beautiful and investment jacket away as it will come back again and nothing is better than a fantastic original brought back out and mixed in with current trends and moods. That is why our mom's closets and vintage stores continue to hold so much appeal. Perhaps while you're on the hunt for your perfect tuxedo jacket visit a couple of fabulous vintage shops and see if you can find an original, don't forget to check the menswear sections.
Note: If you want to create or emphasis a womanly hourglass silhouette look for contemporary interpretations of Dior's bar suit. The nipped in waist and exaggerated hip is still a fantastic piece to create a strong feminine look.
I am a knitwear girl. I don't know if I am permanently frozen from growing up in Northern Canada or that I like the comfort and coziness (hygge as my Danish husband would say) of being cocooned in wools and cashmere's but believe me when I say that I LIVE IN KNITWEAR. Even in the summer you will often see me wearing a lightweight cashmere jumper or cardigan.
The key to knitwear it to find pieces that really raise the bar. You must be careful as it is easy to fall in the trap of classic knitwear and go from glamorous to frumpy in 0.1 seconds. Raising the bar means fabulous colours, interesting weaves, great appliqué or details and perfectly cut; you get the picture.
I find that the Italians really get it right. I'm not always a Dolce & Gabanna girl but I do say they always find a way to mix in cardigans and knitted jackets that are definitely va va voom. Prada is a bit more my speed where Miuccia often rocks that sophisticated chic with a little bit of eccentricity in such a cool way. Marni also provides many interesting options and the colours are always so magnificent. Gucci for all things fashion, including cardigans are the coolest for the season. For the most delicate, light coloured neutrals (for when I have a loud trouser or dress) I love Joseph's selection of ivory, cream, soft pinks, blues and greys, but remember you really need to bring the energy with the rest of the outfit.
Here are some great options to illustrate what I'm talking about.
Stay tuned as we speed through a busy September as I'll be talking about all things basics and how to elevate, from the office to the park. Let's get those wardrobes sorted and have the most stylish autumn ahead!