The Little Jacket That Could

Jeans and a tee with jacket

I’m still a great believer in the power of a jacket to make the simplest outfit look pulled together. Even jeans and a tee shirt.

Earrings: Alexis Bittar // Jacket: Eileen Fisher // Tee: Madewell // Tank: Eileen Fisher // Watch: Michael Kors // Jeans: AG “Angelina” // Sandals: Arche

In the last few years, I’ve had only limited luck with finding jackets that work for me. Either they were too boxy and stiff, too fussy or too Corporate Drag™ or conservative. My winning jacket formula is what I call “softly structured,” which means that they have some inherent shape and tailoring but are fashioned from knits or soft fabrics that drape. This may turn out to be one of my favorite jackets ever. The styling is reminiscent of a tuxedo jacket and it dresses up or down with ease. The poly fabric is silky and drapes beautifully, is lightweight and doesn’t wrinkle so should pack and travel well. And get this: it’s made with 38% recycled water bottles!

The tee is a newish find, linen from Madewell. I love the v-neck and curved hem. It is on the sheer side, but a camisole or silk tank underneath works for me.

LBJ3

These Arche sandals are seriously some of the most comfortable I’ve ever had on my feet. The nubuck is soft and doesn’t rub anywhere, there’s padding under the ball of the foot, and a walkable heel.

oversized gold watch

Do you have a favorite jacket style? Or is there another item of clothing that you always rely on to look polished?

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41 Comments

  1. Eva
    March 14, 2014 / 3:19 am

    Those jeans make your legs look endless! What brand/style?

  2. March 14, 2014 / 3:31 am

    Ahh, those sandals look like heaven. I don’t wear jackets much but when I do (cue the World’s Most Interesting Man) I like them styled like this. Very nice look. xox

  3. March 14, 2014 / 3:36 am

    I love this look and the jacket is perfect…and I love these shoes!! Very cool look! The type of thing I wear most!

  4. March 14, 2014 / 3:43 am

    I’m coming round to jackets, I have one that I live but I have never worn it, it’s white and has feathers, my inner courtesan bought it behind my back.

  5. rukshanaafia
    March 14, 2014 / 4:01 am

    I discovered jackets when I finally acknowledged to myself that I hated cardigans , about 20 yrs ago ! In the UK you can never leave the house with the certainty that the weather will stay the same for 10 mins hence the ubiquitous cardi which (on me anyway) always looks limp & messy . About that time wearing the jacket 1/2 of a suit only became more ok and I liked the effect so much I started collecting them . I tend to wear straight cut , unwaisted styles because I have wide shoulders and so often have to get quite large sizes . This is ok because I always wash things & don’t dry clean so overlong arms etc shorten by themselves . I agree that there is nothing like a jacket for instantly upgrading your look .

  6. whirligigs@visi.com
    March 14, 2014 / 5:07 am

    Love the jacket and with the sandals even better. I like how you styled it in a casual way, beautiful.

    blue hue wonderland

  7. Cathy Wong
    March 14, 2014 / 4:41 am

    This is giving me something good to think about. I’ve been drawn to the chic/pulled together look of jackets for some time, but can’t seem to get comfortable with them myself. I have 2 which I seldom wear..I always feel stiff or formal in them. Your approach is giving me a new angle on it…..this could be the solution for me too. (I remember you once mentioning something about crisp shirts/blouses-that also “hit home” and got me considering those in another way too).
    Thanks for the insight!
    (am also seeing that I should give up on the idea of only focusing on slim/straight jeans!…..yours are beautiful on you!)

  8. March 14, 2014 / 5:16 am

    It’s a great looking jacket and I think you’ll wear it a lot. The whole outfit looks easy, effortless and beautiful. I think living in So. Cal. like you do, I’ve finally discovered that mid-season clothing is used the most, and that jacket fits right in.

  9. Jill
    March 14, 2014 / 6:51 am

    I like this look on you, especially those jeans! Hello legs! I’m realizing, after a lifetime of wanting a Chanel jacket, that I actually like cropped and slightly tight cardigans, or my newest thing, the zip cardigan–not as boxy as a Chanel-type jacket and looks so much better on my frame. So I’m with you, the knit, or drape, in a jacket makes it more wearable and better looking too. Now one of my dream items is a Chanel cardigan! XO, Jill

  10. March 14, 2014 / 6:24 am

    I love little jackets, but I don’t seem to wear them often enough. I need a classic black one like yours, light enough to wear in the office.

    And I’m going to look for some sandals like that – a small heel is just enough.

  11. March 14, 2014 / 6:36 am

    I do like a good blazer, but tend to not wear them through the winter — difficulties in layering under the coat required here through the cold/wet months. But I got one out last week and wore it with jeans, over a crisp white shirt. So instantly authoritative a look, isn’t it?!
    And the flared jeans! You are inspiring me to pick up a pair, although I’ll only be able to wear mine with heels which I’ve been wearing less and less. . . Still, yours look so fabulous!

  12. March 14, 2014 / 7:00 am

    I am totally into the tuxedo-style jacket right now. And I just found my perfect alternative to another plainblack blazer–this snakeskin-print embossed on by DvF:

    http://www.saksfifthavenue.com/main/ProductDetail.jsp?FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=2534374306436569&PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524446645941&R=886115675032&P_name=Diane+von+Furstenberg&N=4294912394+306436569&bmUID=kiYlwSk

    It’s the perfect piece to add some texture and dimension to the usual monochrome outfits I wear. It’s going to be pretty impossible for me not to wear this every-single-day because it looks amazing with just about everything I own.

  13. March 14, 2014 / 7:18 am

    You made a great choice with this jacket as the proportions work perfectly on you. Loving those flared jeans with the cute shoes. My recent purchase of a Chanel inspired tweed jacket is my only one as I usually wear cashmere sweaters or my Barbour vest as the second layer. I am looking forward to some warmer weather so that the jacket gets worn more as it is too bulky to wear a coat over it. Eileen Fisher could hire you as their spokeswoman!

  14. March 14, 2014 / 7:22 am

    Chic look — and the snazzy sandals complete it.

  15. March 14, 2014 / 7:44 am

    Such a PERFECT outfit. That the Arches are a comfort shoe is a cherry on, um, bottom:).

  16. Pain au Chocolat
    March 14, 2014 / 8:17 am

    Hooray, you are in bootcuts! The perfect silhouette for those of us with hips. Straight legs and boyfriends are not our friends. I learned that from Trinny on WNTW years ago, and it is so true. You look great.

  17. PamelaG
    March 14, 2014 / 9:53 am

    Another great look. You are my styling inspiration.

  18. March 14, 2014 / 11:34 am

    I am a lover of jackets/coats and truly believe they can elevate any look. Love how you’ve style yours – perfect!

  19. julie
    March 14, 2014 / 1:58 pm

    love the jacket, and I’ve just discovered the AG jeans myself, only here in australia styles are limited and havent seen the bootcut (everything is skinny or very skinny-straight)! love the jacket and have something similar which always gets pulled out, I ditched the stiff, boxy type jackets a long time ago, love the shoes, might look at those today, look very comfortable, great look !

  20. Swissy
    March 14, 2014 / 1:11 pm

    You look so right in that jacket. And I love the whole simple look of it all. For me, now, in a tiny rural village, a polished jacket feels overdressed. I wear cardigans, vests and loose shirts for ease. But when I do dress up a little, I have a similar black almost-dinner jacket that fits me perfectly.

  21. March 14, 2014 / 1:58 pm

    Susan as our height, shape (I’m a bit heavier) and taste coincide I really look forward to your finds. Your description of the perfect jacket is how I like them too — not boxy or corporate but softly structured. Maybe that’s why I’m a fan of cardigans too, wll made they can fit that bill.

  22. Maryann
    March 14, 2014 / 3:04 pm

    Love the jeans. AG are the best fit and most comfortable jeans I have ever owned. I love jeans & jacket combo and you look great. I like the boyfriend style jacket. But in Sydney at the moment it is far too humid for a jacket.

  23. Kris
    March 14, 2014 / 7:21 pm

    Jackets are great. I love them over jeans. I’ve found several very nice ones at Goodwill. I look better with a bit more structure because the rest of my look (messy hair, very little make up) is quite casual. Man, those are some great shoes.

  24. March 14, 2014 / 11:30 pm

    I agree and especially when I wear jeans I usually pair them with a blazer for a more polished look as I don’t like too casual outfits.
    Love your bootcut jeans!

    Annette | Lady of Style

  25. Duchesse
    March 15, 2014 / 7:07 am

    Sharing the love for Arche, and you can wash the nubuck! However, do not wear blazer style jackets anymore; I find they just don’t make me feel good, but like them on others. BTW are you serious about “corporate drag” being trademarked? I thought I coined that term at least a decade ago!

    • une femme
      Author
      March 15, 2014 / 7:13 am

      Duchesse, the trademark thing is just a bit of humor. You were the first person I ever heard use the term and it’s brilliant.

  26. March 15, 2014 / 8:26 am

    Like the other commenter, I’ve never felt comfortable in jackets. too stiff and uncomfortable. If I could find something like you describe, I might be won over. It certainly look great on you.

  27. March 15, 2014 / 12:29 pm

    Mine is a navy blue blazer that is perfect with jeans, pants, shorts or dresses, I just feel so pulled together when I add it.

  28. March 15, 2014 / 2:53 pm

    I have a similar Eileen Fisher black jacket, and I love it. It’s really versatile, and not stiff and uncomfortable at all, for those who are wonderful.

    You look great. I love those shoes, although I think I am no longer able to wear even that modest height heel.

  29. Susan
    March 16, 2014 / 5:06 am

    I agree that jackets need to have some drape and ease to them to be comfortable to wear. On Friday night, I wore an Eileen Fisher jacket that is mostly silk, has an all over nubby texture, and is a dream to wear. I bought it last fall and it is no longer available–wonder if they will bring back a similar one.

  30. Artsy in Boulder (Debbie)
    March 16, 2014 / 1:34 pm

    You look incredible here, and over on Already Pretty. Wowza!

  31. March 16, 2014 / 3:49 pm

    How I love those Arche sandals. They are a bit retro.

    Certain jeans jackets can be a good casual style, especially if they are dark or black denim, or certain subtle colours. But of course, not with blue denim jeans.

  32. March 16, 2014 / 4:54 pm

    Love the jacket! I have to have structure, too, and I want something that has at least two buttons. It also has to look good when I’m seated, which is the majority of the time.

    Alicia
    spashionista.com

  33. March 16, 2014 / 8:27 pm

    I am a big fan of blazers but use them primarily for work. I am trying to incorporate them into my weekend wear but with my laid back weekends, they are just a bit overdressed.

    This blazer fits you well and I love that it’s made partially from plastic water bottles! You’ve totally nailed the weekend chic look here!

    Alice
    http://www.happinessatmidlife.com

  34. March 17, 2014 / 11:51 am

    Found your blog randomly and I’d like to say it’s fabulous! You have amazing photos & style! Everything is perfect!

    would you like to follow each other?
    will be happy to see you in my blog!

    http://www.dianacloudlet.com

  35. March 17, 2014 / 12:27 pm

    The EF jacket is such a great shape – and it looks fab with your bootcuts.

  36. Jonquil
    February 19, 2015 / 8:05 pm

    That jacket looks beautiful! What a great, classic look.

    I buy all my jackets from equestrian clothing makers. RJ Classics is my absolute favorite. I find that show jackets are very crisp, shapely and feminine with well defined shoulders and waists without being stiff. Equestrian jackets are made to accommodate movement. Some even come in stretch fabrics, You can also get them in regular or long.

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