The Classic Tweed Jacket, Updated

Chanel-inspired tweed jackets. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

The ladylike bouclé tweed jacket made popular by Coco Chanel has seen many iterations over the decades, but has retained its iconic status. A real Chanel jacket can be an exquisite piece (oh, that little chain sewn into the hem!), but is priced well beyond most budgets. Fortunately for those who adore this look, there are “inspired by” versions in a range of prices.

Shown above: Left | Right

I’ve always had a soft spot for these jackets, but find they can skew a bit matronly if you’re not careful. Styling with more casual or edgy pieces as done above makes the look feel more current and relaxed. My take: don’t try for the Chanel runway look circa 1987; keep it simple, wear as part of a casual outfit, be selective with accessories, and let the jacket take center stage.

With the passing of Chanel’s long-time creative director Karl Lagerfeld earlier this week, I expect a renewed interest in All Things Chanel, including jackets.

CeCe tweed moto jacket. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Here’s a moto style (on sale) that will appeal to those who like a bit of sparkle.

Talbots tweed jacket in black and ivory gingham. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

This one in black and ivory is offered in Misses, Petites, Plus and Petite Plus sizes.

IRO knit tweed jacket in Ecru. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

This jacket is soft and understated. It’s unlined, so perfect for a milder climate. (I have this one in black, see how I wore it here.)

Nic and Zoe Plus tweed cardigan light blue. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Here’s a style in Plus that looks like a jacket but is actually a cardigan.

Elie Tahari tweed jacket. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

The classic collarless, boxy style isn’t to everyone’s taste. Here’s a longer, more shaped style in a metallic tweed.

Black double-breasted tweed jacket from Vero Moda. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

And a budget-friendly option, also with a longer line and collar.

Are there any iconic designer styles that have inspired you?

My friend Wendy Brandes has written a very informative (and entertaining, because of course, it’s Wendy) post about Karl Lagerfeld.

More “Inspired” Styles

Stay in touch.

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20 Comments

  1. February 21, 2019 / 2:23 am

    The thing about the bouclé jacket is the texture. It isn’t boring yet it doesn’t clash with a pattern. It elevates a simple dress or jeans. Love.
    I also love those two-tone slingbacks. I’ve been looking for a pair but the spring shoes aren’t yet out.
    You know Wendy? She’s an old friend of mine! Smart as a whip and always stylish.

  2. Karen Raschke
    February 21, 2019 / 5:07 am

    I have an actual Chanel jacket from SS2003 that I got here in NY at a very high-end consignment shop in SoHo. These shops are an excellent source for things you could never get new and are usually in very good condition. I also have a Chanel bag from this shop.

  3. Ainsivalavie
    February 21, 2019 / 5:12 am

    I love the LOOK of the Chanel jacket but it’s not for my curvy short short waisted figure. The darn hemline hits at the widest part of my backside and they tend to be boxy. I have searched for a shaped, petite version and did find one in a pink tweed…even with jeans it was way to mums-y looking aka matronly. Like mom trying too hard to be hip:( it had a navy thread so actually looked much better with navy trouser)
    Realize now that some styles, no matter how iconic just aren’t for everyone…and will continue to admire those who can carry it off.

    • Nancy
      February 21, 2019 / 7:48 am

      You put into words why I always feel frumpy in this style jacket as much as I love the look and want to wear it…

  4. Recoll
    February 21, 2019 / 5:15 am

    I’ve been looking for a boucle jacket for over a year. Very difficult to find a flattering look with a large bust. Last month at Saks I tried a pinkish IRO jacket (Jocund Distressed Tweed Jacket). Small gauge fabric design. No decoration or pocket at the bust line. Vertical fringe and embellishment along the front opening elongate the torso. I did not buy it. I am trying to avoid impulsive purchases and buying clothes that are difficult to return (no Saks in my city). But I continue to mull. This blog entry is enticing me. I love a classic!

  5. Rondi
    February 21, 2019 / 7:44 am

    Thanks for presenting so many different versions and price ranges of the Chanel look! I have always loved this look. The tips you gave on how to wear them without looking matronly are very helpful. I do not anticipate I will ever own an actual Chanel jacket but I do have a classic Chanel purse that was a gift and I cherish it. And the hunt for a Chanelesque jacket sounds like fun! I really like the look of the unlined ones. They look more casual to me.

  6. Isabelle Patthey
    February 21, 2019 / 8:32 am

    I loved the Chanel jacket just not on me. I’m tall with broad shoulders and a big chest. This style of jacket looks best on a Charlotte Rampling or Ines de la Fressange.

  7. Lily
    February 21, 2019 / 8:59 am

    You nailed this post! These jackets are so wearable. I always feel well dressed in a boucle jacket. My favorite here is the black/white moto style. I probably have one in my closet already! I like to shop with my college age son. He keeps the matronly pieces out of my closet. He also got me using a garment rack. So handy to see what you have and plan outfits.

  8. February 21, 2019 / 10:18 am

    I so much love the texture of these jackets. Talk about matronly. I tried one on at Anthro last year and immediately but it back on the hanger! I’ll have to enjoy them on someone else.

  9. Daniella
    February 21, 2019 / 11:04 am

    I wear a Chanel jacket only with jeans. A very smart look.it works well when traveling.

  10. Lee Rosenthall
    February 21, 2019 / 1:36 pm

    LOVE the Etro jacket and their entire line this season – so GORGEOUS! Out of my price range, unfortunately. I also love that Rebecca Porter, especially its bracelet sleeves. I think that style is better for us older gals, to avoid looking like a dowager! I’ve also always been a sucker for a nice spectator pump. I used to have a wonderful navy/white pair; would love to find a modern – and comfortable – take on that style.

    • Susan B
      February 22, 2019 / 5:43 am

      Etro’s colors always knock my socks off. I’m lusting after one of their reversible kimono jackets right now.

  11. Kari
    February 21, 2019 / 7:27 pm

    To me this post epitomizes the difference between a lady and a gal. It is was a lady would wear but not so what one of the gals would wear.

  12. Texas Aggie Mom
    February 22, 2019 / 10:42 am

    There seems to be an issue with one of the posted links. Instead of linking to the Elie Tahari metallic jacket, it shows the same Nic + Zoe blue one in the previous item. I tracked it down on Bloomingdale’s website and am in love – almost wish I hadn’t found it! Why can’t they make these classic pieces without metallic elements? There were several at lower price points this fall (White House Black Market, LOFT, etc) but all of them had a metallic thread that made them unsuitable for my very conservative office. Love seeing so many different options here – thanks for this excellent post!

    • Susan B
      February 22, 2019 / 11:35 am

      Thanks for letting me know. I’ve updated the link. Don’t know if you saw the similar one from Lafayette 148? http://bit.ly/2DWYw3C It’s a bit pricier, but doesn’t seem to have any metallic in the fabric.

      • Texas Aggie Mom
        February 22, 2019 / 2:37 pm

        Thanks for the Lafayette 148 suggestion, but I really love the colors in the Tahari for summer. If it’s anything but silver metallic I will probably buy it this weekend, completely blowing my summer clothes budget. Not very impressed with their customer service; Nordstrom would have been able to answer this question in an heartbeat, and if they couldn’t would have researched it and let me know. Thanks again for this great post!

  13. Jill Ann
    February 23, 2019 / 10:37 am

    I second the mention of Lafayette 148. Not as pricey as Chanel, but still expensive; however, I’ve bought two tweedy Chanel-style jackets of theirs at resale. Very cute and so well made! One has real leather trim amd came with a leather skirt.

  14. MaryInMD
    February 24, 2019 / 4:25 pm

    Susan, what size is your black IRO jacket? I am fairly close in size, so your size info and any sizing comments you might have would be helpful. Nice jacket selection, and your ideas on how to avoid the mumsy look were spot on.

    • Susan B
      February 24, 2019 / 4:26 pm

      Hi Mary, I’m wearing the 38 in this style. Thanks!

  15. MaryInMD
    February 25, 2019 / 7:14 pm

    Thank you!

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