Today Tish of A Femme d’un Certain Age and I are collaborating on one of our favorite topics: jackets. We both love a good jacket, and rather than a set framework, we’re each taking this topic and running with it (free associating, if you will), and it will be fun to see where we each wind up.
Let’s talk about the almost magical powers of a good jacket. Is there any other wardrobe item that can help us feel so pulled together, and is appropriate for so many situations? Throw a jacket on over that tee shirt and jeans, and voilà! You are Dressed. No matter what your style, there’s probably a jacket out there that will dovetail nicely with it.
After several years of cropped-and-boxy jacket dominance, I’m happy to see the tide turning toward longer, softer and often more shaped styles. My lifestyle (full-time office job) and our climate (mild, mostly) mean that I’m always on the lookout for jackets that are able to be worn indoors, and that are lightweight. Washable is a plus, but not a deal-breaker. Most of the jackets in my current wardrobe fall into one (sometimes two) of these categories: structured, soft and statement.
Structured jackets (similar to the one above) don’t have to be stiff or stuffy. Fabrics like lightweight wools with a bit of stretch allow freedom of movement, and multi-season wear. I’ve found that the more structured the jacket, the more important it is to get fit through the shoulders correct. The seam between shoulder and sleeve should just hit at the widest part of the shoulder, not above it or extend beyond it. Even a structured jacket can be part of a more casual outfit, just avoid bulky pieces at the same time.
“Soft” encompasses a wide range of jacket styles, from knits to slouchy boyfriend, to dusters, to open shawl-collar designs. Above I’ve styled a looser boyfriend jacket. When I incorporate a slouchier jacket into an outfit, I try to balance the silhouette by adding some structure keeping other pieces relatively fitted or including heels or a collared shirt, or by wearing cropped pants and/or pushing or rolling up the jacket sleeves to reveal a bit of skin.
Statement jackets are intended to be the strong focal point of an outfit. That focus pulling element might be a print, a bright color, an interesting cut or design detail. (I do think it’s best to keep the “interest” to no more than two of those elements though, lest you look like you’re wearing the whole circus.) When wearing a statement jacket, my style strategy is to keep the rest of the outfit simple, neutral and complementary.
I’m looking forward to seeing how Tish has tackled this topic! What are your favorite jacket styles? Do you wear jackets with casual outfits too?
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