Once upon a time, I felt like a jacket was the magic ingredient that could transform any outfit into gold. I kept at least half a dozen jackets in my rotation, and counted on them to help me look pulled together. I was cautious of the stodgy factor, but felt I could avoid it by either wearing my suit jackets with more dressed-down pieces, or wearing more feminine “novelty” jackets.
Then about four years ago, over a short span of time, it stopped working. My blazer jackets just felt staid and mannish, and the novelty jackets too, well….novel. I thought maybe I needed to upgrade, and tried some designer bridge line jackets, but even Emporio Armani couldn’t cure these blues. I sighed, threw in the towel, and started investing in some nice cardigans.
But a few jackets have recently crept back into my regular rotation, and I’ve tried to isolate what makes these few work when so many do not. This formula continues to evolve, but I’ll share what I’ve sussed out so far.
A longer, softer knit jacket is very easy to wear, and works with pants and skirts. This one is from Eileen Fisher, Fall 2010, I think. But here’s one with a similar silhouette.
The asymmetry keeps it from looking too buttoned up, and when zipped creates a flattering diagonal line. Again, this one is a couple of years old; here’s something similar from Ann Taylor.
Blazers with two or more buttons. I can’t explain why, but single button or tuxedo style jackets just look wrong on me, and make me feel like a small Sherman tank. Something about the higher cut of a two- or three-button jacket just seems to feel more flattering and modern.
|J.Crew Schoolboy Blazer in Navy
But whatever the style, I’ve learned to look for a fitted silhouette, higher armholes, and solid, soft fabrics. Regardless of how good they look on paper (or on someone else) I’ve learned to avoid any of the following: stiff fabrics, boxy styles, dolman sleeves, tweeds or herringbones (lovely in concept but look mumsy on me), and too much detail (piping, ruffles).
While I no longer rely quite so heavily on my jackets to make an outfit, I’m glad to have a few on hand that I can count on.
Have you found your jacket alchemy? What are the styles and details that make jackets work for you?
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