Hate the name, love the style: how to wear this fall’s “lady jackets”

One of the fall trends I’ve been seeing at the retail level is a style that’s actually quite classic. “Lady jackets” as they’re often dubbed, might be considered an updated take on the iconic Chanel jacket silhouette.

A lady jacket is a shorter, straight, often collarless and usually single-breasted topper. It may be woven or knit, boucle, tweed or smooth. I’m not crazy about the name as it evokes something rather…prim. But I’ve always loved this jacket style, especially when mixed with more casual pieces, so I’ll set aside that reaction.

Casual fall looks with a lady jacket

Susan B. wears a J.Crew Emile sweater lady jacket with an espresso tee, dark wash boyfriend jeans, and leopard loafers.
My sizes: jacket – small, tee – small, jeans – 27

This is the “Emilie” sweater lady jacket, which I previously showed in red here. It’s 100% cotton, so perfect to wear now for milder days. It’s available in both stripes and solid colors, sizes XX-Small to 3X.

As I noted above, on some of us this style of jacket can lean a little bit stuffy if styled too literally. (Of course, if your style personality is straight-up Classic, a more structured and refined look is perfect for you.) As a Natural Gamine though, I like to mix in some slightly masculine elements, like the boyfriend jeans and loafers. (For an explanation of the Style Personality Profiles, check out my post, “How your style personality profile(s) can help build a cohesive wardrobe .”)

I’d also avoid a very flowy, oversized or bohemian-style top with a lady jacket. Keep the layer underneath neat and simple. (Though a striped or graphic tee can work well too, as long as it’s not oversized.)

Here’s a similar look in a cool palette:

Here’s another lady jacket outfit idea with a more textured sweater jacket and a graphic tee.

Susan B. wears a ba&sh "Gaspard" cardigan with a graphic tee, wide leg jeans, ivory loafers
My sizes: jacket – 2(M), jeans – 27

Here the cardigan/jacket and loafers add some polish to a graphic tee and jeans.

More lady jacket (and adjacent) styles…

It’s hard to go wrong with a simple style. The knot buttons are an interesting detail.

This one’s the same as what I’m wearing above, but I thought you Autumns might like this olive color! It’s described as a cardigan, but it has enough structure that I’d put it in the “sweater jacket” category. (Great choice for you Naturals, who need texture and more relaxed styles.) There are five colors available. If you have narrow shoulders, go with your usual size. Broad shoulders and/or full bust, I’d suggest sizing up.

This one definitely has a more casual vibe, but I think it would also go to the office or out to dinner paired with some navy or black trousers.

Classics, this one has your name on it! And I think this light blue would be great for you Summers (though you might consider switching out those gold buttons for silver…) Offered in 3 colors, sizes 00-24.

If you prefer a slightly longer, less boxy style, this one might work for you. (Plus HERE).

A sharp tweed jacket like this one can be the focal point of a simple outfit. It’s also on the more affordable end of the spectrum.

I’m getting some lumberjack or vintage Pendleton vibes here, and that’s not a bad thing…

If you prefer a subtler look, here’s a black and white windowpane tweed. Winters, this one’s great for you, especially with those silver buttons!

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  1. Dear Susan,
    These are great ideas for us shorter people! I love how you styled the Emilie.
    Thanks for the tips according to style personalities – fascinating!
    Best wishes,
    Julie x

  2. This kind of jacket isn’t really for tall women like me but with today’s wide high-rise trousers, it might work for me. I especially like the ‘Into the woods’.

  3. Love how you styled the Emilie jacket with your jeans and loafers! I ordered leopard print loafers this weekend, so we are headed the same direction. Have you tried on “vintage” men’s Levi’s 501s? Similar look to yours, but wider leg. Thank you Susan for all the great jacket ideas!

    1. I love the look of these jackets and would like to add one to my fall wardrobe. I have a long torso so it will be a challenge to find one that works with my proportions. I think high waisted pants will help. I’m ready to start shopping for the perfect one!

  4. Susan, love your blog. Such helpful explanations and examples. I enjoy these types of toppers, especially the more unstructured knits. Can you provide a resource or direction to help readers understand if we are natural, gamine, classic, etc.?

  5. Perfect for you! What are the loafers you’re wearing? I see you link to similar ones, but I’m interested in the actual ones, even if out of stock or not available.

  6. I love these short jackets. I am high waisted so they are an especially good cut. So two general comments and I wonder if I’m the only one on these: First, I am really tired of pants/jeans that are tight on my thighs. I’m not a big flare fan and I do own straight leg boot cut jeans but unless one is tiny like Susan, how do you all handle the thigh area and are there pants that are looser there that don’t look like balloons especially in jeans where we seem to go to slouch and those aren’t a great look every day. Second, I have been JCrew a lot over the last 15 years and I am noticing that prices there are soaring and to some extent the quality does not warrant the price. Anyone else? Love love (and always have) the “lady” jacket! Perfect for you Susan.

  7. Beautiful looks thank you Susan and l really appreciate the affordable ones. That Ann Taylor and the Bloomingdales ones are very pretty. I am not sure if l can pull of a short lady jacket as l am busty and petite but l think it looks so classy especially with jeans or a skirt.

  8. Great style of jacket (despite the name recently given to it) for those of us that a high waisted. Love the way you styled the Emilie jacket. I can envision wearing it with my trouser jeans. I especially like the fact that there are no chest pockets. I passed it by when I first saw it on J Crew’s website because of the way they present it. Will watch for it to go on sale.

    1. This Emilie style has been excluded from J. Crew sales and promotions for months, FWIW. I check regularly on this style.

  9. Susan – what are your recommendations if you prefer to wear a shirt under a lady jacket or cardigan that isn’t a scoop neck tee? It seems tough to find shirts that layer well under these kinds of jackets/cardigans and are still comfortable without being fussy. Plus, wearing turtlenecks in warmer weather isn’t very practical at times. Merci Susan!

  10. Susan, I’ve been eyeing the top blue jacket. I’m just not sure if I get the price per wear I like to get. So many pieces of clothing have gold hardware and changing it can be a challenge so I bought some earrings that are silver and cold and that helps tie metals together.

  11. Great options in this post. You suggest switching the gold buttons for silver on the J. Crew light blue lady jacket. I tried that with last year’s jacket, same fabric and trim, and it did not quite work. The color of the trim is too warm for straight up silver to work. I ended up monkeying around with the silver buttons and toning them down with some light blue nail polish, rubbing a bit off so there is a hint of silver. There are so many gold buttons out there on jackets that I have grown accustomed to working with button swaps.

  12. Susan, which season would you suggest that “lumberjack” AQUA Plaid Cropped Jacket for? I’ve never had my colors professionally done but feel like I fall somewhere right on the cusp of the autumn/winter divide, feeling best in “deep” colors, and those are ALL favorite colors combined in one place. Are plaids a place to “cheat” on your season? Is the black collar saying it’s exclusively for winters, or is that lovely denim blue/chestnut brown plaid saying it’s “meant” for autumns? Or is it strictly a Blue Autumn/Burnished Winter option? (Yay, me, I think!)