on my radar: spring jackets

Isabel Marant Etoile tweed jacket

jacket | necklace | tee | bag | bracelet | jeans | shoes

Ah, the jacket. Is there any other wardrobe piece that has such power to turn a simple tee shirt and jeans into an Outfit? Even if you don’t work in an office or your workplace is casual, the right jacket makes whatever else you’re wearing look sharp and intentional.

While a Little Black Jacket is one of my wardrobe staples, during warmer months a lightweight jacket in a lighter neutral color can also be a real workhorse. But the last few seasons it’s been a challenge to find those that work with my shape and wardrobe. Everything available seemed to be too “shrunken,” too boxy, too cropped, too heavy/stiff, too “top half of a suit” or….black. But the tide seems to have turned; as the spring collections start to roll in, I’ve been seeing a lot of promising options. I’ve included mostly neutrals here, as I find them more versatile, but if colors and prints are more your thing, there are also plenty of choices showing up.

The Étoile Isabel Marant jacket shown in the collage above is one of those shouldn’t-work-but-does pieces. Yes it’s double-breasted, but worn open that effect is minimized. It’s unlined, and the lightweight fabric isn’t stiff at all and seems to have some “give” (which also makes it easy to push the sleeves up and have them stay put, a real plus!). It looked boxy on the hanger, but not so on the body. It’s pricey, but a classic style that shouldn’t look dated in a heartbeat. I loved it the moment I tried it on, but want to try with a few other pieces in my closet before I remove the tags.

denim blazer

I haven’t seen it in person yet but this denim jacket has styling along the lines of that Fashionista-annointed Balmain number but with a softer look and certainly less stratospheric price. (Watch the little video* on the website for a better idea of how this drapes and falls.) I have this on order, will report back. (This style is also offered in ecru and canary colors if denim isn’t your thing.)

short kimono jacket

If your style is more relaxed, this linen blend kimono-style jacket is a nice middle ground between a cardigan and a structured jacket. I’m picturing this worn over a maxi dress for summer evening al fresco situations. It might also be a good summer travel wardrobe piece. Again, I have this on order to try and will report back.

long linen jacket

I had the black version of this jacket in my wardrobe for a few seasons, and was really impressed with the fit and how well it worked with both casual and office looks. I’m really tempted to try this 100% linen version!

*I love that so many retail sites are now including a short video of how pieces look in motion. Still images can be deceiving as to the weight and drape of fabrics; seeing how they move is another valuable piece of information when considering a purchase.

Do you wear jackets during spring and summer?


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  1. The Isabel Marant jacket is lovely, but alas, not for me as I have a true hour glass figure and can’t do double breasted. However, I have a collection of jackets, in cotton, linen, jersey, but I am waiting for the weather to cool down so I can wear them. Like you, I eschew stiff fabrics as I think they always look too boxy on me.

  2. Luv, luv, luv the linen structured jacket! Especially the texture and the frayed lapels, but no stiff collar to mess with!
    I have a denim jacket that is made as an outerwear piece, but works equally as well as a blazer look jacket. I tend to carry a jacket or cardigan with me when we are in the season of having air conditioned restaurants and theaters, but I am dressed for a warm summer day, and do not want to freeze inside!
    Seems like after a certain age, a top layer also gives a woman some arm coverage and style that I didn’t especially need when I was younger. I feel more pulled together, and a jacket can change up an outfit, just like a good pair of shoes!

  3. Lovely idea those spring jackets mon ami, but as a woman with broad shoulders and strong arms I have yet to find any blazer-y type of jacket that fits. I end up looking like a little lego man actually! You know, boxy and kind of…well…square.
    I look with longing at that fresh and chic collage of a spring outfit!

  4. I’m a blazer and denim jacket fan. J. Crew discontinued the Schoolboy blazer so I loaded up. I have three of them in Navy–along with black, red, and a neutral linen number. I also have the J. Crew Regent blazer in camel. All will be part of my spring and summer wardrobe. For an edge, I love my little cropped denim jackets!

  5. I too have ordered the short Eileen Fisher jacket. I wear petite sizes. FYI – the Eileen Fisher salesperson told me on the phone that I should DEFINTELY order one size down.

  6. I bought the Isabel Marant double breasted denim jacket, which is about as dressy as I need. I do keep a navy blazer out of habit, we’ll see if it gets worn this Spring. Like the IM jacket above too.

  7. Let us know when you receive the EF jacket and try it on. And thank you Pamela for the advice to go down a size. I have found that to be advisable for MANY EF tops, but not all. Therein lies the frustration.

  8. Love this outfit. I’ve always liked blazers and this year I am looking for one in a light color. There have been few jackets in other than neutral colors in the last few seasons. I’m tempted by the Isabel Marant. I need a jacket or cardigan for most summer evenings here in the SF Bay area.

    I love your outfits from the last few weeks. You look great.

  9. Sue, I’d like to see you model the jacket. I think it’s very pretty but the double breasted, shorter length is a question mark for me. I always hate to put my cardigans (3rd piece) away for spring/summer because I prefer the extra coverage, especially for work. Finding a warm weather, flattering jacket or cardigan is a challenge in the humid south. Linen is a go-to but sometimes doesn’t feel polished enough for a work outfit.

  10. Great post, as always. I just ordered the ecru version of the WHBM and will let you know how it is in person. I had previously ordered (and returned) the MK tweed number featured in your collage. For me, it was too stiff/heavy for spring wear in Washington D.C.

  11. The traditional ‘suit’ look just doesn’t work for me, but I have had good luck with some Petite Eileen Fisher jackets over the past 2 seasons. My favorites are those that look a little bit structured but don’t feel that way. Some I had taken in on the sides to make less boxy. And since my shoulders are narrow, I have to be careful of any padding there.

  12. I do have to wear a jacket in warm weather. I live in the Bay Area so it’s not a huge problem here, but I travel a lot for work to some very warm climates – the South, NYC…. I bought last year’s version of that EF kimono jacket and it was indispensible. It tied just below the bust to give it just a little structure. Worn with a sleeveless top underneath it was almost as cool as wearing no topper.

    I also like the unlined knit blazer from Nic+Zoe. I have it in black, army green and beige. It works on all but the very hottest days.

    1. I just looked it up. The Nic+Zoe jacket is called the Seamed Riding Jacket. Two pluses for me are 1) it’s long, and as a tall person, the ‘shrunken’ look is ridiculous on me and 2) it’s washable.

  13. Yes, I wear a jacket when I want to look good and save time… I love the lighter colors you are suggesting. I own many shorter blazers, because I am short (5′ 3.5″)–and they really “make my outfits”, and they also always make me feel “put together”.

  14. I was also drawn to the WHBM jacket, which I saw in their catalog…but it was the yellow one that really caught my eye. Seems to be sold out online, sadly. I plan to look for it in stores, because I wanted to check out the fabric quality (and make sure the yellow wasn’t TOO yellow.)

  15. I do wear some top layer in the spring and even in the summer, in the Netherlands weather can change from one minute to the next…. I used to never be able to wear them comfortably because my upper arms were muscular and larger due to my years as a mech in the Navy. But this past year with exercise and healthier eating habits, I am having some nice leaner arms (yes even the under arm baggage is going away) That part is what made the coats so uncomfortable, I have a small body but they always were tight in the arm pits and too long in the arms.
    I know I can get stuff tailored but that can get expensive to have to do everything you own. Petite sizes never fit right in the length of the body.

    Anyway, I now can wear them, normally I don’t like the super stiff lined ones. However, I have two of those that do fit well though, they are suit type jackets and look as if they were tailor made for me, they really dress up a pair of jeans and small heels.

    I love your example set so cute, but the kimono thingy, the arms look funny. I never feel nice when I try on arms like that, they always seem to land in a weird way/wrong place.

    Another great collage, thanks for the tips!

  16. I just discovered your blog and so enjoy reading it! I love your comments about jackets! I am in the process of starting a line of women’s jackets myself. Thanks for the inspiration!!