The Look for Less: The Chanel Jacket - une femme d'un certain âge

The Look for Less: The Chanel Jacket

For the last year or so, I’ve had a fascination with vintage Chanel jackets, imagining how I’d wear them in an insouciant and rabidly chic way with jeans or a pencil skirt.

Chanel jacket from

I’ve periodically searched ebay and online consignment stores, but never can find the right combination of colors, size and price that would tempt me to buy. And when it comes to LA consignment stores, forget it. Apparently you have to know the secret handshake just to get on a waiting list for one, which invariably command prices in the low four figures (before the decimal point).

So I’ve decided to forgo the impeccable tailoring and the lovely little chain sewn into the hem, and look for some jackets in my price range in fabrics and designs which pay homage to the iconic Chanel style. I’m on a hunt for something I’ll call “Chanel-esque.”

Starting at Net-a-Porter, I found this Milly jacket:

The styling is there, and the tweed-ish fabric, but ultimately it just doesn’t excite me, and at that price I need to be in serious lust.

Another Milly jacket:
Again, it’s a situation where the basic elements (styling, fabric) seem to be right, but it’s just not grabbing me.

Next, on to Nordstrom, where the only thing I found was this Semantiks jacket, which seems like a bargain after the Milly’s but the styling is just missing something, and I remembered I’d seen this up close when it first came in and that the fabric looked kind of cheap.

This J.Crew jacket has great styling and bouclé fabric, but neither the black or white versions interested me, and I don’t think this is the right yellow for my coloring. It’s also not available in Petites, and I’m only willing to go the alteration route if it’s true love.

Then there was this one, but I think the combination of the horizontal detailing and my already ample bust would not a chic silhouette make.

Yesterday as I was going through my e-mails marked for deletion, I noticed this:

Now, a few years ago I had several Ann Taylor items in my wardrobe. Their quality was good for the price, especially considering their frequent sales, and amongst the conservative pinstripe suits (which worked well for the office at that point in time), one could find some cute and stylish jackets and sweaters. But these last few seasons the clothes just stopped appealing to me. Everything either seemed very boring and lifeless, or too Yacht-Club-wannabee™ or else overly clingy and cut in such a way as to make wearing a bra impossible. Plus, they kept cutting back on the styles available in Petites (both online and in stores), so I’d pretty much written them off. But what the heck, I thought, I’ll just have one last look before I give up completely. Lo and behold…Now we’re getting warmer.

And this:

Love the color, love tweed, love the fringe! Sure, it’s a bit fussy when worn as part of a matched suit, but I’d wear it open and in an ensemble more like this:

Throw on some long ropes of pearls or gold chains, pull out that vintage bag et voila! Chanel-esque!

So for 30% off, (today through Sunday, using code “FRIENDS”) it’s worth a try, n’estce pas?


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  1. November 20, 2008 / 1:20 pm

    I LOVE the J Crew version, but $248 is way too rich for my blood. You might try a few thrift stores. I see chanel-esque jackets there all the time.

  2. November 20, 2008 / 1:39 pm

    Kasmira – you’re right, thrift stores might yield some interesting choices. My problem is time: about the only time I have to brick-and-mortar shop is on my lunch hour, and that’s not enough to do most thrift stores justice (especially after driving 20 minutes each way to get there). But I will try to make some time and check out the one nearest me.

    metscan – just for you, I’ll try it on. 🙂

  3. November 20, 2008 / 2:14 pm

    Yes, try it! The problem with some if the bouclé fabrics is wear- they get fuzzy. Another idea (that would admittedly take time and energy) is to have your dream jacket made for you. The Chanel style is easy to ahem, “reference”, weighted hem and all.

    I like Metscan’s idea of getting the skirt too, and wearing it at times when you might think you wouldn’t wear a suit, such as out to dinner, or wearing the skirt as a separate piece.

  4. November 20, 2008 / 3:14 pm

    That jacket is great — hope it fits and suits on you (and I can see what you liked my Chanel-inspired cuff!)
    I’d go for the skirt as well, even if you only ever wear it a few times as a suit.

  5. November 20, 2008 / 3:20 pm

    Loved seeing these jackets! It has inspired me (even though I don’t have one of the the jackets) to dress a little Chanelish today…little black dress (Laura Bennett, QVC) and some ropes of pearls..and my vintage black Chanel handbag. I’ll be feeling ooh la la at work today!

  6. November 20, 2008 / 5:22 pm

    Duchesse – yes, that’s the problem with some fabrics, the pilling. OK, ok, I’ll order the skirt too.

    Couture Allure – ooh, good to know, thanks for the tip!

  7. November 20, 2008 / 5:25 pm

    Sal – I ordered the green AND the black and white jacket in the first AnnT picture. None of the stores nearby with Petites departments stock either of these, but will accept returns so that’s the only way I’ll be able to see either up close. And now I’m going to order the skirt as well.

    mater – yes, I’m hoping it’s a good green…

  8. November 20, 2008 / 5:29 pm

    Kelly – your ensemble sounds fabulous!!

    Susand – me too!! Shopping Serendipity!

  9. November 20, 2008 / 5:29 pm

    Somewhere in Europe someone is sitting on a stack of those jackets, quietly waiting for the price to be juuuuust right.

  10. November 20, 2008 / 7:34 pm

    She shoots she SCORES! Miss J really loved the yellow J. Crew one, too. Oh, except she can’t wear that yelloe either.

  11. November 20, 2008 / 8:01 pm

    Thomas – probably, those #*%)’s!

    Miss Janey – thanks!

  12. November 20, 2008 / 8:22 pm

    Just to be a contrarian, I’ve never liked the Chanel jacket. They are so often boxy and mumsy-looking. A lot of the designers who do a “Chanel-esque” jacket do a better job, IMO.

  13. metscan
    November 20, 2008 / 1:21 pm

    You are right. The last one looks like it could be your´s, greenish jacket and reddish hair. If you decide on this one,please buy the skirt too. I think that the suit is very attractive as itself + you get to wear the jacket as you please!

  14. November 20, 2008 / 9:27 pm

    WendyB – they can look that way, true. That’s why I liked the idea of wearing open and mixing with more updated bottoms and accessories.

    audball – love your name! If that one J.Crew jacket came in other colors besides the yellow, I’d be tempted. Good to know about the free alterations, thanks. And I’d guess with retailers hurting this season, those of us who can hold out for the sales will be rewarded.

  15. Couture Allure Vintage Fashion
    November 20, 2008 / 2:35 pm

    Here’s a hint if you’re looking for vintage Chanel. Davidow and Jablow were two American suit makers who were authorized by Chanel to make copies of their suits. Do a search for those labels and you might find something you like! (Hint – there are a couple on my website.)

  16. Sal
    November 20, 2008 / 2:56 pm

    Well, yeah! So didja nab that jacket, or what?

  17. November 20, 2008 / 11:55 pm

    That is a really cute jacket. I need more of them. I am such a cashmere cardigan girl. J Crew has really nice jackets, but they just don’t always fit me well. I’ll check out Ann Taylor, their clothing usually fits me better.

  18. susand
    November 20, 2008 / 4:59 pm

    I love when stuff like this happens!

  19. audball
    November 20, 2008 / 9:16 pm

    Pseu, love your blog! I read it often, but don’t often comment (my French is rather rusty too LOL!). FYI, if you pay full-price at JCrew, you can have alterations done for free.

    It also may be worth checking out the Pique Andrea Jacket on evilbay or back on the JCrew sale page (they will probably have more sales in the upcoming weeks, I bet).

  20. Kalee
    November 21, 2008 / 3:10 am

    I love the green jacket! I was wondering if anyone knew if boucle could be easily altered? I am always afraid that it will unravel!

  21. November 21, 2008 / 10:10 pm

    Julianne – I’ve had good luck with AT’s fit, it was just their recent styling that had turned me lukewarm.

    Kalee – I think it will really depend on the weave and quality of the fabric. It probably won’t unravel, but some less well-made bouclés can tend to pill.

  22. November 22, 2008 / 2:40 pm

    Kasmira – that J.Crew jacket is on sale now….

  23. Anonymous
    November 22, 2008 / 8:54 pm

    Since I knew I’d never be able to afford the real thing, I made my own “Chanel” jacket. It’s a black & white tweed with blck sequins scattered over it, and has red braid. I even put a chain in the bottom. Janavi

  24. November 22, 2008 / 8:57 pm

    Janavi – your jacket sounds lovely! I wish I had the time and space to sew.

  25. Anonymous
    November 23, 2008 / 12:05 am

    I don’t have any space either, but I do it anyway. It’s not pretty tho! Janavi

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