“Tipping” is a form of colour blocking. It’s when the edges of a garment, like the bottom of a hem, the tops of pockets, the outlines of collars, and the centre front seam are tipped with fabric in a different colour. The contrast between the colours can be high or low and the border can be up to two inches wide. A black jacket with cream tipping is high contrast whereas a charcoal jacket with black tipping is low contrast. Both look equally fabulous to my eye.
Tipping is not to be confused with piping, which is a narrow chord of trim inserted into seams. Unfortunately, garment descriptions on retail sites sometimes use the word piping instead of tipping and it drives me batty. When I was studying fashion design and as a fashion buyer, it was important to recognize the differences between both techniques because the visual effects are quite different.
Jackets, skirts, dresses, coats, handbags and wallets lend themselves well to tipping. I love, love, love tipped jackets! Think preppy collegiate blazers and classic Chanel jackets and you’ll get the right visual in your mind. At the moment tipped jackets are not in fashion, but I believe that the classic look is still in style. Karl Lagerfeld would not continue to put tipped jackets into Chanel collections if he thought the look was dated.
I have a few tailored and fully lined tipped jackets, all several seasons old, that I wear frequently. I pop them over soft silky blouses, button downs or knitwear, throw on jeans, then add dressy shoes and accessories. I also like to swap out the jeans for denim Bermuda shorts as you can see in the picture below, just to add an unexpected and spunky touch. The outfit mix is an acquired taste, but I like the contrast between the dressy and casual elements in this ensemble. The same way I enjoy wearing my tailored tipped blazers with jeans and Converse sneakers.
This is not a business casual outfit because the bottoms are denim, but dressier Bermuda shorts would have worked too, as well as dress slacks, pencil skirts and some A-line skirts. Dressy flats are another great alternative to the heels and I wear those with this type of look just as often.