I was looking at Topshop Unique’s 2016 Spring collection and noticed how fresh and wearable an unbuttoned long blazer looked when reined in with a skinny belt. One of the blazers was layered over a flouncy dress, and the other over a shirt with soft cropped pants. It’s a combination that was quite popular about seven years ago.

I like the juxtaposition of the rigid and professional blazer with the soft and flowing fabrics of the dress and trousers. The belts add a little more discipline, but their colours are playful. Great mix.

Example 1Example 2

Longer length blazers that cover the seat but not the thighs have been a fringe trend for about three seasons now, so they are available. I do find this ‘90s length of blazer harder to wear because it shortens the leg line from the hips down, especially when you create a high contrast between the hem of the blazer and your bottoms. That said, the horizontally cutting line is softened when wearing a more tonal combination or column of colour. A high-contrast belt — as the photos show — also draws the eye back up which helps to lengthen the leg line. And of course, heels will lengthen the leg line too. 

Blazers are available in softer fabrics if that’s more your cup of tea. You’ll probably find that a roomier blazer is more comfortable belted at the waist than a tailored one. Remember to belt the blazer at your NATURAL waist, which is in a higher position than you might expect. The skinny belt is also a lot more friendly to short waists, who generally don’t fancy shortening their torso even further in this way. 

You can try this combination at home as a way of reinventing a modern classic blazer, and defining the waistline. It’s fine if your blazer isn’t as long as the ones that the models are wearing, although it won’t work that well with a cropped blazer. I’m going to try this combination soon. Who else is in?