The Pros and Cons of Blazers

A blazer looks like a suit jacket. It’s most often a formal and structured topper, but casual and unstructured versions are also available. Most are lined and made of woven fabric, but knits and unlined versions are gaining momentum. Lengths and fits vary. Tailored and gently fluid fits at hip lengths are the most traditional blazer silhouette.

My clientele run the gamut when it comes to blazers. Some adore them and have a large assortment. Some feel off in a blazer and do not wear them at all. And others keep a few on hand and enjoy the times they come out to play.

Here’s how I would summarize the reasons for this wide range of opinions on the blazer.

Pros

  • It’s a classic with a high longevity factor
  • It adds interest to an outfit and finishes it off
  • It adds polish, dressiness, structure, and a sharp integrity to a look
  • It provides practical insulation, especially in cold, air-conditioned settings
  • It’s a versatile item that can dress up casual bottoms, like jeans, joggers, corduroy and athleisure pants
  • It can effectively streamline the contour of the body
  • It conveys a sense of authority and professionalism, making the wearer feel pulled together and powerful
  • Knitted blazers are soft, stretchy and comfortable

Cons

  • It is constricting and not as comfortable as a cardigan
  • Woven versions can be hard to fit on broader shoulders and a larger bust 
  • It looks too stiff and straight
  • It looks too classic
  • It feels conservative and overly corporate
  • It’s too formal for a casual lifestyle
  • It is an impractical item that is only worn a few times a year
  • It’s not as practical and easy as a coat
  • It’s hard to layer under a coat
  • It’s not as rock ’n’ roll as a moto, aviator, or denim jacket

I love blazers for the advantages I listed, and personally find them comfortable in gently fluid fits. They are practical for my climate, excellent in air conditioning, easy to fit when I pick the right brands, and can layer them under many of my coats.

That said, I am not as fond of classic and simple streamlined neutral blazers as I used to be. I’ve gravitated towards blazers that are playful, bold and energizing in some way, because those are the ones I keep on wearing.

Here is my current collection of blazers. The first four are the ones I wear the most and give me great joy. A thick checked blazer that’s like a short coat, a velvet floral, a navy polka dot, and a denim blazer with a large cuff that you can’t see in the photo. The burgundy pinstripe blazer is part of a matching suit, which makes me happy too. The very old navy Theory blazer is practical for plane travel, so I keep it around. I hardly ever wear the two old Smythe blazers because they are grey and lack the energizing integrity and fun factor I seek in a blazer these days. But I keep them on the off chance that I might change my mind.

Over to you. Do you wear blazers, and how do they feature in your style?

Veronica Beard Aitana Dickey Jacket

Torrid Light Taupe Plaid Double Knit Blazer

Shop All the Retail Departments

For the most part, retail is divided into gender-specific and age-specific (adult, teen, child, infant) departments. It’s a way to make stores easy to navigate, keeping large assortments of merchandise simple and organized. That way we can shop more efficiently when we’re looking for something specific.

That said, the winners are sometimes in departments you don’t normally shop. For example, my head is a little on the small side so I sometimes find winning headgear in the children’s department. Here are three children’s hats that fit perfectly and work well for my style. The cream beret was bought in the girl’s department at Nordstrom. Both beanies were bought in the boy’s department at Scotch & Soda.

Some of my clients and friends prefer their V-neck pullovers, flannel pyjamas, scarves, and button-through shirts from the men’s department. Clients with larger heads have found that hats in the men’s section are a more comfortable fit. Some of my very small and petite clients do well with jeans, denim jackets and footwear from the girl’s department. If it works, why not! Leave no retail stone unturned.

Do you sometimes find good wardrobe items from alternative retail departments?

Outfit Formula: Easy Fall Black and Grey

A few of my clients and friends wear black and grey exclusively, throughout the year, with a little white and silver thrown in the mix. This post is for them, and for those who like to wear black and grey in the Autumn. 

These outfits showcase pants, but I’ll cover skirts and dresses in the same palette another time.

1. Sporty Luxe

A Sporty Luxe vibe combines dressy, luxe pieces with casual sporty components to create an interesting juxtaposition that is modern and very comfortable. This outfit is one way to achieve the vibe. Dressy black pants and a grey leopard top coat are combined with black sporty sneakers and a grey hoody. Switch out the sneakers for boots if that’s more your thing. Feel free to add bling and a baseball cap, beanie, or bucket hat.

Banana Replublic Mid-Rise Skinny Sloan Pant

2. Professionally Relaxed

Casual pants made of dressy fabrics are popular because they relax the business wear look. These grey dressy joggers are paired with a black tucked top, and topped with a black leather blazer. A black moto jacket or regular blazer could work too. I like the addition of the dressy black loafers, which keeps it professional without the need to wear higher heels. Nice bookending too. Feel free to sub the loafers for black pumps or boots.

Eloquii Pintuck Jogger

3. Late Summer

This outfit is fab for warm Autumns and incorporates a lot more white than black, just to change things up. Create a column of white with a top and bottom. Any shade of white is fab, and so are jeans instead of pants. Top it off with a pale grey wrap, poncho or jacket, and finish off the look with black mules or the like. The black mules effectively bookend the model’s hair. Alternatively, create a column of black and keep the rest the same, or add silver shoes.

Cuyana Baby Alpaca Square Edge Cape

4. Booted and Sweatered

Combine a pair of skinnies, leggings or jeggings with a black top. Wear the top tucked or untucked. Jeans are a way of adding blue to the mix, which might be your preference. Add a pair of tall black dressy or casual boots and a patterned or solid grey cardigan or sweater jacket. Add jewellery, eyewear and watch as desired.

Ashley Stewart Houndstooth Duster Cardigan

Roundups

Items for Cooler Weather

A few top picks for Fall as we head into cooler weather.

Read More

Hints of Fall

A list of top-pick sneakers, knitwear and toppers.

Read More

Summer Sale Items

Here are some top pick sale items for hot days at home, working from home, or socially distancing out and about.

Read More

Assorted Sale Items

An assortment of accessories and bottoms.

Read More

Summery Items

This week’s top picks are Summery, versatile and fun.

Read More

Spring and Summer Items

An assortment of tops, bottoms, and toppers for Spring and Summer.

Read More

Link Love: Chunky Boots Are On-Trend

The Guardian and Refinery29 are reporting that wellies are the wet-weather essential of the year.

Refinery29 also rounds up 21 pairs of chunky boots because: “Unlike years’ past, when slinky stiletto-heeled boots would’ve been a perfect match for our fall wardrobe, we’re now turning toward clunkier, more durable boots that’ll stand up against the cold and rainy weather. “

If you’re looking for sturdy and stylish hiking boots, here are 16 pairs that online shoppers swear by.

Fab Links from Our Members

Minaminu thought this was a lovely article about the rose in fashion.

Nemosmom wanted to share these interesting perspectives about how much we should dress up while working from home.

She also came across this article about how COVID-19 may be causing a streetwear shortage in the UK.

MsMary has been enjoying “Articles of Interest“, a podcast about various fashion-related topics from blue jeans to wedding dresses. She adds: “Very educational and really shows how fashion is about a lot more than just… fashion.”

Fashintern directs us to this blog post by The Lingerie Addict that discusses paradoxes of ethical fashion, including that you have to have a certain amount of money to be able to purchase that way. 

Suntiger reports that footwear brand Allbirds is branching out into eco-friendly clothing.

Nuancedream agrees 100% with the sentiment of this blog post: “Let’s put an end to ‘compare and despair’ once and for all. ‘Love your body. It’s the only one you’ve got.'”

Vildy thought this blog post was fun: “Are the French’s outfits in ‘Emily in Paris’ accurate?

Taller Boots and Baggier Bottoms

Incorporating heeled, flat, dressy, or casual boots that are mid-calf, knee-high, and over-the-knee is particularly on-trend right now. The idea is to wear them in that ‘70s, ‘80s and ’90s way. So combine taller boots with midis, minis, wide crops, leggings and skinnies. Or, tuck baggier pants and jeans into mid-calf and knee-high boots. 

Here, the version on the left is very ‘80s. Baggy high-rise bottoms are tucked into slouchy pointy-toed mid-calf boots, and the combination looks smashing to my eye. I wore this vibe ten years ago (last photo in this post) and back in the ‘80s. I love it! The look on the right has a ‘90s integrity. Baggy utility pants are tucked into flat zipper combat boots for a similar but more subtle and streamlined effect. Both pairs of pants are roomier in the legs than skinnies causing a pouf or blouson effect over the top of the boots.

In the version below, the pants are even baggier causing more intentional bunching when tucked into taller boots. The effect reminds me a little of knickerbockers. It can be a practical styling strategy when out on foot in grotty weather, thereby preventing soggy hems. Although, once back indoors your pants will be creased when you remove your outside shoes. I didn’t find the creasing as bad with denim and shorter tall boots.

Free People Dagget Printed Western Boot

This last version looks neater. Instead of skinnies, a straighter leg is tucked into a taller, slouchier boot to create intentional bunching. The low contrast between the boots and jeans creates vertical integrity and helps streamline the outfit. Visually, another smashing look, and practical in wet weather. Though it might not be comfortable wearing bunched jeans all the way up your lower leg.

Mango Belted Wool Coat

Baggier bottoms tucked into taller boots look newer than skinnies tucked into taller boots, although the latter is an iconic equestrian classic and always fabulous. If you don’t wear skinnies but like tucking pants into boots, this is one way to go.

In my experience, baggier bottoms are much easier to tuck into mid-calf boots because the bunching occurs lower on the leg and is therefore more comfortable and easier to manage. The fits of mid-calf boots are easier to get right in terms of lower leg width and length too. Tall boots on the other hand, are very hard to fit in width and length. They must be one of the least size-inclusive wardrobe items on the planet, and so far, nothing is changing. That makes this type of styling idea difficult with taller boots unless you magically get the variables right.

I like the visual effects of baggier bottoms tucked into taller boots, and can see myself wearing the combination again with mid-calf boots. Do you like the effect? Would you wear it?