As promised, I am going to focus one post a week on updating an existing wardrobe. This week’s addition: the blazer.

Blazers are great for a myriad of reasons. They slim you down, create curves, and add polish to any outfit. The question isn’t IF you should own a blazer, at this point it turns into how MANY you should own. Hopefully after this post you will be inspired to go purchase a blazer and add it to your wardrobe.

So when I say blazer, I mean this:

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or this:

Black Lightweight Wool Two-Button Suit Blazer - BlackFor ladies, this can be a suit jacket, a blazer, etc. With men there is a VERY specific difference between a blazer and a suit jacket- women, not so much. One of the few things that is actually easier for us than men. (Small victories, am I right?) Essentially you just need a jacket/blazer that meets these requirements:

1. Fits in the shoulders. Tailors can work magic with a blazer, but the one thing that is hard to fix is the shoulder area. So if all else fails- make certain the shoulders fit snugly but don’t pull in the back. It should be snug but not straight jacket snug. 🙂

2. Buttons without pulling. When you button your blazer, the shape should remain the same and not pull in any areas. (Nor should it gape.)

3. Fits at the waist. The idea is to create an hourglass shape with the jacket. The shoulder pads provide structure and the bottom should lay nicely against your body. The waist is the area that is crucial for the right shape. That’s where a good blazer will make you look 5lbs lighter.

4. The hem should hit right at your hip bone. This creates the best shape for the hourglass figure we’re going for.

Herringbone Sweater Blazer - Black combo

Some helpful hints when shopping: 

-Think about what you’ll be wearing under the blazer and dress accordingly. Button ups? Silk skirts? Layers? All of the above? This is something to consider, as you don’t want to try on a blazer that should fit like a glove with a tank top on if you’re going to wear a sweater underneath. I get hot in tons of layers and prefer to retain my heat like the French do- with a scarf, so I wear delicate silk shirts and such underneath. (Also I love the feminine later underneath the masculine properties of the structured jacket.)

-What time of year will you be wearing it? Spring/Summer? Opt for brighter and lighter colors in cottons and linens. Fall/Winter – darker colors in thicker fabrics such as wool.

-Does this color co-exist well with your current wardrobe? If you buy a fabulous brown blazer, yet all you own is black… not so practical. Think about what you will be wearing it with.

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Notes on tailoring:

-Use a tailor to shorten the sleeves. The fastest way to frumpville is sporting sleeves that are too long. You look as though you’re playing dress up. Get those suckers taken up. They should hit mid-thumb when your arms are straight in front of you. (A good tailor will know this.) Until you get them altered, roll the sleeves up or push them up to a 3/4 sleeve look. It at least looks as if you’re stylish, not frumpy.

-If between sizes always go up. It is easier to take a blazer in, then let it out. If one size is too tiny and the next up is huge in the shoulders, that blazer is not for you. Walk away. There’s other fish in the blazer sea.

Styling

My first suggestion is to pick a color: Black or Navy. These are the two colors that look great on top of any outfit. Once you decide which you think you would wear most, decided to specifically shop for that color. If this is your first foray into blazers, be specific. After that, try on, try on, try on. Banana Republic fits differently than White House Black Market, as does Ann Taylor, Michael Kors and every other designer. This is a staple piece in your wardrobe and should fit PERFECTLY. Don’t try on two and just guess. Take the time to find one that fits. Department stores are great for that if you’re not a born shopper. Lots of designer variety, one stop shopping.

After you get the basic black/navy down you are free to buy things like this:

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Fun, no? Or pops of color like this:

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Or this:

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The possibilities are endless!! Go to pinterest and search “colored blazers” if you want an idea for specific styling tips for the color you are thinking of. I would offer them here, but this post is mighty long as is!

Places to purchase a blazer: almost any store that has business casual clothing: Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, White House Black Market, Nordstrom, H&M, Forever 21, Chadwicks, Target, etc. The list goes on and on. My suggestion: go to the store where you shop normally, and look there. Forever 21 and H&M sell them (cotton variety, not a ton of structure) for around $20.

Happy hunting! When in doubt- tweet me a pic @styleassisted and I’ll give you a response as to yay or nay. I’m THAT devoted to your style education, people.

A final note: blazers are excellent for work but they also look AMAZING over jeans. Bootcut, skinny with heels or flats. Doesn’t matter. a blazer adds class and polish to denim like you wouldn’t believe! Try it!

Happy blazer hunting!

XO,
Adriele

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Photo Credit: Jacque, Inc

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Adriele