…and not look like you’re going to school.
My first foray into the world of blazers was when I was about 14 years old. I bought myself a black corduroy number from H&M that I used to accompany with a long striped scarf (so long that it used to dangle on the floor no matter how many times I wrapped it around my neck), and green or bright pink Converse. I was in the crux of my Avril Lavigne ‘Sk8ter Boi’ stage and this semi-baggy blazer seemed to pull the rest of my extremely-baggy outfit together. I wore that corduroy blazer until it was grey and had the saggiest elbows you’ve ever seen on a piece of clothing. I loved it.
Blazers were soon ‘out‘ though and for the next 13 years of my life I didn’t revisit them. It wasn’t until recently when I picked up one from ASOS (remember in this video?) when tailoring caught my eye again thanks to every fashion blogger I follow on Instagram. I never really got to grips with that blazer (I should have picked it up in a larger size – DOH!), but from the couple of outings that I did have in it, I could see that it was time to rewind
a little a lot and make a purchase that would have made 14 year old me really chuffed.
Enter the AYR The Coup Blazer (try here for UK shipping), that I picked up in New York. Yes I broke my capsule wardrobe ban, but I broke the rules because I have been on the search for the perfect blazer for yonks and when I tried this on it felt like a bloomin’ glove. It’s formfitting, but not too tight, has crisp lapels and an open placket. There are pockets (hooray!) and it flares out slightly at the waist giving a clean and defined silhouette. It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for. When you try on an item of clothing and it makes you feel good, dare I say it… ‘sexy‘ – buy the damn thing.
Buying a blazer is one thing, but wearing it without looking like you should be getting on the school bus, is a whole different kettle of fish. Here’s how I’ve found best to style it out:
1) Take an interest in fit. In my eyes for a blazer to look fresh, it’s got to go easy on the shoulder pads. Normally I whip them out the minute I buy anything with them in, but this time round they’ve remained. I felt that actually, it’s nice to have a bit of structure, just not too much. From my search I found those on the highstreet tend to be bulked out with larger pads, so my rule is that if it looks like it could double up as a chicken fillet ‘boob bulker’ rip ’em out, if not – leave them in. It’s also nice to have a bit of space in the arm so you can do the classic roll-up, which I think helps make things look less corporate.
2) Go casual. Go as casual as you can with the rest of your outfit, unless you’re heading on a fancy night out, in which case – go all out! Think boyfriend-fit ripped jeans, a simple plain t-shirt – you know the drill. Here I’ve gone for the GRLFRND Helena Jeans – a.k.a the ‘Mom’ jeans that Mark hates – and an & Other Stories Cotton T-Shirt, which actually on their own are quite a dull pairing. Stick on a blazer though and would you look at that?
3) Tone down the accessories. I feel like if I crack out a proper pair of heels with these then it can look a bit too dressed up for daytime, so instead I went for some old Whistles Leopard Print Chelsea Boots (similar here), which still have a heel, but help to further turn down the formal level of the blazer. Medium-sized bags are optimal as smaller bags look too clutch-like and larger bags could double up as a school-bag, so unless I am wearing it in the evening, or do actually need to lug my laptop with me, something in the middle is my ideal pairing with it.
So you’re in the market for a blazer. Where do you start? My advice would be to head over Net-A-Porter and do a search for blazers over there. Of course if you’ve won the lottery feel free to pick one up from there too because they’re all bloomin’ stunning, but if not it’s a great place to get an idea of shapes, fits and details. Use it as your research – collating what you like, what you don’t like and try not to add anything to your wishlist (although this J.Crew number is stunning and isn’t too horrendous price-wise).
Then take your notes and head to the high-street. Both Jigsaw and REISS are known for their kick-ass tailoring. I particularly love the look of this Jigsaw Louisiana Linen Jacket which looks great for summer because it’s not too thick. If you’re looking for a J.Crew dupe then this & Other Stories Shawl Collar Blazer will be right up your street, or if you fancy something leopard print then there’s this Waist Slash Blazer from them too (plus & Other Stories have 20% off till 21st May with the code ‘SXD20‘ – WHOOP!).
MY TOP BLAZER PICKS
Seeing as summer is right around the corner (LOLZ!), I’ll soon be ditching all of my coats and thicker jackers into storage and fishing out my blazer, denim jacket and leather jacket to hang up in my wardrobe. I reckon those three are all you need layering-wise to see you through the warmer months. A blazer, paired with some Converse? Yep, it seems we’ve gone full cycle…
Photos by Lauren Shipley