What is your relationship with blazers? Some women toss one on daily to upgrade & pull an outfit together.
My friend & colleague Rachel is one of these people. She created this cartoon on the right at designhergals.com modeling her signature style: a shapely black blazer & skinny jeans. The blazer adds a little sophistication & class to her outfit.
I've tried to wear blazers for years but have never quite pulled it off. I own a fair number of them, but most have only seen the light outside the closet once or twice.
Rachel very kindly offered to give me a primer on how to wear blazers, & last Friday she brought a selection of them over to my house for me to try on. We moved from my trying on Rachel's blazers to putting together combos with my own.
The Common Denominator: Skinny Jeans
One mistake I've made for years is in trying to wear a blazer with dressy pants. Abiding by the principle of pairing high with low, jeans or a mini-skirt seems to me now the best option. Rachel's jeans shown in these photos are Seven for Mankind that she snagged for a song from ebay. Mine are BDG jeans from Urban Outfitters. We both like a dark wash.
The Black Blazer
We started out with Rachel's classic style: a striped shirt & black blazer.
We discovered that Rachel prefers to keep her blazers open while I prefer buttoning mine up. We tried adding a belt to the look to help lighten it up & make the blazer less formal.
Also in Rachel's collection (& supposedly heading for a clothing swap) was my favorite of Rachel's jackets: a short, swingy, less structured jacket. Rachel said "It's yours now," & I wore it the rest of that day & out for happy hour that evening!
The Colored Blazer
Next up was the colored blazer, great for spring! This yellow gingham one is mine (from Target), but I'd only managed to wear it once before. With the added cow-hide belt, I suddenly felt light & playful. Rachel says I should wear this to work next week!
Rachel was wearing this pink blazer when she arrived. Rachel looks so natural & relaxed in it, & I love the color on her.
We tried belting an old, more casual blue jacket of mine, but I'm not sure if it works or not. My hubby says the belt cuts me in half, & maybe there's a bit too much going on with the pockets and the white seams along with the belt.
Dressing down the conservative blazer
Our biggest challenge of the day was to save my dressiest, most conservative blazers from the donate pile. The trick appears to be in the top! Here we tried a slinky, long, monochromatic top with my stoddgiest gray blazer, and I'm shocked to say I really like the look! Some casual jewelry helps to lighten up the mood.
This outfit--a cotton velvet blazer (also Rachel's, also one that she gave to me since she claims she has several)--seems to work thanks to the untucked shirt & embellished sweatshirt underneath.
To Sum Up...
*Do choose jeans or a casual skirt for the bottom half. Skinny jeans seem offset the bulk of the top layers.
*Do add casual accessories--even messy hair--to keep from looking too stiff & mature :-)
*Do choose youthful, trendy, playful, sexy tops instead of a starched shirt underneath.
*Look for blazers in soft fabrics with unstructured shapes & try belting them.
*Great thanks to Rachel for helping me & giving me new styles I can wear!
What do you think? Do you own any blazers? Do you wear them regularly?
What's held you back & how can we get your blazers out of the closet?
You may also like...