Oh, the blazer. Love it, hate it, revere it, which ever boat you are in, the blazer is a staple piece. Like, staple it to your work top kind of piece and consider it part of your mantra blazer. I mean, I know what some of you are thinking. Blazers, belch, they're so boxy, they're kinda like, not cool. Well sure, if you're talking about the kind of blazer that your mother wore, with 4″ shoulder pads that made her look like a football linebacker, then yeah, those are the not cool blazer types. I mean, I might rock an 80's Working Girl blazer ala Melanie Griffith for a great Halloween outfit (come to think of it, voila, Halloween costume figured out!) but I'm probably not going to feel comfortable and confident in something that makes me look twice my shoulder size.
THE PROBLEM WITH BLAZERS AND HOW TO FIX IT
So herein lies the blazer problem. I think we all need a few in our lives. But I can see why ladies shy away from them. One thing you need to know and why it's high time you up'd your blazer game is that we live in a world with choices people! You are not dammed to a world of haughty and ill-fitting clothing anymore. The secret? It's all about finding the right blazer with the right cut. So okay yeah, you say, if I knew how to do that, I wouldn't be reading this. So what does finding the right fitting blazer mean anyway?
The History of the Women's Blazer
One of the things I find fascinating about fashion is how pieces of clothing traveled far and wide throughout history and how said pieces come to be in our closets. Blazers, specifically herringbone blazers, have an interesting history about them. From hunting to university rowing clubs, blazers have been around since the 1800's, but were strictly a male dominated fashion piece. It wasn't until the 1980's when the feminist working woman movement started picking up speed, and women began returning to the workforce in droves, that blazers began to take hold in a woman's closet.
We can attribute this to designers such as Yves Saint Laurent who took the men's blazer and fashioned into a chic, streamlined woman's piece. Why the shoulder pads? Well, they weren't just designed to make women look like linebackers but supposedly they gave structure to the blazer but also made women look more broad shouldered (ie: stronger in the 80's workplace). We now have brands from Zara to JCrew who fashion so many different versions of blazers that we have more choices now than ever.
Tips for Buying the Right Blazer for You
- if you're petite try (5'4″ or smaller) find blazers that sit right at the hip and have structure. Banana Republic has a great petite section of blazers.
- if you're tall or have a long torso try (5'6″ or taller) blazers that; sit at the waist, have structure, single buttons, and narrow lapels.
- if you have broad shoulders you'll want to try a blazer with classic colors, such as camel or grey slim arm lines (like the camel blazer pictured above), and a longer cut that will give you the effect of a linear and lean look.
- if you have a full waist try a blazer that has tailoring along the waistline (known as darts) that gives the appearance of nipping at the waist. Also choosing solid colors vs. bold prints and patterns brings the attention away from the
- if you have broad hips try a cut that hits just at or below, not above, your hips. This will create an elongated line and will take the focus off of your hips for a sleek cut.
- when in doubt, tailor, tailor, tailor. I cannot stress enough the benefits of having your clothes tailored for your body type. If you love a color or style of a blazer but it doesn't fit right in the arms or cut, ask a tailor to suggest options for having it fitted for your body type. I'm having this pink jcrew herringbone blazer taken in in the arms just a bit so it fits me a bit better. That's $20 well spent.
- give the blazer the shoulder test. One of the most ill fitting parts of the blazer can be the shoulders. They might be too tight, allowing your arms to bulge just below your shoulder line or they may stick out too much. One way to test this is to try the blazer on and stand against a wall (shoulder to wall). If the blazer doesn't push or pull one way or the other, you've found a great shoulder fit. The shoulders on my jcrew herringbone blazer fit well, but I'll be tailoring the arms to fit slightly tighter.
This post originally appeared on theoutfit: The Problem Many Women Have Finding Blazers They Love (And How To Fix It)