You might recall that in April last year I went to Rotorua for a short visit. While I was there I checked out the local Savemart, and found this jacket. Now, sometimes I buy things in Savemart that I know I will wear – as in, I already have an outfit in mind – and sometimes I buy things just because they take my fancy. This is the latter, and I came to rue that decision.
For nearly a year it hung on the rail with my other jackets, taunting me. It was glorious and yellow, but it was so hard to figure out what to wear it with. (Originally it also had purple frog fasteners down the front, but they were in such questionable condition that I ended up removing them. I will have to replace them at some point.) I guess I could have just bashed on a pair of jeans and called it a day, but that just seemed incredibly lazy. I knew that I could do more with this jacket, but I wasn’t sure what.
Part of the issue was that I wasn’t sure whether it was okay/appropriate for me to wear this jacket, which appears to have been made in China for a Chinese audience. The issue of cultural appropriation has rightfully had a lot more profile in the fashion world in recent times, and I did not want to be that girl wearing a Native American headdress at Coachella like a total dick. However, there’s also still a weird grey area between cultural appropriation on the one hand, and stuff that’s made in other countries mostly to be worn by people of that culture that isn’t cultural appropriation. It largely seems to come down to how meaningful the item in question is.
Anyway, to figure out just how much I might be about to embarrass myself, I did a bunch of Googling to try and figure out if this formed part of any traditional clothing in the greater Asia-Pacific region and couldn’t find anything that was quite like this, so I think it’s okay. I’m surprisingly crap on the old Googs, so if I’m wrong please let me know and I solemnly promise never to wear this jacket again. In the interim, I think it’s a modern option with traditional elements. I think.
Having emotionally tortured myself, I was no closer to finding a way to wear this jacket that wasn’t just a total “meh”. To the internet! Again! I entered “Chinese jacket street style” into the search bar in Pinterest and was provided with many irrelevant images, but also these two images of Jenny Walton wearing something kind of similar back in 2016. There’s actually a third image of her wearing yet another of these jackets, in kind of a champagne colour, so her obsession with these was pretty strong two years ago. Key tips I stole from Jenny include:
- Stick to a colour palette that is basically just shades of the same colour
That’s it, but it was enough to get the inspiration fires burning. Unbelievably luckily I had bought this marigold coloured dress at Uniqlo on my recent trip to Sydney, so once I’d worked out that I needed to wear something yellow with the yellow jacket, this was the obvious choice. See, a year ago I didn’t have a yellow dress, so obviously hoarding this jacket until I coincidentally bought a yellow dress was the right move! Also, let’s not explore why I bought a cotton, sleeveless dress at the end of February. I’m sure I can layer a jumper under it or something. For this outfit I pushed the top of the dress back under itself to turn it from a round, high neckline into more of a v-neck – it kept the jacket more open and was more flattering.
Next up, accessories! While Ms Walton wore her jackets square and loose, my version looked ludicrous like that, probably because of the differing design details (particularly the collar shape). I really wanted to cinch it in, which made it more traditionally flattering. I was all-in at this point, so when I spotted this yellow belt I thought WHY NOT and chucked it on. I think it creates a nice bridging yellow between the fairly intense, orangey dress and the less saturated yellow in the jacket. I’m enjoying it. Lastly, it was all about tying the purple from the jacket details into the outfit, so I grabbed these trusty fuchsia heels from Ted Baker and was pleasantly surprised. I don’t know how I lived before I bought these shoes. When we consider that earlier this week I posted these images with the same shoes and a fully pink outfit – they are amazingly versatile, and I’m now scared for the day they officially wear out.
Success – I have ONE outfit to wear this jacket with! I need to come up with at least two more to justify keeping this jacket, so please send me any suggestions you have. In the meantime, let this be a cautionary tale about buying things from Savemart. It doesn’t matter if they cost less than $10 if you have no clue how to wear them. Be smarter than me, and save that $10 for something else (like a glass of wine with a friend, or a delicious fried chicken meal).