I’m a big believer in making my clothes work hard. I want lots of combinations so I have lots of outfit options, I want pants that can be worn all year round, and (it turns out) I want blazers I can wear as tops through autumn and winter. Goodness knows I own a healthy array of blazers, so if I can somehow get them into the mix as an alternative to a cardigan or jumper, bring it on!
The trend for long line, masculine blazers has also been a real pain in the proverbial for me, since I’m short and slight and tend to end up looking like I’m wearing my mother’s clothes (and not in chic way). Long line blazers need to be carefully proportioned to hit you at the right point on the leg, and my legs are approx. the same length as most dachshunds’, so that’s a tricky proposition for me. I kinda thought that if I could find a way to wear them tucked in, I could open up a way to style them that made them more flattering on my 14 year old boy body and which made them more Fancy Lady of Finance.
It would truthfully never have occurred to me to wear a proper blazer as a top if it hadn’t been for an attempt to style some looks based on the recent fashion weeks (see my looks styled up in this post, if you missed it). I loved how that black velvet blazer looked as a plunging top worn with the full volume of a tartan silk skirt, but I also wanted to try and find a more chic, “corporate” version of the same idea. Enter: this zebra print blazer and pencil skirt combo. I’m not sure why this didn’t occur to me earlier, considering this look from the earlier days of the blog is basically the same thing, just with a soft waterfall style jacket instead of a full blazer. We live, we don’t so much learn as we do recycle existing ideas in new ways.
The key here is to find a long line blazer where the button will sit below the waistband, and which is light enough that you won’t have a ton of extra bulk to tuck in. You want a blazer that will wrap across itself a bit, and I pinned the front side to the under layer with a large safety pin. The skirt needs to be fitted at the waistband, so there’s limited opportunity for the blazer to move around and bunch up. This one is handy because it’s quilted leather so it’s pretty thick, and hides any lines that might otherwise be created by the edges of the blazer. I’d choose a blazer with a rad print or a luxe fabric rather than that sensible black blazer you bought and never wear (*points at self*) because it makes it more apparent you’ve styled this on purpose, instead of having some kind of Incident after going to the bathroom where you have inadvertently tucked your jacket into your skirt.
Now, I fully acknowledge that this works well on me because I have fashion tits (aka little to no tits) and so the blazer will sit close to my sternum and protect my modesty. You might wish to wear a camisole underneath for a sense of security (not a bad idea in the office to be honest) but if you do, aim for it to be invisible under the blazer. Basically, you need to find a blazer that’s big enough to cross and lie flat, which I realise will get trickier and tricker as your bustline gets bigger. If you’re stuck, and there’s just no way to get a blazer to lie flat enough, then chuck on a camisole cut straight across to just provide modesty (no lace, no trimmings).
The cross-front style provided by this trick is super duper flattering for a wide variety of body types for two simple reasons:
It creates a pleasing arrow shape towards your waist, drawing the eye down and in; and
For members of the fashion tits brigade the volume of the fabric of the jacket creates structure and shape, while for fuller figures the cross-front is essentially a v-neck that opens up the bust and balances your frame.
I also think an oversized blazer looks great untucked and cinched in at the waist with a really good belt, which means you can get at least three looks out of one masculine blazer. Boxy and oversized, wrapped and tucked like a top, or cinched with a belt - ideal. By the time you’ve mixed and matched with different skirts and belts, worn it with your sleeves scrunched up and with the sleeves smoothed down, and with casual and dressy looks (makeup and hair are great for that transformation), well, you can see how one blazer is suddenly lots and lots of distinct outfits. Imagine this blazer cinched over a pair of jeans and with black ankle boots in the weekend - yes! I can’t wait to wear that too.
What’s your best Double Duty item in your wardrobe (the more unexpected the better!)