Trailblazing

Ahh, the blazer. The jacket that women blatantly stole from men (and then wore it better).

Its versatility is matched by no other – we wear it over dresses, tailored pants and denim (clean or distressed).

The best part? It straddles both the masculine and feminine, formal and relaxed and traditional and trendy. You can’t quite box it into one category and therein lies the allure.

Why you need one

My very first blazer was an oversized and itchy component of my school uniform at my all-girls high school. We all had one – some a little more faded than others. If you were lucky enough to get an updated version of the blazer, yours came with shoulder pads and lapels.  For the rest of us who had to deal with the older daggier style, it was a collarless, shoulder pad-less mess.

My second blazer was a slight improvement.  It was part of my choir uniform (yes I was in an awkward children’s choir – no it wasn’t a compulsory school one – yes I chose to go out of my own free will – and my God yes, I’m aware that I was/still might be a total dag!).  This blazer had shoulder pads and lapels but it was about four sizes too big.  My budget conscious mum had conscientiously bought a large blazer under the false impression that I would fit into it eventually (I still wouldn’t fit into it today).

Fast forward to graduating from university and resigning from my casual retail job to start a grad lawyer position, my wardrobe got upgraded too – my first designer bag (a pre-loved Miu Miu bow bag) and my first suit – a starchy and stiff wool monstrosity kept me in style purgatory for years.

The intervention came a few years later, when I walked through David Jones and finally acquired a feminine but structured navy blazer by a leading Australian designer – I don’t see a day when it won’t hang proudly in my wardrobe.

A well-made blazer is truly transformative.

 

What to look for

The key to wearing a blazer is ensuring that every element is tailored for you.  Here’s my checklist:

  • The buttons: The blazer should still hold its silhouette when worn unbuttoned (which is how I typically wear mine).  When buttoning the blazer, it should sit smooth and not pucker or pull on your chest.  I also look for blazers with working buttons and real buttonholes – to me, it’s a sign of quality.
  • The sleeves: They should hit no longer than the joint at the base of your thumb when standing with your arms at your side.  I make no exceptions here and I’ve gone to the trouble of shortening sleeves that have only been 1-2cm too long.  I think it makes all the difference.
  • The shoulders: For a traditional fit, they should be straight and crisp.  The seam where your arm and body meet should be at the outer edge of your shoulders.
  • The length: For a traditional one, it should skim your hipbone, but it really is a matter of preference.  There are so many different styles available in the marketplace.
  • The size: If you’re between sizes – always go up.  It is always easier to get things tailored to fit and not always possible the other way round.

Where to buy

There is a blazer to suit every budget and flatter every body type.

I predominantly wear my blazers to work.  I might wear it on a date night (though they are rare at the moment) but I haven’t really been incorporating them into my weekend wardrobe because a structured jacket isn’t conducive to chasing after a toddler or nursing an infant.

Here is where I look for (and have bought) quality blazers:

Luxury / Designer – International

Luxury / Designer – Australian

High Street – International

High Street – Australian

 

I’d love to know what you look for in a blazer and where you shop for them. As always, thanks for reading and stopping by!

Shop my outfit

Blazer – Sarah Lloyd (here | similar here, here and here)

Belt – Gucci (here, here and here)

Pants – H&M (old season | similar here and here)

Mules – Tony Bianco (here | similar here, here and here)

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