“I miss New York. I still love how people talk to you on the street – just assault you and tell you what they think of your jacket.”
Adopted by women from traditional men’s apparel, the structured jacket is now a significant foundation piece in almost every woman’s wardrobe.
Jackets can work visual miracles by camouflaging mid body figure challenges and they can add a touch of formality and strength to your total look.
Jackets have the power to unite separates into business wear without elevating the look to the formality of a matched suit. When worn over a tailored dress for business, a jacket instantly endows the wearer with a level of credibility and influence that a dress on its own can never achieve.
When a jacket is added to a dress or outfit the aim should be to elevate the separates from ‘ho hum’ individual pieces into a unified ensemble that gives you presence.
Classic jackets are those which reflect the structure, design and craftsmanship of a traditional man’s suit, but with the added emphasis of a feminine silhouette.
Classic styles of jackets include the Blazer (double and single breasted), Chanel, Denim and Motorcycle.
These include: well-cut lapels, well positioned buttons, traditional tailoring and wrinkle resistant fabrics.
Because women have different weights and horizontal body types not all button positioning suit all women. A single, waist positioned button while fine for a slender woman will often sit awkwardly on larger women, or those with a triangular horizontal body type or a large bust. Two buttoned jackets may not offer sufficient closure for women with large stomachs, hips or bottoms. Only the three-button jacket offers women the best all round look. Three buttons provide just the right amount of closure and create a strong slimming vertical line when left open or closed.
Double or Single Breasted?
Past style advice recommended that plus size women were best to avoid double-breasted jackets as the style would cause them to appear larger. Today, while it is true, that single-breasted jacket is the most slimming style, a well cut, perfect fitting, fine fabric double-breasted jacket with six or more buttons can be flattering on larger women. It is only women who wear a bra cup of DD or larger that are best to stay with single breasted styles as it will be difficult to get the front of a double breasted jacket to lie flat against their chest.
The best length of jacket depends on your:
• overall shape,
• vertical proportions,
• weight and
• prominent features.
Finger tip or longer jackets are best on very tall women or those who have long legs. Knuckle length suits all women and style that sit above the waist are best reserved for women under 45 years, are petite or short legged.
One exception to the rule is a tunic jacket (though not strictly a classic). Tunic jackets are flattering on all women when worn to, or slightly above the hemline of a skirt or dress, or as a long line jacket worn with pants and to a length that is lower than the fullest part of the calf, and worn open.
In short, every aspect of your body needs to be taken into account when selecting a jacket and that’s one of the main reasons why My Private Stylist has become such an international hit. PSS, read on for a special offer for those reading this feature.
Pattern and Texture
Solid colour jackets, especially those in neutral colour will stand the test of time and prove themselves over and over again to be invaluable pieces within your wardrobe. Patterned jackets are also very versatile as they have the ability to unite top and bottom garments. However, some care needs to be taken when selecting certain patterns, particularly bold checks and wide stripes, as some can be difficult to coordinate and their pattern may change your perceived weight or shape.
Excessive texture or shine increases a person’s perceived weight and should be carefully considered before being worn by women who are moderately to substantially over their ideal weight.
Evening fabrics will easily translate a classic jacket style from day wear to glamorous evening wear.
Finally, to get long term use from your business or evening jackets try co-ordinating them with your casual garments to create unexpected and innovative results.
• The shoulder seam should extend no further than 1.5 cm (½ “) past the arm.
• When buttoned, a jacket should have enough ease to accommodate any garments that are expected to be worn underneath.
• The lapel area of the jacket should lay flat against your chest.
• The sleeve length should allow for 1.5 cm (½ “) of blouse/top to show.
• There should be no pulling across the back or hips.
• Pockets must remain closed; pleats and darts must lie flat.
• Any vent in the back should not pull open when the jacket is buttoned.
Last Points to Remember
• The best jackets are those that skim the body from the shoulders to the hip and echo your natural shape.
• Lapels are often the central focal point of a jacket; they should always be in a shape and size that complements your scale/frame.
• Select jackets with shoulders that complement your horizontal figure type but are not overly large. The shoulder line is usually the first area to be affected by fashion trends e.g. shoulder padding, so for long term wear keep them understated and classic.
• All great jackets have enough ease to ensure the wearer freedom of movement. The most common place where lack of ease causes the greatest amount of discomfort is the armhole. It should be high cut and provide ample room to be able to bend and circle your arms.
• If the jacket has no vent in the back it will need to be unbuttoned every time you sit to avoid unnecessary strain on the side seams.
• Fitted jackets need to be kept closed as they sit away from the body awkwardly if left open.
• Horizontally cut buttonholes allow for greater ease when moving and are less likely to gap.
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