For the Love of Blazers {and how to wear them} // The Real Gal’s Fashion Files

RGFF blazers

I’ve heard your lament.

Somewhere between college and your 40s, you’ve lost your sense of style. Somewhere between babies and carpool and PB & Js and spinning all the plates, your style is a yoga pant + running shoe + drapey sweater + dated high heel hybrid.

You have a closet full of clothes but nothing to wear and truly, it’s not because you’re a shopaholic and constantly need new stuff. {Unless maybe you are.} It’s because you’ve gradually accumulated random new pieces and can’t quite let go of your glory days jeans and want the comfort of elastic waist but a look that’s a little more polished and a lot less stained.

Welcome to the first installment of The Real Gal’s Fashion Files. {*squeal!* I’m so excited!}

My hope is that you’ll find practical inspiration for fashion that fits your real life and your real body. Together, we’re going to revive your current wardrobe, learn tricks of the trade, and ease you out of your yoga pant comfort zone just a bit…without losing all of your comfort.

Today’s post. Why blazers can work for you.

I got my first blazer on Christmas morning when I was in the fourth grade. I’ll never forget the joy of opening a large department store box and beholding the loveliest ensemble 1982 had ever seen: dark-wash Gloria Vanderbilt jeans + a flannel plaid button-up with a delicate lace collar and a tie at the neck + brown cordurory blazer with {wait for it} elbow patches.

Apparently I had been very good that year.

I’ve loved the blazer ever since.

But I get that a lot of you protest the blazer and for good reason. You think that blazers are for size 6 girls with narrow waists and delicate shoulders. You feel it makes you look too boxy, too business, too dressed-up, too bulky. And the blazer can do all of those things if it doesn’t fit right or isn’t paired with the right pieces.

Here’s why blazers are miracle-workers. They provide structure and substance for slim gals yet provide sleekness and shape for fuller-figured gals. The former group can think that blazers are too big and businessy for their small frames. The latter group can think that blazers add too much bulk and broadness.

Blazers work because they add an element we often dismiss for our everyday wear: tailoring.

The darts, seaming, buttons and v-shape of the lapel trick the eyes in the cleverest of ways. Tailoring smooths over muffin top and minimizes bulk up top. Yet it provides substance, form, and dimension to thinner gals. Tailoring takes your slouchy jean and t-shirt ensemble and infuses it with real style, while turning your sleeveless, belted sundress into a legit outfit.

Blazer for president.

Let’s have a look at how blazers can work for all shapes, sizes, and styles.

{via}

Why it works: not too bulky + paired with casual fabrics like denim + creates a silhouette + provides balance for her figure

She could pair this same blazer with a graphic tee, a fitted sweater, flats or boots instead of heels. She could even throw on some Chuck Taylor’s {my personal choice} to make it super comfy and casual while still bringing all kinds of style to the table.

 

peach blazer

{via}

Why it works: not too bulky + adds coverage, structure, and sleekness to a fitted knit top and flowy skirt + creates a gorgeous shape

This lovely gal could have an hourglass figure or a thicker, boxier middle. The point is — we don’t know nor are we even thinking about it. That’s because the blazer creates the illusion of feminine shape {even if you’re “boxy”} with the polished tailoring that a blazer provides.

 

{via}

Why it works: not too bulky + casual with the rolled up sleeves, faded jeans, and graphic tee + pops with a statement necklace {and that clutch, forthelove}

This is currently my favorite way to wear a blazer. My life is very casual {code for pajamas while I write at home}, especially since I don’t get dressed up for work anymore.

Now imagine this blazer with a black pencil skirt, heels, and a button-up shirt. It would give an entirely different look. But here, the blazer takes a t-shirt and worn jeans and gives it style galore. Plus, you’re still comfortable and relaxed.

Think you’re too old or too classic for this look? I doubt it. This sort of outfit can work for a teenage girl or a grandmother. It just requires simple tweaks.

  • If you’re a more “mature” gal, change out the graphic tee for a solid tee or any knit shirt for that matter. Stripes look fantastic under a blazer.
  • Replace the edgy necklace with a necklace that’s more your style.
  • Trade out the slouchy, lower-rise jeans for your higher-rise, darker rinse jeans that have the miracle of lycra woven into its gracious fibers.
  • See this gal below? She’s obviously young and hip but with a few tweaks, I could dress my mom in this outfit. Keep the striped knit top and navy blazer. Keep a fun necklace. Replace the yellow skinnies with slim-fit jeans or pants that work for her. Replace her heels with a comfortable wedge or flats. Or even funky, stylish sneakers.

 

{via}

 

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Sometimes we’re quick to dismiss an outfit we like because the model is younger, thinner, taller, or an entirely different shape.

But if you find a look you love, see how you can make it your own. What you love gives you all the clues you need to develop your own sense of style. You don’t have to copy an outfit verbatim. You simply have to find the elements you love about it and combine them in a way that fits your shape, lifestyle, and budget.

It’s always possible. Always.

I hope that as we continue to dish about real fashion, you’ll learn how to own your style and refine it in a way that’s personal, practical, affordable, and inspires confidence.

 

A few takeaways when shopping for a blazer

1. Buy a blazer that fits you at the largest part of your torso {usually shoulders or bust.} You can get it tailored at the sleeves or the waist.

2. And if you don’t want to spend the money for that {I don’t}, roll up the sleeves for a casual look and no one will be the wiser.

3. You can also add shape and fake your tailoring in two ways:

#1: Belt the blazer like this. I’ll be perfectly honest. It’s tough to pull this off unless you’ve got a waist. While I love the layered and tailored look it provides, it does add some bulk. You don’t have to be a tiny gal. If you have a fuller figure but have a defined waist, you can do this one. You really can.

belted blazer collage

{image source 1 & 2}

#2. If you don’t have a waist but instead have a boy-shaped figure or a boxier middle, belt what you wear underneath. This is usually what I do.

Here, we have a cardigan that works like a blazer.

{via}

This tricks the eye in all the best ways and creates a lovely shape, no matter your size or age. You can belt your underneath layer whether you’re wearing a blazer, cardigan, or vest. And it works with pants, jeans, skirts, or dresses. {See our gal in the first picture of the post.}

4. Stay away from dated styles. Maybe you’ve got some blazers from the archives. Maybe you rocked the long, double-breasted, shoulder-padded, rayon blazers {and matching skirts / pants} from the early to mid 90s. #guilty

That’s not the look you’re going for today. But you may have a classic navy number with gold buttons from 1984 that can still totally work. Chanel-esque blazers are still alive and well in 2014. Luxe fabrics like cashmere stand the test of time. If you’re not sure, ask a friend who knows these things. Or ask me in the comments!

5. Thrift. A great blazer can be spendy. But for real, I have felt some amazing blazers at my favorite thrift stores. My favorite one was a new J.Crew plaid “Schoolboy” blazer {WITH ELBOW PATCHES.} Five dollars. Retails for $198. Don’t hate.

That was two years ago. But in the last two months I’ve scored blazers from BCBG, Rock N’ Republic, Old Navy, and Ann Taylor.

And here’s the fun part….

I got them for YOU.

That’s right. The next Real Pretty Shop day is coming soon and it’s all about blazers. So get your giddy on because this is going to be fun.

click here to learn more

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But for now, go dig that never-worn blazer from the recesses of your closet and get busy reinventing. And then tell me all about it.

Want more inspiration for how to wear your blazer? I created a Real Gal’s Fashion Files board on Pinterest just for you.

Follow Marian Vischer’s board The Real Gal’s Fashion Files on Pinterest.

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What’s your opinion on the blazer — love it? Hate it? Think it’s just for tiny gals or tall gals?

What questions do you have about how to wear the blazers you already have? I’m all ears. Let’s dish in the comments. Or we can dish on my Facebook page or Twitter

Comments

  1. Deborah Rhodes says

    I love you so much for this post!! I’ve longed to make the blazer work for me. Maybe now I can figure it out. Thank you!!!

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