Finding Your Dream Blazer With These Five Tips
Ahhh the blazer. The ultimate of all wardrobe staples. There are few pieces in our closet that are so transformational, so universally wearable.
She works her style magic by turning a casual daytime outfit into something appropriate for a night on the town. She’ll give you that perfect boost of confidence you need in an interview to blow your future employer away. She’ll impart on you that je ne sais quoi quality that only a woman rocking her perfect blazer can ever possess.
If you are going to invest in one piece, you better make it your dream blazer.
The first “blazer” (I’m not sure it earned the right to be called that) I ever owned was part of a suit that I purchased early in college to use for job interviews. It was cheaply made and all I could afford at the time (or so I thought). It didn’t fit me well and I probably would have been better off wearing something I actually felt confident in….yoga pants and a sweatshirt perhaps?
Ok, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but you get the hint. It was BAD.
Some of you probably have a similar blazer hanging in your closet right now. Maybe you pass by it every morning, never giving it a chance to see the light of day. Maybe you cringe at the idea of putting it on at all.
If you have any idea what I’m talking about, let me ask you this…
Why do you allow this piece of clothing to take up space in your closet?
The first blazer I ever truly loved wearing was, at the time, a seemingly massive investment. I found it on sale but even then, it was still about $250.
Maybe that sounds like a big number…but guess what? That was almost seven years ago and I still love that blazer. It has gotten hundreds of wears and looks just as good today as the day I purchased it.
Since that time, I’ve invested in many other blazers, all of which are still hanging in my closet and most importantly, all of which I’m happy to have hanging in my closet.
So how did I move on from my blazer-hating ways? How can you do the same?
FIVE STEPS TO FINDING YOUR DREAM BLAZER
Blazers are surely not all created equal. You can find options from $10 to $10,000 (please note that I will not recommend options on either end of this spectrum).
With all the options out there it can be insanely difficult to know what pieces are a good investment and what pieces are completely overpriced. You can use these criteria to help.
Go for a neutral color
You can never go wrong with black or navy. Once you have the basics locked in you can feel confident to branch out into more unique colors and fabrics.
Ensure that you are buying the right size
For most of us, it’s nearly impossible to find the perfect fit right off the rack; therefore, a great way to make a blazer your perfect dream piece is to have it altered especially for your body. An important thing to remember when shopping for a blazer though, is that you need to make sure that you get the right size, otherwise you might be in for an ugly surprise when you get to your tailor. Here are two quick tips to ensure you have the right size.
1. It must fit in the shoulders first and foremost. Blazer tailoring should always be focused on taking in the torso. Check the fit in the shoulders by looking at the back. If you see stretching across the top of the blazer between your shoulder blades, you should consider sizing up.
2. Length is key. Shortening a blazer can be risky. Work hard to find one that is the correct length off the rack.
Estimate cost per wear
Okay, this may be hard to do on the spot, but let me use my $250 navy blazer as a perfect example. I have owned this blazer for years, it is still in beautiful condition, and I have worn it seriously hundreds of times. This could be compared to that “blazer” I had in college that probably cost about $40 and I can surely count on one hand how many times I wore it before giving it the boot. I think anyone can do the cost per wear math to figure out which is the better investment.
It’s all in the details
Spend the time to look at the stitching, the lining, the pockets. You don’t have to know a lot about fabrication to know good construction when you see it. Buttons are a really quick determination of construction. Cheap buttons usually mean cheap everything else.
Find your brand
Some brands are known for their beautiful, tailored pieces. Season after season they will continue to produce perfect wardrobe staples. It’s worth spending the time and effort getting to know which brands work best for you. The great thing here too, is that once you know what brands fit you best right off the rack, the easier it will be to find great pieces, and ever better, great pieces on sale. Some of my favorite brands for blazers are Theory (my navy blazer and many others), Rag and Bone, Veronica Beard, J.Crew, L’Agence and Hugo Boss, just to name a few.
I’m not going to tell you how much to spend on your dream blazer because I think you can find amazing pieces at so many different price points. I’ve found brand new blazers from some of these brands at consignment shops for $30. While you won’t always be that lucky, I think a really safe rule of thumb is that if it’s under $100 at full retail, I would highly question the quality. With some shopping prowess and effort you can surely find amazing pieces like my navy blazer between $100-$300.
Feeling inspired? I sure hope so! So it’s time to get out there and find your dream blazer…I promise, she’s out there!
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With love and layers,