Bring on the blazer

— by Alyson Walsh

Photos: Claire Pepper

Unseasonably warm temperatures aside, now feels like the right time to take winter coats to the dry cleaners and bring on the blazer. This sartorial shift pleases me, no end. I’ve long been a fan of menswear-inspired dressing – or just plain menswear in my teenage post-punk years. My brother’s army surplus trench coat, my dad’s old cardigans and so on. A blend of feminine and masculine items is a surefire way to achieve timeless style and functionality. Adding structure to jeans imparts a sense of casual, powerful glamour – and I find the best way to achieve it is with a sharply tailored blazer. There are plenty of beautiful jackets on offer this season – I’ve written about the increasing number of designer brands such as Blazé Milano, Gabriela Hearst and Guiliva Heritage Collection specialising in women’s tailoring, for the Financial Times.

The effortless combination of jacket and jeans is one of my feel-good looks. Another option, as seen on the Givenchy spring/summer 2019 ready-to-wear catwalk (and saved to my Khaki Malarkey Pinterest board), is the black tuxedo jacket juxtaposed with a pair of cargo pants. Designer Claire Waight Keller’s muse for collection was the 20th-century writer, photographer and traveller Annemarie Schwarzenbach, who favoured androgynous clothes. Nonchalantly combining the rough with the smooth is my kind of styling.

Blazer-buying for me, is all about taking the long-term view and opting for a timeless silhouette to go with  jeans or cargo pants. I’m not really interested in oversized styles and statement shoulder pads, the proportions have to be just right as Margherita Cardelli of Guiliva Heritage Collection points out, ‘Blazers are having a moment right now but they are also a staple piece to have to hand at all times.’


Vintage MaxMara jacket and Gucci bag

This vintage checked tweed jacket is MaxMara, a lightweight cashmere and wool blend, I found it at Menage Modern Vintage. Owner Chiara featured in one of my early What Women Wear posts, and has just had a large delivery of beautiful clothes from the 1980s and 90s – a lot of which are unworn. She offered me an exclusive preview. Dangerous. Some of the vintage items are online already but there’ll be more coming soon so it’s worth checking in from time to time. And although I have never been a huge fan of designer handbags (they’re just not my thing, I’ve always preferred to spend my money on a good pair of sturdy shoes) I succumbed to this gorgeous Gucci number. Perfect with the checked tweed blazer, across a boiler suit and beyond…

Menage Modern Vintage will also have a stand at the Badger’s Velvet Underground fair at the Department Store, Brixton on 26 and 27 April 2019.


OPs & Ops sixties-inspired ankle boots

The hand-crafted boots were a gift from the small independent company Ops & Ops, founded by two friends who enjoy 1960s culture, music and vintage clothing. When former journalists Steph and Teri couldn’t find the right shoes to dance in, they started making their own. Ops & Ops currently has a pop-up shop on Redchurch Street, London (details HERE) where the summer collection of shimmering metallic pumps and mules are kicking up a stylish storm. Visitors so far have included Jarvis Cocker and Jan de Villeneuve


Get your jeans and jackets on:


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Unseasonably warm temperatures aside, now feels like the right time to take winter coats to the dry cleaners and bring on the blazer. This sartorial shift pleases me, no end.