Style Fashion

Friday 22 November 2019

How to wear... the heritage blazer

This season's staple jacket gives classic checks a streetwise edge. Meadhbh McGrath explains why it will become the hardest-working piece in your wardrobe for autumn-winter

The heritage blazer makes the perfect accompaniment for jeans and a jumper, as seen on Claudia Schiffer. Photo: GC Images
The heritage blazer makes the perfect accompaniment for jeans and a jumper, as seen on Claudia Schiffer. Photo: GC Images
Wool blazer, €785 from Helmut Lang at Brown Thomas
Plaid blazer, €149 from & Other Stories
Houndstooth blazer, €103, Warehouse
trousers, €39.95 from Zara
jacket, €69.95, from Zara

Meadhbh McGrath

The Queen made a surprise appearance at London Fashion Week earlier this year, joining Anna Wintour on the front row at Richard Quinn's autumn-winter show. But her influence was felt widely across the collections, from scarf prints to quilting to classic tweed and Prince of Wales checks.

Heritage fabrics were given a modern update at Calvin Klein, where creative director Raf Simons styled mannish tweed coats and chunky jumpers with flashy silver and floor-sweeping skirts, finished with jewelled heels or white boots. Marc Jacobs supersized the check suit, and Prada gave it an outdorrsy twist, teamed with hiking boots.

Dakota Johnson dressed hers up for the Venice Film Festival with heeled mules and a silk camisole, or you can pair it with loafers and a blouse for a sophisticated take on power dressing. Pic: LaPresse
Dakota Johnson dressed hers up for the Venice Film Festival with heeled mules and a silk camisole, or you can pair it with loafers and a blouse for a sophisticated take on power dressing. Pic: LaPresse

Max Mara layered checks of varying sizes, and Michael Kors layered them with bold florals and bolder leopard print.

But you can take a quieter approach, too. The heritage blazer makes the perfect accompaniment for jeans and a jumper, as seen on Claudia Schiffer. It's less harsh than black, and the effect is cosy yet crisp, particularly with a pair of sharp boots.

You can go rustic and embrace the country-casual look by throwing a blazer over a floaty floral midi dress and under a shearling or teddy coat. Or use it to smarten up this season's 70s printed silks - the checks provide a cool contrast with ultra-feminine pieces.

The trouser suit trend shows no signs of slowing down, and a checked version is particularly versatile. Dakota Johnson dressed hers up for the Venice Film Festival with heeled mules and a silk camisole, or you can pair it with loafers and a blouse for a sophisticated take on power dressing.

The checked suit can be dressed down for off-duty wear, too, just swap out the blouse for a slogan t-shirt and pair with trainers. Hiking boots look set to be the footwear hit of the season, and Office's chunky-soled pair will give a cool street style edge to a slim-fit suit.

Want something a little more daring? Mismatch your checks. High street stores like Zara offer suits with a larger check in the jacket and a smaller version in the trousers (where a supersized print can have an undesirable effect on the thighs and backside).

If you prefer a harder edge, look to Saint Laurent, where heritage checks were teamed with slick black leather, dark sequins and towering platforms - a million miles from quaint Balmoral checks. It was streetwise, youthful and very rock'n'roll.

Helmut Lang's double-breasted blazer will add polish to an all-black outfit: think narrow cigarette trousers and a high-neck blouse with courts. Add a pair of glittering crystal earrings for an effortlessly cool evening look.

If you want to take a softer approach, wear your blazer over comfy knits and denim (otherwise known as the fashion editor's uniform, a simple yet timeless favourite). Brown and grey checks will work seamlessly with this season's 70s-tinged neutrals, from camel to burgundy to chocolate brown.

The heritage blazer can help to tone down a leather skirt - try a rich brown (more subtle than black) in the skirt, like Mango's button-through midi version, and offset the supple leather with & Other Stories' warm-toned plaid. Complete the look with boots and a roll-neck knit in complementary neutral shades.

When browsing, steer clear of very thin lapels. But a broad lapel will create more bulk on top, so you want something that's slim enough to lengthen your look, without verging into skinny, rock-chick territory.

The fit should be relaxed and gently oversized, but nothing too major, and opt for a smaller check - the loud window pane styles will tire quickly. If you're taller, a slightly larger check will work well, but petite ladies will find smaller prints more flattering.

Those with a larger bust may find a better fit with a higher-cut blazer (think three buttons, rather than one), and double-breasted styles suit all body shapes, as well as looking slightly more polished than their single-breasted counterparts.

But if you do go for a double-breasted style, take care to balance out the silhouette with a more fitted lower half. Save the wide-leg trousers and team with a streamlined straight or narrow leg trousers, or a demure pencil or midi skirt.

Irish Independent

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