Blazer, $445, tedbaker.com. Blazer, $290, jcrew.com.
Choose a fabric
The best blazer fabric for you depends on your personal style and your lifestyle. If you plan on wearing it to the office, try a wool, velvet or silk blazer that’s professional and luxurious but demands a strict dry-clean-only regimen. For something more casual, opt for cotton, linen, polyester or rayon, which can be washed at home. “A timeless choice is a firm-hand wool or synthetic blend with stretch that holds its shape well,” says Lisa Tant, Holt Renfrew’s vice-president of exclusive services.
How to wash
If in doubt, have it dry-cleaned, especially when maintaining the shape and size are very important. If you’re washing at home, always do so in cold water and lay flat to dry—don’t hang. Hanging a wet garment will often cause the shoulders to warp, which will result in an ill-fitting blazer.
The key: shoulders and sleeve length
Finding the right blazer isn’t always a piece of cake, despite the multitude of options available. “The key to a blazer that you will love forever is fit,” says Tant. “No matter your size, make sure it fits well through the shoulders. The sleeve length should just cover your wrist.” One of the best things about having a well-fitting blazer is it’s incredibly flattering—but to ensure the best possible fit, we recommend dressing for your body type.
If you’re busty
“A curvy figure looks best in a single-button style with a narrow lapel, or no lapel, and a length that hits the hips,” says Tant. Stay away from embellished pockets or too many buttons, as they can add bulk. Cropped styles will shorten your waist.
If you’re hippy
Similar to a busty shape, you want to stay away from too much embellishment that will add volume. “Try a longer length, which will slim a fuller-hip figure,” says Tant. Make sure the blazer doesn’t pull at the hips by choosing strategic darting or slinky fabrics that skim the body.
If you’ve got a boyish shape
If you have a narrow, lean figure, a blazer can create shape. “A fitted waist with a slight flare or peplum nips in the figure to create shape,” says Tant. For balance, opt for wider lapels that, combined with a nipped waist, will give the illusion of an hourglass shape.
If you’re small-chested
“A classic schoolgirl style with wider lapels and three buttons suits a narrow figure,” says Tant. “Extra details such as trim, embellishment and fabric texture are also flattering for smaller-chested women.” No need to fear volume here—there’s plenty of room to play with details when you have a small bust.
If you’re tall
Tall ladies should steer clear of shrunken and cropped looks. “They’re too short and divide the body in an awkward way,” explains Tant. Sticking with a style that sits at the hip is flattering. Pay extra attention to sleeve length as well. You may need to find a style specifically suited for longer limbs to ensure that you get the length you need for a polished look.
If you’re petite
If you’re petite, be wary of anything oversize or loose. “Petites should avoid finger-tip lengths, as they tend to be too long and will overwhelm,” says Tant. Opt for shorter or “shrunken” styles that fit close to the body. Sleeve length can often be altered, but it’s crucial to ensure a good fit in the shoulders.
3 tips for updating your standard blazer
Tip #1: Wear it buttoned up and belted for an ultrafeminine look. We recommend showing off that nipped-in waist by opting for a full midi skirt and a pair of colourful pumps.
Blouse, $36, zara.com. 424 Fifth skirt, $129, thebay.com. Belt, $17, asos.com. Pumps, $70, aldoshoes.com. Fendi sunglasses, $385, holtrenfrew.com.
Tip #2: Add statement jewellery for a fun take on this classic. Keep your shirt neutral and streamlined as a simple backdrop to a statement necklace. A high neckline keeps this look work-appropriate.
Shirt, $20, and necklace, $35, hm.com/ca. Pants, $295, pinktartan.com. Shellys London shoes, $140, littleburgundyshoes.com. Michael Michael Kors bag, $398, holtrenfrew.com.
Tip #3: Dark denim and a fun print will take casual Friday to Friday night on the town. Flared jeans and a floral blouse embrace the ’70s trend, while sleek wedges and—of course—a great blazer keep the look modern.
Blouse, $29, joefresh.com. Fidelity Denim jeans, $188, rainbowjeans.com. Eric Javits hat, $160, holtrenfrew.com. 424 Fifth wedge shoes, $119, thebay.com.
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