Lose a Bit (and look fabulous!)

By Karen R. Smith


No, I’m not writing about diets, or about exercise...or keto or paleo or any other regimen. I want to tell you about a quick shortcut to looking chic and on-trend this holiday season. It’s simple and easier than you might think: Lose the lapels!!!!

Blazers are not news and this season they are looking fresh again, because just about every designer and manufacturer has reimagined them without lapels. And that small change -- several narrow inches of fabric -- has totally changed the look of even the most traditional blazer.

Your closet might have potential

I am big on remodeling clothes I already have, especially when a small change can rack up big benefits. If you have a closet full of blazers, jackets and assorted coats, take them out and reassess their potential.

The first and most important is to determine the fit. You will not lose ten pounds over the holidays. You will not gain 25 pounds either. Your arms will not get longer, and you will not achieve those additional two inches you hoped for by year-end. In short, you’ve got the body you’ve got right now, and it’s best to work with the reality. Try on every blazer. Donate the ones that don’t fit.

Your tailor is not a magician. And don’t look back.

The remainder should be blazers that lay nicely across your shoulders and back, have sleeves that are either the correct length or too long (your dressmaker can fix that) and if the jacket has a back vent, meaning a slit (sometimes two), it should stay in a closed position when you are standing up. If the vents are splayed when you are standing, the jacket does not fit (see above re donations).

Most if not all of your older jackets and blazers will have lapels of one sort of another. Head to your tailor and ask what’s possible. Some blazers will have enough fabric to enable the dressmaker to remove the lapes and turn the newly cut edges to the inside; others may require the addition of a binding or trim to achieve their new svelte state.

The three jackets I had remodeled ran just under $75 total, and that felt like a real bargain. If not, shop!

If you don’t have older jackets in need of a fresh image, there are wonderful blazers at every price point this season and most can be ordered online, so you can stay home and trim the tree too!

My favorite of the new jackets has to be the raspberry boucle by Arielle Charnas for Something Navy, which is being carried at Nordstrom’s. (www.nordstroms.com) at $149, it’s the best buy out there.

Four times the price, at $626, the olive jacket at Bevza.com is more minimalist, and tailored to a fare-thee-well. It’s viscose and polyester, and also comes in white.

At $119, Zara.com has a fabulous black blazer, sans lapels, with the sleeves puffed high on the shoulder so it almost has an 80s silhouette. Proving that there are still ways to look cool WITH lapels, Zara also has a belted soft blazer that retails for under $50. It’s big, and slouchy and absolutely fabulous.

Mango has become a terrific resource for all sorts of clothing, and with Leandra Medine adding her designs to their collection, now is the time to buy, especially if you’re a fan of Medine’s Man Repeller blog and eZine. Her embroidered jacquard jackets are under $150 and she’s created a timeless short button-front jacket with plastron pockets for the same price.

In between, there are lots of choices. In plus sizes, I particularly like Calvin Klein’s plaid blazers, which are going to look stylish for many seasons to come. If you’re planning on shopping at La Encantada this season (and don’t miss their snow falls on Saturday nights, at 6 PM and 6:45 PM) Brooks Brothers had beautiful blazers in assorted styles and fabrics.

At the high end of the curve, The Row has a wonderful long blazer for $3490, available at their own website or through Saks Fifth Avenue.

All these retailers offer the ability to return your online purchases, and all have extensive size charts to enable you to make accurate selections. DO NOT GUESS. Get out a tape measure, take down your measurements and check the size charts. Designers and manufacturers want you to be happy with your purchase, but it is up to you to take the time to do it right!

A blazer is usually the only winter coat needed here in Tucson and the right one just might get you through the season with a little less (lapels, that is!).

About the Author:
Karen R. Smith is an award-winning journalist and publicist. Her book, "Stylishly Sexy" is available online and she takes private style clients throughout Arizona and across the country. Visit her at www.stylesmithtransformations.com