Fashion: The business of blazers

Published on Dec 02, 2022 09:25 PM IST

Typically a menswear staple, French stage artiste Sarah Bernhardt—who played the lead role in Shakespeare’s Hamlet—caused quite the stir in 1870s Parisian society when she stepped out in a suit

Today, from the boardroom to, quite literally, the bedroom—thanks to those team meetings and Zoom calls—the classic blazer has turned into one of the most versatile items in every woman’s closet; Styling by Tanya Aggarwal; Long blazer and short jacket by Arti Vijay Gupta; Shirt by November Noon Stockings by Theatre; Shoes by Da Milano (Raj K Raj)
Today, from the boardroom to, quite literally, the bedroom—thanks to those team meetings and Zoom calls—the classic blazer has turned into one of the most versatile items in every woman’s closet; Styling by Tanya Aggarwal; Long blazer and short jacket by Arti Vijay Gupta; Shirt by November Noon Stockings by Theatre; Shoes by Da Milano (Raj K Raj)
ByApla Shrivastava

Typically a menswear staple, French stage artiste Sarah Bernhardt—who played the lead role in Shakespeare’s Hamlet—caused quite the stir in 1870s Parisian society when she stepped out in a suit. At the beginning of the 1900s, along with shaking off outdated thinking from the 1800s, women in the suffragette movement popularised less restrictive clothing, leading to the Suffragette Suit. It included a coat and a split skirt that allowed wearers to take extended steps, providing freedom of movement. Then, in 1914, Coco Chanel debuted her women’s suit, followed by Yves Saint Laurent in 1966 with the ‘Le Smoking’ female tuxedo.

By the 1980s, the blazer turned into a unisex item of clothing, with women donning it everywhere from Parliament to their own weddings.

Today, from the boardroom to, quite literally, the bedroom—thanks to those team meetings and Zoom calls—the classic blazer has turned into one of the most versatile items in every woman’s closet. The greatest thing about the blazer is that there are no limits to how you can style it.

Read on to see how you can add a little polish to any outfit with the classic blazer.

The Bengal stripe

Bengal stripe business suits look great with a black or whitesports bra or turtleneck crop top; Pants and outer jacket by Mellow Drama; Bralette by Kappa; Micro jacket by All To Defy Boots by Rosso Brunello (Raj K Raj)
Bengal stripe business suits look great with a black or whitesports bra or turtleneck crop top; Pants and outer jacket by Mellow Drama; Bralette by Kappa; Micro jacket by All To Defy Boots by Rosso Brunello (Raj K Raj)

Balanced stripes, also known as Bengal stripes, are symmetrically patterned and show that the background and stripe are of equal width.

How to wear it

 If you are wearing a suit with Bengal stripes, add some subtle accessories because the stripes themselves are pretty dramatic.

Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Princess Diana
Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Princess Diana

 Avoid visual conflict when wearing these striped suits; borrow style cues from Priyanka Chopra Jonas or Princess Diana.

What the experts say

Nikhita Tandon
Nikhita Tandon

According to fashion designer Nikhita Tandon, “Any pinstripe, chalk stripe, or Bengal stripe business suit looks great with a simple black or white sports bra, bralette, or turtleneck crop top.”

Comfort dressing

You can pair your blazers with comfy pants for a more sophisticated look; Outer jacket and inner sweater by Blush; White tee and pants by Mellow Drama; Shoes by Nike (Raj K Raj)
You can pair your blazers with comfy pants for a more sophisticated look; Outer jacket and inner sweater by Blush; White tee and pants by Mellow Drama; Shoes by Nike (Raj K Raj)

Work-from-home fashion means putting together outfits for Zoom meetings that balance work and leisure. Blazers are immensely easy to layer for professional, yet comfortable look.

How to wear it

 Wear coordinating sweatpants and tops, then layer with blazers or cardigans. You can even pair slightly different coloured sweaters with tone-on-tone blazers to keep your outfit simple but coordinated.

Sweatpants with blazers will look more relaxed with a messy bun or unstyled hair
Sweatpants with blazers will look more relaxed with a messy bun or unstyled hair

 Sweatpants with blazers will look more relaxed with a messy bun or unstyled hair, a simple vest or crop top, and sneakers.

What the experts say

“You can also pair your blazers and comfy pants with high heels or boots for a more sophisticated party look,” says Nikhita Tandon.

The Glen Plaid suit

Accessorise the glen plaid suit with pastels and wear espadrilles or stilettoes for some extra oomph; Pants, jacket and shirt by Mellow Drama; Shoes by Rosso Brunello (Raj K Raj)
Accessorise the glen plaid suit with pastels and wear espadrilles or stilettoes for some extra oomph; Pants, jacket and shirt by Mellow Drama; Shoes by Rosso Brunello (Raj K Raj)

Glen plaid, also known as the Prince of Wales check, is a Scottish twill pattern created from small and large notched checks. The pattern has a sporty yet elegant appeal and is frequently used in suit jackets and business attire.

How to wear it

Kangana Ranaut and Anushka Sharma
Kangana Ranaut and Anushka Sharma

 Go for a modern version of a menswear-inspired glen plaid pantsuit, a waist-length short jacket, and ultra-slim ankle-length trousers.

 Take a cue from Kangana Ranaut or Anushka Sharma’s ruffled, white medieval shirt for a scholarly look.

What the experts say

Shivani Aggarwal
Shivani Aggarwal

“Accessorise a grey plaid suit with feminine pastels, and earthy espadrilles or stilettos, and a stylish pair of sunglasses for extra oomph,” suggests fashion designer Shivani Aggarwal.

The peplum blazer

Wear a bandeau top with palazzos and a one-button blazer for a chic look; Jacket, upper shirt and pants by Urvashi Kaur; T-shirt by Kazo; Shoes by Da Milano (Raj K Raj)
Wear a bandeau top with palazzos and a one-button blazer for a chic look; Jacket, upper shirt and pants by Urvashi Kaur; T-shirt by Kazo; Shoes by Da Milano (Raj K Raj)

The Ancient Greeks invented the peplum, a flared ruffle sewn into the waistline of a blouse, skirt, jacket, or dress to add extra frills and emphasise the waist, and luckily, it is now back in fashion!

How to wear it

Sonam Kapoor and Madhuri Dixit’s peplum attire
Sonam Kapoor and Madhuri Dixit’s peplum attire

 Wear a peplum jacket, which creates the illusion of a slender figure and a slimmer waist, with a knee- or ankle-length pencil skirt or a pair of skinny trousers. When the colour scheme is earthy or neutral, stick to one colour family.

 Take cues from actors Sonam Kapoor and Madhuri Dixit’s peplum attire.

What the experts say

Designer duo Shivan and Narresh
Designer duo Shivan and Narresh

”When layering, wear skimpy uppers like bandeaus, spaghetti tops and lowers like culottes and palazzo pants with simple one-button power shouldered jackets, which exude a chic style statement.” say designer duo Shivan and Narresh.

The hourglass trench

For a more chic look, add a set of gold hoops and transparent stilettoes; Leather jacket and trousers by Blush; Micro jacket by Madison Jeans by House of Khaddar Boots by Rosso Brunello (Raj K Raj)
For a more chic look, add a set of gold hoops and transparent stilettoes; Leather jacket and trousers by Blush; Micro jacket by Madison Jeans by House of Khaddar Boots by Rosso Brunello (Raj K Raj)

Trench coats are best known for their double-breasted silhouettes, belts, wide lapels, military accents like epaulettes, storm flaps, deep pockets, and a back vent for comfort, and look good on most body types.

How to wear it

 Put on a camel-coloured leather trench coat and adjust the length to suit your body type, like Kareena Kapoor.

Put on a camel-coloured leather trench coat and adjust the length to suit your body type, like Kareena Kapoor
Put on a camel-coloured leather trench coat and adjust the length to suit your body type, like Kareena Kapoor

What the experts say

“Wear it with blue jeans and accessorise with a shoulder bag, squared sunglasses, and high boots. For a more chic high-street look, add a set of gold hoops and transparent stilettos,” recommends Shivani Aggarwal.

The Heritage Houndstooth Suit

Pick blazers and jackets that are single shelled and have power shoulders; Micro jacket by House of Khaddar; Pants and blazer by House of Fett; Boots by Rosso Brunello (Raj K Raj)
Pick blazers and jackets that are single shelled and have power shoulders; Micro jacket by House of Khaddar; Pants and blazer by House of Fett; Boots by Rosso Brunello (Raj K Raj)

The Scottish heritage houndstooth pattern is dual-toned plaid in a traditional 2:2 twill weave, giving it a lovely broken check and block design. It was named ‘houndstooth’ because it looked like jagged teeth.

How to wear it

 Pick an earthy-toned traditional Scottish houndstooth-patterned ditto suit (blazer and trousers made of the same material).

The Scottish heritage houndstooth pattern is dual-toned plaid in a traditional 2:2 twill weave, giving it a lovely broken check and block design.
The Scottish heritage houndstooth pattern is dual-toned plaid in a traditional 2:2 twill weave, giving it a lovely broken check and block design.

 You can add a scarf or cravat made of solid silk. If you’re feeling adventurous, try adding a tailored, waist-length linen jacket to break the monotony.

 Solid knee-length leather boots can further colour-block the busy pattern.

What the experts say

“Blazers and jackets work exceptionally well with power shoulders as they are back in fashion. They should primarily be single shelled (without lining) jackets. In summer, use fabrics like fine linen and cotton, in solid colours like shades of pink and lavender,” say Shivan and Narresh.

From HT Brunch, December 3, 2022

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