Beyond The Blazer: Alternate Toppers That Work, Too

I want to love my blazers. They are classic pieces. I have three nice ones, including the jacket to my smart Tahari suit. I rarely wear them, though.

My reluctance could be a flashback to my corporate days, when jackets were part of the uniform. Or maybe it’s just that woven fabrics don’t allow for full, comfortable range of motion. And they always have to be dry-cleaned, no cheating there.

Now that my work and home dress codes are fairly relaxed, I enjoy blazer alternatives for Fall and Winter. Since coats are rarely needed in Florida, I can splurge a little on other options. ☺  Here’s what I’m looking at:

  • Cardigans. I like mine long and lean. I have a black cashmere, a navy cotton blend, and an ivory wool/acrylic cardigan for cooler times.
Nice and long and with pockets! Nordstroms, in 9 colors, $42.
  • Denim. I love a denim jacket, especially after it’s been washed a few times and broken in. I often add brooches to mine to make it more feminine. There are very few outfits in my wardrobe that would not be OK with a denim jacket.
This Jag Jeans jacket is nifty, but I’ve thrifted most of mine.
  • Vests. For our mild winters, a sleeveless vest makes a nice topper too. I recently bought a very cool moto style vest in olive green. I wouldn’t mind another vest for the season, maybe a faux fur?:
Probably not the most practical for Florida, but so cute. Via Bloomies, $168
  • Faux leather. I try not to buy too much new leather; I’m a vegetarian. But I break my own rules and wear leather shoes and a leather purse. For jackets, skirts, coats, I would choose faux.
This one is one my Wish List at GAP, $50 but always on sale!

Stay fabulous all day,

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  1. I just found this site and am loving it! I hate blazers and jackets–I don't like anything that restricts my movement that much. I practically live in cardigans, which I love for comfort and casual style. However, I'm wondering about alternatives or styling tips for dressier occasions? I live in an area with cold (but not brutal) winters, so I need some options for date nights, concerts, parties and the like. Any tips?

  2. I used to enjoy blazers but in my 50's now, for some reason they just don't flatter my figure as well, so I now use cardigans and I'm loving the one from Nordstrom. Must go check it out. xox

  3. I prefer cardigan, too, there are available in so many style. Blaser makes me too simple. Also love to wear simple shirts as top layer in nice weather.

  4. Funnily enough, I've just worn my vintage Max Mara blazer, but I'm not sure I like it on me very much…
    I am more of a cardigan (short and fitted and colourful for me) and denim jacket girl. Still on the hunt for a fitted waistcoat which works on me, and I have a drapey cotton kimono jacket which I wore a lot over strappy maxi dresses in summer.
    As with all things, we find the layers that works for us and our wardrobes! xxxx

  5. I completely agree with you on jeans jackets. That is one thing you can ALWAYS find at the thrift store. Mine is a classic Levis jean jacket that I got for $5 at Goodwill, and it fits like a dream. I would never pay full price for a jeans jacket.

  6. Despite my intense love of real leather, my favorite "leather" jacket is faux. There are a lot of good fake leathers, I just have a real toss up between the environmental impact of real leather versus pleather.

    (PS my secret to today's wool skirt – it's lined in cotton!)

  7. I love the look of a tweedy blazer but I never feel comfortable enough to wear them all day (I'm a teacher and I move around all day). I usually wear them with t-shirt under them so if I take them off I feel really underdressed.

  8. I'm not a big blazer fan either–too constricting!1 I adore me some cardigans, though!

  9. I actually love blazers but they're not that comfortable for my broad shoulders so I definitely tend to reach for other options too. Ideally though I like a knit blazer; they're the best of both worlds.

  10. Alas, not for me. Nearly all these things look hidious on a "ruler". No hips, no bum and broad shoulders. I can tell you, all these items make me look terrible.
    My alternative for uncomfortable jackets are… comfortable stretchy jackets. They work like a cardigan but are more fitted.

  11. You are so right about blazers in Florida. They have to go to the dry cleaners too often so I love vests, short sleeve cardis and jean jackets.

  12. I would like to try one, but have a most unreasonable hatred of blazers because of the local weather. They have that giant open V in front that channels the perpetual damp wind perfectly from one's exposed neck down the chest and over the torso. Gyah!

    I have channeled my thrifting resources instead to vests somewhat like the one you posted. Faux fur is just the thing to dampen those chilly gusts. (:

  13. i have occasions where a blazer is a good choice, they present a different image than a sweater or vest and sometimes that's appropriate. I don't have as many as I once did. I like them for 50-60 degree days when I need a light jacket. I can wear them with a scarf/hat and then un-layer at work.

    My favorite blazers are multi-colored. Somehow a solid or suiting jacket always looks like you have a set you've broken up.

  14. I have a massive problem with blazers, they remind me of my vile corporate past and are far too structured to fit in with my casual style.
    I found an amazing 1960s denim cowboy jacket in a charity shop recently and I've a plethora of vintage leather coats which'll be fine. With the British weather it's not jacket weather for long, we'll probably be back in our vintage fake furs in a matter of weeks. xxx

  15. you really own the blazer look, Pam – they look fantastic on you.

  16. I love my blazers…so important for a slimming fit on a curvy body! And they make anything look polished…I love that GAP jacket it would look fabulous on you, Patti!!

  17. I have a problem with blazers, too. I own them and don't wear them. I think it's because of how I'm built — they just make me feel topheavy unless they are exactly perfect.

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