If you are thinking about updating or upgrading your business wear, or creating a business wear capsule wardrobe, a good place to start is with jackets. When I create a capsule wardrobe it’s the jackets that form the foundation of the wardrobe because they can be worn as a suit with matching trousers and skirts, with a dress or as a mismatched suit with a contrasting or toning bottom.
So let’s look at the different options available and some tips on how to choose.
If you are starting from scratch I would choose a navy blazer for several reasons;
- It’s a classic that won’t date – the shape may change slightly season to season but unless you work in high fashion that’s not really an issue.
- Navy is kinder to most women than black.
- Navy commands authority.
- It will go with most other pieces in your wardrobe – in fact navy is a great neutral to use as the foundation of a capsule wardrobe.
- You can wear it formally, smart casual with a jersey dress and dressed down with jeans.
If you choose the navy blazer as your start point I’d recommend that this be one of your investment items. Spend more here than on other separates or jackets because it will last longer (for all the reasons given above) and you can expect to get good cost per wear.
Labels to look for at the high end of the High Street – Gerard Darel, Maxmara, Boss, Armani Collezioni.
Mid to high end High Street – LK Bennett, Hobbs, M&S Best of British and Jeager.
If pennies are tight look at M&S, Mango and Phase Eight.
After navy I’d suggest a second neutral colour jacket. But don’t necessarily stick to grey or black I’ve found this petrol blue option which works as a neutral and see how many other colours work with it.
Red is a great colour to have in your wardrobe for getting attention and standing out from the crowd and a red jacket over a neutral or print dress would really bring the dress to life. Wear it over a matching red dress for full impact!
Then we have the pattern jacket. This could be a print or it could be the fabric for example a weave like dogtooth or tweed. These jackets are great for making a plain suit go further, especially if they are in a neutral colour combination like the one below or they pick up colours from your suits and dresses within the pattern. They also often do double duty more casually too.
So the first piece in the capsule wardrobe jigsaw is set. Next time I will be looking at dresses.