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Blazers: From the Pumpkin Patch to the Christmas Party

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Love, Frank has returned as a weekly style advice column tackling your hard-hitting fashion issues and addressing a different fashion glitch each week. Submit a query here.


J.Crew is all about the blazer right now.

Dear Frank,

I just got a couple of great blazers that are perfect for this crisp fall weather—but how do you layer above a blazer? In another few weeks it'll be too cold to only wear a blazer, but I'm going to want to wear these all the time. Any suggestions?

Best,
Blazing the Trail

Hey Blazer,

I love a blazer. A blazer is one of my favorite ways to punctuate a look. And, assuming the one in question fits, it can dress up nearly any outfit. Best of all, the right blazer can smooth any lumps; can make you look taller; and can very elegantly hide anything you really want hidden—be it a frayed belt loop, a not-perfectly fitting pant, or the genetic betrayal that is your legacy.

Many think that blazers are best relegated to those cool-but-not-cold months when it can act as both your light jacket (getting to the office or dinner), and a part of your complete look (sitting in your office or at dinner). But I tend to disagree. A linen or seersucker blazer is just the ticket for breezy summer evenings, warm-weather weddings, and garden parties. Meanwhile, an on-trend tweedy or tartan iteration works both at the pumpkin patch and the holiday party.

Which begs the question: How do you stay warm in just that blazer once the temperature drops?

I think you have three options:

One: You don't. You suck it up for the sake of your cute look. You wear a sweater under it; you wear a scarf; you grin and bear it. This is really only an option for those amongst us who aren't doing a lot of outdoor walking in their daily lives. So, New Yorkers—don't do this.


Trench coats aren't what they used to be (this isn't your father's London Fog); via Polyvore.

Two: Get the right overcoat. Traditionally one might wear a classic trench or classic wool overcoat over a blazer. And while both are certainly viable options—some of us don't want or need to dress that traditionally. I might suggest a slightly cropped trench coat in a more whimsical fabrication. Burberry has some rain-resistant versions in punchy geometric prints right now; and retailers ranging from AllSaints to Tommy Hilfiger have new spins that include colored leathers, contrast sleeves, and graphic road-map plaids. And if all you're looking for is not-beige: J.Crew, Kate Spade, C. Wonder.

Aside from the trench there are car coats, three-quarter length parkas, toggle-buttoned duffle coats, and various iterations on the classic overcoat. I would just make sure of the following: The overcoat should be longer than the blazer by at least a few inches; the overcoat shouldn't be overly fitted as it should go on, close, and come off over said blazer without your breaking a sweat (do not succumb to the whole "oooooo this is a little big, I should size down" vanity sizing catch-22); and the overcoat should be neutral enough (whatever your version of neutral is) that it can be worn with any one of your blazers.

Three: You buy blazers with some wiggle room so you can wear very substantial sweaters and/or light jackets underneath. This is more of a menswear look but can work if you're going for a Madewell-collegiate kind of thing. But it's probably not for everybody. It also limits said blazers to the coldest weather because they'll likely be too blousy to wear without a giant sweater. And, come on, you're gonna want that fun tweedy blazer for the aforementioned pumpkin patch. So, just, you know, proceed with caution on this one.

Just make sure it fits—a decent tailor is your best accessory. Enjoy the pumpkin patch.

(I'm not sure why I'm fixating on this pumpkin patch.)

Got a style question for Frank? Leave it in the comments or email one in here. Then buckle your two-toned leather Moschino belts, folks, because it's going to be ? Something.
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