(BTW, this is the last post in the series prompted by that meme, but the door remains open. If anyone else has any suggestions or requests, feel free to post them in the comments to the post above.)
Fashion sense is one of those things that women are supposed to be born with but which I've had to learn over the years. Only now do I finally feel like I have a sense of my own personal style, of what looks good on me and what I like. But one thing I discovered many years ago, and that's my affinity for jackets -- specifically, for tailored blazers.
They say you always remember your first. It was my senior year of high school, and I was perusing the offerings at Goodwill with my then-boyfriend. We discovered two men's blazers we liked. One was black with white pinstripes, and when you turned up the cuffs the lining was white with red stripes. The other was a simple dark gray, but it was a three-piece, so it came with a vest. We each tried both of them on (oh, for a simpler time, when I could still share clothes with a boyfriend), and he settled on the pinstripe jacket and I took the gray, mostly because we decided that I looked much better in the vest. I did rock that vest pretty hard, but in the end the jacket became a staple of my wardrobe for many years -- for the rest of high school and all throughout college. I wore it with t-shirts, I wore it with button downs, I wore it with skirts, I wore it with jeans. It was a layer in winter and outerwear in summer. I loved it, and when I finally wore it into the ground (and/or couldn't fit into it anymore; I can't remember now which came first), I replaced it with a black blazer from Land's End. That one I still have, and I still wear it often.
But my true love affair with jackets didn't really begin until about three years ago, when I got my first professional librarian job in 2005. When I started that job, I'd been working at a dotcom for almost five years, and it showed in my wardrobe. So I took went shopping with S, and we hit the outlets, and in one store she grabbed a blazer off the rack. "I don't know about the colors on this one, but I want to see the cut on you."
Both of us know right away that there was no way I was leaving the store without it. The colors -- it looked brown on the rack, but it's really more of a green -- the cut, the whole outfit (I was wearing it with an olive green shirt and brown skirt) just worked too well. This is now my power jacket -- it's a staple for important meetings, and I wore it to interview at my current workplace -- and I get tons of complements whenever I wear it. So I'm always on the lookout for jackets that will produce a similar feel, a similar look. It's all about the cut -- tailored, but not too tight, not too much of a collar, buttons in just the right places.
The other thing I look for in a jacket is the fabric. I have a weak spot for pettable clothing -- velvet, velour, suede. Along with my attraction to jewel-tone colors, this led to my selecting this red suede jacket off the rack at Target:
I was a starving grad student at the time, but amybang made me buy it anyway, and she was right. That was easily 10 years ago, and I still wear it all the time, and still get complements on it. It was my favorite bargain purchase for many years.
And here we see the themes come together: blazers with a tailored line and no lapel, nice shades of green, suede, and my love of a good bargain. All culminating in my favorite article of clothing to date: the Awesome Green Jacket.
I was on my business trip to San Diego last March, and a group of us had split up in the mall before rejoining for dinner. I wandered into Macy's, which was having an end-of season sale. I wasn't specifically shopping for jackets; in fact I was avoiding them, but I saw this on the rack, and then I saw how much it was marked down, and I couldn't not try it on. And then, well. You can probably guess the rest.
Neither of these pictures get the color quite right -- it's a little too dark in this one, and the other one makes it a little too yellow -- but you can get the idea. It fits like a dream, buttoned or unbuttoned, I love the color, and the nap of the suede is so, so soft. And I got it for about a quarter of the list price, which is always a bonus, especially when I would have paid half-price without blinking, and I might even have bought it full price, although that would have taken some harder thinking. It dresses up, it dresses down, it's perfect for work or a night out. Even knowing that I have it in my closet makes me happy, and it's really hard to ask for more than that from a piece of clothing.
I keep telling myself that I need to stop buying jackets. I had even declared a moratorium on new jacket purchases for awhile, but the Awesome Green Jacket blew that particular idea out of the water. So I will continue adding to the collection. Who knows, maybe something even better will show up on a sale rack someday.