If there's one item that should automatically be included in every woman's wardrobe, it's the blazer. Strong not just in the versatility department, a blazer also has that vaguely magical ability to make you feel confident when you need it most -- like when meeting your boyfriend's parents, going on a job interview or brunching after a big night out. Even though a blazer is pretty much a non-negotiable wardrobe essential, that doesn't mean it's easy to find the right style for you. To find one that you'll wear for the next decade, you're going to have to be prepared to roll up your sleeves and start searching. Luckily, I've made it easy for you. Read on for my tips for finding the perfect blazer.
Buy to Match Your Lifestyle
First things first, it's important to narrow in on what you need your blazer for, as there are so many different styles you can choose from depending on where you'll be wearing it. Consider the different occasions on which you'll wear it -- to work, school, out to lunch or on dates. Chances are, your average blazer will work for most of these occasions, but you're looking for the cream of the crop. Your lifestyle will define the color, shape and details of the ideal blazer for you.
Fit the Shoulders
A well fitting blazer is one that perfectly molds to your shoulders, highlighting your frame without appearing too small or too oversized. Unless you're going for a boyfriend look, make sure you carefully check the shoulder seam when trying on a blazer. The perfect fit should end right where your shoulders do and not be too short or too long.
Consider Sleeve Length
While getting the right fit on the shoulders is non-negotiable for me, I'm a little more relaxed about sleeve length. If the sleeves of your blazer are just a bit too long, you can always roll them up (even better if there's contrasting lining). But avoid any blazers that are too short -- you can get away with a slightly longer sleeve, but never too short. This, once again, comes down to where you plan on wearing your blazer. If it's a polished work look you're after, you might want to make sure the sleeves are the right length so you don't have to fold them.
Pick the Right Button Location
The location of the buttons on your blazer determines its overall look and feel -- high gives a more mature look, while lower will appear more relaxed. For me, the perfect location of the buttons is just below your lower bra line or just below your bust. This allows your blazer to be comfortably buttoned up without feeling too uptight.
Be Smart About Color
For a blazer that takes you from work to the farmers market and everywhere in between, you're going to want to stick with a minimalist hue, such as black or navy. This will ensure that it goes with everything in your wardrobe, thus increasing its wearability. Once you've found the perfect staple blazer, you can then look at more trend driven pieces in various colors, such as a pastel colored blazer for spring. But make sure to get the basics right first.
Go for Timeless Details
When it comes to stitching, lapel and button details, you'll want to pick a blazer that is simple and timeless. After all, you'll want to wear this for the rest of your life, right? Stick to gold, black or matching buttons, and opt for simple stitching that isn't too trend driven. A slim lapel and collar will also transcend seasons.
Go for Quality
When shopping for your new blazer, focus on finding a quality piece that will last, rather than a cheaper item that won't stand the test of time. With that in mind, spend as much as you can afford (without going overboard, obviously) on a style that's made from sturdy, natural materials that you'll wear and wear. I suggest looking at J Crew, Madewell, Banana Republic or Club Monaco. These stores have classic pieces that will last. You can also look in designer thrift stores to get your hands on high-end pieces for a steal.