Monday, June 23, 2014

Winter casual - let's class it up

Now doubt you've noticed that I gabble on about a jacket being the fastest, easiest, no brainer way to class up an outfit, no matter what you're age, colouring, shape or profession (whether it's CEO or CEO of the household). 

"Class up" means to look more important, to look smarter, to look like you have your act together (even if you don't).

But let's work up the hierachy, so we have the bigger picture. 

A tee is less classed up than a blouse.
A sweat top is less classed up than a sweater.
A sweater is less classed up than a cardigan.
A cardigan is less classed up than a jacket.  

Did you notice that the jacket is at the top of the food chain? 

Now, hopefully you understand that these are general statements - after all, I dont know you & your specific tee, sweat top, sweater, cardigan or jacket. 

This hierachy may be thrown off by:
* fit - so a sausage fit may be less classy than a slim fit & a slim fit may be classier than a loose/sloppy fit. 

* cut - A cropped denim jacket may be less classed up than a luxe cashmere cardi. An anorak is generally less classy than a cardigan due to its inherently casual style. A bomber jacket is generally less classy than a tailored jacket, because it's cut is inherently sporty.

* fabric - a sequin tee may be more classed up than an bulky cable sweater. Change the sweater to a cashmere version and it may be a different outcome. A mesh tee tends to be less classed up than a fine wool cut & sew tee. A puffa pretty much guarantees a non class act, unless you're wearing it with an Hermes scarf and expensive shoes & bag. Otherwise it says you are very relaxed and that can be code for "I dont care about me".

In case you're wondering, in general wovens are classier than knits. But because we are focusing on comfort in this post, I'll leave wovens out of the picture. 

* trims - for garments from the high street, those with more trims or bells & whistles (zips, contrast buttons, epaulettes, fringing, inserts etc) tend to look less classed up than those without. 

* colour - neutrals and soft colours tend to project class, while brights & dramatic combinations tend to project power rather than class. 

* colouring & body shape - put simply, if the item isn't in your best colour (near your face), or the most flattering to your body shape, you will never project as much class as if it was.

* style personality - sorry to disappoint you, but a boho or rock chic style will never project as much class as a monochrome or classic style. It doesn't mean you have to change your style (outside work hours), but it does mean that you may need to tweak your style by adding some classic elements here & there - assuming class is what you want to project. 

Basically, SIA's hierachy may not always hold true, but in most cases, it's a very useful guide. 

Finally, I am not suggesting you dress in this classy mode. I am just saying that if you want to project that kind of image, you need to think about adopting some of the indicators. 

So, back to the jackets. 
This is not about work jackets. 
It's about CEO of the household jackets - pieces you can put on when you're out & about to instantly class up your act.

What's between a cardigan & a tailored jacket?

Glad you asked. 

The answer is a knitted jacket. It has the class factor due to its structure & the comfort of a knit. 

Everything photographed was from David Jones for AW 2014. It's all now on sale.
Marco Polo 100% wool cardi
100% class. The best piece in this post
for an instant class lift.

Mint fringed boho top - not high on the class scale

Marco Polo, 100% boiled wool.
Also 100% class
Available in petites & plus size

Hartford soft jacket, minimalist &
100% class

All puffas say very little about
you being a classy babe.

This puffa is interesting though - not run of the mill - so has a bit of class for that reason alone. The large segments on the upper half/small segments on the bottom half make it fabulous for pears.

Gordon Smith jacket/bomber in a woven wool
Class factor - more than a sweater or a cardi

The Clothing Company, boiled wool.
100% class. Available in petites & plus size

The Clothing Company, boiled wool.
100% class. Available in petites & plus size

Nothing this open weave/textural in a bright
colour will ever be very classy

Oh goody - a puffa in a neon bright
with absolutely no waist definition.
A total class fail. 

A textured rain vest. Unless you're
wearing this with top to toe
winter white & an Hermes scarf,
this is also a class fail.

A soft wool jacket in a bumble
bee stripe is never classy.  

A Chanel style "grandma" cardigan
can be very classy. It can also age
you unless you know how to
make it more youthful with accessories. 

A soft cardi in a bright colour especially if it isnt
a natural fibre can be touch & go classy.
Cotton knits don't launder well
(they become white on the seams quite easily) -
while wool or cashmere last forever. 

A Yarra Trail wool cardi in an even knit
like this can be classy.
But not if you are petite or a rectangle or busty.

The rough texture of this Jump
sleeveless sweater takes away
some of its class factor. 

This baby is classy - cables in a
fine knit tend to scream class.
But in a classy way.
Another textured Jump vest - again,
about as classy as a sweat.

A zip & a shearing look collar.
More boho than class. 

The darker version of the above vest -
the one that  is about as
classy as a sweat. 

These type of loose cardis can be very classy,
especially in neutral shades.
Ditto waterfall front styles especially those
with length at the back.
But the class factor flies out the window
when worn by a petite or rectangle. 
Thin, flimsy & unstructured viscose blend?
Totally not classy.
The black is turning white at the seams. Even less class.
Loud florals? In a good quality knit,
this could be fabulous.
In this knit, if you want class, it's very hard to do. 

No, no, no. Class that is.
Not stopping you buying this -
just telling you
what it projects & it aint class. 

Despite the chunkiness in the collar, this
fine knit & neutral colour say class. 

Chunky all over, highlighting the
tummy (oh goody)
 in an oversize look.
Not much class here. At all. 

The Gordon Smith woven jacket - in an
almost bomber style.
More class than a sweat or a cardi.   

The chunky cowl neck takes away some
of the class factor here, but the
fine knit on the body
could redeem itself in class school.
The bottom half of the outfit will
make or break the class factor.

1. Everything in this post is from David Jones & available in most stores and online.

2. The pieces indicated as "classy" will run rings around anything you own that comes from the likes of Witchery/Country Road & everything else on the high street.

The quality is infinitely better, they will last forever (if looked after) and can be hand washed without worry.

3. In case you didnt realise, apart from the quality of the fibres, the pieces which pass the class test, do so because they are all basic shapes which are fitting close to the body. Nothing loose or baggy and 100% comfy because they are stretch knits. You can sex them up with accessories if you like, so please don't turn your nose up at them just because they looks "boring". 

4. The Marco Polo jackets come in plus & petite. 

5. If you are on the "wrong" side of 30 and you are whinging about your image as CEO of the household or the quality of the likes of Country Road or Witchery - then do something about it. 

No comments:

Post a Comment