Ask Belle: Tips for Pairing a Blazer and Dress
Nov 27, 2013
You mentioned in Tuesday’s post that “wearing a blazer with a dress is always tricky”. So true! Mastering this skill would double my work wardrobe, but I can never put my finger on why a blazer/dress pairing isn’t working. Something in the portions always seem off – can you offer some tips on pulling together this wardrobe combo?
Love the blog! -J
When trying to match a blazer with a dress, you need to be cognizant of three fundamentals: Structure, Fit and Proportion. Let’s go to the visual aids.
Outfit One. The gray blazer fits too loosely to define her waist, and the voluminous dress only exacerbates the problem. Thus, a lack of structure creates a fit problem, which when paired with the dress, creates a proportion issue that leaves the lady looking wider than she is. Which is a shame because the accessories and color palette are incredibly stylish.
How to fix it? I would add a belt, maybe a dark brown double wrap, and alter the jacket to taper at the waist. Then, you get to enjoy the voluminous dress and the phenomenal accessories without losing the wearer under a pile of shapeless fabric.
Outfit Two. The green dress she chose naturally defines her waist, while the jacket nips in to complement it. The bottom of the blazer cuts across the widest part of her, bisecting the dress and the body in just the right place. As a result, a dress, which is a bit too poofy for my taste, becomes sleeker and trimmer by adding a jacket.
How to improve it? Add a skinny belt to break up the emerald green, and tug down on the sleeve so that it doesn’t bunch at the shoulders. If you don’t want to wear a belt, I would consider a long pendant necklace that hangs in a v-shape to complement the neckline of the jacket. Preferably one with a more substantial pendant, like this Stella & Dot Sanibel pendant. You just need to break up all the green.
Outfit Three. If you’re going to wear a heavier jacket with more masculine details, like a full shoulder pad or large buttons, you need to pair it with a more feminine piece, like this flowy dress. Mixing these textures creates a different kind of proportion that maintains femininity and keeps the outfit from looking heavy. As you can also see, the jacket hits perfectly at E’s waist.
How to improve it? I’m not crazy about the black shoe with this. I would have gone for a softer grey pump or a colored heel, perhaps a cobalt, instead. There’s so much lightness on the top, I wouldn’t want to pull the eye down with a dark shoe.