Jackets are a piece of clothing that everyone owns, probably more than one. But we do not think much about them. Where they originated from, what was the original purpose, how they have evolved, and how we can use all of this fascinating information to our advantage. Worry not, by the end of this article, you will have all the necessary knowledge about jackets and how to best wear them to your advantage.
First things first, what exactly is a jacket? The technical definition of a jacket is – an outer garment extending either to the waist or the hips, typically having sleeves and a fastening down the front.
That is pretty self-explanatory and we all do get the idea of what qualifies as a jacket. Now onto how this garment came to be.
The supposed origin of jackets dates back to the middle ages or early Renaissance period. They were in their very first form worn as more fitted tunics or altered tunics that men of the working class fashioned themselves. These were popularized to a point that they were worn incessantly by men who worked as serving or helping staff in households. Mid 18th century brought about a change in the way jackets were cut and we got what we call “single-breasted” and soon evolved into a “double-breasted” version too.
The 19th century saw the favor shifting towards triple-buttoned jackets. Most of the styles we see in jacket designs developed during the 19th century and then further continuously evolved through the 20th century to become the versions we know now. Different fabrics – silk, cotton, linen, different details – brass buttons, lapels, pockets, were all added and reduced from the popular designs as needed and as favored by the public.
The last few decades have seen the rise of them through fashion fads and through popular opinion. The types of jackets we usually see today are not class-exclusive clothing items like they used to be in the past. Jackets are versatile by nature. Their place in the hierarchy of clothing articles makes them rather flexible to play with and use. But we do not see it happen very often. Why? People do not understand how to correctly utilize all this potential.
So we will get into the basics of which jacket would suit you best and how to layer them like a pro and look like one too.
There are a number of things you need to consider before or while buying a jacket. They are listed in order of priority so you can check them off.
- The occasion – what is the occasion you are shopping for? Graduation? A wedding? A road trip? The type of jacket will rely on this question heavily because if you wear a denim jacket to your cousin’s wedding, it’s going to be a story for years to come. With photographic evidence.
- If there is no occasion and you are buying a jacket just because, look at your wardrobe. What is the type of jacket you do not have or if you have none, what kind of jacket would suit your style?
- Now that you have a clear idea of what type, look at the details. Pick a jacket that will flatter your structure. Ex: If you have wide shoulders and narrow hips, do not buy one with shoulder pads.
- Vertically seam jackets are better, they make you look taller.
- Patched pockets are not cute. Do not buy one with those.
- Pick a good-quality fabric, preferably from a luxury brand, to get a better fit and shape.
- Single-breasted will always look better on anyone than double-breasted jackets that are not easy to pull off.
- The brand matters a lot and will dictate if the garment is poorly made or well crafted.
Now with that out of the way, let’s look at different types of jackets and how you can layer them.
The type of jacket that we all either possess or want to possess. Denim jackets come in many colors and washes, just like your jeans do. They are endless when it comes to the possibilities of the design. However, some basic rules apply to all denim jackets just the same. Knowing these will get you the best out of yours.
Denim jackets and anything denim are meant for wearing casually. Always remember they are not meant for anything formal or solemn. Wearing them to an even more serious than the everyday casual hangouts or dinner with friends will make you seem like someone who does not take anything seriously.
When it comes to putting them on, they usually go with everything that has a similar casual vibe – t-shirts, dresses, tanks, etc. It works great with all sorts of casual bottoms too.
As for the color, keep the undertones of your clothing similar to the wash of your jeans.
A good example of this would be light wash denim jackets working well with warm or cool-toned whites but also look great with colors on the warm color palette.
As to what you should avoid, that would be button-down shirts. As mentioned above, this is a casual piece of clothing. Button-downs can be worn casually but they are not casual-wear.
The representative jacket of the cool crowd everywhere. A leather jacket stands for ruggedness and living on the edge. All the “bad boys” in the media have been depicted wearing a signature leather jacket at one point or another. The appeal of leather is something so primal and sensual, that it attracts everyone.
This is yet another clothing item we have all desired at one point or another. It is, however, not everyone’s cup of tea. A leather jacket is meant to be worn casually and semi-casually. It can be worn formally only if you work at a tattoo parlor, so do not venture into that territory.
The rules of styling a leather jacket are not that difficult to remember either. Leather is a heavy fabric – both molecularly and visually so do not layer it over another heavy fabric. Go lighter with the lower layer – cotton, linen, polyester, anything light works.
Now for the colors. Since most leather jackets are typically black, or any other dark color, it is a good idea to pair it up with white or lighter colors like white to create a contrast. If you are after the all-black look, then that works too.
However, with a leather jacket of an unusual color – pink, navy blue, whatever, make sure the color of the top under it does not clash with it.
The details on a leather jacket matter a lot too. Whether it is embellished with metal studs or has contrasting colored stitching, then that needs to be taken into account too.
This is the type of jacket that straddles the line between casual and formal. A true chameleon, this garment truly takes on the flavor of whatever you wear under it. The way a blazer is cut is akin to a suit jacket and has only very minor differences. It can replace a suit jacket if needed. But it also works with casual clothes.
Blazers can be styled with a casual tee and jeans and will look perfectly casual.
They can be layered over a button-down and trousers and you have a semi-casual look. As for a formal look, you can wear a form-fitting, dark-colored blazer over a dress shirt and dress pants and you’ll look presidential.
The don’t’s with blazers are far and few because they are very adaptable and fit everyone’s parameters.
Trenchcoats are the ultimate outerwear. They are not a part of the outfit, they are the outfit. A good trenchcoat will make you want to keep it on even past the time when you need to keep it on. Wearing them is rather easy because they cover up the entirety of your outfit so as long as you are not wearing something not fit for the formal theme, you have nothing to worry about.
The thing you should never do with a trenchcoat is to wear it over casual everyday clothing. That is the biggest no. Aside from this, keep in mind that a neutral-toned trenchcoat will work with practically everything. That is an investment that will be worth it immediately. Buy it from a good luxury brand and it will last you a very long time.
A final word
Jackets are wonderful garments that can be molded to fit your bill. They do have certain rules to consider before we go layering up but once you get the hang of it, you will be using jackets in your outfits seamlessly.
The jackets sold by luxury brands in India are worth every penny due to the high quality they avail you. Shop all of these diverse brands on Iconic India to your heart’s content and discover the magic behind knowing the technicalities of layering or even buying a jacket using this article as a guide.