Privilege Blog

The Stretch And Nubble Of Business Casual Jackets

If you work in a business casual environment, or just want to polish up your style ’round town, I believe two types of jackets work best. Both notable for good looks and comfort. On one hand, we have the knit or stretch wool/cotton blazer. On the other, those boxy and nubbly croppers first promulgated by Mme. Chanel. One can even interpret this latter category broadly, and include a structured cardigan.

Here are a few of the knit/stretch sort. For the business casual environment, I particularly like these in a boiled wool rather than gabardine. Sort of like bringing one’s child’s teddy bear to the office; engendering feelings of fuzziness that can only improve inter-divisional communication. For about town, James Perse and Alexander Wang perhaps invented, but certainly dominate, sweatshirt fabric gone fancy. To good end.


And here, some of our more boxy friends. The Italians do this look quite well, in a double-faced jersey sort of way. St. John Knits often offers a good selection – this year they appear to have Gone A-Wandering In The Land Of Big Lapels, so I cannot endorse. Prices below range from $70 for the J. Crew tweed to stratosphere for Mr. De la Renta’s handknit cashmere cardigan.


One might also  argue here for the British hacking jacket look, done best to insouciant advantage by the people at Smythe (worn to great advantage by materfamilias), or the late great Alexander McQueen, in his schoolboy blazer series. And if one argued this way, I might have to bend my head in agreement, murmuring only that Sturdy Gals do not like to have their shoulders bound. One cannot predict when one might be called upon for heavy lifting.

A trailing thought, perhaps just as useful home as the office.  Often those who crave comfort are not succumbing to laziness, but rather preparing for or recovering from hard work.

As always, with Polyvores, click them to see more item detail. I could use the Polyvore tool to list items and prices below the collage, but their format is so ugly I just can’t do it. Preference for beauty over price knowledge may explain a good deal of the family fortune fading I have mentioned.

16 Responses

  1. So far, looks like I’m the first to comment — thanks so much for the generous nod in my direction. I shall stand back, open the doors, and wait for the hordes to come by . . . I love the top set of jackets you’ve curated here. Being short-waisted and NOT tall and slim, I have to be very careful about the second style, generally eschewing it completely altho’ I have one or two cardigans this shape that I love enough to tweak and tweak, crossing my fingers for success.
    Have a lovely day, m’dear!

  2. I am a jacket/outerwear hound!! My new favorite are the Veronica Beards with the interchangeable liners!

  3. I’m with Materfamilias – being short-waisted and neither tall nor slim, cropped anything looks pretty awful on me. I DO like the grey blazer on the model in the first set, though. Quite nice.

  4. Just got to my office and wanted to correct an ill-chosen word that kept bothering me through my commute. Neither your readers nor mine should be designated as “hordes”; I merely meant to recognize, in advance, the power of your influence . . . please forgive, any whom I may have offended. . . ;-)

  5. I love all of your choices Lisa. The cropped as well as a belted longer jacket.

    I always went to St Johns and Just gave away several with the padded shoulder. (Way too expensive to have altered!)

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  6. “Often those who crave comfort are not succumbing to laziness, but rather preparing for or recovering from hard work.”

    What a gem! Thank you!

    May I be careful to distinguish the context of my own craving for comfort.

  7. I am nodding in agreement while wearing my boiled wool jacket in the office at this very moment.

    I really love all of your choices!

    The boxy is hard for a curvy hourglass like me to wear, but I do it anyway. :)

    Stay warm – it is freezing here (for us wusses!)

  8. I’ve almost always had a boiled wool jacket in my closet. Right now I have a cropped light pink and a brown blazery jacket.

    The collarless nature of the cropped jacket means it shows off any scarves I’ve received for Christmas.

  9. I’ve tried to wear both but the schoolboy lapeled blazer looks too mannish on me and the box too boxy even if knit. (I love them on others.) I find a soft wool with some drape and a cut that buttons high enough to not need a blouse is best. Or, twinset. Do not snicker. I look for other than the classic twinset. (I am tall and large, not plus but at the top of the standard range.)

  10. When I started working in the law in 94 is was mandatory to wear a suit but once the Revolution came in 1998, we wore what we felt like. I haven’t worn or owned a jacket in years, cept for a boxy Malene Birger one…maybe I’ll think about revisiting the issue x

  11. I do so love the Chanel boxy jacket but its square proportions are not kind to a long waisted curvy petite plus as myself. The length, however, does work for this shape and I have discovered that with some tweaking, it is my “go-to” jacket with or without various lapel styles (or devoid of any) and in just as many fabric permutations. I say when you find The One, make it work for you!

  12. Like the selections here. The Chanel style works for me for casual but I really like the jackets too. I seem to be most attracted to the most expensive one; go figure.

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