HOW TO DRESS LIKE A GROWN UP Shane Watson
Now’s the time to dig out that old denim jacket
A DENIM jacket is now a summer essential. Mainly thanks to catwalk collections by Balenciaga and Saint Laurent, it is on a par with espadrille wedges, tulip-sleeved blouses, or midi dresses — just 99.9 per cent easier to wear.
That’s the thing about classic, Western- style denim jackets: you know where you are with them. They’re old friends who’ve been around the block with us — and never let us down. Who doesn’t have happy memories of wearing a denim jacket?
Who didn’t want to look like Blondie buttoned up tight in hers circa 1974, or Madonna with collar turned up and pearl choker in the early Eighties? Or — just the other day — Jenna Lyons, the woman behind J. Crew, who always wears hers shrunk tight, with lashings of paste necklaces and a long skirt.
Denim jackets have four big things going for them in summer 2017 — the same as they always have:
1: THERE is a rough chic about a denim jacket that makes it perfect for dressing down something smart, or toughening up a pretty skirt or dress.
It’s a bit like a motorcycle jacket. It adds edge to whatever you’re wearing — only it’s softer, lighter, more versatile, and a lot more forgiving on grown-ups. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t look good in some shade of indigo, but many people look drained up close in black leather.
2: AT THIS time of year it’s the perfect ‘just in case’ jacket to grab. Sling over the back of a chair if it turns out nice.
3: YOU can’t crease or mess up a denim jacket, but you can use it to cover a wet garden chair or roll it up in a bag. I never travel in anything else.
4: IT’S the ultimate wardrobe bridger — you can wear it like you would your oldest jeans or a navy cashmere cardigan. What doesn’t it go with?
So how to find one that will work for summer 2017.
Starting at the sharp end, the hot new style, courtesy of Balenciaga, is oversize, boxy and worn shrugged off the shoulders. That really only works if you want to flash a lot of flesh — so perfect for rihanna and other millennials who look good in crop vests.
There’s also a big trend for embellished jackets — oversize or fitted — embroidered with flowers, snakes, studs and leopard print (all appeared in one go on Gucci’s catwalk).
Meanwhile, Saint Laurent has vintage- style jackets, embroidered on the back with ‘Love’, clouds and stars.
You may have one in your attic which you bought in Kensington Market circa 1974, in which case get it out . . . and give it to your god-daughter.
There’s no reason not to go for embroidery, if it’s the pretty floral sort, but you’re better leaving it to the kids, mainly because it limits your options. That denim jacket you want to sling over your silky wrap dress for the party doesn’t work quite so well if it’s covered in skulls and roses.
There are so many variations on the classic jean jacket: you could go for a modern twist with two-tone denim (£29.99,
mango.com); you might want raw, frayed hems ( Moto, Topshop, £ 46), but there doesn’t seem much point when a classic Western short jacket will take you almost everywhere you need to go.
My favourite, because of the fit and ‘Newton’ wash, is £130 from J. Crew. On the subject of washes, dark indigo is smart, but a mid-wash is fresher.
That said, with a denim jacket you can’t go wrong. Simply shrug it over your shoulders and you’re good to go for summer 2017.
Chic: Reese Witherspoon