For those of us not blessed with palm-tree lined boulevards, rollerbladers and afternoon Mai Tai’s, the climate does dictate a certain amount of cover. If you haven't worked out what we are getting at, we’re talking about jackets.
Summer jackets, winter jackets, light jackets, dark jackets. In short, jackets for women, much like our male counterparts, are about as essential to any outfit as a good pair of shoes. A few well-done coats and jackets in your wardrobe, offer much more than just protection from a cool breeze. They're the finishing touch bringing together an entire look, often acting as an anchor for a well-done outfit.
Do as a French woman does.
Breaking no stereotypes at all we will reference the French. Their ability to pull off an effortlessly put together style and the origins of the ‘la garçon‘ look are big contributing factors to the jacket’s popularity. Some of our favourite icons, have typified this look by the very way their jackets were worn. An absurd statement, that on closer inspection, rings very true. Yves Saint Laurent was a pivotal character for designer jackets. Taking what was otherwise identified as masculine, the peacoat, a safari jacket and that tailored jacket, ‘the smoking’, into what would later become the very essence of sex appeal. This changed the opinion of French women, especially the idea of chic was no longer so girly.
Ladies jackets changed from that point onwards, their prior history in womenswear, although impressive, was restrained to formality. A skirt suit was worn with wafer thin waists from the ‘40s through to the ‘50s. The ‘60s brought a wave of modern tailoring from Cristóbal Balenciaga, who's cropped and cocoon coats and jackets were made popular worn over couture dresses. It was not until the late ‘60s and the turning point of the ‘70s, that Mr Laurent changed the destiny of how women wore a jacket. Coco Chanel's famous little jacket only broke its constraints with Lagerfeld's touch, finding itself alongside denim hot-pants at the peak of the 1980s. The early icons quickly taught their immediate population a new way to dress. Loulou de la Falaise wore silk jackets with no pants, or cropped jackets with billowing silk pants. Helmut Newton's iconic images of YSL’s smoking suits projected a new kind of model, the fame of the smoking suit was sealed. Bianca Jagger brought the white jacket to the American audience with her infamous wedding suit and Jane Birkin, yet again, taught us that a denim jacket needs nothing underneath. A little later on, Ines de Le Fressange, Patti Smith and most recently Caroline de Maigret wore the jacket completely a la garçon, a phenomenon that solidified the 'how to wear it' for most of us.
The ‘How to’ for tomorrow.
The future appears just as bright as the past when it comes to the jacket. In fact, even its iconic lineage has been continued with Jane Birkin's daughters, Lou Douillin and Charlotte Gainsborough, poster children for the power of a good tailored jacket! Burberry, best known for its wish-list inducing aviator jacket, balances their weight by throwing them over über-feminine lace, flowing silk, or patterned skirts and dresses. Gucci in a similar manner, have created perfect bomber jackets in buttery leathers worn with perm-a-pleat full skirts. Also worn with feminine contrast are the Gucci jackets that are tiny, fitted and decidedly ‘70s, both types making street-style waves. All seem to be made specifically to balance out the wider proportions seen in skirts, pants and bell-bottom jeans.
The go-to wardrobe solution for all holidays, except maybe Bora Bora, is Moncler. A light Moncler jacket folds into a suitcase just as well as it folds out. A Moscow-ready winter jacket or the St Moritz-appropriate ski version, Moncler's status for transatlantic friendly coats and jackets never diminishes. The basis for all jackets, of course, is in the proportions, an ever-changing element from collection to collection. The oversized bomber jacket has been replaced by a tiny bomber jacket, often decorated with elaborate details. Tailored jackets have grown in size to accommodate for pyjama-style pants and high-waisted jeans. A bouclé jacket or that of the classic tweed has remained consistently boxy, which keeps it super simple to pair with a pair of slim-fit pants. What we could see back on the horizon again, is a longer length equestrian style jacket, with its pinched-in waist and neat lapels, restrained formality might just make a full circle.