Blaze a trail with a blazer dress: A firm favourite of the Duchess of Sussex, they are suddenly all the rage… and they’re more wearable than you think, writes ROSIE GREEN
No, I haven’t forgotten my trousers. This is a blazer dress. And it’s summer’s slicker, sharper and, dare I say it, even chic-er alternative to a maxi.
It’s a style that’s been gathering momentum for a while.
Its origins go back to the 1960s with a story written into fashion lore. It centres on socialite Nan Kempner who was turned away from hip New York restaurant Le Côte Basque for wearing a trouser suit (trousers still being considered too outré for women).
So she removed the bottom half and wore the jacket. And ta-da! The blazer dress was born.
Green sleeveless dress (£53, warehousefashion.com) Perfect for: Dressing up or dressing down; Suits: ‘Rectangular’ body shapes and those who want to show off toned limbs
Yellow suit dress (£159.19, debenhams.com) Perfect for: Grabbing attention at a formal daytime occasion; Suits: Anyone who wants to smooth over a wobbly tummy or arms
Orange boxy blazer dress (£45.99, newlook.com) Perfect for: A no-fuss evening holiday outfit; Suits: Those wanting to show off a great set of tanned pins
In the past few years it’s seen a resurgence — and become an A-lister’s go to. A favourite of the Duchess of Sussex — who has worn it in various styles — young, hip supermodels such as Bella Hadid, and fortysomethings including Reese Witherspoon.
But this season it has reached peak popularity, with styles from high-end designers (Balenciaga’s Hourglass version is an eye-watering £2,050) down to the High Street (Asos’s bright pink, curve-friendly iteration is £50).
But can it be worn by anyone in the real world over the age of 30? As a midlifer whose dresses are invariably long, pretty and floaty, I’ll confess it was initially challenging. Number one, and this is not to be underestimated, it requires leg prep. Tanning, shaving, moisturising. And it’s undeniably attention-grabbing — so there’s no blending into the background here.
Green feathered blazer dress (£239.20, karenmillen.com) Perfect for: An evening wedding — bold and eye catching; Suits: A boyish frame. The feathers create the illusion of fullness
Navy double-breasted blazer dress (£125, coastfashion.com) Perfect for: Bossing it in the boardroom; Suits: Those who want a longer length
White coat meets blazer dress (£169, phase-eight.com) Perfect for: Demure daytime dressing, a la Duchess of Cambridge; Suits: Those who like their blazer dresses more form-fitting
Which, when I think about it, is part of the appeal.
Yes, you need to be happy(ish) with your legs, but then you can choose a style that emphasises your good points and covers up any trouble spots.
Believe me, there are blazer dresses to flatter every figure.
If showing a lot of leg is daunting, you can go for more demure versions that hit nearer the knee. And think about going up one size to gain extra length.
Here’s a plethora of styles to inspire you. Try one for yourself — you won’t regret it
Carry off the look with confidence
- STYLE blazer dresses up or down by adjusting your heel height. Flats work for day, sky scrapers for evening.
- KEEP shoes sharp — think pointy toes, spike heels, gold hardware. Avoid anything girly or boho.
- BE WARY of ankle straps. The wrong ones can be unflattering on the legs.
- HIGH heels lengthen your legs and make them look more toned.
- WEAR your blazer dress into autumn by teaming it with sheer black tights for chic leg coverage.
Ready to bare your legs? It’s all about prep and layering products. Here’s my routine:
- DEFLAKE: Aromatherapy Associates Revive Body Brush, £26.
- BEAT BLEMISHES: Advanced Glycolic Body Scrub, Amanda Harrington, £26
- HYDRATE AND GLOW: Ameliorate Transforming Body Lotion Illuminating Glow Formula, £24.
- HIT OF COLOUR: Perfect Body Ultimate Gradual Tan, Amanda Harrington, £32.
- ADD SHEEN: Egyptian Magic Skin Cream, £29.
- ADD POLISH: St Tropez Instant Tan Body Gloss, £9.95.