In my series “Lovely Things”, I look at the beautiful objects I own and explore the stories behind them. Today: my two statement jackets and a fashion evolution.
There are certain lifestyle milestones every woman should reach. Identifying the perfect shade of lipstick to match your complexion and colouring. Finding a hairdresser whom you like and trust (and who, in my case, doesn’t take one look at my hair and start crying). Putting together the perfect capsule wardrobe that gives you an outfit for every occasion without needing 5 cupboards or a small fortune.
At age 41, I am proud to say that I have achieved all of these. But I’m still evolving. And no other items in my wardrobe symbolise this forwards progress more than my two “statement” jackets.
Jacket 1, a reversible black/beige chinois number, was bought from Camden market in London on my 20th birthday. Never having been one for birthday parties or making a big deal out of completing an extra circuit around the sun – my birthdays when I lived in London were spent out walking. I’d take my camera and explore some part of the city I had no idea about before heading off to one of the city markets to browse and buy myself a treat.
Even though this jacket drowned me at the time (I was a far-too-skinny UK size 6), I fell in love with it right away and it came home with me. Since then, it has moved with me from London to Vienna and from flat to flat here. It has never been worn.
Occasionally, I’ll try it on for fun or play with the idea of getting it modified…but then decide against it. It doesn’t quite feel right yet – like the jacket is wearing me and not the other way around. But taking it to the secondhand shop to free up wardrobe space is out of the question. I can feel that the day will come when I put it on and think “YES! Now is the time”.
The patchwork eyecatcher
Jacket 2 gives me every reason to believe that this day will come. Jacket 2 is a knee-length autumn jacket in a blue “patchwork” design, bought from the online catalogue Bon Prix about 6 years ago.
Generally, I am not given to such unusual, statement pieces – I prefer to keep my look classic with block colours and unfussy designs. Yet, at age 33 and embarking on a new life in self-employment, I suddenly felt like a change. Why not give this a go? I no longer had anyone to impress (or avoid offending) in an office. I could just buy for me.
Jacket 2 has gone down a storm. Not just with The Other Half and my friends (who say how much they like it every time they see me), but also with complete strangers. Recently, a museum attendant actually ran after me to ask where I had got it from. I’m not sure whether he wanted one for himself (probably not), but he was determined to pay me the compliment!
What’s more, Jacket 2 makes me look smart even when I am just running an errand for five minutes without any makeup on, wearing leggings and ankle boots. It’s fancy enough to elevate an outfit from mundane to presentable.
Never change a winning team
In fact, Jacket 2 has been such a boost to my style and self-confidence that when the first one started to look tatty, I went out and bought the same one to replace it. Never change a winning team, as the saying goes.
A piece I would have been completely intimidated by just 10 years ago is now a core part of my style. I’m sure that my 20-year old chinois jacket will be the same. These things just need time.
Photo: Detail from my two lovely jackets (Katharine Eyre © 2023)