Lean Jackets Keep Feminine Look

It’s a shapely season in jackets. Whether skimming hip or thigh, the newest look is lean and body-conscious rather than body-constricting.

“It’s not hard-edged but very feminine,” says New York designer Dana Buchman.

In rich hues from coffee to mustard, tweeds, menswear prints and bold brights with eye-catching accents, fall’s crop of jackets will be an essential element in your work and weekend looks.

“(They) set the style,” says Linda Allard, designer for the Ellen Tracy line. “(They’re) the pivotal option in your wardrobe.”

How you wear it

Here are eight ways to wear a jacket well:

Offset wide hips with shoulder defining jackets.

“(Soft) shoulder pads will balance and minimize the hip and make shoulders look square, which women love, no matter the size,” says Barbara Jean Seymour, a Los Angeles-based image consultant.

Black, brown and navy are still the best basics, but for a power surge, try red.

“It’s terrific for all complexions,” says Linda Allard.

Beyond the staples, solids get updated for the color crowd in heathered tones such as lilac-gray or dusty rose.

Too timid for all-over “faux animaux” hides such as leopard, ocelot and zebra? Limit the prints to collar, cuffs and buttons.

In fashion partners to the jacket, lean is the password, particularly in pants. Skirts are either narrow or bias-flared in a range of lengths including the trendiest knee skimmer.

Feel free to play with the proportions of short jacket/ long skirts or vice versa.

To elongate a silhouette, stick with a solid color top to bottom. Best bet: a dark, buttoned-up, shaped jacket with a pencil skirt.

In accessories, a midwidth belt and handbag are important, especially in a textured leather look such as “moc croc.” Jewelry is minimal.

Ladylike pumps are currently the most proper way to anchor jacket and skirt or sheath dress, but fresh choices for jackets and pants are spectator flats.

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