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How to dress like an adult with Shane Watson: make your jacket the cream of the crop

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So, is it too early… to talk about a brand new wool coat? I know it’s late summer, there are still holidays for some, and yet I have coats on my mind.

Cropped, collarless, with or without closures, this one has taken center stage on the fall couture runways (in various incarnations at Dior). It has all the features of the next thing you want in your wardrobe and it’s in stores now. I already bought one.

What can I tell you? Fashion likes to lead the way. If it’s a good idea, we don’t want to waste time. And this jacket is the best kind of idea: smart but not stiff, easy to wear (it works with both dresses and pants) and because it’s not like the masculine jackets we’re used to, it has added versatility and fresh appeal.

You can of course continue to wear your blazer, but this jacket has a different purpose: it is shorter to the waist and more feminine. It’s a jacket without a jacket — no pockets, no lapels, no buttons (nothing you put on… this jacket is made to be worn open) and it goes with everything. What’s not to love?

Shane Watson says fashion likes to lead the way and fall is coming. The UK-based fashion editor says the jacket is smart but not stiff and easy to wear. Pictured: Drew Barrymore

And there’s something else going on here called Hungry for Autumn in Summer. Let’s face it, in the fall it’s much easier to look neat: the structure, the fabrics, the colors are all just better for shaping, holding and sharpening you.

So it’s about now and we’re starting to miss our armor. There’s always a moment in mid-August when a glimpse of black opaque tights or melange tweed lights up my shopping synapses.

This all sort of explains why when I was shopping in the shops recently on one of the hottest days of the year for a useful linen T-shirt, I ended up buying a navy blue short wool jacket with red military details and gobstopper silver buttons. (£350,

The Sergeant Pepper-ishness of this one isn’t for everyone, although I do like it the most. (There’s a permanent low Beatles/Rolling Stones nostalgia at work in fashion, and if you don’t overdo it, a hint is glamorous.)

Alia Shawkat in a short jacket

Hailey Bieber looks feminine in a short jacket

These jackets pictured on Alia Shawkat (left) and Hailey Bieber (right) are cropped to the waist and look more feminine than a traditional blazer

For those who don’t feel that, it comes in black. And in due course you can choose your color and get it in mottled wool or fluffy mohair.

The proportions of the jacket are all important. You don’t want it to be too short like a bolero – grazing the hip bone is about right. You want an opening in the front, but not so much that you can’t easily pull the two sides together.

It should be a neat fit with well-defined shoulders; too roomy and square in the body and it looks mummy.

In the fall, your little crop jacket (LCJ) will look great with a wide midi skirt, maybe with a fringed hem like Dior’s (the crop jacket has fringes too).


  • Wear with wide pants
  • Combine with a flowy midi skirt
  • Go for spicy buttons
  • Make sure the fit is neat, not boxy

It’s been a long time since I wore a jacket and skirt – the last time was in the 80’s and the skirt was a mini – but this new jacket may change that.

There’s a zip-up jacket in lightweight navy tweed and a draped jersey skirt, again at Me+Em (£350 and £150), which, paired with a biscuit-colored silk shirt, looks good but also relaxed and sexy in a mature way.

I predict this new jacket will usher in a fall of easy semi-matching jacket and skirt combinations, and these “skirt suits” will be catnip for working women. Just add a shirt, polo neck, ruffle blouse or crew neck top.

If you don’t want to wear a skirt, a jacket is perfect with higher-waisted, wider-leg pants, and you can understand them right away if you’re not convinced yet. Bingo!

Stores will soon be full of LCJs, but M&S ​​already has a fringed cotton tweed jacket in cream and navy (£65 that’s conveniently written all over, and Mango has a four-pocket style in black or red. (£59.99 also with fringes and those all-important shiny buttons. I can not wait.

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