With fall finally hitting, I needed a cute blazer to update my wardrobe. At Steven Alan in Tribeca, all I could find was a black United Bamboo jacket with cute metallic buttons. The fit on this was crucial—it was shrunken but still loose and boxy. Unfortunately, it was a little too loose on me, and they were out of smaller sizes. 103 Franklin St., nr. Church St.; 212-343-0692.
Paul Smith Women
Paul Smith had plenty of jackets, but I liked this dark-khaki one the most. The English checked wool reminded me of something my grandfather used to wear. The cut was longer than usual for the brand—great for my tall frame. Paired with my wide-leg trousers, it gave me a Katharine Hepburn look. But the jacket was too fussy for everyday wear and would be more at home in the British countryside than at Lucky Strike lunches. 142 Greene St., nr. W. Houston St.; 646-613-3060.
At Uniqlo, the stock was pretty ho-hum. But I did dig up a supple, corduroy single-breasted blazer. Though the tag was labeled brown, the garment looked like a moody, muted lilac. It fit snugly in the shoulders, avoiding the dreaded football-padding look. I wore it out to eat at Allen & Delancey and was showered with Annie Hall comparisons.546 Broadway, nr. Spring St.; 212-237-8800.
At J. Crew the next morning, I found the “Lexington,” a Balenciaga look-alike that cost a tenth of the price. I dragged one of each color (ivory, gray, and black) into the fitting room. I loved the ivory–it gave me a streamlined silhouette and hit just past my hips. But the yellow piping on the cuffs and collar would clash with most of my clothes. Plus, I felt guilty wearing a blatant knockoff. 10 Columbus Circle, at 59th St.; 212-823-9302.
Yohji Yamamoto had a few deconstructed blazers, but the winner was this five-button jacket with a silk scarf attached to the lapel. Though I had to wrestle with the buttons, the final result was well worth the effort. Hanging open, the jacket was a rebellious take on the traditional prep-school blazer and hit just above my knees. And the wool gabardine would ensure that I’d stay warm all season long. 103 Grand St., at Mercer St.; 212-966-9066.
After a fellow shopper at Zara ruined my sweater with a coffee mishap, I was in no mood to shop. And the blazer selection didn’t help matters. One of the few options here was from “The Wool Collection,” an ill-fitting and itchy jacket. The gray, belted number had red, blue, and orange plaid, which gave the otherwise gloomy aesthetic a bit of personality. But I hated the pleather belt, and the fit was terrible. 101 Fifth Ave., nr. 17th St.; 212-741-0555.
Though I’m not usually a Cavalli fan, I did love his recent spring collection. So I had to try on a leather Just Cavalli jacket at Bloomingdale’s. Sadly, it wasn’t quite as demure as his dresses. The blazer was so stiff I wondered if I’d need a hammer to break it in. Even worse, the cream snakeskin lining had a garish metallic sheen. And the shank button was impossible to undo—I almost had to rip it off. 504 Broadway, nr. Broome St.; 212-729-5900.
Ralph Lauren Black Label
There were a million blazers at the Ralph Lauren flagship store. Most looked like something fresh out of my mom’s closet. But one I did like—which just so happened to be the most expensive one—was this Black Label jacket. Made of lamb’s wool, the chocolate version had amazing, swirling embroidering motif that was ornate, not ostentatious. The combo of wool and tweed would keep me warm on chilly nights, but the price tag was out of my range. 867 Madison Ave., at 72nd St.; 212-606-2100.