Fashion: The Style Police: A suit that suits

Fashion has called time on tailored jackets. So what is a working woman to do now? James Sherwood to the rescue

LAST SEASON, Style Police pondered the death of the tailored jacket. We came to the conclusion that the jacket was to working women what Margaret Thatcher is to Tories: no longer supremely powerful or significant but still a damned sight more effective than the mediocrities trying to take her place. But for autumn/winter, the jacket is as redundant as ice cream in a blizzard.

Women's reluctance to lose the jacket has thrown the proportions of fashion completely. With a maxi skirt, the sharp-shouldered, single-breasted jacket looks too Forties retro. With the knife pleated skirt it looks like the Eurostar stewardess uniform. Even with the on-the-knee pencil skirt, a tailored jacket detracts from the sexiness of the length. Try it with herringbone slouch pants and tailored tweed jackets and the look is lesbian Oxford don.

The writing was scrawled on the wall when Karl Lagerfeld reinvented the Chanel suit for autumn/winter. OK, so we know he's made a career out of reinventing the Chanel suit, but be patient. In black boucle wool with Chanel's signature white piped detail, the skirt fell to ankle length and the jacket shrank to a crop cardigan proportion with no discernible buttons and very little structure. It's a hybrid of the cardigan and coat. Meanwhile Prada have taken the jacket to knee length in bright red wool with a Peter Pan collar, and just about every Stateside designer is streamlining sportswear parkas and puffas into work wear. We're even seeing the kimono- cut jacket by Armani, tied at the waist with no collars, cuffs or buttons.

Working women have learnt their lessons from last summer's flesh fest. It was all spaghetti straps, crop cardis and short-sleeve tees. Wear all the above with a cardigan and you'll be mistaken for a temp. Put a serious jacket over pretty little slips and you look as if you've forgotten to put your skirt on. The designers have had to address the middle ground: professional without looking granite-tough, feminine without looking Lolita.

Looking at the shows for spring/summer 99, you'd find it easier to spot a Yeti than a tailored jacket as we know it. The shape may remain, but the stuffing has been totally knocked-out of the button-front jacket.

So where does this leave the working woman? There is an undeniable dynamism and dash to a zip-front jacket. There's a confidence in a woman who can wear the kimono-cut wrap jacket and still command a meeting. The Eighties saw the end of the skirt or pant two-piece built like a suit of armour. But don't stand in front of your walk-in wardrobe and weep. Instead, take half an hour out to look at Emporio Armani and the maestro will tell you how to finesse this frightening shift. There is always one designer who can decode the often confusing messages on the catwalk. Armani is the king of soft tailoring. Use him as your guideline. No buttons, no sharp collars and no hard shoulders. Abide by those rules and it's an open season.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Stock Broker / Trainee Broker / Closer - OTE £250,000

    £30000 - £250000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Stock Broker/ Trainee FX, Stoc...

    Guru Careers: Software Developer / Web Developer (PHP / MYSQL)

    £30 - 40k + Benefits & Bonus: Guru Careers: A Software / Web Developer (PHP / ...

    Recruitment Genius: ICT Operations Manager

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company is the single governing and regul...

    Recruitment Genius: Purchasing Assistant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This high quality thread manufa...

    Day In a Page

    A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

    Britain's Atlantis

    Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
    The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

    The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

    David Starkey's assessment
    Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

    'An enormous privilege and adventure'

    Oliver Sacks writing about his life
    'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

    'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

    The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
    Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

    Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

    Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
    Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

    Orthorexia nervosa

    How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
    Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

    Lady Chatterley’s Lover

    Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
    Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

    Set a pest to catch a pest

    Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
    Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

    The dark side of Mexico

    A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
    Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

    Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

    Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
    A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

    A nap a day could save your life

    A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
    If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

    If men are so obsessed by sex...

    ...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

    Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
    The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

    Rolling in the deep

    The bathing machine is back but with a difference
    Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

    Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

    Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935