Thursday, April 5, 2012

Are you a Blazer Girl or a Cardigan Girl? (Theory Risea Jacket Review)


I have always liked blazers. Before getting into shopping at J.Crew a few years ago, I don't think I owned a single cardigan.

It seems a little strange now, but not so long ago,  I associated cardigans with my grandfather.  I had a few crewneck and v-neck pullovers and some turtlenecks, but no cardis.  I wasn't into layered look and I didn't wear many dresses.

What I did own in multiples were jackets and blazers: suiting, tweed, linen, corduroy, velvet, wool and cotton.  So after I started shopping at J.Crew, I bought the coveted Lexington and Bella blazers, several schoolboys, Ecole, Eden and Hacking, but none of them became my favorites. I do like the look and cut of the Lexington but I find very limited opportunities to wear it, because it is so heavy.


I also bought the navy and black tipped versions but I sold them on JCA and only left the pink. To me, this more of a piece of outerwear, so I can only wear it few times a year in the spring and fall, when the weather is around 60 F and not raining.


My favorite blazers are from Theory. I was obsessed with Theory back when they came up with Max C trousers (I own several pairs in different colors, they are fantastic and worth every penny). You have seen this pinstriped, wool blazer on me, it is probably about 10 years old:


I also have a summer version in cream that I never wear, not because there is anything wrong with it, but because I don't find myself reaching for blazers in the humid hot New Jersey summers.

Surprisingly, I did not have a black boyfriend blazer in my collection except for this J.Crew drapey wool Mackenzie jacket. I like it because it is very unstructured and drapes well. You can view it on Polyvore.  But the fit is mediocre on me.



I used to love a classic Evan Picone black skirt suit that I bought in the 90s and that has been to many interviews with me. I still have it but I find it too big now. It is size 8 and I didn't lost weight, if anything, it is the opposite, but suiting is cut a differently now and my suit seems dowdy. This is one of the reasons I don't believe in timeless pieces of wardrobe.  At the time when I bought the suit it was the most classic I could find, but the cut and sensibility always changes,  and even the recycled styles are never exactly the same as originals. So I never think of my clothes as 'investments', they are definitely an 'expense' and I know that I will get bored with them sooner or later.

Anyway, this Theory blazer fills the hole in my blazer wardrobe and the fit is excellent.

Size 6
My capris were in the laundry, so I rolled up my TR jeans to give you an idea how I would style it. It also looks cute over a shorter dress and of course it could go to an interview with my Max C trousers in the same fabric.

looks good open
Tailor fabric has very smooth hand that will not attract liny (my peeve with black wool blazers) and it is lightweight, suitable to at least 3 season wear. It is 96% wool and 5% Lycra and the lining is 94% Polyester and 6% spandex but it feels good against the skin. It is made in USA, which is a rarity now.

The blazer manages to be very structured without feeling constricting. It has shoulder pads and slightly wider shoulders because it is a boyfriend type blazer and meant to look 'borrowed from the boys'.  I ordered a 6 because I compared the measurement to the Gabe blazer I own (which is size 10) and they seemed to be the same.

Well, it is a tight fit and I think I would prefer an 8 if I wanted to wear it mostly closed, but I think a 6 looks better open and fits perfectly everywhere except for my chest where it is pulling a little bit. It does have some stretch and it actually felt better after I had it on for a few minutes.

I mostly thought of wearing it open  with a tank or scoopneck top. It also looks good with a thin silk/cotton button down like my liberty shirt.  


trying to show detail but it is very hard to photograph
Unfortunately I don't have enough light to show the details, I could not take it to work to do bathroom shots, since I haven't yet decided if I am keeping it.

Looks good buttoned up but it is a close fit


Overall, I think it is an excellent value and great cut and exactly what I had in mind. I wish I had ordered an 8 as well, to compare, because it is now sold out. I may go check if they have it in the store. But I think and 8 may be too wide in the shoulders and everywhere so I am not sure if it is worth to get that  for an extra room in the chest.

That's all folks!

***

I have not received the Marc by Marc Jacobs clutch since it is backordered but I will have a review of Sam Edelman wedges, which you can see in above pictures and White House Black Market silk tie neck blouse (both are the winners).

What do you think about this blazer? 
Is it worth the money? (about $230 with the discount)

Are you a blazer girl or a cardigan girl?
I am now both. Actually, I prefer the look of blazers, but find cardigans more practical. Please share, it woudl be no fun without you!!!

    


25 comments:

  1. I'm a blazer girl and a cardi girl. J.Crew does a great job with herringbone wool blazers like the Bella and Fiona. I have difficulty staying warm and often layer a blazer over a cardi over a cashmere or merino crewneck!

    And you can't go wrong with a classic navy blazer!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow Hexicon, I could never wear a blazer OVER a cardigan, I usually take the blazers off around 10 o'clock.
      You are right about the navy blazers, my fav around this time is J.Crew linen Hacking blazer, I just wore it today and it was perfect.

      Delete
  2. Hmm, neither really, coats in winter, puffa for the gym - I'm wearing it today on my blog, I think that's why i love spring summer, I like just going out in my 'outfit!'

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Tabitha, you crack me up with "just going in my outfit", lol. But I would have thought your weather is perfect for blazers, most time never really too hot or too cold, isn't it the case?

      Delete
  3. I love the blazer! Personally i like both.. They are perfect for different looks. I love how blazers make outfits look super sharp. I love throwing a blazer on for work and my outfits are instantly professional. I wear more cardigans in the summer bc it's so hot outside, but cold in my office.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's exactly what I love about the blazers, their trans formative powers!

      Delete
  4. I am a very fine wool or cotton cardigan girl at heart, preferably a vneck version that hits middle of my hip...Since my promotion at work, I have bought more blazers as I think they look more "polished" for presentations. however, I am very busty and i find it really hard to find blazers that fit well - I love theory as well and have 2 or 3 theory blazers. what I have found from JC that works well is the schoolboy in regular (I am petite) and size up 1 size which gives me the proper length for a blazer that is flattering on me and a little room without any boxiness. I am always cold in the office and need a little something, so a cardi is always a nice thing to have. And given that I am busty on top, I find a lovely cardigan skimming the top makes me seem less bulky on top...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are right, most blazers are not cut for fuller on top figure, I don't know why? And it is true that cardigans are more skimming but blazers look more professional. Interesting about sizing of schoolboys, you play the system right, for me schoolboys are usually to shrunken and boxy...

      Delete
  5. When I want a real girly look, I wear a cardi with pearls and when I prefer a more polished look, I love jeans and a blazer. I think a blazer can dress up even the most faded jeans and make a mom feel really put together. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are right, cardis are more feminine but blazers add instant polish, I love blazers with jeans the best!

      Delete
  6. I'm a blazer girl who is forced to be more of a cardigan girl because I now live in the deep South and it is HOT down here. My favorite blazer is my navy Schoolboy from J.Crew, followed closely by my black wool gabardine suiting jacket. They add instant polish to any outfit and I love them. Your Theory blazers are really sharp - I'll have to take a closer look at them when shopping.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I always thought you'd a blazer girl Whitney! But I thought that because of light winters you can wear blazers as outerwear in the colder months, no?

      Delete
  7. More of a cardigan, but when the weather is the way it is now a jacket because that is all you need.
    ITA about not buying into the "timeless" clothing thing, however basic a suit might be styles change and a 8 or 5 year old jacket can look dated no matter how fine the material might be. Unless it is Chanel

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is the time to wear blazers, I am loving it. You are in NJ also, right?
      Funny, years ago I donated Chanel suit to Goodwill, I was in my twenties and thought it was very old ladyish. Yes, I was very ignorant...

      Delete
  8. Cardigans all the way for me!

    Tasia

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tasia, cardigans suit your style perfectly!

      Delete
  9. I am an everyday cardi girl. Because I can wear them on their own in Spring and Fall, under coats in Winter, and inside for frigid air conditioned places in Summer (why do they do that???). Plus, they come in a zillion colors and patterns, they squish into a bag w/o wrinkling, they are generally not dry clean only, and they are relatively inexpensive.

    BUT, when I worked, blazers were a must -- they just look so much more professional, and at 5'2" 105 pounds, and a high voice, I needed all the help I could get. (One choice comment from a senior partner (who I really loved and was over 60 so a different generation) to a client, right in front of me: She's much smarter than she looks.)

    I really like the Theory on you and from the pics, the 6 looks like a perfect fit. When a jacket or shirt is a close fit for me but looks good, I base my decision on two factors: how does it feel when I do the chest butterfly movement (you know it? shoulders back, arms out, bent at elbows so hand point up, then pull elbows together in front, maintaining arm position), and second, where am I on my weight range (i.e., am I likely to gain weight?).

    As for timelessness, I would definitely agree that it's rare when it comes to business attire. The exceptions, to me, are sweaters, dresses, and shoes/handbags, as long as I remember to go with what flatters and avoid trendiness.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Audrey, that's funny what your partner said... Thanks for the advice, I never knew about the butterfly movement. I tried it and I was OK. Also, I think I am on high end of my weight right now, at least I hope this is high end! I will hit the gym more often starting next week, I will, I will...
      You are right about dresses/shoes/handbags being more timeless, that makes me feel better about the DVF dress, lol.

      Delete
  10. Can I be both? :o)
    I've got a ton of both...I used to wear more cardis but these days I'm gravitating more to the blazer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Of course, I think many of us are both. I used to be all blazers but now I actually wear more cardis. But blazers have a special place in my fashion heart...

      Delete
  11. blazers, and other "little" jackets for me. For instance: day look, black jeans, tee, mandarin-collar black gabardine jacket (no lapels, so it's not a blazer). Evening: same black jeans, velvet paisley jacket (little collar but still no lapels), satin or cashmere tank. I also have a very distressing "little" leather jacket habit which I'm not trying to break because nobody's perfect.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fred, I love all the looks listed! One of the fashion staples I don;t have is a leather jacket, I wonder if I should get one?

      Delete
  12. That's a lovely little jacket. A black or navy blazer is such a versatile piece. I also had the Lexington in the ivory tipped and found it heavy. I didn't like the vents at the back either so I returned it. I have three Bellas though and I really like them. To me, they are classic pieces but in 10 or 20 years I may not feel the same way. My grandmother did wear her suits for decades and they always looked classic, but I am not my grandmother.

    I like both cardigans and blazers, it just depends on how I feel. If I am wearing pants to work then definitely a blazer but with a skirt or dress I can go either way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks xoxo! Funny that you have three Bellas, for some reason I would've thought that you would not like them... I only have a navy velvet Bella but I never wear it, even if I like it a lot, in theory. I think it feels a little to costumy, probably because of velvet and high collar combination.

      Delete
  13. It's a cardi-party for this girl. I must have over 100. Yikes!

    ReplyDelete