The Givenchy spring/summer 2019 ready-to-wear catwalk juxtaposed a black tuxedo with a pair of cargo pants. Nonchalantly combining the rough with the smooth is my kind of styling. Designer Claire Waight Keller’s muse for the collection was the 20th-century writer, photographer and traveller Annemarie Schwarzenbach, who favoured androgynous clothes. I’ve long been a fan of menswear-inspired dressing – or just plain menswear in my teenage post-punk years. A blend of feminine and masculine items – a silk blouse and khakis, say – is a surefire way to achieve timeless style and functionality. Adding structure to sporty trousers or cargo pants imparts a sense of casual, powerful glamour and I find the best way to achieve it is with a sharply tailored blazer.
Finding a new power blazer is easier than ever this season as there is an increasing number of brands around that specialise in women’s tailoring. Gabriela Hearst’s striking trouser suits come in a range of cool styles and colours – such as the Angela pale-blue wool-blend blazer (£1,295), which also comes in a raspberry-pink wool-, silk- and linen-blend (£1,305). Blazé Milano, the brainchild of a trio of Italian fashion editors, focuses specifically on beautifully tailored jackets, each featuring the brand’s trademark “smiley pocket”; the Royal Delight double-breasted crepe blazer is £1,228. And on a practical level, I’m keen to take Paul Smith’s crease-resistant, navy, one-button wool blazer, A Suit To Travel (£495), for a spin around the block.
“I wore my grandfather’s blazers and coats when I was young and still do now,” says fellow menswear fanatic Margherita Cardelli of Giuliva Heritage Collection, which launched in 2017. The label, founded by Cardelli and men’s tailor Gerardo Cavaliere, creates “feminine interpretations of classic menswear silhouettes”, which are handmade in Naples. Good examples are the Karen single-breasted linen blazer (£1,190) or one of the bold striped wool Stella designs (from £1,526). “When I met Gerardo, I tried his double-breasted topcoat and never gave it back to him,” Cardelli says of her now-husband and business partner. “He then made me a made-to-measure suit that I fell in love with and I realised there was a gap in the market.”
This season I’ll be circumnavigating the 1980s-inspired shoulder pads on offer and opting for a more classic silhouette to go with my cargo pants – for me, the proportions have to be just right. And as Cardelli points out, “Blazers are having a moment right now but they are also a staple piece to have to hand at all times.”