By Huma Rashid
Blazers will always be a tried and true business casual favorite. They instantly dress up any outfit, even if it’s just a pair of jeans and a solid tee, and can be worn over a skirt and top for a pretty skirt-suit outfit, or thrown on over a dress.
Usually, however, most of us stick with blazers in standard ‘work’ colors: black, navy, grey, and sometimes brown or other khaki shades. There’s nothing wrong with blazers that come in these colors, of course. But these neutral shades are not the only options available. What about colored blazers?
I was inspired to try to put together an outfit featuring a blazer in a bold rainbow color when I noticed that candy-colored jeans are currently in style. Denim in bright red, yellow, turquoise and other great shades is showing up anywhere, and there’s no reason that we can’t show a similar affinity for color in our choice of blazers.
Borrowing from what I remembered of basic color therapy, I decided to search around for an orange blazer that really popped. Orange is a warm, happy, inviting color, and a great choice to brighten up the current season, with its overcast skies and frigid temperatures.
Here’s what I came up with:
Double Knit Blazer in Orange [Forever 21] ………. $27.80
Sparkle Shell in Oatmeal [Lord & Taylor] ………. $19.99
Jessica Simpson Sunshine Bootcut Sapphire Challenger Medium Wash Jeans [Macy's] ………. $23.99
Gabriella Rocha Xandy Pumps in Khaki [6pm.com] ………. $23.60
I found a great double-knit blazer in a deep, happy orange that won’t burn your retinas at Forever 21, which is a great place for basics and also trendy finds that won’t last longer than a year anyway.
I paired the blazer with an oatmeal colored shell with just a little bit of sparkle. Shells are wonderful to pair with blazers or cardigans, and can add a touch of femininity (even sparkle!) to a business casual outfit. The neutral color is great with the bright blazer. I didn’t want to go for a printed top that incorporated orange because it felt like it would be too busy or too matchy-matchy. The orange blazer is already quite a statement, and I didn’t want to distract from it. In cases like this, neutral tops are the absolute best choice: they’re pretty and yet they don’t take focus away from or clash with the other articles of clothing you’re using to put an ensemble together.
Bootcut jeans are flattering for most body types, and I picked a medium wash here, although a nice dark wash would work perfectly as well. Offices differ on jeans: some allow them if they’re dark (black or a navy-colored dark wash), and some have a blanket ban on denim. If jeans aren’t appropriate for the place where you work, swap them out for slacks instead, or even a skirt.
Finally, I went with these dark brown shoes with the interesting grommet details and matching buckle. Brown works much better with this outfit than black would, and heels really kick jeans up a notch. Besides, bootcut jeans look great with heels. Save your chucks for the straight-legs and be sure to rock heels with bootcut or skinnies – whenever you can manage, that is. I’m certainly not recommending that you run to the post office or walk the dog in a pair of skyscraper heels.
I didn’t include jewelry in this outfit, mostly due to the fact that I made it almost $5 under budget and didn’t want to traumatize you with $4 necklaces (although you can generally find really cute necklaces for a song on sites like Etsy, where users offer up a veritable treasure trove of hand-crafted goods). However, I’d definitely wear a necklace with this outfit, if I were to walk out the door in it. The shell creates a nice little pocket of space at the neck that just begs for baubles. I might pick something like a cute brass pendant necklace, or a warm amber beaded necklace. Or I might add a bold piece like a turquoise pendant (which would work with the blue jeans).
And there we have it: a business casual outfit incorporating a bright, colored blazer, all for under $100.