How to dress like a grown up with Shane Watson

How to dress like a grown up with Shane Watson: Make your jacket the cream of the crop

  • Shane Watson says that fashion likes to get ahead of itself and Autumn is coming
  • UK-based fashion editor says the jacket is smart but not stiff, and easy to wear
  • Jackets serve a different purpose – they are cropped to the waist and feminine 

So, is it too early… to talk about a brand new wool jacket? I know it’s late summer, there are still holidays for some to be had, and yet, I’ve got jackets on my mind. 

This one is cropped, collarless, with or without fastenings, and it was front and centre on the autumn couture catwalks (in several incarnations at Dior). It has all the hallmarks of the next thing you are going to want in your wardrobe and it’s in the shops now. I’ve bought one already. 

What can I tell you? Fashion likes to get ahead of itself. If it’s a good idea, we don’t want to waste any time. And this jacket is the best sort of idea: smart but not stiff, easy to wear (it works with dresses as well as trousers) and because it’s not like the masculine jackets we’re used to it has extra versatility and fresh appeal. 

You can keep wearing your blazer, of course, but this jacket serves a different purpose as it’s cropped to the waist and more feminine. It’s a non-jacket jacket — no pockets, no lapels, no buttons (none that you’ll do up… this jacket is made to be worn open) and it goes with everything. What’s not to love? 

Shane Watson says that fashion likes to get ahead of itself and Autumn is coming. The UK-based fashion editor says the jacket is smart but not stiff, and easy to wear. Pictured: Drew Barrymore

And there is something else at work here called Hungry for Autumn in Summer. Let’s be honest, it’s far easier to look put-together in autumn: the structure, the fabrics, the colours are all just better for shaping, containing and sharpening you up. 

So it gets to about now and we start to miss our armour. There’s always a point midAugust when a glimpse of black opaque tights, or heathery tweed lights up my shopping synapses.

All this goes some way to explaining why, when at the shops recently on one of the hottest days of the year looking for a useful linen T-shirt, I ended up buying a navy, cropped, wool jacket with red military details and gobstopper silver buttons (£350, meandem.com). 

The Sergeant Pepper-esqueness of this one is not for everyone, although it’s what I like most about it. (There’s a permanent lowlevel Beatles/Rolling Stones nostalgia at work in fashion, and if you don’t overdo it, a hint is glamorising.) 


These jackets pictured on Alia Shawkat (left) and Hailey Bieber (right) are cropped to the waist and look more feminine than a traditional blazer 

For those not feeling that, it comes in black. And in due course you’ll be able to pick your colour and get it in flecked wool or fluffy mohair. 

The proportions of the jacket are all important. You don’t want it to be too short like a bolero — grazing the hip bone is about right. You want a gap in front but not so much that you can’t pull the two sides together easily. 

It should be a neat fit with well-defined shoulders; too roomy and square in the body and it looks mumsy. 

Come autumn, your little crop jacket (LCJ) will look great with a sweeping midi skirt, maybe with a fringed hem like the one at Dior (the crop jacket is fringed, too). 

JACKETS: THE 2022 RULES 

  • Wear with wide trousers 
  • Pair with a sweeping midi skirt 
  • Go for punchy buttons 
  • Make sure the fit is neat not boxy 

It’s been ages since I wore a jacket and skirt — the last time was the 1980s and the skirt was a mini — but this new jacket may change that. 

There’s a zip-up jacket in lightweight navy tweed and a draped jersey skirt, again at Me+Em now (£350 and £150), that when worn together with a biscuit-coloured silk shirt look smart but also relaxed and sexy in a grown-up way. 

I predict this new jacket will usher in an autumn of easy semi-matching jacket and skirt combos, and these ‘skirt suits’ will be catnip to working women. Just add a shirt, a polo-neck, ruffle blouse or a round-neck top. 

If you don’t want to wear a skirt, a jacket is perfect with higher-waisted, wider-legged trousers, and could make instant sense of them if you are not yet convinced. Bingo! 

Shops will be stuffed with LCJs soon but M&S already has a cotton tweed jacket with fringed edges in cream and navy (£65 marksandspencer.com) which has useful written all over it, and Mango does a four-pocket style in black or red (£59.99 mango. com) also with fringed trims and those all-important shiny buttons. Can’t wait.

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