For decades, the blazer has been synonymous with workwear, from the power-shoulder look of the ‘80s to the oversized, menswear-inspired silhouettes of the last few years. But having spent time away from the office as a result of the pandemic, the work staple has undergone a transformation of sorts. At least that’s the memo coming from Fashion Month’s fall 2021 and spring 2022 runways. From deep, plunging necklines and no-shirt suits, the blazer has become unabashedly risqué and NSFW.
Take, for example, Mugler’s fall 2021 collection that offered a taupe blazer cut to expose the midriff and back. As if that wasn’t enough, the brand paired it with a sheer mini skirt. Then there was the Gucci 100th anniversary show in May, which featured blazers with Gucci and Balenciaga logos emblazoned over them, as well as jackets with feathered cuffs, sequins, and plunging necklines. For the fall 2021 lineup, New York Fashion Week’s most buzzy designer Peter Do ushered in the new era of The Blazer with deep-V necklines and dramatic, feather brooches that seemed more suited for a cocktail party than the conference room, while the spring 2022 collection ditched the buttoned blazer for an open, shirtless option. Fendi’s spring 2022 lineup also got rid of the button-down shirt in favor of a sheer bralette. Most recently, The Row’s pre-fall 2022 collection suggested their customers wear the blazer backward. (To be fair, I’d also look for additional ways to wear a $1,000 blazer, if given the chance).
What’s inspiring this style makeover?
Like employers, designers have had to get flexible with norms that were in place before the pandemic took hold. Gone are the days of strict 9-to-5 jobs — and, with them, conservative office dress codes. Instead, people are looking for wardrobes that can be worn anywhere from their at-home desk and the occasional in-person office day to the nearby park outing, dinner with friends, or a night out. Still, while recent office dress codes might be welcoming of feathers or logos, it’s hard to believe that the corporate world would ever embrace the riskier workwear styles. The question then becomes: Where will you wear these new blazers?
Designers offered some tips. LaPointe’s spring 2022 collection was shown in New York City at a makeshift store-front-turned-rave venue, complete with neon lights and a DJ set. The party scene included trousers with a feather trim and harnesses worn over neon blazers. Gucci’s fall 2021 release was accompanied by a video that showed blazer-clad outfits on the runway hidden inside a club. Meanwhile, Peter Do’s NYFW debut suggested that blazers are best worn by a seaside setting.
As the future remains unknown, it’s nice to know a familiar friend — the blazer — will be there, even if it looks a little different. But after 18 months in a pandemic, don’t we all?
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