How to dress like a grown up with Shane Watson: Jacket and jeans

How to dress like a grown up with Shane Watson: Jacket and jeans get a reboot thanks to supermodel Kaia Gerber

  • Shane Watson shared advice for embracing the eternal trend of jacket and jeans 
  • British style expert takes inspiration from Kate Moss and Meghan Markle 
  • She explains how to achieve a flattering jacket and jean pairing at any age

Here’s a question: what do Kate Moss, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Cornwall, the editor of French Vogue Emmanuelle Alt, Jennifer Aniston, Princess Diana and Kaia Gerber have in common?

They have all, on many occasions, looked great in a blazer and jeans.

And what this broad church of women — ranging from 73-year-old royalty to an 18-year-old top model — prove, is that a blazer and jeans is not only timeless, but top of the charts of stylish looks that can be pulled off at any age.

You don’t have to be slim, or leggy, or ‘clever’ with colour, or great at layering. You just have to get the right blazer and jeans for the moment.

And with autumn around the corner, this is the time to take a closer look at what those are.

Kaia Gerber during Paris Fashion Week, France, March 2, 2020

Here is Cindy Crawford’s daughter Kaia Gerber in a check, two-button blazer with high, loose-fit jeans, modelling the look to perfection.

BLAZER & JEANS: THE RULES 

Forget overly fitted. Wear your blazer big: 20 per cent swamped is about right.

Make sure the jeans are loose in the leg, ideally high-waisted, but definitely not low-rise.

Keep it simple underneath, a shirt or polo neck.

Wear with trainers, sandals or ankle boots. 

Off duty, model Kaia is a bit of a jeans-and-blazer hero. It’s her go-to smart casual look, and she’s been ahead of the curve on this for a while: she always picks the shruggy-shouldered jacket, whether it’s grey, navy, camel or check, sometimes going for giant, boxy shoulders and adding a white vest and stiletto sandals; sometimes a slimmer fit over a polo neck and ankle boots.

But this particular look — fresh, a bit uptown girl, but also very cool — is bang on the money for now and this autumn. The blazer is on the big side. It’s not drowning her (although drowning is OK, too), but it is roomy, a little wide on the shoulders and it finishes on the thigh rather than the hip.

Everything about the jacket is masculine — the fabric, the fit, the sharp lapels — it could definitely belong to a boyfriend, and that’s exactly how it’s meant to look. The goal is 20 per cent swamped. The jeans are clean and crisp.

The polo neck is the classic blazer-jeans buddy, but what you wear under your blazer depends on the weather and your mood: could be a white T-shirt, a polo neck, a high-necked bow-tied blouse. Then all you need to make the look a fashion bullseye is big shades and trainers or sandals (switching to boots or loafers later in the year). Clever Kaia: she looks smoking hot, grown up and professional all at the same time.

As signature looks go, this is the only one that will take you from brunch to riding on the back of a motorbike to a show, and then out to dinner. And isn’t it great to be able to follow the lead of an 18-year-old with zero risk of dressing outside your age limit?


Rosie Huntington-Whiteley wears an acid washed jean with a checked oversized blazer (left); Jessica Alba wears a pair of nude Mary Jane’s with blue jeans and a boyfriend fit blazer

Kate Moss stays chic as can be as she wears a straight leg blue jean paired with peep toe heels and a black t-shirt and blazer combination

Kaia’s jeans are often from sustainable fashion brand RE/DONE, the blazers are from dizzyingly expensive labels The Row or Saint Laurent. Thankfully we don’t have to copy the brands, just the look. So here goes: Mango does a low, double-breasted blazer in a brown check that’s not dissimilar to Kaia’s (£59.99, mango.com). A double-breasted blazer works as well as single, but generally looks better left open.

And Other Stories has an oversize, two-button linen blazer in beige (£120, stories.com) or there’s Zara’s loose-fitting blazer also in a go-with-everything neutral (£69.99, zara.com). Meanwhile, the White Company does a relaxed double-breasted navy jacket (reduced to £79, thewhitecompany.com) and Reiss has a sharp, navy, double-breasted style (£285, reiss.com).

For a slightly narrower fit, Me + Em has a slim boyfriend blazer in green houndstooth (reduced to £192, meandem.com).


Cindy Crawford rocks an oversized blue-grey checked blazer paired with white loafers and shirt (left); Jennifer Aniston keeps it cool in a cropped sleeve black fitted blazer

My tip, as it’s on special offer, is All Saints’ cashmere blend, double-breasted blazer in camel or charcoal (£129, allsaints.com). It will go with everything.

The jeans to wear are those that fashion-forward women have been wearing for at least a year: high-waisted (or mid-rise), straight cut and loose in the leg. But if you prefer those Celine-esque lean flares, or wide legs, that’s fine too, and they can be indigo, black or white — so long as they’re not ripped or faded and look sharp.

If you’re looking for a jeans tip, Topshop’s Editor design is a big hit with fashion editors now (£39.20, topshop.com). If only everything were this easy.

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