Play with me: why it does not work and why it does?

My recent post on neutrals in my closet made me think: is the wrong color a main culprit when I find it hard to style an item or is there something else?

This Gibson blazer was the first "longer" blazer I bough 2 years ago which is the right direction for me according to Angie. I had to select between black and grey and decided that as I already have one black blazer AND black is not my favorite color I should get grey (that was 2 years ago when black and I were not friends yet).
So here it is 2 years later and edging towards an orphanhood...I just seldom feel fab wearing it and more often than not put it back.
It is knit and this maybe a factor. On one hand it is very comfortable and knit quality is great. On the other hand maybe it is not crisp enough for me?
Another factor is the sleeve length. On one hand it has this "scrunched sleeve" built in and they do not slide down. On the other hand it is hard to wear long sleeve tops under it because sleeves conflict with each other.
...but comfort aside most of these outfits I am not proud of as well. There are 2 of them out of this lot which felt right but the rest were "meh".
So here is the Game:
1. Which outfits  I felt good in?
2. Why it worked in those cases and did not work in the rest? Is this the color hard to style for me or something else?
3. Is there a hope for this blazer for me? Which parameters I need to keep in mind while trying to style it to get it right?

The game is on: anybody is in? :-)

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • DonnaF replied 5 years ago

    I'll bite.  Your strong cheekbones, height, and dramatic features in general suggest to me that you need/want a bit of drama in your look.  The gray (which I love by the way!) is a mid-tone that does provide you with that emotional drama.  Thus, my guess is that you like #6 (color & shiny) and #3 (black & white contrast, esp. with black pants) the best.  I'm short and would have to lose 50 pounds to get your cheekbones and have little drama in my style, so all the other outfits are closer to what I would wear, esp. #4 & 5 which have less contrast.  

    The knit fabrication of your jacket is hard to discern on my computer.  I wonder how you would feel if it were a woven but in the same color?

    Last yearm I bought a tipped gray knit jacket about that color and found it surprisingly difficult to style.  Getting both top and bottom pieces to work without looking boring was a challenge.  Sometimes there wasn't quite enough contrast.  When I finally added a big colorful brooch it helped.

  • Diana replied 5 years ago

    The two I like are 1 and 7. The obvious similarity between the two is the crisp white shirt with turned up cuffs. I think the culprit is the sleeves. As you mentioned the sleeve length and design is hard to style. With the turned up cuffs it looks lika a natural scrunched sleeve over your shirt. The cuff also hides the fact that the scrunch is "fake". With the longer sleeved tops, it looks odd because you'd never scrunch a sleeve like that. Without a sleeve showing underneath, the scrunch looks too severe and not natural. This is actually why I never bought this blazer even though I loved the shape and the colors it came in. I did not like the fake scrunch at all. (ironic, because I like the look of real scrunch but I can't do it - it always falls down when I move unless I use rubber bands, which hurt).

    Color wise, I really like the grey on you. Love how it pairs with burgundy. I actually really like #2 except for the aforementioned sleeve issue. I am not crazy about it with the super low contrast grey stripe, so I think pairing it with higher contrast is good.

  • Adelfa replied 5 years ago

    I agree. Something about that color does not work. I almost think it's the vibe of it rather than how it works with your coloring. While you are very classic, there's something elegant and vaguely artistic about your really good outfits. The gray while classic seems too establishment and perhaps too grounded/casual as opposed to elegant. I don't know if I am saying what I mean, am I making any sense? Also, in several of the outfits (all but 4) there's a crispness in the colors that the gray does not fit with.

    The cut of the blazer seems fine although I would not like to have a blazer with sewn-in scrunching (I will however accept a blazer with 3/4 sleeves, perhaps this is inconsistent).

  • kellygirl replied 5 years ago

    1,3,5,and 7 are my faves. I think that 1 and 3 are the ones you felt great in because there is a structured blouse underneath and because it incorporates your love of neutrals. I have the same blazer and I find the scrunched sleeves difficult to style. I've worn it with a long sleeve tee underneath like you did in 4 but I felt like it was only passable on me. I think the jacket looks amazing on you and I hope that you get more wear out of it!

  • catgirl replied 5 years ago

    To my eye 3 and 6 do not work, because this blazer is longer and your waist is not showing as much.  The other outfits with the belt give you both the longer look but also some definition.  1 works although similar to 3 and 6 because the shirt has more structure.  I love the tucked looks! 

  • Marley replied 5 years ago

    The shape of the jacket is just beautiful on you!  Very flattering!  I also like the color on you.  My favorite outfits are #s1 and 7.  I love the white, both against your face, as well as paired with the soft gray.  I don't think that any of the long-sleeved tops work with the jacket - because of the sleeves hanging out below the scrunched sleeve - and also because the tops' colors/patterns are just too intense or dramatic for the jacket. #7 especially makes me smile.  Love the softness against your face and the stripe - it just looks "clean" to me - like you're not trying too hard.

  • Vildy replied 5 years ago

    The pre-scrunch would drive me insane.  I want to be in charge of my clothes and not the other way 'round. :D  You make the best of it but if there's enough fabric for it to be gathered into a scrunch, can't the thread or elastic just be removed and the sleeve restitched to be made to be normal?

  • kkards replied 5 years ago

    maybe the blazer is moving to orphan status because you are done with it. sometimes i will have an item that i love the 1st year, and then the next, i really don't wear it. 

  • Jean Gray replied 5 years ago

    How interesting. I'm not sure I would have even noticed the scrunched sleeve element, but now it makes a lot of sense.
    I would agree with 1 & 7 working best. The cuffed sleeves making a difference.
    I also like 4 & 5 because I love the stripes and polka dots and the belt.
    Not sure if it's brown or burgundy in 2 but love the color on you.
    6 I'm thinking the silky against the knit might not be working.
    I would be curious to see some of your black blazer pics for comparison.
    Also wondering if Vildy's suggestion of undoing the scrunch could work. It looks like a great jacket, if you can enjoy it. So I hope maybe unscrunching it could redeem it for you.

  • Raisin replied 5 years ago

    Honestly I think it looks great in all of these!  But if I had to pick ones it worked less well in I guess it would be 4 and 6 because of the long sleeves underneath.  I thought it was all great though, and you should wear it more!

  • replied 5 years ago

    1, 2 and 7 are my favourite, but I also like the striped sweater underneath in 4, but I think with your darker bootcuts instead!

  • Mona replied 5 years ago

    #1, 5 and 7 look the best to my eye. The long sleeved tops under this blazer definitely don't work at all. Adelfa hit it right about colours that gray kind of clashes with crisp colours. I had that problem with my grey academy blazer from GAP also. I bought it thinking it is a neutral but found that it did not go very well with crisp colours like B&w.
    THe fit of the jacket looks good but may be it is the colour. I like grey colour and would love to wear it more often but recently i find it emphasizes the bags under my eyes a lot so I tend to avoid it.

  • amiable replied 5 years ago

    I'd say it works in 1 and 4.  I have no idea why.  Now I'm going to go up and read other's comments.

  • shevia replied 5 years ago

    I like #1, #4 and #7. I see the problem with the sleeve conflict in #4 but because the greys sort of blend it doesn't bother me - but I can see why it might bother you and others. The shape is great on you and I think it could work with the top in #2 if it were tucked out, or maybe it is just how you are standing. I think it is worth keeping.

  • Suz replied 5 years ago

    I'm guessing, along with the others, that you felt good in #1 and #7, which are the outfits I happen to like most. However, I can easily see why you would run into problems with this jacket because that scrunched sleeve detail would drive me batty. 

    I also think the proportions of this blazer look best on you (at least on the basis of these pictures) with bootcuts. That is another factor making me prefer these outfits, along with the crisp yet gentle contrast of the grey and white. 

    Yet another factor: tuck vs. no tuck. As you know, I adore you in tucked and semi-tucked tops as a rule and think they look wonderful on you. But in this case, with the jacket, I prefer the untucked looks. Why? Because it allows the shape of the jacket to take the stage and shows the gentle sweep of waist and hip in a very flattering way. When echoed by the bootcut jeans, this is a super look! 

    I don't think the colour, per se, is the problem. Though I don't know if this grey is one of your best colours, it's definitely good on you, particularly in relation to white, black, or ink.  I think this item (the jacket) is not perfect for you. When you tried the knit jacket at NAS we also both agreed it did you no favours. I think it's possible you could find a knit that would work well, but so far, these ones haven't hit the jackpot. 

  • pastrygirl replied 5 years ago

    Oh, my beloved jacket that I can no longer wear! (due to size)

    My complete guess is #1 and #7. I think it really works with the white shirt and the shirt's cuffs folded over.

    But...I'm the oddball in that I really love #6 because of the contrast. In the other photos, the gray looks a bit dull. I mean, it looks FINE, just not as interesting as other looks you have sported. Though I do also like #1.

  • donnat replied 5 years ago

    #1 and #7 are my favourites. I think it's the scrunched sleeve that makes this hard to wear. The color is very nice on you. The cut also suits you to a tee

  • Lisa replied 5 years ago

    I think #1 and #7 are the favorites here, because the blazer is already casual in vibe, so the shirt gives that crisp element I think you like in your outfits.  I also happen to like #2 a lot because the color mix of grey and wine is lovely here.  I think this grey is mid toned and the colors I see you in lately are either strong neutrals with high contrast (black and white, or your yellow blazer), or very soft colors (blush for example) compared to a mid tone such as this one.  I think the length is great, but since it curves, that makes it a challenge when paired with tops with straight hems, such as #3.  Also the mid length sleeves can make for challenging layering if it is long sleeves and I don't recall you sporting too many short sleeve tops.  It's a nice blazer, but maybe it's time to move on to more fab things?  It just doesn't compare to your yellow blazer to my eyes.

    If you want to keep this piece, what about sporting it with tank tops?  The tank will not have a competing sleeve length.  (I just started sporting tanks with my knit blazers and it is a really comfy combination, soft on soft).  Also, I think this blazer works best with bootcuts or skinnies, both styles that showcase the curved hem. The slouch of a BF jean may compete with the hemline.

  • Lantana replied 5 years ago

    Sveta I will answer your third question," is there hope for this jacket" with a Yes. I recall you wearing blush and grey last month, and I am thinking that palette might be a way of refreshing this jacket's role.

  • texstyle replied 5 years ago

    Okay, I'm not playing by the rules but I'd like to see #2 jacket and top with dark pants and I think overall I prefer a dark top under this jacket to help bring more impact to the outfit. But then again, maybe with other mid tone colors under it would work well too...

    I like #1, #5 and #7 so I'll go with those and I think that maybe you might have liked #4 as well.

  • Jjsloane replied 5 years ago

    Not reading other comments I like 1 and 7 best, 2 I like as well but slightly less. I think the curved hem works best with the longer leaner jeans (1 and 7) and it opens right at the widest part of BF jeans in the others (and the horizontal stripe top has the same illusion). It could also be the fact that it's grey knit so kind of sweatshirty (I have 3 different grey ponte jackets and find that sometimes it just looks like I've popped on a sweatshirt if the outfit isn't right.)

  • Day Vies replied 5 years ago

    I love the cut of the jacket I see why gray is not your best color. I love it with white and black on you. #1, #5 and #7 are my favorites.

    I love the burgundy on you but not with this jacket. I like #2 better than #6 because in #2 you've added the same tone in your boots which seems to enhance the burgundy. The jacket seems to cannibalize the burgundy. The gray seems to pull down the red, rather than enhancing it. As a result the burgundy needs to work harder to shine.

    Black and white seem to need less help as they are higher contrast to the gray. Also I would consider the hues you pair with this jacket. Hues that are at a similar level of saturation to this gray won't pop. You need more or less saturation for the color to play nice with this jacket which is the reason black (total saturation) and white (lightest saturation) work so well.

  • Nebraskim replied 5 years ago

    Because I do not trust the color on my monitor, my comment can be taken with a huge grain of salt. I like gray but have to be careful about the shade of gray....some gray contains a lot of yellow, some gray is more orange and still other has blue/purple undertones. (I learned this mixing paint, gray is not just add white to black, or black to white.) So it could be the undertone color that is off putting. I love to wear gray but I do find that at least for me, gray works better with some accent colors than others. I love, for instance, to mix it with what Angie calls sour brights -- citron, tangerine, granny smith apple green, etc. My favorite gray blazer, a tuxedo lapel knit jacket I got at the Gap a couple of years ago looks great with the sour brights or white, but not so great with saturated reds or even black. But I have a gray cotton cardigan from Lands' End that looks best with orange or cobalt. And Day Vies' comments about the saturation of the hues is also spot on.

  • Angie replied 5 years ago

    Your style integrity is similar to mine, Sveta. I would never wear a knitted jacket. Not crisp enough. (Although I love woven jakets with a bit of stretch). So that's my first guess. If this jacket were woven and tweedy - like my Smythe - you would love it.

    Second, that shade of grey is a little light. It does spring to life when you wear it with burgundy and white - or the polka dot. Much better to my eye.

    I love you in shades of blue and purple. I vote more ink in your wardrobe. You also look fab in dramatic black and white/cream.

    That's my 2 cents. xo

  • sarah replied 5 years ago

    1, 2 and 5 are my favorites, because of (1) the higher contrast with the jacket and (2) the most excellent bookending of footwear with other elements.

  • Liz A. replied 5 years ago

    I didn't read the rest of the comments so I wouldn't spoil then fun, but I like:

    1. The cuffed sleeve makes it work.
    4. The similar tone makes the long sleeve work.
    5. Not sure what makes it work, the color palette maybe?
    7. The cuffed sleeve again.

    If I'm going by the look on your face, I'd guess that you liked 4 and 7.  I still think you can make this work for you!

  • Sheila replied 5 years ago

    I like #2 and 5, with #1 running a close third. The length of this jacket looks best to my eye when your shirt is fully tucked with a belt. And, in the case of #1, with the elegance of white-over-white (or are they creme?) I don't mind the untucked tops. These three combinations are both artsy and well-balanced to my eye.

    ETA The bookended mulberry top and boots in #2 and the similarity of the snakeskin belt and booties in #5 are a big part of the appeal of these outfits.

  • T-Rex replied 5 years ago

    I'm going to answer without reading the other replies...

    I like #2, #7, and #1 best, in that order. I think #2 works for me because of the color mix, the fact that I can see the shape of your body a bit better, and the juxtaposition of the super casual elements of rolled denim, boots, etc. with the structure (albeit a knit structure) of the jacket.

    I love #7 because of the sassiness of the scarf.

    I really like #1 as well. The scrunch of the sleeve and the turned up cuffs are part of that. In fact, I see that #7 has the same sleeve treatment. So I guess that's a factor for me as well.

    It seems like I should really like #4 based on my own tastes, but it's not in the top three for me. It's almost like the matchiness of the grays works against you here.

  • Vickie KY replied 5 years ago

    You look much better in the medium to dark tones. #6 the wine tone is absolutely beautiful on you. You have a very beautiful, sultry look about you with the right shades. My favorite is 6. I also like 1,4, and 7. 
    The jacket is great, I understand what you are saying about it. It isn't one that you can throw on with everything and it works. It is something you have to work with. I think it is worth the effort and you should work with it,.

  • AviaMariah replied 5 years ago

    I'm just going to comment on what I like on you color-wise.  I'm not a huge fan of this jacket mixed with black and white on you which is interesting as I think you look great in black and white by themselves.  I think it looks best with your coloring in 2, 4 and 6.  The muted colors really make your face shine IMO.  

    ETA - I just read everyone else's comments and I am definitely the odd man out!!  My other thought is maybe the issue is that you love the graphic pop of black and white (as do I) and IMO, adding the gray to these b&w outfits really tones this down the drama and makes them a little more "staid".  Maybe too "uniform-y" for you??

  • Inge replied 5 years ago

    I really love this jacket on you in outfit 1, 6 and 7, Sveta:
    A) because I think it looks gorgeous when you pair it with crisp white or burgundy.
    B) because in these outfits the hemline of the blazer and the hemline of the shirt are at the exact same length. That to my eye looks best. Although I also like it with your polka dot shirt tucked into pants.

    I was also thinking the same thing as Angie: a knit jacket will never feel as crisp as a woven, that may play a role here too.

    In general, I think cream, black and white, ink and navy blues, blush pink, lilac and cool shades of red look beautiful on you.

  • Sveta replied 5 years ago

    Thank you for playing with me. Today was one of those crazy days at work when everything goes from bad to worse and at once - so I did not have time to response earlier.
    I have to say right away that outfits which made it to my "Best" picture folder were ##1 and 7. So Diana, Marley, Jean Grey, Suz, PastryGirl, DonnaT, Lisa and JJsloane get the prize! :-)
    DonnaF, I feel it too that it requires an extra effort to make it work even though grey is neutral and should work with a lot, right - but it is not the case here and this got me puzzled.
    Diana, sleeves are definitely an issue. you bet I don't even consider balzers with self-scrunched sleeves anymore!
    Adelfa, what a brilliant analysis: "While you are very classic, there's something elegant and vaguely artistic about your really good outfits. The gray while classic seems too establishment and perhaps too grounded/casual as opposed to elegant." I think you hit the issue right here, thanks!
    Kelly, you are another one who struggles with self-scrunched sleeves!
    Una, I think "structure" is the key word here. However tucked looks were not my favorites :-(
    Marley, I also like white the best with this jacket.
    Vildy, I am not sure if this can work: I am afraid they are not long enough and would be shapeless...
    kkards, this happens sometimes but in this case it was never a heavily used item even though I like the cut very much.
    Jean, it is dark burgundy in #2.
    Raisin, actually I liked the long sleeves underneath the least :-(
    Ceit, Suz, Jjsloane -  you may be right that slim fitting straight legs and bootcuts are better that slouchy BFs in this case.
    Mona, yes, long sleeves did not work IMO. 

  • Karie replied 5 years ago

    I love them all except for #3 and #6, but I can't really explain why. I think maybe too much of the blouse underneath is showing or something. My favorite is #2.

  • Sveta replied 5 years ago

    Amiable and Shevia - thanks for playing along. You got it right 50%! :-)
    PastryGirl, that silk  shirt in #6 is gone. I adored the color and liked that it is silk but something about it was really off.
    DonnaT, these sleeves are definitely an issue.
    Lisa, great analysis! I think you are right on many accounts.
    Lantana, I don't think my slouchy blush trousers would work with this blazer and I don't have anything else in blush...great idea though!
    texstyle, dark pants idea is interesting....
    DV, thanks for the hue and saturation tip!
    nebraskim, you are so right about greys! I find it is very difficult to mix different greys in one outfit precisely because of the different undertones. 
    Sarah and Sheila, I think #2 was better that the rest and maybe because of the color bookending.
    Liz, you got 2 out of 4 right :-) Actually ##4 and 5 were not favorites at all.
    T-Rex, for me the order is a bit different at ##1,7and 2 :-)
    Vickie, unfortunately you are right: this is not the jacket you can make work effortlessly :-(
    AviaMariah, grey definitely "tones down" the high contrast and bright colors.
    Inge, good eye on the length of the top in relation to the curve of the jacket, I have not noticed this myself.
    Angie, I think you are right (no surprise here) that I cannot feel my best in knit blazers. I would LOVE your Smythe!  Also thanks to you and Inge on color palette thing. I SO WANT more ink and saturated navy items in my life but they are pretty hard to come by!

  • Sveta replied 5 years ago

    Now I can conclude this thread with my own analysis - and please not hat your responses helped me A LOT with it!
    1. As Angie noticed I have a hard time incorporating a knit blazer into my style - which is a pity because they are comfy and would make a great travel wear. Actually travel wear was one of the main incentives for this purchase in the first place but I could never make it work.
    2. Aside from the knit fabrication I like the style a lot and I think it is flattering on me. I think I feel the most myself when I wear this blazer with crisp button downs to add more dressiness and sharpness. Whit also helps beause it is a sharp color and lifts the grey. Adding streamline bottoms like bootcuts and straight legs also helps to add to the crispness factor which I like.
    3. I like a lot about #2 but something is off here. I think it is BF jeans as some of you wisely pointed which conflict with the blazer. This should be the curved hem more than the length of the blazer because I pair BF jeans with my white and yellow blazers and black tux and feel good. I think it is the curved hem AND the fact that it is fitted in the waist...
    4. I still think burgundy works with the grey so I may try to recreate #2 with different bottoms.
    5. #3 One of the reasons maybe that I am not into untucked unstructured tops anymore unless they have hi-low hem or semi-tucked?  Also do not like the cuffs in this one, too floppy. As well the blouse is too soft and cannot lift the casual vibe of this blazer fabrication.
    6. #4  - NO. Tees just do not work for me in combination with a knit jacket. long sleeves and low contrast just add to me "meh" feeling here...
    7. #5 - something was not right here too. It maybe very well the neckline of this top - I find it really hard to pair with other blazers as well. Also the colors are off: I think the dark trousers or jeans and low contrast belt may work better.
    8. #6. That silk shirt just did not work for me at all and I have passed it on since then. Long sleeves did not help and also shiny satin silk just did not mesh well with this knit fabric.

    Phew, this was long but very useful. This is what I decided:
    1. I will give this blazer another chance now when I identified with your help what works and what did not. My blazer collection is not large and longer ones are scarce right now so I as well may try to use what I have. I think it has a potential because the style itself has crispiness to it which fabrication lacks.
    2. I will try to style a variation of some of these outfits with these criteria in mind and see if they feel better. Stay tuned for a fashion show in a near future (depending of cooling down of course).

    Again thank you very much for you help and for playing along. This was very useful for me and I hope not without some benefit for others :-)

  • Inge replied 5 years ago

    I think your own analysis is spot on, Sveta, and I'm glad to read you are giving the blazer another chance (I hear you on the ink and navy blue options out there, I'll definitely keep an eye out for both of us;-)

    Very much looking forward to seeing the fashion show:-)
    And yes, looking at all the different looks you put together with the one blazer was really very helpful for me as well. It always makes me think about proportions and colour combos, love that.

  • Suz replied 5 years ago

    Loved your analysis, Sveta. And I think you reached the right decision. 

  • Janet replied 5 years ago

    Sveta, I'm really late to this, but what a thorough and instructive analysis! I have the same blazer, but in black, and the very things that make it troublesome for you make it perfect for me. My life and style are more casual, and I love crisp lines, but tempered with just a bit of drape or ease. And I love the pre-scrunched sleeves! LOL

    I'm in the market for a new black blazer, as this one has gotten a lot of wear and I suspect that by the end of this coming season I'll be ready to start transitioning to a new one. Your exercise has actually helped me pinpoint some things to consider in my search. I think this hemline in particular is especially flattering on ladies like you and me, and it's not so easy to find, unfortunately.

    Thanks for sharing this exercise!

  • Lisa replied 5 years ago

    Great analysis Sveta.  I also find my knit blazres are great for travel, it's like wearing a sweatshirt.  I look forward to your outfit trials, maybe I will be able to steal a couple ideas from them.  :) 

  • JulieJohn replied 5 years ago

    What a fun game! You are a smart lady and so very chic and gutsy - in a very good way!

    I haven't read any other comments (scout's honor), so here's my honest take.
    #2 and #5 are the ones you like, and here's why: not only do the sleeves have free reign in these two outfits, the ARMS show. This boosts your lovely facial tone and makes the grey behave. In other words, that grey is not a great color for you, but with enough SKIN it is tamed and put in its place, as a great, outfit-anchoring, neutral classic. Skin is your (and anyone's) best color, because it is your color. Whose else could it be?

    This is SO interesting. When a neutral is really a neutral, it shouldn't have to be the star. However, I think I buy everything to be a star, and so nothing is really a neutral. Whoops! Off to rethink everything I thought I knew...

  • rachylou replied 5 years ago

    Way late to the game. Interesting analysis. Makes sense to me.

    My thoughts were #1/7 & #4 were the outfits that worked best. #1 & 7 have the same bones, so I lump them together. I can see why you don't like #4, but you look very polished in it, and the knit & tee are on the same wave length. The silky shirts, I think, contradict this knit jacket. Just too fancy, without more fancy added - like piles and piles of jewelry.

You need to be logged in to comment