How to wear… transitional jackets

It’s a tricky time of year for getting dressed. We’re entering that awkward ‘in-between’ stage: the lull between summer and autumn, when the shops fill up with winter collections but the weather calls for something a little lighter. This poses particular problems for outerwear – how do you style out sudden rain showers and blaring sun in the same day?

What you want is something lightweight, in a block colour (not a print), that will be easy to layer.

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Neutral shades, especially khaki, tan and denim blue, are your friend here, as they can be mixed and matched with everything in your wardrobe, but black can come across needlessly heavy on brighter days, so if you prefer dark colours, stick to softer navy, burgundy and forest green.

Cate Blanchett has been out and about over the last week promoting her new film, Where’d You Go, Bernadette?, in an array of characteristically stylish looks. In a single day, she cycled through six outfits, and between appearances, she tossed on a smart, open blazer over a silk shirt and wide-leg trousers.

The blazer is a transitional dressing staple: always relevant, hugely versatile, and with the right cut, it suits every shape and size.

For now, try a linen-blend blazer, which feels more laid-back than the usual workwear-style jackets, plus the touch of viscose will help to limit wrinkles.

Double-breasted is the reigning shape, but those with a bigger bust may prefer a single-breasted blazer with narrow lapels, ideally with one button or an open front. A slightly longline silhouette will sit comfortably over a T-shirt and jeans or a midi dress.

If that feels too dressy for everyday, go for the trusted denim jacket. It’s a classic for good reason, and a year-round favourite of Reese Witherspoon.

Again, a longline style will be most effective to take you into autumn, and a relaxed fit will allow you to add a jumper or sweatshirt underneath on crisper days.

Avoid light washes, which read too summery, and opt for a safer mid or deep blue. Paired with a dark floral print dress and trainers, it’s the quintessential transitional look, with no need for opaque tights.

The boxy, oversized fit is most popular at the moment, although if you’re worried about adding bulk, there are belted options which can help to define the waist.

A bit lighter than the denim jacket is the ‘shacket’, a shirt-jacket hybrid that has emerged in the last few years as a true trans-seasonal saviour.

Kate Middleton is a fan, and chose a khaki version with large gold buttons for a summer outing in Cumbria. It’s an excellent layering piece – Kate wore hers with jeans, a pie-crust blouse and fine knit jumper – and taps into 2019’s utility trend, too.

For something a little more functional, there’s the waxed jacket, another style beloved by Kate: she changed out of her shacket into a waxed Barbour that same day for a nature walk and some sheep shearing.

Gant’s cropped jacket puts an urban twist on it, offering a more modern interpretation of the traditional style, as well as presenting greater opportunity for layering.

The trench coat is another trans-seasonal hero, but it can be too heavy for August. This year, we suggest mixing it up with a cropped version, such as Zara’s, to freshen up the look.

Or, if you’re really keen on a coat, try a duster instead. It’s lighter and looser than a trench, but still gives you that extra coverage, without detracting attention from the layers underneath.

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