Cheryl Shops Fall Shopping Guide: Chanel-Inspired Jackets

You have to hand it to the Wertheimer family, who privately own Chanel: Decades after the death of Gabrielle Chanel--and a particularly shaky postwar period--Chanel remains one of the most sought-after labels in fashion. They, along with Karl Lagerfeld, have mastered the art of brand image. Of course, Chanel herself was a visionary, and the hallmarks of her style--the LBD, jersey, sailor stripes, logo hardware, chains--continue to resonate in the fashion world. Arguably, one of her most iconic contributions to the fashion landscape is the Chanel jacket, i.e. a collarless style in bouclé or tweed. I've always wanted one, but until recently, trying one on made me feel like a little girl dressing up in her mom's clothes. Now that I'm in my 30s, however, I feel like I have both the maturity and self-assuredness to properly carry one. Of course, even a vintage Chanel jacket is out of my price range, but since Chanel isn't sold online (again, masters of brand image) here are some alternatives.

A few months ago, there was a rumor that Alber Elbaz was in line to replace Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel. It was untrue--for the time being, at least--but considering Elbaz's keen grasp of French style and beautifully deconstructed technique, one could certainly appreciate the possibility. This tweed jacket, for example, obviously has a strong Chanel inspiration, but the zipper makes it more modern, as does its softer, less structured look.

This Proenza Schouler jacket is double-breasted, which is not as overtly Chanel as the traditional cardigan-style jacket, but the narrow cut and high armholes are oh so Coco.

Leave it to Alexander Wang to take something instantly recognizable and classic, but render it in an ultracool way. His leather jacket might look prim from a distance, but in soft lambskin with velvet trim, it's sleek and ultramodern.

Milly's Michelle Smith has built a solid following for her line with feminine pieces boasting a strong vintage inspiration. This bouclé jacket is clearly of the Chanel persuasion, but the slightly sparkly fabric and cropped fit give it a fun, youthful air.

What has kept Lagerfeld in the Chanel designer seat for so many years is that he cleverly takes the hallmarks of the house and plays with them in ways that keep everything fresh without compromising the design. This Tory Burch jacket is made of tiny crepe de Chine flowers--definitely an unexpected texture--but the simple silhouette remains.

I haven't stepped foot in an Ann Taylor store in years, but after reading Cintra Wilson's unusually glowing review in the Times last week--not to mention the good-looking catalogs I've recently started receiving--it seems like the store is definitely worth another look. Case in point: the bistro jacket reminds me of the Lanvin style above, from the grosgrain ribbon trim down to the softer fit. The fact that its made of natural fabrics (and is on sale) only helps its case.

The tweed jacket is kind of '80s; it reminds me of a good thrift store find. Still, the cropped fit is good for layering (and will take you into spring), and the price is quite nice.

This embellished jacket from White House | Black Market is actually a sweater, but it's unmistakably Chanel-inspired, and I think Coco herself would be delighted in the ease of its construction.

Finally, proving that Chanel trickles down even to the teen market, this Charlotte Russe bouclé jacket is not luxurious, but for the price (a mere $30), a pretty good, if simple, interpretation of the look.

1 comment

Jaime @ laviejaime said...

The Charlotte Russe one is cute- and the price is fab. I think I would spend more $ on this jacket since it's an investment piece and so timeless. Great selections!