Here's why the little black jacket is my fashion fetish. What's yours?
By Rena Galanis on June 10, 2014
I came to love the world of fashion at a fairly young age. I believe I was 14 years old at most when I noticed a tattered copy of VogueMagazine (U.S.) at the local supermarket magazine
Photo courtesy of Flickr, Marina Burity.
I stood there and leafed through the glossy pages, which most definitely depicted impossibly beautiful women in highly unlikely, fantastical settings and became mesmerized.
I wasn’t the most likely of suspects to become so enthralled. My family was working class and hardly had the means to support indulgences like art, finer clothing or even fashion magazines.
First Fashion Crush:
Oh, I liked this world of women who seemed to be completely different to the ones I had grown up with. I knew it was not reality, yes, but these women seemed to be independent. Yes, yes, beauty and glamour were splashed on every editorial page, but strangely, the men (if they appeared at all) were just accessories.
To me, this world seemed to be all about the women and their adornment was a way of declaring that they were worth it. I saw the magazine, not as a realistic depiction of women to which I felt compelled to conform, but as a celebration of women through art and artifice too.
The local library is where I pursued my growing affinity for this glamourous fashion tome I had accidentally discovered (one version of which was from Paris!) filled with its own artistry and covered with the most beautiful faces. Faces that looked nothing like mine.
I started noticing the name Yves Saint Laurent on many of the pages as I looked through. Oh! He was the designer of some of the impossibly chic clothing some of the models wore. And one of the items of clothing that appeared and reappeared was the little black jacket.
There it was under the banner of “Le Smoking” whatever that meant. Then there was an advertisement with the actress Catherine Deneuve (presumably in Chanel although she was YSL’s muse), and she was sporting this “le smoking” look.
There was something about this look that I just thought was so cool, so boy meets girl. Yes, I think it dawned on me that this look was for a particular woman. It was a little rebellious somehow. And I liked it. Couple of years later at my local mall, I encountered a version of this look in person.
The New Wave:
Punk and New Wave were the music of the day and she sported very tight jeans that had been tapered down the calves with safety pins, a band t-shirt, and a slim black, probably vintage tuxedo jacket. She wore pointy kitten heels and had a mass of messy black, black hair with red, red lips. Think Alison Mosshart of The Kills. That was it! I wanted to look just like that.
Alison Mosshart, Photo courtesy of Flickr, hobogirl923
And so began the hunt. The hunt for a black jacket. It started in vintage shops. My first was a man’s tuxedo jacket bought in a second-hand shop. I wore it to school in a copy cat style of my mall epiphany prototype. I pinned all my favourite band buttons to the lapel and walked around transformed (or so I thought). Although I was still pretty much a bookish nerd, I never felt cooler.
My old Levi’s jean jacket became history overnight. And I was beginning to define myself, on my terms. This was not how my peers may have seen me, and it was surely a departure from my parents’ view of how I should look. No longer was I dressing the part of the “good student” or the “good girl.” I wanted to to be at the helm of the definition of me. I wanted the freedom to carve out me.
It's a Classic:
Pretty much every female knows that the black jacket can take you to cool, to elegant and practically any event (including an interview, the office, a club, a wedding and a funeral).
It looks equally well with a shirt or practically (or for the very, very daring absolutely) nothing underneath. It can be worn on the young and still looks fantastic on women of a certain age. I’ve worn one on my very first date and my last date, too.
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