The heart of the ‘Little Black Jacket” is sophisticated, modern, easy to wear, easy to personalise and elegantly reinventible. Whether it is a “Chanel Jacket” or a vintage find in your local thrift store – the “Little Black Jacket” is a timeless and classic symbol of French Elegance in the mid 19th century.
Some people think luxury is the opposite of poverty. It is not. It is the opposite of vulgarity - Coco Chanel
The iconic ‘Little Black Jacket’ was first designed in the 1950s by Coco Chanel and has undergone several transformations and reinventions since. Karl Lagerfeld believed firmly that style is not a result of the garment you wear, but how you wear the garment, and back in 2011/2012 the luxury house of Chanel created an exhibition that showed the versatility and timelessness of this iconic jacket.
Once a Chanel devotee, in my later years I have chosen to no longer support the luxury brand Chanel due to their involvement in the fur trade, animal testing and so forth.
However; I do respect and honour the classic brand that both Coco Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld created, as it invokes French mystery, flawless style, an understated appreciation for quality and acts as a gentle reminder that less is more.
Coco Chanel [Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel] was born August 19, 1883, in the French countryside village of Saumur. Her mother died young and her father left her at an orphanage at a young age.
In her early years she worked as a shop girl until she received investor-backed funding to open up a small millinery shop in Deauville, France, where she created simple yet comfortable sportswear, such as jersey sweaters. Within five years her original and creative use of jersey fabric attracted the attention of influential wealthy women seeking relief from the prevalent corseted styles.
Staying true to her belief that luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury, Chanel’s designs always embraced simplicity and comfort and revolutionised the fashion industry where Chanel then went on to rule Parisian haute couture for almost six decades. Her elegantly casual designs inspired women of fashion to abandon the complicated, uncomfortable clothes—such as petticoats and corsets—that were prevalent in 20th-century dress.
Among her now-classic innovations were the Chanel suit, the tweed jacket, the little black jacket, the quilted purse, costume jewellery, and of course the little black dress.
Whilst many of us either can't afford to buy the Chanel black jacket or choose not to support the brand that still uses animal cruelty; I think this book "Little Black Jacket" can inspire our own sense of style - whether your little black jacket is a designer brand or something you picked up at your local thrift store.
The little black jacket is such a style icon, and there is no better place to look for lessons in updating a classic than in Mr. Lagerfeld and Carine Roitfeld’s book, The Little Black Jacket: Chanel’s Classic Revisited.
In this modern fashion bible, Mr. Lagerfeld photographs celebrities in the classic “little black jacket” to produce an inspiring gallery of individuality and style. It truly is a fashion masterpiece to see so many people interpreting the same item of clothing with individuality and flair, to make it entirely their own. For me this book is a gentle reminder that “we must confidently and authentically wear our clothes as personal statements of who we are, and not let the clothes, fashion and opinions wear us”
Look for the woman in the dress. If there is no woman, there is no dress - Coco Chanel
10 Ways To Wear The “Little Black Jacket
1. Have your own signature look.
You can go for the sexy, pretty, casual, edgy, bohemian, hippy or elegant look – the only rule is that it must be something that you feel comfortable in, for you want to confidently own your authentic look. Those with fashion style know what works on themselves and they stick to it. They never fall victim to the trends, for they set their own trends – sure there are little updates here and there - but for the most part they wear what they like and what they feel comfortable and confident in.
2. Get Creative and break the fashion rules
Classic pieces paired with something unexpected convey individuality and flair. Try wearing the little black jacket with a unique piece of clothing or accessory. Or try pairing it with vibrant colours or patterns – an element of surprise is a key to updating a look.
3. A Casual Affair
Team the jacket with a tank top, strappy sandals and some simple pants or jeans. This look always looks timeless and elegant.
4. The French Influence
Wear the jacket with a perfectly cut pair of jeans and a white button up shirt. Often elegance is found in the unseen and subtle.
5. The Classic Look
Wear a black striped Breton top, black/ or tan ballerina flats and some red lipstick with your little black jacket to add a little zest and life to your outfit.
6. Soft and Feminine
Wear the jacket over a pretty dress, looks great over a lace dress. Also great to wear over bold printed dresses - as the black "anchors" the bold print.
7. Pair it with A Scarf
8. Wear it as a Top
The little black jacket is not just an outerwear item, the jacket can work as a top also. Button it up, wear a lacy cami underneath, layer up with some simple gold necklaces or maybe a chunky gold wrist band and you'll have a top that can be partnered with almost anything in your wardrobe.
9. Oversized and Baggy
Go for a relaxed fit and pair your jacket (fitted or oversized) with oversized trousers for a effortless and relaxed look.
10. Simple Yet Chic
In need of a chic outfit to take you from the office to cocktail hour with your friends? You can't go past a good pair of jeans, a simple basic white tee and a black jacket with heels, sneakers or boots.
This timeless look is fuss-free and simple to refresh — just add a bright lipstick one day, a printed tee the next and wide-legged linen pants the following week.