The Hunt: White Blazers

white blazerSure, we all know what basics professional women are supposed to have in their closets, but if you’re buying one for the first time or replacing one you’ve worn into the ground, it can be a pain to find exactly the right incarnation in stores. In “The Hunt,” we search the stores for a basic item that every woman should have.

I am really not the kind of person who wears white terribly often, beyond the occasional white top — even my wedding dress was ivory. So it’s always surprising when I get a white blazer and wear it into the ground — yet I’ve done it with three or four blazers through the years. I’m seeing a ton of cute white blazers (many on sale!), so I thought I’d round them up for today’s Hunt. They’re great to throw on over pretty much anything in place of the wear-with-everything black blazer; as we’ve talked about before you want a white blazer that does not look like a lab coat; I also tend to prefer white blazers that have a bit of texture to them. Readers, what else you look for in a white blazer? Have you got any great ones recently?

Not included in the roundup (but recently recommended on the blog): The Limited slim collar blazer (now $69), Alice and Olivia lace peplum blazer (still $495).

 labworks Women's Long-Sleeve Peplum Jacket I just discovered this labworks collection from Target, and have been eyeing this knit peplum jacket, available in white and navy. It comes in regulars, petites, and plus sizes, and it’s $44.99. labworks Women’s Long-Sleeve Peplum Jacket
Puff Sleeve Herringbone Linen JacketPart of the problem with talking about white jackets online is that it’s so difficult to see the details — I’m tempted to post the dark orange version of this linen jacket just because then you can see how cool it is — it has a nice herringbone pattern, subtle puffed shoulders, a nice piping detail on the placket and hem. Lovely. It’s available in regular, petite and tall in white, “firebrick,” and black, all at Loft. Puff Sleeve Herringbone Linen Jacket

There’s also a stretch cotton blend jacket in white for $109, available exclusively online.

ZIG ZAG JACQUARD BLAZEROoh: this is a fun zig zag jacquard blazer on sale at Vince Camuto. It was $169, but is now marked to $120; it’s available in sizes 0-14. (It’s also available, full price, at Amazon.) ZIG ZAG JACQUARD BLAZER
Classiques Entier® 'Bursa Jacquard' JacketI’m loving the lacy jacquard pattern on this crisp-looking blazer from Classiques Entier. It’s $248 at Nordstrom, available in sizes XS-XL. Classiques Entier® ‘Bursa Jacquard’ Jacket
Philosophy Circle Mesh-Overlay Cotton-Blend BlazerThis interesting blazer from Philosophy features cool inverted lapels, and the circle-patterned mesh overlay is unique among the white blazers I surveyed for today’s Hunt. There was a matching skirt, but it has sold out; the blazer is only available in limited sizes. Still, it’s a pretty good sale: the blazer was $795, but is now marked to $477. Philosophy Circle Mesh-Overlay Cotton-Blend Blazer
Smythe Swiss-Dot BlazerTruthfully, this is the blazer that inspired today’s Hunt — I nearly posted it for this morning’s Splurge, but Saks’s sale has so many great white blazers that I thought it would be better for a Hunt. Love that swiss dot texture, which seems feminine yet professional, as well as the bracelet sleeves, the flared back vents, and the black contrast trim, particularly on the back panel. Gorgeous. It was $695, but is now marked to $486.50. Smythe Swiss-Dot Blazer

(Note that Neiman Marcus has it a bit lower, at $417.)

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  1. White blazers are fantastic for social outings, but if you work in medicine (and the blazer is all white), it can look like medical student coats, so it’s best to avoid! I learned this the hard way

    • Mountain Girl :

      This! I work in healthcare and don’t wear white blazers because I’ve been mistaken before as a medical person. In a trauma situation even little things can stress patients and their families so I don’t wear white blazers. I did have a white cable cardigan that I’m wearing today and sometimes I wear a white denim jacket with a skirt on casual Fridays.

  2. I picked up a bright, white blazer from The Limited last year. It’s 3/4th length, tailored and simple with one button. I like it, very versatile with clean lines. Personally enjoy shopping at The Limited since they have wonderful sales and I am a graduate student on a tight budget.

  3. Personeally, I can NOT wear a white blazer in the City b/c it is so grittey here that it would be yellow or brown VERY soon after I wore it and I would NOT want to look dirty after 3 or 4 wearing’s of it, even if the manageing partner reimbueses for it, he does NOT cover dry cleaneing. FOOEY! The busses are FILTHY and the subway’s are the WORST so I do NOT even sit. The probelem with that is I have to grab hold of something, and slimey men like to rub up ageianst me or grab my tuchus. So the HIVE should think twice if they work in NYC about this one. YAY!!!!

    • I live in NYC too, and have worn white bottoms and tops without them looking yellow or brown in a few wearings. The buses and subways are not “filthy”; they’re no more dirty than other things that millions of people touch every day.

  4. TO Lawyer :

    I love the Smythe blazer! There is no way I can justify it but oh it’s so pretty!!!

  5. phillygirlruns :

    not something i’d buy without trying it on, but express has a white blazer for a (potentially) good price – on sale for $69.99, plus an extra 20% off sale stuff. link to follow in separate post. i can’t tell what the fabric is, and it looks REALLY short, but it could work well, especially for the price.

    i regularly wear express’s editor pants – some of their fabrics are better than others, but there’s one or two that drape well. my “emergency” suit that i keep at the office is an express suit that i’ve had for at least five years now, and it still wears (and, thank god, fits) well.

    • phillygirlruns :

      ugh, original post in moderation and i have no idea what i did. nothing says e t t e !

      • christine :

        I just ordered and sadly returned this Express jacket! I tried it on in the store in a size 2 and fell in love with it. Nice weight to it. Nice lining inside. Potentially flattering… but the 2 was huge. I ordered it online in 00 and it was still too large and I didn’t want to invest the money in major tailoring. I ended up getting the 2 button cotton sateen blazer in size 0 instead. Its supposed to be a shrunken fit but it fits me like a normal jacket. For reference I’m 5′ and 102lbs so if you’re taller then go for it!

  6. All my blazers are darker – navy, black, grey. Would a white or beigey/neutral be more versatile to add?

    • I’m no TCFKAG, but I’d say it depends what color(s) the rest of your wardrobe is.

    • phillygirlruns :

      i think beige is more versatile as it’s easier to wear during the later spring/early fall when it’s still warm out. white is very “HELLO IT IS SUMMER” to me.

  7. out of the frying pan and into the fryer :

    TJ: I am thinking of leaving my small non-profit law job because it is a generally dysfunctional place. I’ve only been practicing for about a year and would be looking for something else in legal services. I have two unrelated worries I’m hoping the r e t t e s can help me with:

    1) What do you do with your clients when you leave with a specialized skill that cannot be filled by the remaining staff? In my circumstance it’s a language capacity: I speak a certain language that no one else here speaks and have a number of clients that speak the language and do not speak English. Do I offer to keep working on these cases pro bono until they find a replacement? Do I cut and run– they’re on their own?

    2) I recently found out that I’m pregnant (yay!). Is it foolish to leave a job that would give me leave to enter a job where I wouldn’t qualify for statutorily enforced leave (since I will have been there for such a short time before needing the leave)? It’s possible I would find a place with a leave policy that I would indeed qualify for, but in absence of a policy, I would not qualify for FMLA by the time the baby comes and, well, what if I lose my (new, hypothetical) job for requesting leave? For what it’s worth, I’m an employment lawyer, so I don’t really need help with the law on this, I’m more asking for advice on calculating risk and whether or not this seems like a foolish time to make a move.

    • I was hired in large part because I speak a language that no one else in my department speaks. Several of my coworkers are the same (all different languages). When someone leaves, then we hire a replacement who speaks the language of the former coworker. Not a big deal.

    • anon in tejas :

      Here are my thoughts:

      1) Look at your retainer agreement with these clients. Is it between you personally and the client or the agency and the client? If it’s the agency, it’s their issue and their problem. Yes, it sucks. And I have been in your boat. I think that if you quit, they will need to figure it out. There are tons of translation services available at varying price points (in person, phone, etc.). If you hang on, it may make you less marketable for job #2.

      2) I would suggest reconsidering if you want to leave. Personally, my former boss would have been leery of hiring someone who will be leaving shortly for maternity leave. And they had a shitty horrible maternity leave policy.

    • Former Legal Aid :

      Congrats on your pregnancy! I would say that if you’re looking for something else in Legal Services, you are very likely to find a pregnancy/leave-friendly new employer. My last legal aid office was entirely female, almost entirely moms of small children — when I decided to extend my (unpaid) maternity leave by a month, my office was very supportive. As you know, Legal Services isn’t lucrative, but they do tend to be generous in non-monetary benefits!

      Good luck! If you can find a new Legal Services job in this economy, more power to you. You should go for it.

  8. Haven’t posted in FOR-EVER. (handwave all). I adore the Smythe blazer, but I wonder if the piping will make it dated in a few years. If I drop that kinda coin on a blazer, it’s gotta be worn for the next decade. Thoughts?

  9. Recently ordered the Target blazer (in both white and navy)- ugh, returned it promptly. Not even worth the $44 price tag.

  10. Oh, and I leave my white blazer at work- I’m usually too warm while commuting and it avoids the stains/grime too.

  11. SoCal Gator :

    I have several favorite white blazers that I wear all late spring/summer/early fall in Southern California. They include:

    J Cr*w Schoolboy Blazer in White Linen (beautifully cut, goes with everything)

    Caslon Knit Roll Sleev Blazer in White (casual, wearing today with The Skirt in coral)

    Gibson Linen Jacket in Milk (last season, fairly short waisted, nice over dresses)

    Zara Blazer with Roll Up Cuffs (more casual, knit material, longer blazer)

    Banana R*public White Sateen Blazer (longer, crisp, like a suit blazer)

    White House Black market White Cotton short jacket with back pleats (last season)

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