I recently worked with a new client on her closet — not purchasing anything new, but creating outfits out of her existing wardrobe. She had this great kimono-style jacket that I just pounced on the minute I saw it.  It’s what I call a “crossroads piece” —  how you wear it can really go one way (funky, youthful) or the other (dated, matronly). You decide.

These crossroads pieces typically possesss one of the following elements:

– an ethnic-inspired print, style, etc.

– a vintage feel (think a round-neck classic Chanel boucle jacket or any copycats)

– an almost too-bold print that can come off garish

She  typically wore this statement-making jacket with a pair of wide-leg, drap-ey pants. It was for  a weekend evening out. She said she never felt quite right in it.

I wanted to update  how she styled this jacket in ways that would feel more polished and current. First, a weekend going- out look:

The key when working clothing that is ethnic-inspired, and could potentially be aging because of the silhouette and print, is to make it youthful by pairing with current pieces like…

– skinny dark jeans

– boyfriend jeans

– pointy-toe heels

Second, I wanted to show the versatility of the jacket by creating an office-ready look (she is a consultant). Plus, what a great alternative to a buttoned-up blazer!


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To give this style of jacket polish and sophistication for work, pair with…

– black cigarette pants

– a black, fitted pencil skirt (the one picture works, but we’d like to tailor it to fit a little higher up on her waist and the hem to be at her knee so she gets that great hourglass silhouette)

– pointy-toe pumps

And wah-lah! The once-matronly kimono jacket gets a new life in this client’s wardrobe with just a couple of easy switch-ups.

Have you reinvented something in your closet recently?