So, I have my list of a few essential pieces my stylist suggested I add to my wardrobe. Among these was a dark, fitted short jacket to wear with jeans or over dresses. I found a beautiful light weight wool Tahari jacket, navy with small pin stripes at the Goodwill on 25th Street between 6th & 7th Avenues, and paid $12.99 for it.
Goodwill stores can be daunting, just for the sheer volume of their goods. You have to touch a lot of polyester before you find the good stuff, and you have to know what to look for! I suggest going into Macy's or Dillard's or the equivalent and getting used to touching all sorts of fabric that you'll remember later. Wool and cashmere are especially important.
Once you enter a store, give yourself a good hour or so to browse the racks, and pull out the pieces that you think might work.
TRY EVERYTHING ON! Just because it looks great on the rack doesn't mean it's going to look great on your rack. To cut down on the "eew" factor, I wear a skinny shirt and leggings when I shop, so that I can just slip in and out of things with little muss or fuss.
For Spring, jackets are going more close cut, hitting just above the hip, nipped in nicely at the waist and fitting through the back. It will be your go-to piece to dress up nearly any outfit - jeans and a t-shirt are automatically classed up once you add a tailored jacket. Roll and scquinch up the sleeves, throw on either a sweet little necklace or a chunky statement piece, a pair of heels or flats, and you've got instant, classic style.
With jackets, ask yourself these questions:
1. Does it fit in the shoulders? The seam of the shoulder should fall at your natural shoulder, not over it. I don't care who made it, unless it's Chanel and you can turn it around on eBay, you'll pay a fortune to get shoulders taken in.
2. Are the sleeves long enough? Sleeves should fit just below your wrist. Too long isn't a problem - those are easy and affordable alterations. Too short, however - either get them cut off to 3/4, or forget it and move on.
3. Is the fabric and lining of good quality and in good shape?
4. Can you button it? This may sound like a no-brainer, but many women buy ill-fitting jackets because they think they look good when they're open. If you can't button it, or can't put your arms across your chest without hearing seams rip, move on to the next!
5. Finally, is it flattering? Again, I don't care who made it - if it fits you but makes you look like a sack of potatoes, it doesn't belong in your closet!