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Your Stylist: The right evening jacket to wear with a cocktail dress

November 14, 2011 |  8:00 am

 I see it all the time. Women dressed up, out for a nice dinner at a fancy place or attending a black-tie fundraiser, swaddling their expensive cocktail frocks in a pastel colored pashmina wrap. While this is far from the most serious fashion offense, the look and silhouette just come off as dated and a wrap 108ONE BUTTON TUX JACKET at Express breaks up the lines of a structured dress.

A pashmina is more passable with a long, flowy, boho-chic kind of dress when attending an island wedding or as a layer over a light dress as the sun is setting at the beach. When wearing a cocktail dress, especially in these colder months leading up to the holidays, go for structured, sexy and classic.

Look at how Kate Moss wore a tailored black tux jacket with three-quarter length sleeves over her strapless black velvet dress when arriving at an event (via helicopter). Chances are it was a chilly ride in the chopper and she needed something to keep warm until she hit the red carpet.

229 Talbots Kate Fit Charmeuse jacketThe combo looked chic and unfussy with a touch of masculine tailoring to temper the sexiness of the dress. This formula is pretty much a no fail way to add a practical and stylish layer to an evening ensemble.

A tux style jacket is versatile enough to throw on over a fancy dress, and you can get extra mileage out of it by wearing it with slim black cigarette pants and simple black heels. Traditional black is the best investment as it’s the easiest to wear with a black 150Midnight Velvet Blazer - Topshop USA or dark-colored dress, but I love the idea of this ivory jacket with a black lapel ($108 at Express) to draw a nice contrast and add a bit of drama to an otherwise simple black dress.  

128SEQUIN MOTO JACKET at ExpressFor a pop of holiday color, this emerald green charmeuse fitted blazer is festive and eye catching ($229 at Talbots) This pairs well with black, gold, ivory or even certain shades of smoky gray. Balance out the strong color with bold accessories that might have subtle hits of a similar shade of green.

A velvet tux jacket takes the item further into fancy territory. A midnight blue version ($150 at Topshop) feels rich and a little more unexpected than black. 3280Lanvin - Metallic bouclé jacket

If the tux look is too tailored or buttoned up for your taste, then a cropped jacket with sequins or faux  fur detail also makes sense over a nighttime look. This sequin moto-style jacket ($128 at Express) is a shrunken fit, and it can be left open over a dress (stick with a non-metallic colored dress if wearing a sequined jacket).  Another metallic option, but with a more elegant appeal is this gold jacket from Lanvin ($3,280 at It’s on the pricey side, but can serve as inspiration when combing vintage boutiques for a similar style.

195MICHAEL Michael Kors - Two-tone sequin-embellished jacketAnd the cropped sequin jacket at left by Michael Michael Kors ($195 at strikes a nice balance between all the pieces mentioned here. It’s a great length, it’s not too fitted, not too boxy, plus the smattering of sequins keeps the dressy factor high and the dark hue pairs well with a variety of dresses and prints.

Next time you find yourself shivering while waiting in the valet line after an evening event, ditch the pashmina and go for something that pulls your whole look together and keeps you warm.

Melissa Magsaysay


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Photos: top - Kate Moss arrives by helicopter to the Rimmel & Kate Moss Party to celebrate their 10-year partnership at Battersea Power station on Sept. 15, 2011 in London, England/Dave M. Benett/Getty Images for Rimmel, right - white and black tuxedo jacket from Express/Express, left - green charmeuese blazer from Talbots/Talbots, right - midnight blue velvet tuxedo jacket from Topshop/Topshop, left - gold sequin moto-style jacket from Express/Express, right - metallic jacket from Lanvin/, left - Michael Michael Kors black sequin jacket/