All buttoned up

A good blazer is the grown-up equivalent of the security blanket you had as a little girl. The moment you put one on you feel protected, polished and pulled together.

One blazer, five ways

All buttoned up

A good blazer is the grown-up equivalent of the security blanket you had as a little girl. The moment you put one on you feel protected, polished and pulled together.

The best thing about blazers is that they work in almost any environment and have the ability to instantly change the tone of your outfit to perfectly suit the situation.

Heading to a job interview? A blazer will immediately make you feel more in control, with its strong, sharp shoulders. Stepping out for a hot date? That same blazer can add a tough, not-trying-too-hard edge to your pretty floral dress.

My wardrobe is filled with blazers, many from my days working as a reporter at NBC in New York, where they were my best friend behind the anchor’s desk. These days I wear them with jeans and even cocktail gowns, and I feel just as comfortable in them on weekends as I do on the red carpet.

The secret when it comes to blazers is knowing how to get the most use out of what you have. So let’s take a look at one blazer worn five different ways for five very different (but equally amazing) looks.

The blazer

Our blazer pick: the ZARA blazer with shoulder detailing. Its classic color and clean lines are balanced with just enough added style to jazz up any wardrobe. (Zara, $100)

Art opening: Over a sparkly or slinky dress

Want to make an impression at a cocktail party but don’t want to look like a disco ball (or be self-conscious about consuming even a single canape)? Simply add a sleek blazer to any sparkly or skintight dress to instantly tone down the flashy factor while camouflaging any lumps or bumps caused by that second glass of bubbly. Pair it with a killer pair of spiked stilettos and a sleek clutch and you’ve got a glamorous but sophisticated look worth toasting.

Styling tip: Make sure either your shoes or clutch has a touch of black to unite the look and balance the weight proportions.

Get the look

Forever 21 sequined metallic mini dress, $28; Victoria’s Secret Collection cap-toe pump, $98; ASOS metal bar detail envelope clutch, $32

Sunday fun: With blue jeans

It’s the ultimate in preppy chic: Add a well-cut blazer to your favorite denim jeans for a look that’s relaxed, refined and suitable for anything from brunch with the girls to drinks with the boy. Team your black blazer with a crisp white tee and a chunky buckled belt, then add a long statement necklace, sunglasses and an oversized scarf for extra warmth.

Styling tip: Wear your blazer unbuttoned with sleeves pushed up for a more relaxed feel.

Get the look

GAP favorite short-sleeve white V-Neck tee, $10; GAP 1969 real straight jeans, $70;GAP vintage leather belt, $30; Express floral and snake print infinity scarf, $35;Forever 21 owl stone necklace, $7

Friday night: As a top with evening shorts

Nothing adds class to a pair of short evening shorts faster than a black blazer. The masculine tailoring of a jacket and delicate flirty shorts create an alluring combination, while the modest silhouette of a blazer offers enough coverage and mystery to ensure even the shortest shorts stay on the right side of risqué. Instead of layering it over a blouse, wear the blazer as a top. Try cinching it in at the waist with a medium-width belt and add a black tank top underneath if you need extra coverage. Team it with a cross-body bag (so your hands are free to hold his!) and a feminine pair

Styling tip: Roll sleeves a few inches below your elbow for a universally flattering look. And don’t be afraid of wearing opaque stockings for a little extra warmth (and coverage) on cooler nights.

Get the look

So Low linen shorts, $62; BCBG Max Azria metallic waist belt, $48; Choies orange double arrow postman shoulder bag, $65; Charlotte Russe strappy platform pump, $36

Office chic: Teamed with a maxi skirt

For that special Kate Bosworth boho breed of chic, wear your favorite black blazer over a maxi skirt for a look that’s classic and modern with just enough of a hint of hippie chic. The long flowing lines on the skirt perfectly play up the crisp cropped tailoring of the blazer. Style it with a simple fitted tank, chunky heels and a cuff.

Styling tip: Define your waist with a vintage inspired belt, drawing the eye to the narrowest part of your body.

Get the look

BCBG Max Azria toggle-waist belt, $58; Victoria’s Secret knife-pleat maxi dress, $128; Forever 21 pinched cuff, $7

Anywhere chic: With black skinny pants

This look will see you through almost any occasion with class. Wear your black blazer with a pair of narrow black pants (from black denim to leather to cotton), and add a loose printed top. Finish the look off with a pair of black strappy heels — or even pick up a vibrant hue from the top — and you’ve nailed relaxed chic.

Styling tip: Wear the blazer unbuttoned and feel free to wear it with flats (sandals in summer, ballet flats in winter) for daytime comfort.

Get the look

Eleven Paris tooth print tee in linen, $132; River Island eclectic wow bungee and crystal bracelet pack, $32; ASOS Hollywood heeled sandals, $74; Aqua Denim basic skinny, $68; ZARA ballerina with ankle strap, $90

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