Shane Watson: Pack up the puffer and shrug on a 'shacket'

How to dress like a grown up with Shane Watson: Pack up the puffer and shrug on a ‘shacket’

  • Shane Watson shares advice for embracing this season’s shacket trend
  • She suggest adding a belt to tip a shacket into smart-casual territory
  • British style expert reveals a selection of High Street stores offering the look 

Shacket — a shirt-jacket hybrid — is one of those fashion words (skort is another one) that makes you want to run screaming in the opposite direction.

Who wants clothing that sounds simultaneously gimmicky and unglamorous? Much better to call it what it is: a lightweight casual jacket, ideal for wearing in spring. It might not be so snappy, but at least it does it justice.

But shacket seems to have stuck, so shacket it is for now, even if the concept is not new. A four-pocket safari jacket is a shacket, and Yves Saint Laurent was doing those in the 1970s. A boxy French worker jacket; a painter’s jacket, with two patch pockets; a belted denim jacket — they’re all shackets.

Women have been wearing unlined, loosely tailored cotton jackets for as long as they’ve been wearing variations on men’s utility clothing. They’re what you call a classic transitional piece, just the thing to wear over a sweater when you put away your winter coat.

Shane Watson takes inspiration from Lily Collins (pictured) for embracing this season’s shacket trend

But the real selling point of the shacket is its all round usefulness, given the way we dress now. The best ones look just as good with jeans and a T‑shirt as they do shrugged over a midi-dress or belted over a thin sweater with trousers and heels.

That’s the difference with this year’s shacket — it’s got all the options covered from weekends, to the new Working From Office (WFO), to going out, and then whatever life throws at us.

You may be thinking: ‘What about a denim jacket?’ But that is more casual than a shacket — and although I might have worn a denim jacket a year ago, now I feel the need for something more grown-up and versatile.

Suede is tempting at this time of year (a Whistles pistachio suede jacket did catch my eye), but that’s a jacket you have to think about: what goes with it, what fits under it, and in summer it’s going to look heavy. The cream of this season’s cotton shackets can just be popped on and over, then off you go.

At the relaxed end of the spectrum is Me+Em’s khaki chore jacket (£195, meandem.com). This is your equivalent of slip-on white trainers — simple and stylish — and the fact it’s cropped makes it perfect to sling over a midi print dress to keep it casual without drowning it. Longer, heavier jackets can take away from the line of a dress and make you look swamped.

SHACKETS: THE RULES

  • Wear a short shacket over a midi dress.
  • A belt tips a shacket into smart-casual territory.
  • Bored of khaki? Try light beige or cream.
  • Stick with thick cotton and faux horn buttons.

Simplicity is the key with a shacket. Avoid lapels, keep the buttons simple but smart (faux horn, ideally) and steer clear of ‘washed’ colours which automatically look scruffy; remember you want to be wearing this to work, and with wafty dresses and skirts.

French label Comptoir des Cotonniers does a dark navy cotton work jacket (£170, comptoirdescotonniers.co.uk). Or, if you’re after something more casual, & Other Stories does a relaxed corduroy shacket in beige (£85, stories.com), which you could wear with a turtle-neck tucked into high-waisted trousers. Slightly Katharine Hepburn.

If you want something more fitted — and I do — Me+Em has another khaki jacket with an adjustable drawcord waist, the minimalist version of a safari jacket. Personally, I prefer to go the full safari — four pockets and epaulettes — like Baukjen’s (£169, baukjen.com), which also has a concealed drawstring waist.

Even better, because it has the potential to be smarter, I’d go for one with a tie belt, like Samsoe’s utility jacket in stone (£160, samsoe.com). Pale colours look fresher than khaki at the moment and will lift a pair of denim jeans into something distinctly spring 2021.

Also a tie belt elevates a shacket into office-appropriate territory, especially if you wear it with smart trousers.

Alternatively, & Other Stories has a long belted safari jacket with horn buttons in biscuit (£165, stories.com). But it is recycled wool, so it won’t be seeing you through the summer. And a shacket, let’s be clear, should serve you faithfully, give or take downpours, from now until October.

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