Boyfriend, we still love you
Yes, readers, we are all still deeply infatuated with the boyfriend. The boyfriend jacket, that is, also known as the blazer and occasionally as a tuxedo when it has a roll collar in place of revers. Last year, it was the hottest jacket shape on and off the catwalk, and this year the boyfriend is still strutting its stuff in the high street and all the leading stores.
There is some mild competition from the Chanel-esque, edge-to-edge jacket, the summer-weight biker jacket and the fresh, kimono-esque collarless, wrap jacket with its bow-tying fabric belt, as seen on the 2010 runway at YSL and on the high street this season at H&M, Banana Republic and Zara. But there is little doubt that the boyfriend will triumph because he - sorry, it, I was getting carried awaywith the metaphor - is so versatile, working perfectly over a dress, skirt or tailored trousers for work, and over jeans, shorts or a maxi dress at weekends.
Nothing, of course, stays the same from one season to the next on Planet Fashion and there are some subtle (and not-so-subtle) changes which differentiate this year's blazer from 2010's.
Many are oversized and slouchy, with a distinctly 1980s feel, while others are skinny and shrunken, sometimes nipping in sharply at the waist, often done in jersey or other stretchy fabric, at River Island and by Alexander Wang in his diffusion T collection at Browns. Other mutations include the deconstructed boyfriend which has had its arms lopped off. Feeding into the 70s vibe, the sleeveless blazer can be worn with bare arms or - more likely in this climate - over long sleeves, teamed with a mid-calf skirt or wide-leg trousers.
Another new twist is a stand-up collar, done in a sassy stripe at Banana Republic and in quintessentially Jil Sander neutrals and a smudgy green in her new +J collection for Uniqlo.
If you want a more classic version, Reiss has a sublime crop, in double- and single-breasted versions, in ultra-flattering neutrals. M&S has unexpectedly stylish ones, too, including a striped baby and a contrast-edge version in grey. At Fenwick W1, the blazers for spring are in softer, more relaxed shapes, including a navy, long-line, silky one from Paul Smith Black label, at £419, and a long-line one in cream or slate from Pyrus at £129.
Fenwick Brent Cross is also boyfriend heaven, with a double breasted cream cotton with gold buttons from Sonia by Sonia Rykiel at £285 and a navy, double-breasted version from MaxMara Weekend at £185. Matches has a pretty, classic blazer in sky blue by Stella McCartney, as well as an oversized white one by Haute Hippie. All the blazer shapes - classic, shrunken, sleeveless, oversized - are available across the price spectrum, from terrifying to barely-into-double figures. Before buying, it is worth considering whether you want your boyfriend jacket/blazer to have wardrobe longevity or are happy for it to be a one-season wonder.
If the former, invest in a beautiful, classic one at the top of your budget. If you treat it well, and have it dry-cleaned before storing, it can re-emerge years later (I have Nicole Farhi and Joseph ones from the 80s) looking remarkably on-trend again.
If you choose the latter route, buy your oversized, shrunken or sleeveless blazer on the high street, love it for a season and then dump it.