With his go-to outfit being a sweater vest and high-waist trousers, Harry Styles seems to enjoy dressing as if he were an aging French Resistance hero turned kindly grandmother. The singer added something different last week, while performing on the Today show. Along with eggplant-colored pants, a denim shirt, and polka-dot tie, Styles slipped on an oversized salmon blazer.
A generous, but dated, interpretation of the sports coat could say it’s reminiscent of Don Johnson in Miami Vice. It also looks like something my former high school chemistry teacher who took too much acid in the ’70s would wear. Others might see it as a gateway coat to the gargantuan one that famously adorned David Byrne in Stop Making Sense.
However you choose to see it, chances are you’ve spotted a lot of those blazers recently. More than a few celebrities cannot resist the charms of a big, throw-it-on-and-go blazer. After all, in a Fashion Month plagued with fears of contagion, what better way to quarantine yourself than through a hearty layer of wool or flannel?
You can find it on Miley Cyrus, who looked very Winona Forever when she slung it on over a black tank top and mom jeans. Kaia Gerber’s habit of running around New York in the look inspired Elle’s journalistic inquiry: “How is Kaia Gerber So Damn Good at Wearing Blazers?” Emily Ratajkowski, who has taken to walking her dog Colombo in a carousel of excellent ensembles, frequently covers herself in toppers so huge they might fit the very large German Shepherd.
Bigness has been a fashion trend for a few years now, revived in part by the Balenciaga head Demna Gvasalia. His roomy, sculptural blazers have become an often-copied status symbol. “Oversize, it’s my territory,” Gvasalia told WWD last year. “I definitely intend to defend what is my design territory.”
True, but all styles get recycled. Gvasalia’s iteration has trickled down to mall staples like Artizia and H&M, but his version borrows from the ’80s. I’m not sure if anyone will wear roomy blazers better than Whitney Houston did, often pairing hers with miniskirts or bedazzled leggings.
An honorable mention should go to Pretty in Pink heartthrob Andrew McCarthy, who looked so adorable that one has to root for his character, even though he is a pretty shitty boyfriend otherwise.
Part of the charm of a boxy sports coat is its inherent preppiness. Throw one over an otherwise casual outfit like a T-shirt and jeans and it’s a way to remind the world, “Oh right, I’m rich.” And since mammoth blazers are too cumbersome to wear with a topcoat, you can only bust them out those few days of the year that it’s 50 degrees and sunny.
A little impractical? Maybe. But there are already so many people in boring old tailored suit jackets running around the world, especially during primary season. If you want to stand out, make it oversized. You’ll probably feel a little more comfortable with all that extra room, too.