Vintage: How To Find The Almost Chanel Jacket

Finding The Chanel-Esque Vintage Jacket

Though blatant knock-offs that pose as high-end brands should be avoided at all costs, there’s certainly nothing wrong with finding the essence of a particular brand in an exclusive piece of vintage clothing.

So if you too are a huge Chanel fan, but aren’t yet at the point of simply being able to buy yourself a Couture Chanel jacket, you’ll be happy to know that there’s another way. Simply take your Chanel knowledge with you vintage shopping, and follow these general guidelines to finding your perfect Chanel-esque jacket.

The Threads: What to Opt For When Tweed Isn’t An Option

Influenced by her time spent in Scotland as she entertained her love affair with the Duke of Westminster, Coco Chanel fell in love with something else as well: the traditional threads of the Scottish culture.

Tweed is representative of Chanel, and any tweed jacket is certainly reminiscent of the iconic French fashion house. If you can find a tweed jacket, task number one is complete. Just be sure that this particular vintage tweed jacket also follows the rules I’ll continue to describe.

If tweed isn’t an option, your search isn’t over. While avoiding synthetic fabrics that immediately appear cheap, keep in mind that certain polyesters and polyester blends – when selective – can provide the structured look of the Chanel jacket. Keep a particular eye out for wool and wool blends that offer the structured yet restriction-free look coined by Coco herself.

The Fit: Why Unfitted Is More Representative of Chanel

Knowing that the iconic “little black jacket” coined by Coco Chanel came into style in the early 1950s and went against the grain in the women’s fashions at that time – which were typically very feminine with cinched-waists and full skirts – the fit of your Chanel-esque jacket is very important.

To achieve the Chanel look, opt for a jacket that is unfitted. The box style, which is characterized by a straight unfitted, waist-length jacket, is a great option to obtain the Chanel fit, or more appropriately, the Chanel unfit.

The Collar: Going Back to the Basics

Though you’ll certainly be able to find many Chanel jackets that offer a variety of different styles and collars, you should stick with the original and iconic Chanel style to achieve a truly Chanel-esque look.

The collarless Chanel jacket made the 1950s style easy to pair with the “ropes and ropes of pearls” Coco herself insisted every woman should have. So when searching for yours, go back to the basics, and go collarless if possible.

The Color: Goodbye to The Primaries and Pastels, Hello to the Shades

Maintain the same principal of the basics when choosing the color for your Chanel look-a-like. Avoid primary colors and all pastels – although I know they’re totally in style and perhaps hard to avoid – and instead opt for white, black, or grey.

White and black are the iconic Chanel colors, even though Karl introduced his retro 80s rendition of the little black jacket in many bright colors when he took over.

Let’s ignore Karl for now, and stick to Coco’s basics: opt for black, white, or grey – or perhaps the demure combination of black and white.

The Details: Is Less More?

When it comes to the fine details of your Chanel-esque jacket hunt, you might be beginning to wonder: are more details better or worse?

Though the Chanel jacket offers many fine details, even upon its first introduction to women’s fashion in the early 50s, sometimes less is more when we’re unable to rely on the expertise of the maison de couture.

When vintage shopping with unknown names, searching for the braid detailing, front pockets, and large buttons reminiscent of the original Chanel jacket might just put us behind. More details can easily equal more room for mistakes, so instead stay safe, and go for a simple, basic look.

As you make your list of vintage stores to visit, the best way you can prepare for your Chanel-esque jacket hunt is to follow these simple rules, and continually remind yourself of two things:

One, stick with the Chanel basics and two, the simpler the design, the better.