For decades, the blazer has been synonymous with workwear, from the power-shoulder look of the ’80s to the oversized, menswear-inspired silhouettes of the last few years. The pandemic has forced the blazer to be removed from the office, and the staple of workwear has been transformed. At least that’s the memo coming from Fashion Month’s fall 2021 and spring 2022 runways. From deep, plunging necklines and no-shirt suits, the blazer has become unabashedly risque and NSFW.

woman in brown blazer and blue denim jeans sitting on white textile

Mugler’s fall 2021 collection featured a taupe blazer that exposed the back and midriff. The brand also paired the blazer with a sheer mini skirt. There was also the May Gucci 100th Anniversary Show, featuring blazers with Gucci or Balenciaga logos over them as well as jackets with plunging necklines, feathered sleeves, and sequins. For the fall 2021 lineup, New York Fashion Week’s most buzzy designer Peter Do ushered in the new era of The Blazer with deep-V necklines and dramatic, feather brooches that seemed more suited for a cocktail party than the conference room, while the spring 2022 collection ditched the buttoned blazer for an open, shirtless option. Fendi’s spring 2022 collection also dropped the button-down shirt and replaced it with a sheer bralette. The Row’s fall 2022 collection recommended that customers wear the blazer in reverse. (I’d be honest, I would also consider other ways to wear a $1,000 jacket, if given the opportunity).

What inspires this style makeover

woman in white dress shirt and black skirt sitting on seat

Designers, like employers, have had to be flexible with the norms in place before the pandemic. No more rigid 9-to-5 job schedules and strict office dress codes. People are now looking for wardrobes that can be worn anywhere, from their home desk to a dinner with friends or to a night out. Even though recent office dress codes may be more accepting of logos and feathers, it is hard to imagine that corporate America would embrace these “riskier” workwear styles. The question then becomes: Where will you wear these new blazers? Designers offered some tips. LaPointe’s spring 2022 collection was shown in New York City at a makeshift store-front-turned-rave venue, complete with neon lights and a DJ set. The party scene included trousers with a feather trim and harnesses worn over neon blazers. Gucci’s fall 2021 release was accompanied by a video that showed blazer-clad outfits on the runway hidden inside a club. Meanwhile, Peter Do’s NYFW debut suggested that blazers are best worn by a seaside setting.

It’s comforting to know that a friend, the blazer, will always be there for you, no matter how different it may look. We all know that we are all affected by a pandemic after spending 18 months living with it.

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