The structured jacket trend is one of my favorites right now. It’s a perfect completer piece, and a closet essential that every woman should own. Don’t confuse them with blazers — these jackets don’t have lapels, and they’re usually a little more cropped and boxy than a standard blazer.

I’ve seen them in all shapes and sizes, some patterned, some basic, some tweed, and they’re all amazing. BUT, they need to be styled properly to insure that you don’t walk out of the house looking like Professor Umbridge (especially if your jacket is tweed!)

photos by sara walk
1. Stay away from matchy-matchy. This is a sure way to get you into Umbridge territory. Also, it will give the feeling of a pant suit, which can look dated. So if you’re jacket is red, like mine, stay away from red bottoms (or any hue close to red). If your jacket is gray, be careful with black, gray, or white bottoms. You get the idea.
2. Add some contrast. I threw on some distressed jeans to create some good contrast against the structure and maturity of the jacket. They offset each other nicely to create an outfit that isn’t too structured or too casual. 
3. Add a touch of playfulness. Another way to add contrast, similar to the distressed jeans, is to add a playful piece, like a graphic tee, a baseball cap, or some tennis shoes.
4. Create balance in your outfit with nicer accessories. If your outfit is entirely casual, but you’ve thrown a nice structured jacket on, the jacket will look out of place and your outfit won’t have balance. Add some nice, sparkly jewelry, or a pair of heels to strike the perfect balance between dressy and casual. 
(and if you’re looking for a few good jacket options, I shared a few of my favorite structured jackets over on Babble)
jacket: c/o lulu*s
tee: made by me (tutorial here)
jeans: gap
heels: rock and republic (similar)
ray-bans: c/o sunglasses shop (similar)
bracelets: c/o the shine project (10% off with code ‘merricksart10’)