I'm a big advocate of re-inventing your wardrobe, whether it's just mix-and-matching your outfits, altering your outfits, or just changing a look so that it looks different to the original.
I thought I'd do a short series of posts about re-inventing your wardrobe - where instead of buying a whole new wardrobe, you just use what you have and make it look different and more in line with current trends.
(Although a quick side note to say that not all of these may work for some people, and I understand that not everyone has as many jackets as I found in my wardrobe!)
1. Wear a jacket with a jumpsuit.
I've posted before about experimenting with a jacket on top of a jumpsuit, and I loved the results. This was a simple embroidered jacket from one of my Eid outfits that I wore with a jumpsuit from the high street. I know the trend is also to wear wider-legged jumpsuits for a looser, flowier look, but I wanted to try the jacket with the one I had, and loved it.
I've had a really good response from a lot of readers about this outfit, with several people saying they wanted to try this - it's ideal for a night out as well as an Asian event, and it's also more of a fusion look. While it's not completely modest (the jumpsuit I had was quite fitted), it can be made to look modest and for a first attempt, I was quite happy with the style.
2. Add a jacket to a maxi dress or an abaya.
I know that maxi dresses and abayas are not the same thing, especially as maxi dresses tend to be more fitted and fashionable, whereas the primary purpose of an abaya is to hide the shape of the body. Nevertheless, they both are maxi length and come to your ankles (or longer), and adding a jacket is a great way to dress up both.
I don't wear an abaya but my eldest sister does, and she has worn embellished, loose jackets to dress up her abayahs for weddings or functions. I love the idea of a dressed-up maxi or abayah, particularly where it doesn't have to be a heavy jacket - one of my favourite looks has been a brocade, metallic jacket with a plain dress.
This jacket came from the outfit I wore to my sister's wedding, which was a little looser at that time! The maxi dress itself is a simple cheap one from an unbranded company (one of those random shops you find on the high street) and comes in various colours and styles, which I thought went with the jacket quite well in terms of colour and shape. I really like how modest this outfit was, and the flow of the dress with the jacket, which felt really swishy and girly one. I could have dressed the outfit up more with jewellery, like a long necklace or hijab jewellery, but I thought the jacket itself was heavy enough!
3. Add a jacket to a normal kameez and churidar or trousers.
It sounds obvious really, but it's a pretty way of layering without looking weird. It's difficult to layer Asian outfits the way we can with Western ones - where we can add a cardigan to a short sleeve top or dress, it's not always as chic with Asian outfits. This jacket came from another suit, which I wore with the outfit from my sister's mehndi - I haven't had a chance to wear either suits for a while, so I loved the fact that I could pull these out again!
I thought this outfit looked really girly and cute, it's really ideal for a mehndi function or even to wear to a dawat/dinner, without feeling overly heavy. Although there is a lot of corals in this outfit, I tried to tone it a little with maroon accents and nudes. The jacket really slimmed down my figure and gave it a longer look, and I liked the fact that this had a shorter hemline, which meant I could wear it with shorter kurtas to fit in line with current Pakistani fashion trends.
4. You can even add it to an anarkali outfit.
Rather than having a slim-line effect like the above, having an anarkali dress with a jacket gives more of an A-Line look. This might not be to everyone's tastes, but again, it's a new way to wear an an old outfit.
I chose this RDC indigo anarkali dress to wear with a jacket of a very similar colour I found in my wardrobe. I liked this look, but it wasn't my favourite, mainly because I thought the jacket was heavy and felt too much over a heavy anarkali. Having said that, the jacket blended perfectly with the dress and added to the flowy style, and emphasised the A-Line look. I would have liked to try this jacket with a simpler dress underneath, or even another colour to see how it varied, but I think it didn't look bad as it is below and it looked quite classic.
5. For a heavier, dressier look you could add it it a lengha and top.
I'm not sure this is something which wouldn't look too heavily layered, but I gave this one a shot anyway. I was going to try this with my mehndi skirt, which has a print to it and was a lot heavier, but I couldn't find anything that matched it enough for me to be happy with.
So I tried this instead, this hot pink jacket from a Gul Mohar outfit, with a plain silk maxi skirt (which is actually from Zara, of all places!) and a short kameez. The kameez itself was altered from a longer pink slip kameez which I got cut and shorted, for the lengha-choli look. Because the outfit was quite blocky, I wore my bridal jewellery with it, which looked perfect on top, with a printed pink and gold hijab scarf to finish off the look.
I loved this outfit, it's simple but embellished enough for a outfit for a wedding (I'm actually considering this for a family wedding next month!). I haven't worn a choli-style short kameez like this in years - probably not since I was a young teen, so it felt weird having this on, but the jacket made the whole look really wearable, and also modified enough to feel modest. I've love to try this look with other skirts/tops to see if it looks as nice, but I was quite happy with this look, and it was my favourite out of all the ones in this post.
All of these styles were using outfits I already had, I didn't buy anything new and simply mixed and matched (or in the case of the last one, did some slight alterations to a silk kameez!) You will be amazed by what you may find in your wardrobe - I know some of you may think that there's not much to work with, but believe me, there is!
I have a few more posts coming up to show how to mix-and-match pieces and re-invent styles, and I've even found a few more jackets since doing this post. I didn't get the opportunity to try shorter jackets, or even Western jackets from the high street for a more funky, modern look, but I'm sure I'll give it a shot!
What did you think of these outfits? Would you try wearing a jacket on top for a new look?