How to Buy a Formal Women's Jacket

Views 3 Likes Comments Comment
Like if this Guide is helpful
How to Buy a Formal Women

A formal women ' s jacket can be worn for a special occasion or to the office. It can be used to complement or dress up an outfit. Formal women's jackets come in a variety of cuts and colours, and finding the right one can seem like a challenge. Know what to look for in order to buy the perfect jacket, starting with matching the garment to the wearer's body shape. Next, choose a fabric and colour suited to an occasion or versatile enough to be worn with a number of outfits. Finally, know how to take measurements for a jacket and how to recognise if it fits properly. Formal women's jackets are available from clothing and department stores and online, from eBay.

Body Shapes for a Formal Women's Jacket

Body shapes are classified according to proportion, not size. The hourglass figure is seen as the ideal because the shoulders and hips are the same width, while the waist is defined. However, the majority of women do not have this figure. Women that are petite and full-figured should take additional care. Petites should choose formal jackets that create a long vertical line to draw the eye up and down the body, without too many details. A nipped waist keeps the wearer looking slim. Choose jackets that sit no lower than below the thighs. The garment should not sit close to the knees as this overwhelms the wearer.

Women with fuller figures should shop according to their body shape, but jackets should fall below the thickest part of their hips and thighs to avoid making the body look wider. The table below lists and describes common body shapes and provides jacket style recommendations for each of them.

Body Shape


Jacket Recommendations


Shoulders and hips are an equal width and the waist is defined

Can be described as top and bottom heavy

Draw focus to the waist with tailored designs

Fabric that drapes

Hem falls below hip bone or past the thighs

Avoid straight lines from the bust to hips because this creates a square effect

Avoid double-breasted and detailed jackets


Fuller hips and thighs

Also known as triangle or bottom heavy

Draw focus to the area above the waist to create balance

Details on top

Cut should accentuate the defined waist

Shoulder pads and breast pockets

Hem falls below the hip bone and past the thickest part of thighs

Avoid cropped jackets and double-breasted designs

Inverted triangle

Wide shoulders and narrow hips

Make shoulders look narrower or hips wider

Hem at hip length or longer with volume to give the illusion of curves

Narrow lapels and collars

Avoid details at the top, including shoulder pads

Avoid double-breasted or close fits


Waist slightly larger than the bust and hips

Bust and hips fairly even in size

Circular shape

Draw focus away from the midsection to the chest and shoulder area

Styles that skim the waist and add curves to the hips, such as the swing jacket

Nipped below the bust, at the smallest part of body

Tailored styles have a slimming effect

Avoid cropped and double-breasted styles


Undefined waist of a similar size to the bust and hips

Create curves above and below the waist

Tailored jackets with a nipped waist or flared hem

Define the waist by experimenting with shoulder, pocket, and button details

Double-breasted styles add bulk to the upper body

Textured or detailed fabrics for more interest

As a rule, choose tailored over boxy styles as fitted clothing generally has a slimming effect. However, avoid jackets that gape and bulge when buttoned.

Colour for a Formal Women's Jacket

The colour of the jacket should suit the occasion. For example, a formal women's jacket for a wedding or to complement a formal dress can match rest of the outfit or contrast with it, and most colours are suitable. However, a jacket for the boardroom may better in black, navy, or grey. Solid neutral colours are more versatile and can generally be worn with more than one outfit. If possible, the wearer should compare the colour chosen to a number of outfits.

Fabric for a Formal Women's Jacket

Some fabrics are more suitable for formal events than for workwear. A sequinned jacket may be perfect for a dance or party, but not for the workplace. Leather and denim are more suitable for casual wear. Fabrics such as cotton, wool, linen, silk, and blends are better suited to formal wear.

Take the temperature into account when choosing a material. Lightweight jackets are perfect for hot weather, but a heavier fabric offers more warmth when it is cooler. Similarly, consider the conditions that the wearer spends most time in while wearing the jacket. In some cases, an additional wrap should be considered. This leaves the wearer warm in cool temperatures and air-conditioned buildings.

Fit for a Formal Women's Jacket

It is important to have the wearer's measurements to hand when shopping for a jacket. Several measurements are required.

Measurements for a Formal Women's Jacket

Measure from shoulder to shoulder in a straight line, from the outer edge of one to the other. Measure the bust by passing a cloth tape measure under the arms and around the fullest part of the bust. Keep the tape level while taking measurements. Measure the natural waist, which is the narrowest part of the torso. Finally, the hip measurement should be taken at the widest part of the hips. This is often below the hip bones. If the jacket cannot be tried on, measure it before buying or ask the seller to do it to ensure a perfect fit. If in doubt, buy a jacket that is slightly larger and have it taken in.

Wearing a Formal Women's Jacket

When wearing the jacket, the shoulder seam should sit on the natural outer edge of the wearer's shoulders. She should be able to move her arms freely; if she cannot, the jacket is too tight. The jacket should be loose enough to wear over another layer of clothing. The sleeves should not pull up above the wrists if the wearer straightens her arms and three quarter-length sleeves should fall between the elbow and wrist. If a long sleeve jacket's sleeves cover the hands, they are too long.

Buying a Formal Women's Jacket on eBay

eBay is the perfect place to shop for formal women's jackets, with a number of sellers offering garments at competitive prices. To find the perfect jacket, type a phrase, such as "velvet women ' s jacket", into the search field, which can be found on every page. Refine your results by choosing the most suitable category and item specifications. For more bargains, visit eBay Deals for your next jacket purchase.

Before Buying on eBay

Before you buy on eBay, learn about the item and the seller by visiting the item listing page. Always read the full item description and get to know the seller. Check his or her feedback information by clicking the number next to the username. High ratings are a good indication that the seller is reliable.


A formal women's jacket is an essential addition to many women's wardrobes. Choose a jacket that flatters the wearer's body shape, drawing the eye away from those parts of her body she would like to conceal. The secret lies in creating balance. Those that are heavier in the bottom half of the body should draw attention to the top, those with hourglass figures should focus attention on the waist, and those that are heavier on top should create the illusion of curves in the bottom half of the body. Choose a jacket colour for a specific occasion or a solid neutral colour for added versatility. Taking the wearer's bust, waist, and hip measurements before buying ensures that the jacket fits properly.

Have something to share, create your own Guide... Write a Guide
Explore more Guides