Chanel Jacket and Menswear?

I recently bought a fun Chanel inspired jacket at this adorable little shop called The Pink Valise in Thomasville, GA.. I love shopping in Thomasville (but I'll save all those details for another post)!

By jacket.. I mean The Chanel Jacket.. you've seen it on movie stars, princesses, first ladies, and humble style bloggers- like me (only I'm in the knock-off). So what's the story behind this lovely piece of fashion iconery?

Below is an upclose picture of the fabric and trim of my jacket and the book "The Gospel According to Coco Chanel", it is part biography part study of Chanel's cultural influence on the 20th century.

The jacket dates to 1954 when Coco Chanel herself designed the piece. At that time jackets for ladies were typically tight around the waist, or "wasp waisted". Obviously, this would not have been very comfortable or movement inducing. When a "wasp waist" was achieved with a corset it could even possibly damage internal organs (yikes!).

So, Coco set out to create a jacket that would give women more ease of movement and she drew her inspiration from menswear. I don't particularly associated the jacket with menswear- I think it of it as "girly", but once I did my realized I could see why this it's "menswear" inspired. The jacket is not fitted through the waist. It usually features front pockets. It often has a clasp at the top and a scoop collar, although there have been variations on the design over the years.

Back in 1954 Chanel was already a powerhouse and the little jacket took off and today enjoys "icon" status. Over the years it has undergone a few changes by a few different designers, such as Karl Lagerfeld. I find it particularly "on point" right now as we are currently experiencing a "menswear" trend. Menswear trends for women have come and gone over the 20th and now 21st centuries (and there is a fascinating history behind the trend). You can even, search "menswear" on for a curated page of menswear looks.

Coco Chanel was more than a designer. She was a major cultural influence of the 20th century- that changed the way women dressed, used cosmetics, and even took care of their skin. You can thank Coco for "the tan" (or not in my case- and every other redhead out there-lol). I really enjoy researching her and I'm sure this isn't the last of my Chanel posts!

My jacket is a piece by Molly Bracken. It's a newer brand dating to 2008. On their website they have a little piece about their history and the name is derived from one of the founder's grandmother; an Irish woman named...... Molly Bracken. My jacket is no longer available- it's last season and I got it on sale (yay for me!). But here are a couple of other similar jackets they have available now.

Veste Coco

Veste Cinetique - this one is really similar to mine


This is a Chanel jacket and matching skirt from the 1960's.