Borrowed from the boys – Zara navy wool blazer + Manolo bows

navy wool blazer2
Zara boys jacket sz 11-12 (altered), thrifted skirt, DIY pocket square from Nick
Manolo Blahnik pumps (similar), Talbots navy tights (similar), H&M; scarf + gloves

When shopping, I tend to poke around in the girls department, but rarely if ever venture into the boys. Little girls’ stuff is already iffy-proportioned for grown women, so I imagine boys clothing to be even further “off.” Not to mention the effort of having to fabricate a “nephew” or “brother” that you’re shopping for when clingy sales associates keep asking questions. However, after Kelly’s post on shopping for boys blazers and her success with getting one tailored beautifully (see before and after), my eyes were opened up to this world of little jackets with slightly longer lengths and chest slots for fun pocket squares.

Coach court bag (current year’s version) and vintage earrings (similar on eBay)
navy wool blazer

It would only make sense that I was with the boys blazermaster herself when I came across this heavier one (marketed as a jacket) in Zara’s boys department. It had endured rounds upon rounds of markdowns, and was 75% off at $20. I was skeptical about the wool blend quality but Kelly wasted no time in grabbing a firm fistful of the material. She released it after a few moments, and commented on how the negligible creasing left behind indicated that it was fair quality for wool.

I tried on size 11-12 and really liked the warmth, the classic true navy color, the fit of the shoulders, and the casual longer length (perfect for wearing with skinny bottoms or mini skirts). However, the torso and sleeves needed to be re-shaped for a woman’s figure. Work has had me so pressed for free time that I didn’t want to add to the now daunting alterations pile (and had little faith in my DIY skills) …but eventually gave in to the encouragement of my trusty shopping companions (had the pleasure of Wendy visiting too!).

After further evaluation in front of my mirror at home, I decided to:
1) Slim sleeves slightly (couldn’t slim too much because I wasn’t changing the armholes)
2) Shorten sleeves slightly
3) Take-in along the back seams to add shape to the torso

I followed the steps in this old tutorial for alterations 1 & 2, and did the following for 3:
navy wool blazer5
Using fabric chalk, I marked where I would like the torso of this blazer to taper in the most (around my lower waist). I then opened up the lining of the blazer and transferred my markings to the inside of the wool material.
navy wool blazer6 I drew out the new seams with chalk, keeping them smoothly curved and nipping in the most where I had marked the lower waistline. I made sure not to nip in too much to keep consistent with the “casual” style, but just enough so that it’d be evident there’s a female under the garment. Please note; the photo below shows markings on the exterior of the jacket for demonstrative purposes only – the chalk markings and stitches are taking place on the inside of the jacket, behind the lining:
navy wool blazer4

End result – boxy cut replaced by gentle curvature: 

navy wool blazer1

And to balance out the boyishness of this jacket, I added a dose of big bows for good measure.

navy wool blazer3

Readers – Have you ever shopped in the boys or mens department? I’d love to hear about your finds and experiences!

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  1. Louise Johnson wrote:

    When my favorite sports teams win championships (SF Giants and Warriors) I have had much better luck in buying youth XL tees than the old Adult M. They are less boxy and are shorter besides having smaller sleeves. On top of all that, they are less expensive!

    Posted 4.9.21 Reply
  2. Hi Jean!

    I'm trying to do a similar alteration on a blazer from Forever 21 (which I got for four dollars, go me!), but I can't quite figure out how you did the sleeves…Did you just turn them inside out and and then cut the lining and resew like you did on the torso?

    Thank you!

    Posted 4.7.13 Reply
  3. I love shopping in the kids department from time to time. Sometimes it even fits me better than women's! Although my husband teases me I'm sure he's not too displeased when it is about 20-30% cheaper.


    Posted 3.20.13 Reply
  4. Great outfit!!!Amazing!

    Posted 3.15.13 Reply
  5. Love the coach bag! I've been collecting vintage coach for a couple years now! I'm very specific though when I'm searching for them. I love quality and make sure that the vintage coach are "Made in the USA"….they tend to be better made and longer lasting.

    OC style blogger

    Posted 3.14.13 Reply
  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    Posted 3.14.13 Reply
  7. i love this! i totally have ventured into the little boys section, but i imagine tailoring would give much better results.
    love the bow heels!

    Posted 3.12.13 Reply
  8. Noelani wrote:

    Jean, you make winter in Boston look easy. I broke out the same scarf last weekend, resulting in a bizarre layering effect/outfit/disaster that shall never make it on the site. I am so tired of pants, I attempted to go euro with a dress over jeans. Less edgy, more frumpy;) Dressing for two, not as easy as it seems. XOXO

    Posted 3.11.13 Reply
  9. The leather gloves not only kept you warm but also added such a cute touch to the outfit. Too bad gloves are hardly ever necessary in Sydney 🙁

    Posted 3.11.13 Reply
  10. Kholá wrote:

    I love your color choices in this post. So well put together! Glad to see a fellow petite's fab style choices!

    Posted 3.7.13 Reply
  11. Manon wrote:

    Just for the fun of it, I think I'll try out childrens' sizes.
    Though they will probably come halfway up my torso…


    Posted 3.7.13 Reply
  12. Tina wrote:

    Random question, how long does it take for ASOS shipments to get to you, usually? The tracking info they sent isn't updating and I'm only an hour's drive from the site of origin so I'm hoping only a few days instead of the 6 on the website! Thanks!

    Posted 3.6.13 Reply
  13. tasha wrote:

    I actually shop the little kids department all the time. Great selection and a lot cheaper than per say the adult version. When it comes to gap I get a kids 14 or XXL. Fits like getting a xs or small. The blazer looks great on you.

    Posted 3.6.13 Reply
  14. Anonymous wrote:


    Posted 3.6.13 Reply
  15. Hi Jean! The blazer is super cute on you! A question about the DIY back seam alterations: did you rip out the old seam and press the new seam open, or did you leave the old seam there?

    Posted 3.6.13 Reply
  16. Anonymous wrote:

    Oooh! I ordered those exact same Manolo bow pumps a couple months ago, but they sadly didn't fit, and they were out of the size I needed. They are so gorgeous!
    -Ashley (formerly diary of a shopper 🙂

    Posted 3.6.13 Reply
  17. You always look so classy! Love that bag. Hoping to score one myself 😉


    Posted 3.5.13 Reply
  18. I have taken shoulder pads out of wider-shouldered blazers before, and it left me with the exact problem you mention of having just empty space at the shoulders and then the top of the sleeves do not hang right. I ended up trying to put them back in and stitching the blazer back up. So based on my experience, taking out the pads is unfortunately not a solution for too-wide shoulders. It's a toughie, but I think alterations are the only real solution and unfortunately those can be costly!

    Posted 3.5.13 Reply
  19. Haha, thank you for your considerate comment : ) I'm not sure if I am seeing what you're pointing out, but please let me know if I'm missing something glaring! I had cropped out the crotch/tush area which was a bit further to the right of the photo, so rest assured what you may be seeing is merely thighs and not something indecent.

    Posted 3.5.13 Reply
  20. Looking forward to this side "perk" when I have kids as well!

    Posted 3.5.13 Reply
  21. Kelly of Alterations Needed is quite a bit smaller than me as well and she has fared well with boys' clothing after finding a trusty tailor. Good luck!

    Posted 3.5.13 Reply

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