Using her family’s closet as a perennial influence, Fanny Van de Wijngaert, founder of London-based YOMI, dreamed up a thoughtful collection around a classic wardrobe staple.

Mixing Up Power Dressing: How to Wear a Cropped Blazer

Using her family’s closet as a perennial influence, Fanny Van de Wijngaert, founder of London-based YOMI, dreamed up a thoughtful collection around a classic wardrobe staple.
September 16, 2023
article by Mari Alexander/

photography by Mari Alexander

If you’ve ever rifled through your mother’s closet as a kid, you’re probably familiar with the feeling a blazer would evoke.

Fastidiously tailored, sleek, and nipped at the waist, blazers defined adult dressing – perhaps more so than any other wardrobe workhorse. For me, it meant being a grown-up. Wearing a well-fitted blazer meant you were nonchalant, self-possessed, gracefully competent. It required a different kind of courage than, say, slipping into a dress or a t-shirt. It projected fearlessness. You couldn’t fake your age into a blazer, no. You had to earn it by waiting your turn.

I know I’m not alone in recognizing this fabric of memory when it comes to the sartorial world and connecting it with a parent or perhaps even a grandparent. Case in point: In journeying through her mother’s and grandmother’s closets, YOMI’s designer Fanny Van de Wijngaert found inspiration in this tried-and-tested uniform. “Growing up, I remember my mother wearing blazers so often,” Fanny told me in an email interview. “She gave me so many of hers when I was younger that the majority of my blazer wardrobe was made of hers. It almost felt like her uniform, her second skin.”

After several years of dabbling in law, the idea of pivoting into a fashion career began tugging at her arm. She made a leap; she left law, soaked up what she could about the industry, and then turned her dream job into reality. Along with her husband Dimitri, she launched her brand in her hometown of Brussels, Belgium, later moving to London, where they now spearhead YOMI’s operations. Focusing on the “mystère féminin,” she unapologetically zeroed in on the suit – and little else. “I knew this is where I would begin,” she wrote. “They have always been in my life.”

On the rightThis dainty bow necklace softens the power blazer's more angular silhouette.

Her debut collection, titled “Now That Nobody Is Watching,” is composed of 12 statement blazers rendered and reimagined through her own lens. Boasting sharp, broadened shoulders, each piece has a surprisingly mod feel, despite the oversized, borrowed-from-the-’80s silhouettes. This is especially evident in this cropped, powder-blue number I styled for this look. The hearty-yet-silky wool feels luxurious beneath my fingers. Wide-peaked lapels and emphasized proportions lend it a distinctly upscale feel. Sartorially speaking, it’s an immediate confidence booster, just like little me had imagined.

What’s more, gold-and-pearlescent diamond shaped buttons, borrowed from Fanny’s grandmother’s earrings, heighten the drama. “They hold a strong emotional narrative to me, being so closely tied to my grandmother’s personal jewelry collection, which I have seen her wear and that I am wearing myself today,” she told me. This design element has become central to Fanny’s work, and oftentimes, it’s the starting point upon which she builds her blazers. The buttons determine cut, color, and overall mood, lending each piece its own distinct character.

It feels purposeful.

Adding an element of playfulness to the look, I paired YOMI’s blazer with this necklace by Frou York helmed by designer Jes Miller. When the pandemic raged in New York, Jes decided to play around with designing her own pieces, turning her decade-deep experience in the industry into new beginnings. Her pieces are often embellished with ribbons and bows, exuding a DIY sensibility that’s infinitely cool, lighthearted, and youthful. It’s the must-have bijoux of the season!

To complement this artsy aesthetic and balance out the blazer’s polished feel, I paired the blazer with these biker leggings by Avavav. The Florence-based, sustainable-minded brand has been dreaming up some fantastically quirky designs (hello, chicken-feet boots!), and I’ve been endlessly intrigued by the way creative director Beate Karlsson has been harnessing the runway and creating some highly imaginative (and ridiculous), viral moments.

But back to this outfit. Staud’s moon bag and Angelo Figus’ pointed-toe mules finish off the look, yo-yoing it back to structure and conformity. All in all, it’s a cool blend of artiness and professionalism, and it bridges the two impulses nicely. Want to recreate the look? Find out where to shop each item in this outfit by clicking on the pieces below.