This lightweight cotton jacket appeared on the Topman sale rack for under $50. We loved the unusual two-tone shawl collar detail that made it an interesting variant on the standard safari jacket form, but were less enthusiastic about the rather loud and cheap-looking bright white buttons. Worse yet, when our wannabe model here put it on, it was revealed to be a pretty shapeless box. This is where knowing what can and can't be easily altered comes in handy. The jacket fit across the shoulders, and the sleeves were close enough for a casual item, so we made three simple changes.
1. Replace the buttons — A trip to the local fabric store yielded a set of perfectly acceptable mottled brown buttons. We got all we needed, plus a couple of spares, for a total of $6. Anyone—yes, even you—can learn to swap out buttons on a garment.
2. Get it tailored — This jacket is unlined, which made things particularly easy for our local tailor. She opened up the two side seams and restitched them in a more flattering, fitted shape, sculpting the boxy sides into a proper waist. Total cost: $40.
3. Make it yours — The high top button closure seemed to add to the boxiness of the jacket, so we hit the lapels with a bit of steam. With the factory crease gone, the lapels could gently roll to the middle button, producing a more relaxed look.
The final result is a great light jacket that thanks to some simple modifications is also completely unique, at a total cost of under $100. Cheap and exclusive works for us.