How to Get Jackie Kennedy’s Pink Chanel Suit without Burning through your Credit Card
A Chanel-Inspired DIY Project
When it comes to stunning, high-end women’s suits – the Chanel brand is iconic. Coco Chanel first introduced her idea for a women’s suit in 1925, and over time her suits became a staple in the fashion industry.
Unfortunately, getting your hands on an authentic Chanel suit might drain your wallet. So, if you can’t afford a real Chanel suit, but still want that classic two-piece set, you can flex your DIY skills a bit and make your own Chanel-inspired suit.
Jackie Kennedy’s Pink Chanel Suit
The suit we’re going to be talking about recreating today is an iconic piece, ingrained in U.S. history: Jackie Kennedy’s Pink Chanel Suit.
This suit is a light pink set made from textured boucle fabric. It included a basic skirt with a short, double-breasted jacket with navy lapels and a double row of gold-centered buttons.
While Jackie Kennedy had worn this particular suit several times before, it really became famous when she wore it on the fateful day of November 22, 1963, when her husband, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. With her husband’s blood splashed across the fabric, Jackie decided not to clean the blood from the suit, and it has become a symbol of her strength during unthinkable tragedy.
How to Create a Chanel-Inspired Suit
There are two methods you could use to recreate Jackie Kennedy’s iconic pink Chanel suit. The easier method would be to start with a similar suit and alter it to get it as close to the original as possible. The second method would be sewing your own lookalike suit – this is much more time consuming and requires more skill, but you have more ability to customize the suit, so can get a more similar result.
How to Create a Chanel-Inspired Suit from a Thrifted Suit
Let’s start with the easier method. If you don’t have much experience with sewing, or just don’t want to spend weeks sewing one suit, this is the section for you!
Find a suit as a base for your Chanel-inspired DIY
First, find a suit in a similar fabric and color. If you can get one with a silhouette like the original, even better, but the sizing and tailoring can be altered, while the fabric cannot be. So, if in doubt, go with the better color and fabric texture match!
To find your suit, first check out all your local thrift stores. This suit is a unique color, so you may have to go back to the thrift shops periodically for a while until you’re able to find something that will work.
If the thrift shops just really aren’t coming through for you, it’s time to start looking online! You can check online secondhand clothing stores like thredUP or Depop. You can also check sites like Etsy and Ebay, they often have a great selection of vintage and thrifted items.
Alter your suit to get the right silhouette
Once you’ve found the suit with the perfect fabric in that gorgeous strawberry pink – it’s time to make it look more like Jackie Kennedy’s pink Chanel suit.
First, print out a couple pictures of the original suit from a few different angles so that you can compare the fit of your suit to Jackie Kennedy’s suit. As you compare, make a list of the items that need adjusted. For example, does the suit jacket need shortened? Maybe the skirt needs some volume taken out? Whatever it is, make a list – but remember to keep it achievable with your skill level. If you’re not very experienced with sewing, try to stick with simple alterations.
Add the Chanel-inspired buttons
Finally, you can’t have your Chanel-inspired pink suit without some fancy lookalike buttons! Remove the existing buttons from the suit with a seam ripper or thread snips. Next, sew on some Chanel-inspired buttons to the same locations you just removed the old ones from.
How to Sew a Chanel Inspired Suit
If you want to get a more similar look to the original pink Chanel suit, the best option is to sew the suit yourself. If you’ve never made a suit before, this may sound overwhelming – and I have to admit, sewing a suit is technical and time-consuming. However, if you take it slow and complete each step carefully, it is achievable, even for an intermediate (or very advanced beginner) sewer.
Sewing patterns to make a Chanel-inspired suit
First, you’ll have to choose a sewing pattern. Try to choose one that is as similar as possible to the original, but remember that since you’re sewing it yourself, you can alter the fit and style of the pattern before sewing. You may need to find a vintage pattern to get a similar style of suit set, or you could choose one pattern for the jacket and another for the skirt.
Fabrics to make a Chanel-inspired suit
You’ll also need to find a similar fabric to create your suit (and don’t forget to also purchase a lining fabric and interfacing).
Here are a few great fabric options to get you started in your fabric-hunt:
Sew your Chanel-inspired suit (and don’t forget the buttons!)
Finally, sew up your beautiful Chanel-inspired pink suit! Take it slow, savor the process, and of course, don’t forget the buttons!
Real Chanel Buttons vs Fake Chanel Buttons vs Chanel-Inspired Buttons
We’ve got one more thing we need to discuss before you go out and create your wonderfully iconic Chanel-inspired pink suit – let’s talk buttons.
It’s important to remember that the buttons we sell are Chanel-inspired, not real Chanel, and not fake Chanel. If you’re looking to use authentic Chanel buttons on your suit, keep in mind that you will be paying for it! Coco Chanel never made buttons to sell individually, all of her buttons were made specifically for the garments she sold in her fashion line. So, authentic buttons are rare (and expensive) since they were all removed from real Chanel garments to be resold.