For many men, a blazer is kept in the back of the wardrobe, only to be dusted off and used as your go-to outfit for formal occasions.
Don’t be fooled though — a blazer is actually one of the most adaptable pieces of clothing you can own. Whether you’re uplifting a casual outfit with a flair of style or dressing down a smart ensemble for a more relaxed-yet-refined look, the humble blazer is the key to almost any attire.
So where do you start?
In this guide, we’ve put together everything you need to know about styling a blazer. Learn about materials, colour options and which blazers will integrate effortlessly with your current wardrobe.
What is a blazer?
In simple terms, a blazer is a stand-alone suit jacket. Rather than being accompanied by a matching pair of trousers, a blazer can be mixed and matched with a huge variety of styles and clothing options. Blazers also tend to be less structured than a traditional suit jacket, making it more suitable for a casual outfit.
The official origins of the blazer is actually a debated topic. Some claim that the jacket was first worn by the boating team of St. John’s College, Cambridge in the 1820s; the term ‘blazer’ referenced the fiery-red colour of their bright sports jackets. Others claim the captain of the HMS Blazer commissioned navy-blue double-breasted jackets for his crew in 1837 to welcome Queen Victoria aboard the ship.
Regardless of whoever is responsible for introducing the world to blazers, the jacket was quickly adopted by men from a variety of backgrounds and has evolved into the style staple you see today.
What types of blazers are there?
While wool may be a little too heavy and warm for summer use, they’re ideal for the cooler months. Wool blazers tend to be styled in a more formal fashion, making them more suited to smart or smart-casual events. The good news is that wool blazers are available in a wide variety of colours, from neutral tones like beige and stone to more daring burgundies and pale blues. You’ll find a wool blazer for every look as long as you’re sensible with your outfit’s colour palette.
Linen blazers are a light and breezy summer favourite. Although usually found in brighter colours to suit warm weather, you can find linen suits in virtually any colour you like. The main appeal of linen blazers is that you won’t overheat in the sun when dressing formally. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to styling, so if you’re most comfortable in a jacket that’s double-breasted or tailored, you can still opt for linen.
Another blazer that’s better suited for autumn and winter, tweed is a great way to keep warm when the temperature drops and will keep you looking smart. Tweed is one of the more versatile styles of blazer available; there are a range of patterns to choose from, including overcheck, striped or herringbone. There are a few colour options too, though most are neutral earthy tones like greens and browns. Despite its favour with the upper class, tweed works very well as a smart-casual piece of clothing — simply throw on a plain t-shirt, a pair of slim jeans and a pair of desert boots.
Whereas most blazers can be adapted to the rest of your outfit, you’re always going to look formal in velvet. It’s a luxurious fabric, so pair it with a plain formal shirt and a sleek tie. If you want to look smart but not as though you’re headed to a dinner party, you can soften the effect with a pair of Chelsea boots and a smart pair of slim black jeans.
WHAT TO WEAR WITH A BLAZER?
Blazer with jeans
Definitely leaning more towards the casual end of smart-casual, a blazer and jeans is a timeless look that’s suitable for almost all non-formal occasions. This look is best worn with a dark blazer like black, navy or dark grey — stay away from bright colours or garish patterns. There are two main avenues you can take with your jeans: blue denim for a classic style, or black for a more contemporary monochrome appeal.
Blazer with chinos
Although not as formal as traditional trousers, chinos still work fantastically when paired with a blazer. They give you the chance to tone down outfits that would otherwise be a bit much. Light-coloured chinos such as beige or even white will compliment almost any shade of blazer and are reserved enough that you can pull off a casual shirt with a bold print as a focal point.
Blazer with a t-shirt
The blazer and t-shirt combo can be seriously stylish — when worn the right way. The most important thing to remember is the fit. Both your blazer and t-shirt should be slim-fitted to complement one another. Your trousers or jeans should also be fitted too — you don’t need to wear skinny jeans, but stay away from anything baggy.
To really pull off this look, stick to block colours for your t-shirt. Black, white, and navy will work a treat.
Blazer with a roll neck
A blazer worn over any knitwear is a winning combination in colder months. A roll neck, however, brings an additional level of sophistication that means you don’t need to dress down just to stay warm. Deep, rich colours like burgundy, forest green, or mustard are a great way to pull together darker outfits. You also can’t go wrong with a black or grey roll neck for a classic, elegant touch.
Blazer with a polo shirt
Like the blazer-tee combo but need something a little smarter? Go for the polo. The simple addition of a collar elevates a polo shirt to create a slightly more sophisticated look while maintaining a laid-back feel. When choosing a colour to complement the rest of your outfit, take the same steps you’d take if you were wearing a shirt. If all else fails, you can’t go wrong with a crisp white or charcoal polo.
What colour blazer to choose?
What to wear with a grey blazer
You’ll find grey to be the most versatile colour when choosing a blazer, as it adds a modern touch to almost every outfit. Layer over a tailored-fit shirt and alongside a smart pair of trousers for a flawless formal look.
What to wear with a navy blazer
With almost as many options as grey, navy blazers also offer a lot of freedom when it comes to wardrobe options. The dark blue tones look very polished and help to tie in more muted colours like beige or grey.
A round-neck t-shirt and a pair of jeans in a medium grey wash match well with a navy blazer and is an effortless way to lift a casual outfit. For smarter situations, you can’t go wrong with a pair of slim-fitting tan trousers and classic brown brogues.
What to wear with a green blazer
The richness of green allows you to create an exceptional outfit of warm, earthy tones.
Stick to an autumnal colour palette, avoiding bright colours like blues and pinks, and you can tailor your look to any occasion. A roll neck jumper and a pair of plain black jeans are the easiest way to put together a smart casual look. Or if you’re attending a formal event, a white dress shirt and a smart pair of boots will allow you to dress for the occasion while retaining a more rustic aesthetic.
What to wear with a tweed blazer
As tweed is available in a range of colours, you have a number of avenues to choose from when putting together an outfit with a tweed blazer. With their connotations of country life and outdoor sports, wearing tweed naturally adds a level of sophistication to an outfit, meaning you’re more likely to lean on tweed for formal occasions.
That’s not today you can’t dress down tweed — quite the contrary. A pair of tan chinos or dark-washed jeans and a casual shirt will take the formal edge off while helping you to still look the part.
Of course, these are just a few combinations you can create with a blazer. There are almost limitless outfit possibilities for you to try, so you can find a jacket that’s just right for every occasion. Whether you love linen or you wish you had wool, browse our full blazer collection at Slater Menswear to find your next wardrobe staple.