No longer reserved for the English gent or regimented Navy sir, the humble blazer has played a star role in seasons past, since its debut nearly two hundred years ago. And, from the runway to the wardrobe, the blazer’s nostalgic roots only look to deepen this season. But first, get to know the blazer and its many facets. Then, click through the slideshow for the 20 best blazers for men right now.
Blazer Beginner Basics
The blazer traces its roots back to Cambridge University and its Lady Margaret Boat Club row team who, in 1825, created the blazer as a sporty top to row in. Worn in a bright shade for extra speed when competing, the term ‘blazer’ stuck. Not quite a suit, the blazer stood alone as a fashion piece that could be worn outside of the boat too, so many men did.
Today, the blazer’s timeless silhouette, feel and fit means – even in the summer heat – it has its place. Not to be confused with outerwear, the blazer is not a coat. It won’t form the outer layer of a winter look and its fabric weight and slim fit mean its best layered or as a summer cover.
Nor is the blazer simply a matter of splitting a regular suit, grabbing the jacket and doing away with the trousers. The key to blazer style is knowing where it is you’re going and for what purpose it is required. But don’t stress. This piece of sartorial cloth rides well with flexibility. Dressed up, dressed down – any man can roll with the blazer.
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The unstructured blazer is for those gents who are maybe more blue-collar or artsy in profession and don’t have the workplace ‘need’ to be traditional. Or, they prefer a relaxed approach to incredible style. These blazers are designed to mould to the body, are relaxed and boast a less rigid shape.
They still cut sharp on the shoulder and can hug close to the body of the wearer. But, unstructured blazers give a softer, relaxed fit – falling from the shoulder peak fluidly. Stripped bare, the unstructured jacket is just that – unstructured, so the typical inner folds and shapes given to retain a jacket’s shape, are gone.
Casual details maybe be added though: front pockets, exposed seams, lack of lining, multiple buttons and sometimes buttons in contrast colour to the jacket fabric itself. Plus, they are more likely to be made from one piece of cloth, so they are thinner, making them great for winter layering or going solely as a light add-on for summer.
The structured blazer is all about the fit: cut super close to the body while maximising shape, helped out with the padding, linings and the inner jacket mechanics. Richer looking, the structured blazer requires quality fabric and engineering best seen to by a tailor or a reputable suit store.
It will normally carry more defined shoulders, feel luxurious to touch and hug the body to enhance the slim fit. At first glance too, the jacket will appear simpler, elegant, with minimal details and doesn’t discriminate against the lapel: peak, shawl and/or notch.
A sartorial statement, the coloured blazer is perfectly appropriate. From a a wild night out to a Sunday lunch with the relatives and even a summer wedding, look to off-beat colour such as yellow, purple and green. You have two colour filters here: pastel or saturated. The lighter pastel colours look better during the day while darker, saturated tones are better night time blazer options.
Pair with something textural and neutral in colour: grey herringbone trousers for nights and stark white chino shorts for hot days.
Effortlessly European, the white blazer is a summer must-have. Heat reflective and as matchable as black, this Cannes-esque colour goes swimmingly with nautical hues such as blue shirting and gold accessories. Navy pants – cotton chinos in summer or winter pleated flannels for the cooler days. Chuck on some boat shoes – or brown boots, weather depending – and sail away.
The navy blazer is the most versatile of the lot, colour-wise. So go get one, toute de suite, for wear-age any day of the week. Then, invest in a duck-egg or cobalt blue blazer for some further blue options, terrifically tonal when worn with navy chinos.
Dashing for work and corporate events, pair a blue blazer with grey trousers, a white, crisp tee or button shirt and tan brogues.
With the insurgence of prints on outerwear and tailoring at fashion week, now is the time to check yourself with a patterned blazer. Give your look the professor prestige with the windowpane check or opt for tartan for an intellectual punk vibe. Prince of wales check is more demure still, specifically attuned to light grey and acting more like a textural tint than brazen print.
To eschew the novelty look, keep the base colour of the blazer strictly organic toned: that is, cream, brown, grey, green or blue – the colours of the earth and ocean. Then, let the Gatsby vibes take you from the day into the night.
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The summer season is when the linen blazer shines, even more the sun. The lightweight, natural fabric breathes and allows heat to escape from the body. Linen’s tendency to crush means its far better as an off-duty blazer fabric choice. As for colour, light neutrals and pastels are best, helping you keep cool.
The next step up, cotton is also relaxed, breathes well but is more luxurious to touch than linen. Cotton is also a superb yarn to form fabric blends with silk, wool and polyester, adjusting the quality of the fabric (Tip: avoid heavy amounts of polyester).
Take note by reading how much cotton is in your blazer and if a blend, opt for wool – for both seasons. Corduroy is a thick cotton where the yarn is twisted to form rifts. It’s a very English way of dressing and its density makes it a nice winter layering fabric.
Also naturally derived, wool is the classiest way to don a blazer. From merino to mohair, a super luxe blazer will boast the subtlest of sheen in natural light and will hold its form graciously – ideal for the workplace and formal occasions. Tweed and herringbone are both textural fabrics and their ruggedness works nicely for structured blazers and look super warm for winter, too.
But most will be wool-blend fabrics, woven with a cotton for polyamade for more durability and elastane even stretch.