On the subject of the blue blazer, a wise man once said "Aside from manual labour, it's hard to think of an activity for which one of these is inappropriate". Today we'll be looking at this style-critical matter in forensic detail and deconstructing some expert stances. Think of it as Menswear 101.
First, a short primer.
If you want a grown-up, flexible wardrobe that will enable you to look well put-together in a variety of situations, a blue blazer should be at the very top of your acquisition list. So you need one. In fact you need two:
- A sharp, structured number for formal and business occasions
- A more casual unstructured alternative that's easy to wear every day.
Structure refers to how the jacket is fabricated. Structured jackets contain a canvas, shoulder padding and other elements which define their shape. The Blake Blue Textured blazer is highly structured which gives it a very smart but quite traditional look. By contrast the Blake Dark Camo is completely unstructured - it has shape but that shape isn't supported by any internal elements so the fit is inherently softer and less formal.
The most interesting looks are usually created by contrasting a structured blazer with more casual fabrics and vice versa. It's a relatively easy thing to do but needs to be executed with an eye for detail. Get the combination right and you have the holy grail of menswear - simple and masculine but with enough flair to make you stand out.
Let's break it down:
If you're going to team a blazer/shirt/tie combo with jeans you need to avoid looking like you've had your top and bottom half cut and pasted together. The secret to this is ensuring that the silhouette of the jacket and trousers matches. Here a slim-fit blazer and dark jeans with polished dress shoes looks like a confident choice rather than a lack of wardrobe options.
Hirofumi Kurino from United Arrows usually puts on a masterclass and here he's contrasting a sharp, structured navy jacket (actually part of a two-piece suit) with a very relaxed cotton shirt and blue knit tie. The dressy woven leather belt adds a bit of luxury.
Neither seersucker or Jason Donovans usually make for a good look in my opinion, so the chances of pulling them off together should be low to negligible. Surprisingly, this parody of a 3-piece suit works because all the elements are in harmony. The jacket and white dress shirt are left unironed and slightly dishevelled so the contrast with the jeans isn't too extreme. The relaxed fit of the seersucker waistcoat and restrained blue/white colour palette help pull it all together and avoid it becoming costume-y. The gold buttons add a nice accent.
The elements of this smart but slightly dressed-down look are simple but it's easy to go to far and end up just looking scruffy. It's an American style - you don't see many British guys pulling this off. Structured jacket, textured wool tie in a neutral colour, button-down shirt with the top and collar buttons undone, neutral trousers (not chinos) with a tab waistband. Notice that although it's got a casual edge, all the clothes are pressed and the addition of a folded pocket square keep things looking smart. Will easily take you from the office to evening drinks or a date.
A very soft, completely unstructured blazer is teamed up with a double-cuff dress shirt to epic effect. The secret here is that the dress shirt is also in a soft cotton and left unpressed so it's got an easy look that complements the jacket. This is Daniel Craig BTW in case you didn't recognise him from the nose down. I love the look of this overdyed cotton, I'm definitely going to make myself one like this for Summer.
The inevitable Nick Wooster shot. Ultra simple: blue blazer, blue oxford shirt, white jeans - it's all in the fit and details. Slim-fit blazer, contrast stitched buttonholes and piping, belt buckle matches blazer buttons.
Simple but accomplished. A textured Isaia blazer over a denim shirt flips round the soft/sharp combination in picture 2. Although the shirt is denim it's sharply pressed to contrast with the soft, unstructured blazer. A standard dress shirt wouldn't have been anything like as interesting.
A beautiful double-breasted blazer is brought to life with discreet but highly effective scarf and pocket square deployment. These kind of wardrobe skills renders analysis redundant. Just watch and learn. Picture: thesartorialist.com