AS MEN FINALLY BEGIN TO EMBRACE ELEGANCE AGAIN, LEAVING THEIR WRINKLED, UNTUCKED SELVES BEHIND, THE SPORT JACKET HAS EMERGED AS THE NEW HOODIE. IN FACT, THE BLAZER IS PERHAPS THE SINGLE MOST SIGNIFICANT PIECE OF CLOTHING IN A MANS WARDROBE, NOT TO MENTION ONE OF THE MOST VERSATILE. IT IS PERFECTLY SUITED TO OUR EVER-FLUCTUATING DRESS CODE. THE NAVY BLAZER IS YOUR LITTLE BLACK DRESS.
JUST DON’T ACCESSORIES WITH HEELS.
1.) THE DETAILS
Blazers are all about details, whether it’s ribbon lapels, striped-silk linings under the collar, or embroidery. They can be playful without being embarrassing. (We hope.)
2.) THE FABRIC
Blazers are available in nearly every imaginable material from wool and cotton to corduroy and velvet. Every man should own a summer sport coat, in either linen or light-weight cotton and several others for the cooler seasons.
3.) THE PATTERNS
The simplest, most fail-safe pattern for a blazer is the windowpane plaid, which is essentially just a series of squares that run across the coat. Then there’s glen plaid, herringbone, houndstooth, and Prince of Wales check-all classics.
4.) THE POCKETS
If you want a blazer to appear more casual, try patch pockets instead of the usual flap or jetted style. A patch pocket is sewn onto the jacket instead of being cut into the cloth. Because the whole pocket is visible, it is a little less dressy and a lot more appealing, especially on a single-breasted blazer.
5.) SINGLE-BREASTED VS. DOUBLE-BREASTED
As with suits, the choice between a single or double-breasted blazer is strictly one of preference. Both are perfectly acceptable, but double-breasted is more formal and harder to pull off.
Long the uniform of elitist preps and bourbon-soaked Southerners, the seersucker jacket has become a summer classic.
In a deep chocolate brown, rich maroon, and other warm hues the corduroy blazer is a great winter staple.
If you want a dressier blazer, choose peak lapels over notched.
If you feel up for plaid, we recommend keeping it simple: Wear it with a white shirt and jeans. Bold may be beautiful, but too bold is ugly.
Evocative of fox hunts, tweed blazers are elegant in any color or texture. Elbow patches are optional.
Velvet makes such a strong statement that anything you accompany it with should be understated. Keep the colors to a minimum.
The khaki blazer is a modern-day classic. Opt for slim, brushed-cotton styles and never, ever pair it with khaki pants.
THE PERFECT FIT
SLIM VERSUS RELAXED
Because a blazer is more casual than a suit, you have more freedom with the fit. Loose layering requires a roomier, more relaxed jacket. If you want a crisper, more formal look, opt for slimmer tailoring.
Sleeve length should leave room for a bout a quarter inch of shirt cuff to show.
Vents allow for a more forgiving fit. A single center vent works better if you like a slim profile. Double vents will give you more volume around the pants to make room for that sweater. They are good for bigger guys (who should avoid a double-breasted jacket at all costs).
Three-button blazers may help the vertically challenged feel a little taller. A one- or two-button style will bring the oversize guy back into proportion.
HOW TO BUY BLAZER
Start with basic blazers, blue or multi-color check that give you a lot of options. When you’ve got two or three of those (and that will get you through a surprisingly large number of occasions) indulge yourself in the jacket that turns heads.
PRICE POINTS STILL MATTER
So, you’re better off spending a lot more on a conservative, versatile blazer (yes, the boring blue one), and less on fashion whims. Over time, you’ll find that the old standby not only gives you good value but it will free up cash over the long haul for impulse buys.