Why a versatile blazer is your wardrobe’s secret weapon
Whether you want to fight back against fashion’s negative environmental impact, or simply save money, there are plenty of good reasons to curb your clothing consumption. And with the new year upon us, now is the perfect time to start. Luckily for fashionistas like yourself, you don’t need to pick up that many new clothes to dress well, but you will need to think carefully about what you do buy, and only commit to pieces that you know you’ll get plenty of wear out of. Forget the latest trends – you need flexible items which can be paired with things you already have in your wardrobe, which is why a stylish blazer should be your first investment.
A blazer is one of the best garments for tackling the smart-casual aesthetic, as it’s often all you need to dress down a formal outfit, or smarten up a relaxed jeans and T-shirt combo. It’s also a timeless piece which will never go out of style, making these functional jackets your gateway to a number of looks. Here’s how to find the right blazer to match any outfit.
Choosing your blazer
As an item that you’ll be wearing often, this isn’t the time to skimp on price or quality. A budget item from a fast-fashion brand will probably be poorly-made, look cheap, and not last very long. Your blazer will be the focal point for a number of outfits, so buy from a reputable label, even if it means spending a little more than you usually would. Remember, something this adaptable will be worth every penny.
Choose a blazer made by a classic, sophisticated retailer with an eye for tailoring. Men could turn to Hackett, a brand described by The Daily Telegraph as “a beacon of men’s style and class”, while women could explore the ranges offered by more upmarket high street labels like Whistles, Hobbs or Karen Millen.
While it may be tempting to pick a jacket in a funky print like plaid or stripes, single-coloured blazers are more likely to complement your existing clothes. For example, if you tend to wear blue, a grey blazer will enhance this palette, and if you favour grey clothing, a navy blazer could be the best option. It may also help to remember that, since black traditionally goes with everything, it may be the most versatile of all. To ensure your blazer fits correctly, check that the shoulder pads don’t extend past your shoulders and that you can comfortably fit your hand inside the jacket once it’s buttoned up.
How to wear your blazer for all occasions
A blazer will keep you looking cool and casual, but still incredibly stylish, while enjoying a Saturday afternoon down the pub, or indulging in a lavish Sunday brunch.
If your signature weekend uniform consists of jeans and a T-shirt, a swish blazer will help tie the outfit together perfectly. Blue denim and white cotton look great on just about anyone, but black jeans will help smarten up your outfit. A casual button-up shirt will also look attractive under a blazer, though you should make sure your jacket is relaxed and slim-fitting in order to avoid looking too dressy. Trainers, loafers or boots are the best footwear for this outfit.
Whether it’s a blind date or dinner with your partner, a blazer is an easy way to scrub up once date night rolls around.
Jeans are still suitable as long as they are dark and plain, while a white dress shirt brings your outfit a sense of effortless elegance. For this occasion, a tailored black blazer can help you look smart, without looking like you’ve tried too hard. Sub trainers or boots out for formal footwear – Oxfords or Derbys for men, and heels or statement flats for women. If you’re dining at a fancier establishment, a couple of simple swaps will help nail the formal dress code. Men can replace jeans with a pair of smart trousers and wear a tie if they wish, while women can slip into a trusty little black dress, with their blazer providing a cool masculine twist to the otherwise feminine look.
You can easily look professional in the office and stylish on a Friday night with a blazer and some stylish tailoring.
Putting just a little extra effort into your everyday office outfit is often all you need to do to ready your look for a night on the town. Steer clear of jeans this time, and instead opt for chinos, slacks or other types of tailored trousers with a fitted blazer. If you’re a man, a button-down shirt is your safest bet, though remove the tie once you’re out of the office to avoid looking too stuffy. This also gives you a great opportunity to experiment with colour, and add some fun and vibrancy ready for the weekend – for instance, maroon trousers will look modern and stylish with a white shirt and navy blazer. As for shoes, Chelsea or desert boots in black or brown make the most appropriate footwear.
Women should aim for a sleek silhouette, which is why they should choose a blazer that’s nipped in at the waist to highlight your frame. A svelte figure can also be better achieved by replacing a shirt or blouse with a fuss-free camisole worn underneath the blazer, adding sky-high heels to elongate your legs.
There’s no need to fork out for a brand new suit jacket next time you’re invited to a wedding. Your everyday blazer can still look the part, as long as you glam up the rest of your outfit.
A crisp formal shirt and tie are all men need for a formal occasion, though you may want to accessorise with a bowtie to make the extra effort. Blazers should be in refined, neutral colours like black, navy and grey, which can just as easily be dressed down and paired with matching trousers. It goes without saying that the smartest shoes should be worn on the big day. Meanwhile, as a female guest, your blazer is sure to make you stand out from the crowd and offers a practical way to keep warm. This will provide an eye-catching contrast to a delicate dress, or add a touch of formal tailoring to a flattering jumpsuit.
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