If you want to appear sharp and stylish but don't want to wear a suit, chances are at some point you've wondered how to wear a blazer jeans combo.
It's a great combination – a modern classic that 40 years ago was pushing the envelope but today is an established way to wear your blazer jacket in smart-casual settings.
But how to pull this look off? In this article, you'll find:
- Features Of A Blazer
- Features Of A Sports Jacket
- What Kind Of Blazer Can You Wear With Men's Jeans?
- Types Of Jeans To Wear With Men's Blazers
- What To Wear With A Blazer & Jeans
Before pairing a blazer with anything, it is important to understand what a blazer is is and what it is not…
Blazer Jeans Tip #1: Know The Features Of A Blazer
In basic terms, a men's blazer is a simpler & dressier garment than a sports jacket. It's not as ‘busy' to look at which makes a blazer and blue jeans a very minimalist style, making it easy to build off of.
You get the flattering shape of a jacket without the stuffiness of a suit, and a clothing item that can dress up or down depending on how you accessorize. The trick lies in knowing how to wear the right blazer with the right jeans. Here's a quick checklist:
- Solid color, usually navy blue and almost always dark
- Usually a smooth or fine-surfaced weave
- Almost always made from worsted wool, hopsack, or wool flannel
- Formal, contrasting-colored buttons like brass, mother of pearl or silver
- Minimal detailing or decorative elements
- Single or double-breasted options are available – I recommend single-breasted with jeans but if you have the confidence…
Blazer Jeans Tip #2: Know The Features Of A Sports Jacket
Don't confuse a blazer with a sports jacket. Avoid these characteristics to stop yourself from making the wrong purchase:
- A wide range of fabric colors – blues, browns, greens, and greys are common.
- Often patterned, from checks and herringbone to plaid to houndstooth.
- Made from a wide range of fabric, from smooth twills to corduroy and coarse tweeds.
- Extra elements like elbow patches and ticket pockets.
- Single-breasted design with 2 or 3 buttons.
- Sports heritage features like patch pockets or hacking pockets.
Blazer Jeans Tip #3: Know Which Style Works Best
Not all men's navy blazers are created equal.
Some are designed to be just one step down in formality from a suit and tie (especially the double-breasted variety). These aren't going to work with blue jeans.
Here's what you should be looking for in a casual blazer:
Anything crisply squared-off and military-looking is for business meetings and private member's clubs. Look for something with a natural, un-padded shoulder that slopes with your shoulder.
Single-Breasted, Two-Button Construction
Wearing jeans means wearing your jacket open at least some of the time. Double-breasted men's jackets are right out (and too formal to pair with jeans anyway), and three-button styles tend to flap and billow when left unbuttoned. They're also more likely to be mistaken for an out-of-place suit jacket.
As above, you want to avoid flapping fabric when you wear the jacket open. A close fit in the chest is particularly important, but it's worth keeping the jacket close around the hips as well.
The narrowest part of the jacket shouldn't come in too sharply. You're not going for a wicked, Italian-style hourglass here. A modest little bit of narrowing above the hips is all you need.
You're pairing the blazer with denim. Superfine wool with a lustrous sheen is going to be out of place. A simple, durable worsted wool is fine or flannel if you prefer a more textured surface. Click here to discover the difference how to tell if wool is worsted.
Avoid twill weaves if possible. What is the twill weave pattern? It is easy to recognize by its narrow diagonal ribbing. That's the same texture as denim jeans, and you don't want two garments in a close but not-quite-matching texture, ever. Make sure the jacket is either a smooth-faced weave or something distinct from twill like hopsack, flannel, birdseye or nailhead.
You may also want to consider avoiding the traditional brass buttons — or you may like the stark contrast in your outfit. It depends on the look you're going for.
Metal buttons are more conservative, nautical-themed and preppy; plastic, wood or mother-of-pearl buttons that complement a blazer's color more subtly are more modern and fashion-forward.
Just be sure to avoid buttons that exactly match your jacket's color. Contrasting buttons (even if it is subtle) are a key part of what makes a blazer.
Blazer Jeans Tip #4: Know Your Jean Styles
OK, so you have nailed the blazer. What about the jeans?
First: color. Jeans and blazers both traditionally come in a deep shade of blue. Avoid wearing the exact same shade in both because it ends up looking like you are pretending to wear a suit.
This makes finding a perfect pair of jeans that stand out from your blazer more of an exercise in careful shopping than say sports jacket/jeans pairing.
Any pair of jeans that you're wearing with a jacket should have a few basic “dressy” characteristics separating them from work jeans:
- Close fit in the waist/hips/crotch – no loose, sagging cloth.
- No extras – cargo pockets, gear loops etc.
- Different color from the default “blue jeans” light blue.
- Contrast-colored stitching – not required, but often a plus.
- Decorative stitching.
And within the realm of these ‘dressy' jeans you have two basic color options:
Jeans Darker Than The Blazer
Dark blue indigo jeans work with a blazer that's on the lighter end of navy (or in a different color altogether). This is especially true if the jeans have some orange contrast stitching in them.
More unusual dark colors like gray or chocolate brown work for the jeans as well, although plain black is usually an awkward pairing for navy blue.
Jeans Lighter Than The Blazer
Lighter shades of blue, gray and more fashion-forward colors like white denim give a good contrast. It's one of the rare outfits where trousers lighter than the jacket are common and are a great choice when looking to dress the outfit down.
Whatever color you choose, just remember your aim here is a noticeable contrast between the blazer and the jeans.
TIP: Lighter denim should not be confused with distressed denim. You wouldn't buy a beat-up or ripped blazer so don't combine one with ‘fashionably damaged' denim.
Blazer Jeans Conclusion:
Moving beyond how to wear the right jeans and blazer, let's focus in on the rest of the outfit we are putting together here.
Going to a formal occasion? Underneath your blazer, I advise that you wear a button-down shirt. A knitted, striped or sports tie will work well in most cases with this.
Attending a more casual event? Try wearing a complementary-colored polo or turtleneck under your blazer instead. Remember though that these may be harder to pull off so make sure you nail the fit for whichever one you choose.
TIP: Whatever the level of formality, I recommend you keep your blazer's top button done up for a polished look.
For footwear, I tend to lean towards dressier options regardless of the event. I like seeing the blazer and jeans combo paired with leather loafers, quality slip-ons or suede dress shoes.
In summary, it can take a little searching to find the right blazer and the right pair of jeans. Once you find them though you have an outfit that holds up in almost any social situation.
Click below to watch – How To Wear A Blazer Jacket With Jeans: