An Unsung Hero of Men’s Fashion

An Unsung Hero of Men’s Fashion

Posted by Bill Kavanaugh on Jun 12th 2023

Recently it’s occurred to me, that when considering the vast realm of men’s clothing, the blue blazer may be one of the most underappreciated, underutilized, and often overlooked options in gentlemen’s fashion. 

And that’s unfortunate, because there are few garments that pack more mileage, and punch for the dollar, than this tried and true classic.

For many, the blazer was our first piece of grown-up clothing. It got us through high school, college, and some early job interviews. Then we moved-on to a suit, acquired a few sport coats, and the blazer was often relegated to some dark, closet corner, rarely to be seen again.

Indeed, some may argue that a blazer is not nearly as lively and stimulating as a patterned sport coat-- which is quite true. Or, that it lacks the formality and visual impact of a suit--which is also indisputable. So what is it about this otherwise ordinary garment that makes it so worthwhile?

The answer, I believe, lies in its unparalleled versatility, and an understated, easy-going, style, that pairs with most anything (there’s a reason why Bond wears one in several 007 films).

Dress it up, or down, the blazer does it with aplomb.

Plus, as you’ve probably already heard… every guy looks good in blue.

Beginning with the casual:

A blazer can work with jeans; just make sure to provide contrasting color or shade.

Blazers and chinos go together like bread and butter. Don’t be afraid to try some brighter colors in addition to customary khaki. Add a button down and chukka boots (or loafers) - for an easy, breezy style.

Need to ratchet-up summertime formality? (Think Great Gatsby). Then try it with a stone colored trouser and a light- blue button down. Add a bright tie and/or pocket square- for an arresting element of dashing

For those cool weather cocktail parties and sophisticated elegance, pair it with a tan, or cream colored turtleneck and monk strap shoes.

And finally, a blazer worn with gray dress trousers, white shirt, and tie is a combination that always means business.

Of course, these are just a few suggestions. But the possibilities are nearly endless and it’s all a matter of finding combinations that work for you. Done right, the blazer is always flattering, without looking like you’re trying too hard.

When shopping, a two- button, single- breasted, wool (or wool blend) version, works well for most. Brass buttons are customary - which are fine, if you prefer the look. Others may opt for standard or contrasting buttons, which provide a more contemporary presentation.

But as always, make sure to nail the fit and buy the best quality you can afford.

So whether it’s party-time, business casual, or anything in between, the blue blazer is an elegant, versatile, classic- that belongs in every gentleman’s wardrobe.

Harpers is thrilled to welcome accomplished writer, teacher, and fisherman Bill Kavanaugh to our team. Find his insightful and vivid commentary here on the Harpers blog.