Blazer vs. Suit Jacket: Everything You Need To Know
When it comes to semi-formal and formal wear, there are a few styles of coats to choose from: the sport coat, the blazer, and the suit jacket. Believe it or not, there are many differences between these formal jackets – including fabrics, colors, prints, cuts, and of course, formality.
While sport coats are the most informal of the three (and you can read more about them here) we’re breaking down everything you need to know about blazers and suit coats so when the time comes, you’re armed and ready with all the info you need about the differences between the two, where to wear them, how to wear them, and more.
What Is a Blazer?
A blazer is a jacket that can be dressed up or down, depending on the event you’re going to and the dress code that’s in place. Blazers usually come in solid colors and have contrasting metal buttons and detailing throughout the jacket; however, it’s not uncommon to find blazers that are patterned or are made of a unique material, like velvet, given today’s current fashion trends.
Blazers also typically come in two styles: 2-3 button single-breasted jackets or 6 button double-breasted jackets. Blazers are also more formal than a sport coat, but less formal than a suit jacket, which we’ll get into below.
What Is a Suit Jacket?
A suit jacket is a jacket that has a matching pair of trousers and is made from the same fabric as those trousers, and also features the same pattern (if your suit has one). In fact, that’s exactly what makes a suit jacket a suit jacket, and sets it apart from a sport coat or a blazer.
It’s definitely the simplest of the three common types of jackets and is usually worn only to formal events, including weddings (as a guest), business conferences, the office (if your workplace has an ultra-formal and strict dress code, or you work in fields like finance or law), job interviews, etc. Suit jackets are also the most slim-fitting of the bunch and don’t have ornate details or embellishments.
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What are the Main Differences Between a Blazer and a Suit Jacket?
There are a few key main differences between a blazer and a suit jacket, the most important being that a suit jacket always comes with matching trousers made from the same fabric and with the same pattern. A suit jacket is made to fit slimmer than a blazer, and you shouldn’t layer a ton of clothing underneath it, save for a button down shirt. A blazer, on the other hand, is a little less structured than a suit jacket, and you can layer anything from a t-shirt to a cashmere sweater underneath, depending on the weather, the dress code, and what type of event you’re headed to.
Suit jackets can come in a variety of different fabrics, the most common being wool, linen, seersucker, cashmere, cotton, or a blend of fabrics. They also typically come in solid, neutral colors, like grey, blue, khaki, and black; however, you can easily find suits in classic patterns like houndstooth, pinstripe, or check. Common fabrics blazers are made of include wool, linen, cashmere, and flannel, and while solid colors are always a go-to when it comes to formalwear coats, you can play around with colors and patterns a bit more with blazers.
Suit jackets should only be worn with their matching trousers; if you try to mix and match your suit pieces, be prepared to look like an utter and complete mess at whichever black tie or formal event you attend. Seriously, don’t even try it unless you want to look sloppy, mismatched, and just overall, out of place.
Blazers, though, are less formal than suit jackets and can be worn with a variety of different bottoms, including chinos, dress pants, high-end denim, and even fitted shorts that hit just above the knee, if you’re going for a nautical or summertime vibe. And while blazers are available in a wide array of colors, prints, and fabrics, it’s a basic rule of thumb that every man should have one navy blazer hanging in their closet, as it’s one of the most classic pieces in men’s fashion.
How To Style a Suit Jacket
The best way to style a suit jacket, as previously mentioned, is to wear it with the jacket’s matching trousers. There’s literally no other way. So, when it comes to styling your suit as a whole, shoes and accessories are key here. Depending on the color and/or pattern of your suit, opt for a pair of leather Oxfords or brogues, as these types of dress shoes can add a subtle element of uniqueness to your outfit; you can never go wrong with a medium tan or cognac color, as they match with most colors and patterns.
As far as other accessories go, adding a luxurious watch is an easy way to dress up an outfit even more without it feeling stuffy or overly formal. While both metal and leather bands can work (again, depending on what color/pattern your suit is), try matching your leather band to the color of your dress shoes to tie the entire look together.
How To Style a Blazer
Blazers can be styled either up or down, depending on the event you’re going to and the dress code that’s been put in place. Again, blazers can be worn with chinos, denim, dress pants, etc; however, it’s important that you never wear a blazer with trousers from a suit – you’ll look mismatched and out of place, even in a semi-casual setting.
Depending on the weather, you can wear anything from a t-shirt to a knit sweater under a blazer. For a more casual look, opt for colorful chinos or slim-fitting denim with sneakers, boat shoes, or a slip-on loafer with an almond toe. For a more formal vibe with a stylish twist, pair a blazer with a button down shirt in a color other than white, and wear with slacks or wool trousers. Finish off your formal blazer look with a pair of leather Oxfords or brogues, and you’ve got yourself one stylish outfit.
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