Blazer: Men’s Equivalent To Women’s Little Black Dress

The little black dress is an essential piece in every woman’s wardrobe. Layer it with a jacket and pumps, and you have a conservative, business appropriate attire. It’s suitable even for boardrooms and business meetings. Adorn it with jewellery and stiletto heels, and you’re ready for cocktail parties and painting the town red. It’s a versatile piece of garment, appropriate across a wide range of the formality spectrum… But is there something equivalent for a man’s wardrobe?… Actually, there is – the blazer!

Comparison images between a woman wearing a typical little black dress, and a man wearing a blazer ensemble.
Left: The little black dress, a woman’s most versatile garment.
Right: The blazer, a man’s most versatile garment.
Left image by drobotdean of Freepik
Right image by Pushpinder Singh Sethi of Pexels

What Exactly Is A Blazer?

The blazer is a jacket, similar in looks and construction with the suit jacket and the sport jacket… Similar, but not identical. Of the three, only the suit jacket comes with matching trousers, hence the category “suit”. More often than not, it’s also the most refined, and meant to fit into the upper levels of formality.

Blazers and sport jackets are standalone jackets by design. They don’t come with matching trousers. They also both evolved from activity garments – nautical for blazers and shooting/hunting/equestrian for sport jackets. If we start splitting hair, they essentially fall under the “activity garment” umbrella. The only “difference” is that blazers are more “refined” than sport jackets. Sport jackets protect the wearer against outdoor elements. This contributes to their rough and tough appearance. You don’t really need well-padded and thorn-proof jackets to protect you against the well-polished decks of a yacht.

A middle aged man, dressed in a casual blazer ensemble, relaxing at the bar, confident in his element.
The habitat of a modern blazer is more lounging in an urban setting than manual labour on a ship’s deck.
Image by Alena Darmel of Pexels

We’ve previously published this article, which goes into more detail of the difference between the three jacket types.

In conclusion, every gentleman needs at least one blazer in his wardrobe. Short of the times when you need to suit up, a blazer will see you through almost every dress code.

Styling A Blazer

For the sake of versatility, we’re only exploring the different combinations for a single breasted, navy blazer. The particular example below is a 3-roll-2 buttons, single breasted jacket, featuring notch lapels and contrasting gold-coloured buttons. Below are examples which cover everything from business informal down to watching football at the bar with the lads :-

(1) Business Informal

For the times when you don’t need to suit up, but still want to look elegant and well put together. It’ll look great for business lunches, informal business meetings, and even hosting business contacts at the country club.

Blazer ensemble, with a solid white dress shirt, navy and gold regimental stripe tie, white pocket square, and navy cufflinks. Bottom half is that of a beige dress trousers.
To keep things closer to the formal end of the spectrum, nothing beats a solid white dress shirt. Match that with a pair of beige dress trousers for the classic nautical look. Accessorise with a regimental stripe tie in navy and gold, and cufflinks to coordinate with the blazer. Finish it up with a clean, solid white pocket square in a conservative square fold.
Image by Author
A pair of ox blood, whole cut shoes, with modest brogueing in the shape of wingtips.
Nothing screams elegance more than completing the outfit with a pair of ox blood whole cut dress shoes. This particular pair features modest brogueing in the shape of wingtips.
Image by Author

(2) Business Casual

For the times when you can’t fully let your hair down, but still wanna inject some fun into your outfit. You crank your formality down a notch. Tone things down enough to appear relaxed, yet still remain business appropriate.

Blazer ensemble, with a solid pink OCBD shirt, solid red knit tie, and red pocket square with white dots. Bottom half is a pair of burgundy chinos.
You no longer need to maintain a neutral palette. It’s now time to inject some fun with vibrant colours. A pink OCBD shirt and a pair of burgundy chinos. Accessorise with a bright red knit tie, and an equally bright red pocket square with white dots in puff fold.
Image by Author
A pair of brown, double monk-straps.
With a more relaxed outfit, it’s time to ditch the laces too. This pair of brown double monk-straps combines the elegance of laced-up dress shoes, with the comfort of loafers.
Image by Author

(3) Dressy Casual

You’ve clocked out for the day… or the week. The last thing on your mind now is work. But yet, it’s still not quite time to let your hair fully down. Perhaps it’s date night, or you’re planning to go out to celebrate your anniversary. Either way of looking at it, you still want to look put together, albeit without looking too wound up. It’s time to spice up your otherwise mundane casual outfit.

Blazer ensemble, with a denim OCBD shirt, and blue/white gingham check pocket square. Bottom half is a pair of classic khaki chinos.
Nothing projects “casual” more than including at least one piece of denim into your outfit. So throw your blazer over a denim, OCBD shirt. Then complete the outfit with a pair of quintessential khaki chinos. Go easy on your accessories with an open collar.
Image by Author
A pair of brown penny loafers.
If there’s ever a right time to break out your pair of brown penny loafers, this is it… Dressy enough to look put together, yet casual enough to take a back seat and chill for the night.
Image by Author

(4) Just Casual

Spending the evening just hanging out with the lads at the local watering hole? Perhaps catching up with football on the large screen television at the pub? But most importantly, wanna stand out as the best dressed bloke from the rest of half-drunk crowd of football fans? Either way the situation develops, there’s always an opportunity to include a blazer into your casual outfit.

Blazer ensemble, with a tan roll-neck jumper, and geometric blue/white/tan pocket square. Bottom half is a pair of dark wash jeans.
Skip the button-up shirts. It’s time to kick back your heels with a roll-neck jumper. Match that top with a comfortable pair of jeans. And yes, a blazer will complete the look just fine.
Image by Author
A pair of canvas Derbies in tan colour, with light brogueing along the vamps and heel.
It’s only natural to reach for your old, beat up pair of trainers with this outfit. But if you want to stand out from the crowd, even when dressed casually, skip the trainers. Instead, go for a less dressy pair of dress shoes, like this pair of canvas derbies.
Image by Author

Blazer: The Single Most Versatile Garment In A Man’s Wardrobe

A woman can’t complete her wardrobe without the quintessential little black dress. Likewise, a man can’t complete his wardrobe without the quintessential blazer. And whilst you’re at it, make it a single breasted, notch lapels with contrasting buttons, solid navy blazer. The blazer is indeed the single most versatile garment, which can compliment almost every outfit. And the icing on the cake?… It’ll make the overall ensemble look even better than without it.

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This article is part of Espoletta’s CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) initiatives.

Do you own, or intend to purchase a blazer?
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About CHOW Wei Ming

Brand consultant, photographer, creative director, storyteller, and a true believer of the power of visual communications. Outwardly expresses a friendly disposition, but hides a perfectionist nature deep inside him.

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