Today blazers are part of business casual style work gear or coverup on cool summer days. Read how to style your blazer in other ways than just jeans and slacks. Get inspired by the multiple ways to wear a blazer.
- The Origin of a Great Garment
- The Fate of a Perfect Attire from Sub-Tribe Style to Fashion to Classic
- Less Formal than a Suit, More Formal than a Sport Jacket
- A Must-Have to Splurge On
- There Are Multiple Ways to Wear a Blazer
- Wearing a Blazer in a Casual Way
- Blazers and Tops
- What to Consider When You Style a Blazer with a Dress
- Try a Fake Suit Look
- Casual Friday Inspiration
- The Iconic White Blazer
- Going beyond Neutrals
- Multiple Ways to Wear a Blazer in a Nutshell
The Origin of a Great Garment
Of course, like it is often with classic wardrobe essentials, the origin of the blazer is in the military. There are different opinions on how this piece of clothes got its name.
Some historians put its appearance back to 1800 to marine military gear. Thus, the it is often claimed that the “original classic blazer” is navy with gold colored brass buttons on the sleeves and for closure. Other historian explain that the blue and white striped sailor uniform jackets of the HMS Blazer gave the garment its name. Some fashion historians say the name referred to the bright blazing red (red guernsey) club jacket of the Cambridge Lady Margret Boat Club.
Anyhow blazers and trench coats are among the easiest pieces to wear when it comes to achieving an ageless look in military style inspired clothes.
The Fate of a Perfect Attire from Sub-Tribe Style to Fashion to Classic
There are more than those three ways to wear a blazer. Thus, the coat made it into everyday life as boating jackets. Recall rowing and boating is a favorite sport in Great Britain. Even Kate Middleton, prior to becoming the Duchess of Cambridge, was on a women rowing team. Traditionally, sports teams wear variations of guess what?
Like so often in fashion, fans considered the garment as the essential of cool. So they wore them to cheer their teams, and to impress. As so often, a sub-tribe’s It piece became mainstream, and hence also entered the work life. The traditional school uniform blazer became a key element of Ivy League preppy style.
Less Formal than a Suit, More Formal than a Sport Jacket
What’s so great about this attire? The difference between a blazer and the jacket of a classic suit is the more casual style of the former. On the other end, the former is more formal than a sport jacket. Typically, the cloth is very durable. Blazers are often the outerwear or cover-up of a uniform in summer. Just think of bus drivers in some European countries, airline employees, school uniforms (hence the name school blazer), and of course members of clubs. In other words,When the dressing situation asks for some sort of formal coat, when in doubt, wear a blazer. #styleadvice Click To Tweet
A Must-Have to Splurge On
A classic blazer is definitively a wardrobe piece to invest in. The same applies for a Burberry plaid wool blazer.
Stylist tip: A great, high quality, well fitting piece can give you instance style.
In regions with windy weather and mild winters, a leather blazer is a great outerwear alternative.
Perennially, blazers with trendy prints pop up. Go for a cheap version when abstract, geometric or floral prints are having a moment. A floral blazer looks great with linen.
Multiple Ways How to Wear a Blazer
This coat can be styled as a fake suit with a skirt, with jeans for Casual Friday outfits, with a dress or sheath for a meeting, or with pants as a fake pantsuit. It’s perfect to dress up business casual office style a nudge. Why? Because it is a bit more formal than a traditional sports coat. It also can take you from work to date night. Just swap the white button-down shirt for a sexy camisole and the work bag for a clutch. For the daring swap the court pumps with pointy toe 4 inch (10 cm) heels. It even works with jeans for watching a sports event. Just make sure your T-shirt is that of the club you are supposed to cheer for or has at least a color that comes close to the colors of that team. More on outfits for watching sports events.
Another great option is to pair the blazer with leather pants.
Wearing a Blazer in a Casual Way
A blazer can up the style of a casual weekend look to preppy. The outfit inspiration below pairs a sweater hoodie and jeans with the tailored jacket. Add heels, a necklace, and you achieve a pretty preppy style look.
The example look below shows how the garment in leather works with a pair of leather joggers.
Blazers and Tops
In the look above, I wore a hoodie as a top. The eternal American Classic style is the white button-down or T-shirt. Try a Euro Chic Style option and wear your blazer with a crewneck knit sweater and scarf or a knit turtleneck sweater. Take your inspiration from Julia Roberts who made the combination of hounds tooth blazer with black turtleneck sweater an iconic look.
For going out a camisole or corset look attractive and sexy. However, wearing a camisole is a thin balance to not look like a leftover from the 1980s. If you choose a camisole as top, make sure all pieces read today and not yesterdecade.
What to Consider When You Style a Blazer with a Dress
Not all dresses look great with a blazer. Even when it comes to a T-shirt dress. It’s nipped in at the waist. To get the dress with blazer look right, pair the jacket with tailored dresses with straight or pencil style skirts. Anything flare looks awkward unless you have a cropped blazer. Overall, it basically nails down to getting the proportions right, and that the look makes sense.
The interest of the desaturated blazer-with-dress look is created by the mix of pattern. The pumps have a zebra print which is very organic. It is contrasted to the very orderly geometric glen check pattern in black and gray. The little black boat-neck T-shirt dress ties the pattern together. In other words, the black grounds the outfit. The statement belt adds a pop of color and makes the outfit right for spring. Add black tight and a black or gray belt and the look would be a perfect office outfit for winter.
Stylist tip: Swap accessories to wear an outfit in different seasons.
Try a Fake Suit Look
I love the look of a suit as much as the next gal. However, on us women over 40 a suit in classic neutral colors often conveys the message of being extremely conservative, and old-fashioned, which is often associated with not being up to the tasks and not being on top of things. Thus, I advise my clients and the readers of my book How to Dress for Success in Midlife to opt for a fake suit You can buy the book at the link.
In spring or fall, combine your blazer with cropped pants. They are so comfortable as they have a lot of stretch (see animation). In this example work outfit, I added color with a teal top, and matching pumps. I “filled” the deep V-neck with a statement necklace for a more modest look. Note the V-neck would be totally office appropriate on a woman with large breasts. More on how to master the style challenge top heavy.
Casual Friday Inspiration
In the category of Casual Friday outfits, a blazer plus jeans and a Tee is always great instant style. You can dress the look up and add some posh with a white button-down shirt and pumps and you have a business casual style outfit that also works well when you have to get out of a plane right into a business meeting. It’s also a great look to wear for a female engineer.
Gray, white and denim blue is an American Classic color combination. These neutrals are perfect partners that create instant posh. The pink, orange, white and black silk neckerchief on the work bag, the orange trim and the pink toe-caps of the pumps add a touch of “spring” to the outfit. Well, these pops of color also take you out of the sea of professionals who rely on the fool proof gray, white and denim blue American Classic color combination when wearing business casual.
Going beyond Neutrals
The blazer is meant to be worn in colors beyond the neutrals. It also looks great with patches, think school boy style. You can even make its color your signature style like Sarah Palin‘s red blazer. Here the circle closes again. And last, but not least, another fool proof style recipe to re-visit:
Stylist tip: Revisit the classic: Wear a red blazer with a chambray button-down, pearl necklace, bf jeans and leopard-print pumps.
The Iconic White Blazer
The typical combination for the iconic white version is with jeans and a black T-shirt. Since color plays no role, you can try all the above styling inspiration as well. The look below pairs a white blazer with a black leather skirt.
How to Style a Short Sleeve Blazer
As it is obvious, the same combinations that work for a long sleeve blazer also work with a short sleeve version. Just make sure that the garments have a clear summer vibe. And yes, you can even wear a long-sleeve Tee underneath short sleeves. So modern layering.
Multiple Ways to Wear a Blazer in a Nutshell
A blazer can work with a dress, skirt, pants, and jeans as long as the proportions are right. This fact is especially true for pairings with skirts or dresses.
Stylist tip: Substitute a blazer with a janker or lice jacket.
More on the origin of the janker or the roots of the Lice jacket.
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Photos: G. Kramm
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