The blazer is widely considered one of the most essential pieces in formal men’s fashion, right next to the silk necktie and the tailored white shirt. Unfortunately, even a hundred years of style tradition has been unable to keep guys from misusing and mangling the honorable blazer into something horrendous.
In hindsight, the 90’s was a very tricky time for men’s fashion. It was the period when your status was directly proportional to the brand logos you were wearing. Now that it’s all in the past, you have no business recreating the dizzying decade on your blazers.
You’re bound to see blazers that feature little patches and attachments, usually marketed as ‘casual’ blazers for occasions that are less than formal but require an extra layer. Now, there’s no rule against having the patches and miscellaneous additions, but two is the utter limit. Any more and your blazer runs the risk of looking like a billboard that lost its way into your closet.
Blazers are meant to be simple, even when the rest of your outfit is screaming to be seen. It’s like the sober friend that you bring along to a party, if only to make sure that every other person can get home safely. If you want to catch attention, do it properly with a bold tie or an interesting patterned shirt – not a blazer peppered with décor.
The Beat-Up Blazer
Here’s another style oxymoron. Blazers have always been a formal piece in fashion; in most of the 20th century, it was the rich and educated who wore them. That kind of discrimination might not be around anymore, but the image of blazers most definitely is.
As soon as your blazer starts to show signs of wear and tear – holes, rips, fraying and all the rest – you should either bring it to a tailor for repairs or replace it entirely. Wearing a beat up blazer is even worse than wearing no blazer at all; omitting the jacket looks like you forgot something, while donning a damaged one makes it seem like you had planned on intentionally looking like a hobo for the day.
The wear-and-care rule applies not just for the blazer but to all formal pieces as well. If other items – your neckties, say – has visible damage, replace it or repair it right away. The only thing worse than letting your formalwear get damaged is letting formalwear get damaged and then wearing it because of the damage.
Men’s fashion places great weight in fit, and even more so for formalwear. It thus goes without saying that your blazer should fit your body like a charm, otherwise it’s not something you should be wearing in the first place.
Blazers have five key areas where fit should be just right, else you ought to start looking for another jacket. The shoulders, chest, waist, seat and arms, at least, should suit your body. If you have trouble finding that kind of fit – your body type isn’t very common or easy to clothe, for example – it’s time to bring your problem to a good tailor.
Always keep in mind the kind of formal tradition that blazers represent. The blazer is supposed to be at the pinnacle of style and good taste; keep it formal, and you’ll have a hard time going wrong with the blazer.