The renaissance of the blazer in recent years has truly resulted in widespread adoption. Knowing how to pair your blazer with a pair of jeans can instantly elevate your more casual ensembles!
As the thought of weekend festivities and libations elevate your mood to stratospheric levels not seen since seven days prior, you start to get into gear for what should be an epic night out. Freshen up. Check. Clean shave. Check. Heck – a home made delicately poured gin n tonic has elevated itself into the upper echelons of your pre-party rituals.
All is well, barring one glaring omission. The weather is cooler, and you are looking to rock a blazer tonight. But you’re not sure if jeans can supersede your standard choice of navy chinos. I mean, you’ve fully immersed yourself into intense daily workouts so that you eschew the Dad Body stereotypes – jumping back in head first with blazers and a pair of jeans wouldn’t be the best option. Or could it?
Fret not, in this detailed guide, we will cover how to pull off strutting a blazer with jeans, so that you can remain stylistic without looking like you’ve missed the boat on recent trends and all things fancy schmancy.
Why Wear A Blazer With Jeans
While a blazer paired with navy or burgundy chinos has long been the attire of choice for those looking to dress business casual, the emergence of well fitted jeans in popular culture has made the latter appear like a much more viable alternative in recent years.
The perfect business casual combination (if pulled of correctly), a blazer with jeans ensemble exudes a sense of sophistication, without being overboard. Ideal for an evening out with friends or date night, this particular attire will have you standing out in settings where people are often dressed casually.
Courtesy of www.gregsstyleguide.com
While it should be a fairly simple exercise, pulling off a blazer / jeans look often proves to be a source of frustration. Done right, and you could almost feel like your floating down the streets ensconced by the latest Putti Umo exhibitions in Italy. Done wrong, however, and well – you might just be looking at a horrendously dressed getup reminiscent of the 1980’s. You get the point – how you select your items and pull off the look is far more important than the notion of the look itself.
Hence, in order to pull this off, you need to nail the details. Fabric, texture, fit and cut will all be of critical importance. And for reverend’s sake, please avoid opting for a suit jacket with a pair of jeans. Suit jackets are meant for what the name implies – suits.
Formal suits are typically comprised of worsted wools and are best suited (pun intended) for more serious, stuffy settings. This, combined with the fact that they are typically manufactured with structured / padded shoulders, lends itself to a more formal setting.
Courtesy of www.hespokestyle.com
Sports Jackets vs Blazers vs Suit Jackets
Courtesy of www.dappered.com
Blazers, or sports jackets (that we are more commonly referring to in this article) are delineated from suit jackets with regards to the following characteristics:
- Offered in a wider variety of colors and patterns
- Are less structured and fitted than a blazer or suit jacket, allowing for a wider range of movement, as well as providing the ability to layer clothing
- Sometimes feature elbow patches, slits and ticket pockets
Compared to a sports jacket, a blazer can be worn across a range of formal settings, with the exception of a full formal setting. The blazer is considered a middle of the road piece (between a suit jacket and a sports jacket), that can significantly enhance the profile of your attire, without having you go overboard. So what are they key factors distinguishing a blazer from a sports jacket.
While not worn with jeans, this picture perfectly encapsulates the navy blazer, featuring brass buttons. Courtesy of www.jpressonline.com
- A blazer is not accompanied by a pattern. Texture within the weave of the fabric is suitable, but there should not be a definitive pattern.
- Blazers typically have metal buttons, differentiating them from sports jackets – and clearly indicating that you are not strutting a suit jacket with off colored pants!
- Blazers are less structured than suit jackets – but are not as soft shouldered / unstructured as a sports jacket.
Hence, in summary, a suit (most structured) is the most formal of the three jackets, followed by a blazer, and finally a sports jacket (least structured, or even unstructured).
General Rules Of Thumb For Pairing A Blazer w / Jeans
Here are some guidelines to generally adhere to when strutting that highly sought after blazer / jeans combination!
- Strut a high quality blazer that fits well!
- Slim fit jeans (tapered, but not too skinny!) work best for pairing a blazer in a smart-casual capacity
- Pairing your jeans with a t-shirt and pair of sneakers will create a stylistic, casual look, while combining them with a buttoned down dress shirt and potentially a pair of loafers will provide for a more formal look.
Few combinations are as dapper as a blazer paired with jeans and white sneakers! Courtesy of www.pinterest.com
- Lighter colored jacket and jeans combinations will create a more casual look, while a darker colored ensemble will lend itself to a more formal aesthetic.
- Given the more casual nature of sports jackets / blazers, they are best accessorized with a knitted tie and /or textured pocket squares. Avoid the traditional silk tie / pocket square look as much as possible, as it will create a jarring look with the elements clashing.
What Type Of Blazer Or Sports Jacket To Go For
An unstructured jacket paired with jeans creates the perfect casual getup! Courtesy of www.mensflair.com
When opting for a blazer with jeans combination, it is imperative that you go for a jacket with unstructured shoulders that are comfortable and won’t impose a sense of formality on you. These will also make you feel like you are wearing something lighter weight and more casual than a blazer (and definitely lighter weight and less formal than a suit jacket).
The blazer or sports jacket under consideration should have a certain amount of texture to it, somewhat mirroring the textural weaves apparent in denim. Hence, fabrics such as tweed, corduroy and herringbone can work particularly well, as they are associated with more laid back tailoring and casual wear.
Textured jacket fabrics, such as tweed, work extremely well with denim. Courtesy of www.primermagazine.com
While Italian Jackets have long been considered appropriate for pairing with jeans, the introduction of quintessential English fabrics, such as tweed, corduroy and herringbone will serve to enhance your blazer / jeans game!
Blazer / Sports Jacket Fit
The most important element pertaining to jacket fit is centered around the shoulders. The shoulders of the blazer should follow your shoulder lines – and your shoulders should therefore not be bulging out of the shoulders, nor should they fall short of the outside seam of the blazer.
Courtesy of www.ashleyweston.com
The blazer’s sleeves should end in the middle of the back of your hand, in between your wrist and your thumb joint. The blazer should also not be too tight, resulting in pulling across the stomach from buttoning the jacket!
Blazer / Sports Jacket Colors
While blazers are available in a myriad of colors, there are several classic colors that will instantly elevate your look when paired with jeans. Grey, navy, black, tweed and brown blazers are all considered timeless menswear that can be effectively paired with denim for a dapper look!
Types Of Jeans That Work Best With Blazers
Similar to the requisite blazer profile, the cut and fit of your jeans is of critical importance. Ideally, you want to aim for jeans with a mid rise. These jeans closely resemble traditional dress pants, and hence will work well with a tailored or fitted sports jacket, and will somewhat resemble the fitted aesthetic of a suit. These jeans should sit slightly above your waist, so that a tucked in dress shirt isn’t visible below the last sports jacket button.
Midrise jeans are imperative when pairing with a blazer! Courtesy of www.pinterest.com
Regarding leg width, it is best to stick with a middle ground here, opting for a straight, tapered cut as opposed to jeans that cling to your legs. These jeans should fall cleanly, touching the top of your shoes in a similar vein to suit trousers.
What we are effectively going for here are jeans that mimic the silhouette of your suit trousers, which strengthens the impression that you intentionally picked out both items, as opposed to pairing a blazer with any casual pair of jeans, irrespective of the rise or cut of the jeans.
With regards to jeans color, we advocate opting for dark indigo or black denim in order to maintain the formality of the ensemble. Alternatively, you can opt for a pale neutral pair or white denim – colors that work particularly well during the spring & summer months. It is, however, imperative that you keep your jackets lighter weight with these combinations, so as to enhance that summer vibe!
Please feel free to view The Dark Knot's Knit Ties, which are perfect for pairing with a blazer and jeans!
Jeans & Blazer Combinations
Pair Dark Jeans With A Grey Blazer
Looking to make an impression? Pair your charcoal grey blazer with darker or black colored jeans, and contrast it with a lighter colored dress shirt for maximum effect – think a pale blue, light pink or light green shirt. Unbutton the top button for a more relaxed chic aesthetic!
Embrace The Turtleneck
An easy way to eschew the dress shirt and any corresponding difficulties that arise from the incongruence between a blazer and jeans (unless of course you are strutting a knitted tie, more on that below) – is to embrace midlayers, such as a polo shirt or turtleneck. The latter works especially well during the fall & winter months, lending to a seamless look, with the turtleneck providing the perfect bridge between your pair of jeans and blazer / sports jacket!
A turtleneck provides for a seamless, integrated look featuring a blazer and a pair of jeans! Courtesy of www.pinterest.com
Blue & Brown
When it comes to pairing jeans with a blazer, it is often easier to stick to tried and tested color combinations that work, such as the classic brown and navy pairing. Opt for the evergreen textured brown blazer, such as a brown tweed jacket with blue jeans pairing. Heck, you could throw in a turtle grey neck for added effect.
Tried & tested, and it always works! Courtesy of www.pinterest.com
Seeking out that all elusive monochromatic look? A pair of black jeans with a darker colored blazer and a black turtleneck (gasp!) will have you looking the part and then some. A monochromatic blazer with jeans combination is perfect for an evening out, whether its at a chic restaurant or classic cocktail bar!
That seamless monochromatic look, contrasted perfectly with sneakers! Courtesy of www.lookastic.com
Contrast Lighter Colored Jeans with a Darker Blazer
In stark contrast to the above combinations (pun intended), pair your blazer with pale or white denim for that ultimate summer look. Bring the whole ensemble together with a lighter colored dress shirt, and a knit to or textured (ideally linen or cotton) pocket square for added effect! While a tee could be worn, we highly recommend eschewing the casual t-shirt attire and instead opting for a dress shirt, creating a far more polished look.
That perfect summer look, with a madras cotton tie! Courtesy of www.hespokestyle.com
Casual Blazer With Lighter Colored Jeans
An unstructured, even lighter weight summer blazer such as a linen jacket can pair effectively with a pair of white denim or medium blue jeans. Complement the look with a knitted polo and a pair of loafers!
An unstructured jacket with white jeans results in the perfect summer look! Courtesy of www.lookastic.com
Brass Button Blazer with Jeans
Seeking out that sought after preppy look? Pair a traditional navy blazer with brass buttons with your dark denim, and a regimental striped silk tie for that ultimate collegiate look! A white linen or pocket square with a presidential square fold will go a long way towards enhancing your look!
A classic brass buttoned navy blazer paired with jeans provides for an elegant look! Courtesy of www.alittlebitofrest.com
Accessorizing Your Blazer & Jeans Combination
As mentioned above, styling your blazer and jeans combination can involve some of the following to really pack a punch and accentuate that aesthetic!
Non traditional, non silk ties. While there is a place for silk ties, such as the regimental striped silk with the preppy blazer look, we generally advocate ditching the conventional tie for a neckpiece with more character and texture. Examples include novelty polyester ties, often accompanied by a recreational / leisure theme, floral cotton ties (ideal for pairing with your lighter weight, unstructured blazers during the spring / summer months), and our personal favorite – knit ties.
A navy blazer & white jeans combination is immaculately complemented by a stunning knitted tie here! Courtesy of www.menswearmusings.com
A Knitted Tie, as its name implies, is a tie that has been knitted rather than woven. Knitted ties are characterized by an open weave, a narrow blade and square ends (versus triangular, pointed ends that you typically see with a jacquard woven or printed silk ties) – it is these very characteristics that make knitted ties an ideal complement to business casual attire such as a blazer styled with jeans! Additionally, knitted ties are generally slimmer in width, making them the perfect complement for a more casual ensemble.
Textured Pocket Squares are the perfect way to spruce up an ensemble featuring a blazer. While pocket squares in general work extremely well with any blazer combination, a unique pairing of a blazer with jeans demands something with more texture i.e – a linen or cotton pocket square!
A navy sports jacket with jeans is exquisitely complemented by this cotton pocket square. Courtesy of www.lookastic.com
Linen or Cotton pocket squares provide the perfect textural complement to your whole ensemble. When choosing a pocket square, try going for a color that complements your tie, but doesn’t exactly match it. For example, a blue pocket square would complement a burgundy knitted tie.
Additionally, the pattern spacing of the pocket square should be different to that of the tie (assuming that the tie is patterned). Hence, a larger spaced polka dot or paisley pocket square will complement a striped knitted tie, for example.
Please feel free to view The Dark Knot's Pocket Squares, which are perfect for elevating your style game with a blazer and jeans!
Shoes Pairings With A Blazer & Jeans
Your range of shoe options when pairing a blazer with jeans are fairly wide. A great pair of suede or leather loafers, oxford dress shoes or chukka boots would ideally complement your blazer / denim attire. Suede loafers add visual depth and texture, providing for a more nuanced aesthetic. Additionally, leather loafers can work extremely well.
Suede shoes pulled off to great effect with this blazer & jeans combination! Courtesy of www.chiesipharma.com
While we would typically advocate for loafers or chukkas with a more ‘formal’ blazer with jeans combination, and sneakers with a more casual blazer with jeans ensemble, we do think that context matters – especially in light of sneakers becoming more commonplace over the last several years. Darker toned jeans and blazers can still maintain an aura of formality with monochromatic white sneakers.
Who said a more formal blazer look can’t be strutted with white sneakers. Courtesy of www.pinterest.com
So while we would usually suggest opting for those loafers the next time you strut your dark denim with a blazer, we do think that there is ample room for your sneaker game, should you choose to incorporate it!
Alternatively, leather boots can work in a more casual capacity, such as a blazer paired with a t-shirt. Hence, there aren’t any necessarily hard & fast rules to follow – as with most things style.
Leather boots with a more casual blazer & jeans ensemble. Courtesy of www.pinterest.com
We hope these general guidelines have helped you, and that you have enjoyed reading this post as much as we have writing it!