How To Wear & Style A Navy Blazer

Posted by Isabella Collier on

Zella Collier

In this detailed men’s style guide, we cover how to wear & style a navy blazer, how to accessorize this wardrobe essential, what events and occasions are appropriate for a navy blazer, and explain how to select the right fit of a navy blazer for you.

One of the most essential pieces to build a wardrobe is a navy blazer. If you have only one jacket, it should be this one. If you are stranded on an island and can take one thing with you? The answer just might be a navy blazer.

Anyone can learn timeless style, that's part of our mission here at The Dark Knot. Starting with the addition of just one garment, your wardrobe can be refreshed. Navy blazers are timeless and true, making them a must have for any gentleman’s armoire. Even if you are a seasoned veteran to the filigree of fashion, a refresher course in navy blazers can’t hurt. So settle in, as we are going through every stitch of when to wear and how to style a navy blazer.

Navy Blazer Style

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Personal style is curated over years of conscious design choices, but a strong wardrobe is built from a closet of well crafted staples. While developing your personal taste can take time, trial, and the oft err - We know where to start. By focusing on the many outlets for a style must, in this case a navy blazer, you can dress confidently knowing what your closet arsenal holds. Navy blazers can be dressed up, down, and out.

When choosing a navy blazer for your closet, it's important to reflect on the ideal qualities in a blazer. While gold buttons are a vintage homage to its original stylings, a simpler button will ensure ease of use.

In our opinion, the ideal navy blazer should be easy to pair with neutrals, knits, and patterns, like a stripe or check shirt.

What constitutes a navy blazer?

What exactly constitutes a blazer? The navy blazer is a jacket that can be worn across a spectrum of settings. The blazer is a middle of the ground piece that elevates your attire without going overboard.

Blazers are typically offered in various colors, with navy being the most prominent. Being sharp and masculine, the navy blazer can accentuate virtually any casual / smart casual / semi-formal look. In order to optimize for versatility even further, opt for a single breasted navy jacket with mother of pearl buttons that match or complement the fabric.

While navy blazers are often associated with the double breasted variant that is accompanied by gold buttons, this also happens to be the most formal, and can hence limit your jacket’s potential and versatility.

So what are the key differences between a blazer, sports jacket & suit?

  • A blazer, unlike a suit or sports jacket, does not typically have a pattern to it. While texture within the weave of the fabric is suitable, a definitive pattern should be excluded.
  • A blazer, if accompanied by metal buttons, is easily distinguishable from a sports jacket and demonstrates that you are not wearing a suit jacket with mismatched pants!
  • While blazers have less structure to them than suits, they are not as soft shouldered or unstructured as a sports jacket – thereby falling in the middle of the formality spectrum.

How should a navy blazer fit?

When concerned with fit, we have a few tips for the dressing room mirror. When shopping off the rack, the end of a blazer should fall around the middle of your crotch when standing normally. If you’re on the shorter side, aim for a little above this marker to avoid breaking your natural lines which could make you appear shorter.

 For taller guys, we suggest the contrary, and a slightly longer cut will avoid making you look too lanky or ill proportioned. While we always recommend tailoring, this is the most important fit to get right off the rack, as tailors can’t let out a hem since there is not much fabric to work with.

Navy Blazer

In the arms, the sleeves should fall above the hand, and yes! Your shirt should show.  The cuff of your shirt should be visible, but no more than ¼ of an inch.

Blazer Fit

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When to wear a navy blazer

With its history of six gold buttons, the navy blazer wears a heavy crown as the most interchangeable menswear garment. In the scale of formality, we can break menswear into the spectrum of sports coats, blazers, and suits.

While the line between a blazer and a sports coat has become blurred in the modern age, there is still a valuable distinction to be made. In decades past, sport coats were woven from more textured materials, as they were garments intended to be worn during hunting, horseback riding, or other outdoor sports and activities. These coats were more informal than their smooth and sleek counterparts, parts, suits.

Navy vs Blazer vs Sports Jacket

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Suits are the most formal option, and should therefore never be separated from their paired trousers. While it may seem that a blazer is simply a suit separated, a suit jacket is actually cut differently than a blazer, as well as being constructed with more structure. These qualities make suit jackets look disjointed when paired with slacks, jeans, or different trousers.   

Navy blazers offer flexibility, neutrality, and cohesion, but they aren’t wholly dependent on your styling. Blazers do have variations, visible to the trained eye. Material matters, but there are other features too. Double breasted blazers with side vents are traditional for navy blazers, and are more formal than single breasted or ventless blazers. We feel a front pocket is a must, but a blazer without one can still be valuable for your arsenal of casuals.

Occasions for Navy Blazers

Though never a replacement for a well tailored suit, a blazer is perfect for versatility with at least three seasons of wear and limitless possibilities for styling. Depending on the pants you choose, a navy blazer can be worn to a wedding, afternoon yacht jaunt, to the office, or even your next dinner date.

Navy Blazer

A Navy Blazer can be worn across a range of settings! Courtesy of

It really depends on the occasion at hand, which is why we are breaking down this style guide into levels of formality. Don’t worry, you’ll learn how to style a navy blazer for both a backyard wedding and seaside nuptials.

Before we dig in to how to style a navy blazer, we have a few rules of thumb. You never want your pants to be darker than the blazer or too close in color to it. When you style a navy blazer: black, navy, and dark pants are off the roster.

We know you’re wondering: Can you wear a blazer with jeans?

Yes! We recommend a straight leg jean made of a light wash denim. Dark wash denims are more professional than light wash, but wear them with caution as darker denims can be too similar to the navy of your blazer. Keep in mind that denim is always on the casual side, and opt for chinos or slacks when in doubt.

Navy Blazer w/ Jeans

When pairing a navy blazer with jeans, lighter jean variants tend to work best for adequate contrast. Courtesy of

How to style a navy blazer, semi-formal

Let’s start with the most intimidating - how to style a navy blazer for semi-formal occasions. We want to be clear, when we say semi-formal, we mean events such as holiday parties, graduations, some dining establishments, and often weddings (though please double check the invitation!). Semi-formal is adjacent to business casual, but can be styled less neutrally and with more accessories than you would wear in the office.

Navy Blazer semi-formal style

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To style a navy blazer for a semi-formal occasion, start with selecting a crisp dress shirt. A neutral contrast between the shirt and blazer will create a look of composition, so consider whites or light blues. If you are seeking out an ensemble with some additional pop, a light pink shirt works perfectly.

When pairing a trouser, material matters. Either a wool trouser, gray chino, or dress pant will work. Always lean towards simpler when styling for semi formal, so avoid bold plaids or patterns.

You want to choose accessories to match the occasion as well. Appropriate cufflinks are great, just avoid anything too flashy, like gemstones or larger designs. A simple pocket square with a clean fold is a great choice too, allowing you to add a dab of color or pattern to your outfit without sacrificing any formality.

Pocket Squares | Silk Pocket Squares | Linen Pocket Squares

However, it's best to air on the side of caution and avoid bright colored or quirky patterned socks for semi-formal events. Leather dress shoes or loafers are great options, but leave the boat shoes and sneakers for next weekend.

How to style a navy blazer, casual

Casual! This is where you can really get creative and expressive. Patterns and pops of color have never been better than they are with a navy blazer.

The sharp cut of a blazer pairs well with a solid colored tee shirt, offering a casual style with the composure of intentionality. You can dip into floral or micro patterned shirts and even colored polos too. If you do go for a design on top, be sure to lean into a more neutral print.

 Navy Blazer Casual Style

A navy blazer styled perfectly for a casual setting! Courtesy of

Sneakers can be a great option when you try to style a navy blazer too. A clean cut sneaker can offer a sporty touch to your casual look. We think it’s best to avoid chunky or multi-colored sneakers, and go for white or light colored simple sneakers, like vans or a classic converse. But hey! Casual dress is code for experimentation, so wear what you like. And yes, that includes your bolo ties and collection of unconventional cufflinks.

Navy Blazer with Floral Print Shirt

A navy blazer working incredibly well with a floral patterned shirt!   Courtesy of

How to style a navy blazer, academic

This category can also be called smart-casual. This option is a cut above traditional casual, and applies to university presentations, networking events, and most daytime social occasions. It is similar to business casual, but offers a bit more personality than the office usually does.

You can wear patterned button up shirts or polos, but try not to stray from a clean silhouette and subdued palette. Sweaters are also a great choice for academic or smart-casual settings. You can wear a sweater over a simple tee, or even a fitted polo for a more layered look. Much like the navy blazer, we believe that a solid v neck sweater with a simple knit is a must have too.

Navy Blazer Academic Setting

Few looks carry a professorial vibe like a navy blazer with a sweater! Courtesy of

Navy blazers can be styled with cable knit or patterned sweaters as well (think argyle not snowflakes and reindeer). Be sure that the blazer does not appear too tight in the arms or chest. The blazer should still button smoothly without pulling or puckering, and there shouldn’t be wrinkling around the shoulders.

How to style a navy blazer for business

Navy blazers are a great way to show you mean business, while remaining approachable and relaxed. What we recommended above for semi-formal and smart-casual reigns true, but with a few alterations. Avoid too much personalization in the office by keeping things neutral and clean cut.

Solid white shirts are always our first choice when learning how to style a navy blazer for the office. Chinos or slacks are great in khaki or gray, though a wool trouser is a great choice when done the right way.

Navy Blazer Formal Setting

A navy blazer paired perfectly with a white dress shirt, navy knit tie & white pocket square. Courtesy of

While you’ll want to leave any quirky patterns at home, you should still accessorize a navy blazer for work.  Well paired watches and belts are great choices for the office to elevate an otherwise simple look. You can opt for a more structured navy blazer too, such as one with fine stripes, either single or double breasted, and with or without a side vent. 

Knit Ties | Silk Knit Ties | Knitted Ties


How to style a navy blazer for the season

We want to do a double take to be sure we cover all our bases. Some styles might fit the bill at first glance, but not suit the season.

White pants are great,but are a touch too preppy when paired with a navy blazer in any season besides summer. The same goes for a striped tee. The nautical look makes waves for spring and summer, but if you’re not dockside in autumn it's best to leave the stripes for a sunnier time of year.

Navy Blazer White Pants

A navy blazer with white pants works especially well during spring / summer months! Courtesy of

Boots, especially a classic pair of chukkas, are great for fall and winter, or even spring. However, leather boots often look too heavy and out of place in the dog days of summer.

That’s all we’ve got on how to style a navy blazer!

Navy blazers are the perfect example for how versatile a gentleman’s wardrobe can be. By understanding how to use a staple garment, you can confidently style yourself for dozens of occasions. Your personal style can become an eclectic and seamless blend of pomp and gusto with the right touches, or you can keep it traditional and minimal.

And that’s a wrap for this one! We hope that you have enjoyed reading this as much as we have writing it!

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