Style Debate: Wearing a classic Navy Blazer with jeans

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Shown above:  Brooks Brothers’ Two-Button Classic 1818 Blazer – $598 (yep… not cheap)

The case FOR wearing blue jeans with a classic navy blazer:  Denim isn’t reserved for panning for gold anymore.  Make sure it’s nice and dark, free of distressing, and any wear marks (note to the Brooks Brothers model, them cuffs be frayed) and you should be fine.  The jacket with jeans look is so common that its become a go-to uniform for some.  Despite jeans not being allowed in most corporate work places, often times a guy in a jacket and dark jeans will look light-years better than a guy in a pair of dress pants, and bulky shirt, and a bad tie.

The case AGAINST wearing blue jeans with a classic navy blazer:  It’s not because jackets and jeans can’t work (they absolutely can), this tandem doesn’t work because of how a classic navy blazer (with brass buttons) looks and acts.  It’s similar to why most suit jackets don’t look quite right with jeans.  There’s just too much formality contrast between the two pieces.  Suit jackets usually are cut a little sharper, have more shoulder padding, and often look too smooth for jeans.  On top of denim, the classic wool navy blazer with its gold or brass buttons looks forced.  Carlton trying to loosen up forced.  Instead, try a blue cotton blazer with it’s different fabric texture, soft shoulders, and darker buttons and you’re fine.  Meanwhile, the classic blazer also has it’s origins in nautical wear.  Jeans were made for land lubbers getting dirty.  Some watch purists avoid putting an aviation style of watch on a dive style of band.  Kinda the same thing here.  Sure there can be exceptions, but The Brooks Brothers model at the top of the page is wearing an ultra-traditional version.  He’s also wearing a tie.  Fella looks like he just stepped out from behind a local news anchor desk.  This is like wearing a t-shirt and baseball cap with flannel trousers.  An exception worth noting:  If you thrift an old Navy Blazer that’s got some obvious history to it visually?  Wear away.  It won’t look quite as smooth and pressed as something you’ve purchased yesterday.

A few rare navy wool blazers that might be able to be worn with jeans:  This one from Calvin Klein with grey metal buttons, and despite it being a suit jacket, the J. Crew Factory Thompson can do well with jeans.  Its texture helps.