Does Jeans and a Blazer = “The Business Mullet”?

A columnist has attacked this standard combo worn by plenty.

TheRegister.co.uk asks: The business mullet: Cool or Tool?

Thanks to Tim J., Ben M., and a host of others for sending in the style tip about this article that has started making its way around the web in the last few days.  Above outfit can be found in the post: “Get the Blues“.

The Case Against Jeans and a Jacket

“Silicon Valley is notoriously casual in its dress and business demeanor. In a culture that celebrates every day as Casual Friday, it’s hard to get the tech crowd to dress up. Which is why it’s so painful when techie types try to dress up… Whatever the reason, they invariably end up going half-way and wear the dreaded business mullet.  

You know what I’m talking about: jeans with a sports jacket or, worse yet, a suit jacket…  I believe Dave Rosenberg coined the term “business mullet,” and it delivers the perfect sense of what happens when testosterone dresses itself.”

- Matt Asay for The Register

The Case For Jeans and a Jacket:  First, gotta hand it to whoever came up with the nickname.  “The Business Mullet” is a hilarious term.  That said, the wholesale slander of a sportcoat/blazer paired with jeans is just flat out wrong. It absolutely can be done right, and it’s fair to assume that the author of this piece, Matt Asay, most often (only?) sees the worst examples of this combination.  Most likely out of shape desk jockeys wearing three-button pinstripe suit jackets with large shoulder pads and low armholes, paired with jeans that would look at home in the President’s wardrobe, and finished off with a yellow silk Donald Trump tie. Yes, that’s going to look awkward, but at least these guys who don’t normally have to dress up are trying.

Here’s how to get the jeans + blazer combo right
  • Your best bet is if the jacket is a blazer or sport coat.  Differences are explained over here.
  • Easiest fabrics to pair with jeans are cotton (chino, corduroy, or moleskin), linen, or a wool w/ texture.
  • You’ll want minimal shoulder padding, high armholes, and a 2-button or 2/3 roll that shows some shirt.
  • Peak lapels are hard to pull off, so go with notch.  And keep the lapels slim.

And sometimes you can even bend those rules.  During a recent, extended trip overseas, my clothing options were limited.  I needed to bring a suit for an event, but it was going to be casual 99% of the trip.  So I ended up wearing a light grey, well fitting, worsted suit jacket with jeans quite a bit.  It was the top half of an Indochino Essential Grey.  Had some depth to the fabric thanks to the black + white = grey fabric.  Ideal?  No.  But it looked just fine.

with suit jacket“Now boarding, 1st class, parents with small children, and tools.”