The navy blazer is a staple. But it comes in many different forms. Many thanks to John B. in the comments over here who asked for a quick hierarchy of navy blazers. These start cheap and accessible, and progress to blazers that are worth saving up for. Some are casual, some are dressed up, some can do it all. Leave your favorites in the comments. And yes, for the purpose of this piece, the term “blazer” is being used liberally.
#4. The Rumpled/Washed Chino: Merona Kensington – $39.99
One of the first blazers any guy starting to experiment with his own style will buy, and one of those items that’ll get plenty of use even as he graduates on to more expensive and better made jackets. There’s a place for a “beater blazer” in just about everyone’s wardrobe. A jacket does a lot for your look, even if you’re extremely dressed down. These blazers are cut from cotton with little lining or structure, and they’re meant to be worn casually. So much so that pairing a tie with one would probably look a little off. The fabric is going to wrinkle and rumple, and that’s just fine. You’ll spill salsa, beer, nacho cheese, or all of the above on it. Also okay. Shown above is Target’s Merona Kensington, first mentioned over here.
#3. The Crisp Cotton: JCF Thompson in Pique – $$117.60 or Chino – $103.60 w/ SALE30
It can be chino, pique, a birdseye… whatever. As long as the fabric is polished enough that it leans more towards smooth and less towards just got out of bed. It’s possible to argue that these are more versatile than a dressier navy wool blazer, since pairing these with a pair of beat up jeans looks just as right as wearing one with a pair of pressed work pants. Look for these though:
- J. Crew Factory – their Thompson suit separates
- Banana Republic - their tailored fit blazers
- Uniqlo - the Stretch Cotton blazer
GAP used to make a solid options for these, but it seems like their tails have gotten way too chopped, and the fabric a little too thin in recent years. These are cotton blazers or suit jackets that while not wool, can still be taken seriously once tailored. And don’t worry about picking up an orphaned suit jacket in this style. As long as the shoulder pads are under control, it’ll look like a cotton blazer, not like a suit jacket that wandered away from its matching pants.
#2. The Wool Linen and/or Cotton Blend: B.R. Tailored Linen-Wool Blazer – $250.00
One step below an all wool blazer are the blazers with a bit more texture. Sort of like how a smooth silk tie gets knocked down a few rungs on the dressed-up-o-meter if it’s got some wool blended in. The end result is a slightly rougher, almost slub-like texture. All Linen blazers can belong in here too as long as they’ve got good structure to them (think the Italian Linen Ludlows from J. Crew, or this option from Brooks Brothers).
Two problems with the BR tailored linen-wool blazer above: 1. It’s going to be tough to get on sale (blazers have been increasingly exempt from codes). And 2. It’s lined in poly. Really, really wish they’d stop doing that. $250 (or even $175 at 30% off) is a lot of money to spend on a blazer only to have your tailor hack up the insides. But it’s a terrific blazer otherwise. Great lines, slim sleeves off the rack, and nice deep blue (but not dark navy) Italian fabric.
#1. The All Wool + Dangerously Sleek: J. Crew Ludlow – $388.00
The J. Crew Ludlow is nothing short of fantastic. Super 130s wool that’s buttery soft, a substantial chest piece that hugs your body, and non functioning buttons make for easy sleeve tailoring. Half lined too, so it breathes well even in warm weather. Patience can pay off if you hang out until a 25% off site-wide (except suits) code rolls around. Those can be applied to blazers. This one happened to dip into the sale section at $20 off, then a 30% off code hit. And it’s well worth a quarter of a thousand. Looks perfect with everything from jeans to wool trousers. Also worth a look, the Havana from SuitSupply for $399. It does have patch pockets, but they look like they blend in nicely. Same goes for the often on sale “Heritage” blazer from L.E.C. It’s lighter weight but rumor has it the tail is on the shorter side.
Meanwhile, to brass/gold button? Or to not brass/gold button? The traditionalists say if it’s a blazer, it has to have brass, gold, or mother of pearl buttons. Okay. Call it a sportcoat then. Plenty of us just don’t like the looks of a
blazer, sorry, sport coat with metallic buttons on the front. It’s a personal preference. You wear what you want to wear.
BONUS: The Monster Splurge: Billy Reid Rustin – $520 w/ PRIVATEOFFER ($650)
75% wool, 25% Mohair (silky fabric spun from Angora Goat hair), Made in Italy, Natural horn buttons, and a pique-like looking weave with patch pockets. It’s a blazer that’s so damn nice, it can be dressed down with some texture and patch pockets and still blow away the room. And your bank account. Code is good for 20% off orders of $250 through today.
Your turn guys. What’s your favorite blazer overall, and which type do you normally find yourself wearing? Cotton? All wool? What about the button debate? Leave it all in the comments…