Look like a Grownup, Dammit! (With Style)

Welcome back, people. So, we’ve discussed why a navy blazer (or any sport jacket for that matter) is a versatile, cornerstone piece in your wardrobe. Then we talked about how to get one and how it should fit you. Now that you have this great fitting jacket that goes with (almost) everything, you must be wondering, “What in the world do I wear with this jacket?” Well, the short answer is whatever you want, but I’ll show you some outfitting ideas I use on the every day that may get your creative gears turning and have you making your own personalized ensembles in no time.

One thing to remember: The blazer and/or sport coat is what is sartorically known as an “odd jacket,” odd meaning that it doesn’t come with matching pants like a suit jacket. So when pairing these coats with trousers, don’t try to match the color or it will look like you are trying to put a suit together, which is not what this jacket is for; that’s what a suit is for (and I’m sure we’ll talk about suits at some point). Embrace the contrast in the jacket and trousers. I’m such a big advocate for the Navy blue blazer because you can pair it with most any color bottom (save black and navy) and it will look good. Also, a bit of confidence wouldn’t hurt. With that in mind, here’s some outfit ideas to pair up with your blazer:

1. Dress Shirt & Tie

Traditionally, the navy blazer is just a touch more formal than a lighter colored or patterned jacket (“sport coat”) but not as formal as a suit, which is what makes the garment so versatile. Pairing the navy blazer with a dress shirt and tie is a classic look. The preppy, traditionalist look. The Ivy League look. I’m a fan of this look for a more formal setting or even a dressier business casual setting. Pair this with chinos and you’re good for a “meet the parents” type scenario; dress slacks (especially in a dark olive or grey) and this outfit could sub for a suit in a pinch. As for the tie, you can keep it a bit more on the “retro modern” side and do a knit tie or bow tie, but if you’re going the dressier option, I recommend a nice, silk woven tie. A striped tie can give a little more “throwback” to this outfit, although I wouldn’t shy away from patterns either. The only kind of tie I would say “hell no” to is some sort of novelty print. Unless you’re a pediatric dentist, no one is going to take you seriously with that keyboard tie your mom got you in Middle school for your piano recital.

2. Patterned Button-up

Also known as a “sport shirt,” a more casual button up shirt can go well with a blazer. I’m a fan of plaids, checks, even a subdued stripe can work well, sans tie. A Plaid shirt and a dark wash pair of jeans can be a good pairing for a night out at at fancier bar, date night (I always prefer to have a jacket or sweater on date night, in case my date gets cold) or a casual business meeting. Khaki or stone colored chinos can be a nice setup for work with a checked dress shirt and no tie, or to add even a bit more of a serious look for parent teacher night at your kids’ school. From my experience, this outfit has proven to be the most versatile for me. I can go to work, attend that parent/teacher conference, meet up with my lady for dinner and take the kids to a movie without having to change out of my “nice work clothes.” That, and the blazer’s pockets prove to be very useful for holding phones, movie tickets, business cards, wallets, and such with ease. You try having to hold your and your significant other’s phones and wallets with just a pair of slim fit jeans and a t-shirt on. The jacket is practical, which scores you gentleman points.

3. The-shirt and Jeans

This is the most casual look I’ve personally tried with my blazer. It’s easy, comfortable, and makes you look just a little more bad ass. I really like putting a v-neck or striped crew neck t-shirt under the jacket for a simple yet fashionable look. Graphic tees can do the trick too, but for this look I would recommend a simple, central design on the shirt. As for the jeans, I prefer a straight or slim fit for this pairing, because although those relaxed fit Levi’s you love may be more comfortable, they may also scream “dad” if pulled off incorrectly.

I’d also really like to see what any of you reading this right now have to add to this list of ideas. Send any outfit pics or love/hate on this little series in the comments below or on our facebook or twitter pages.

Hope to hear from and see you guys looking like men, dammit!

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Richard Buznego

Punk rock stepdad. Plays rock and roll, works retail, wears bow ties.

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