Style Stories

How to wear a blazer now

And what makes one good?
by Leandra Medine Cohen
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I can’t think of another garment type as specific as the blazer that goes through as many transformations over the course of seasons and trend cycles. They’re long, they’re short, pockets, no pockets, double breast, single breast, lightweight, heavy, embellished, plain. This must be why they never go out of style — they’re always changing with the style, even if at times they can seem dated. Maybe they only ever start to seem dated because a shape-shifting nuance has descended.

So what makes a blazer good these days? Lately, I have been gravitating towards a single-breast, grey tweed blazer with three brown acryclic buttons down the front and two flap pockets on either side. It’s the companion to a pair of matching pants, but it looks best when styled outside of its pair.

From left: Toteme blazer ($545 at SSENSE and, uh, $543 at Matches), Anine Bing dropped shoulder blazer ($550), Toteme fitted wool blend blazer ($780; also dropping in this one from Norma Kamali, which is cotton but still heather for $250), Vince charcoal grey blazer ($595), Tod’s checked wool blazer ($1,495), Marni blazer ($1,043), Jacques Wei wool-blend twill blazer with gold button ($622). Not pictured but beautiful, this Altuzarra jacket with a tie waist for $1,895

If you’re in the market for a new blazer, I recommend considering the above guardrails, which are elaborated upon here in bullet form:

Shape: Single breast (I have one exception to this rule and it is this), 3-4 button-down (a 4-button blazer often buttons up higher, presenting the illusion of a heavy-weight shirt, which is a good thing rn), hits right at the point of hip bone. I’m not particular about how many pockets it does or does not have.

Color: This changes by season, like if you go for a brown one this year, it will probably feel very timely and useful for at least the next two, but for maximum timelessness, I recommend a mid-to-dark shade of grey. Part of the reason why is that grey functions like a neutral in much the same way denim does: you can dress it up or down. And does a good job chilling out more formal clothes, which also means when you’re styling it with informal clothes, you have a chance to go jewelry ham.

Ana Khouri earrings, Le Sundial necklace, Paola Sighinolfi ring, and Dior bracelets

Material: Wool tweed. This gives it a more versatile edge, making it suitable, pun intended, in the context of a suit

Styled here with a Vince cardigan and Jamie Haller camp loafers. The belts are actually three different necklaces I tied into the loops (the only one that’s avail now is here). While this jacket (from Bouguessa) is no longer available, this is a great alternative; I also think this one from Marni (30% off) is worth considering

Recovering this from a two-week old send, the commercial trend report. The suit is styled with Aeyde boots and By Malene Birger gloves (same vibe, a little brighter here)

But also relatable with casual basics:

Jk about the basics as far as the shorts go, but this is a good opp to show you this $40 flannel from the brand Columbia. Nice to pair with wool tweed! The loafers are Aeyde. Re “casual" basics,” here’s what I really mean:

The key is to add one element of glam when you’re going tweed with true blue denim (Levi’s). In this instance it’s the gold ballet flatsthe scarf thing is By Malene Birger

Or a skirt.

Same rule applies here with the farty green sweater (from my collab with Pure Cashmere and sold out (!); here is one alt, and this one is a bit darker), the silver skirt is the surprise facet. (Also wearing Delarge sunglasses and Prada kittel heels.)

Or…a skirt and jeans.

The good thing about a single-breast blazer is that it compliments wider-leg pants better and the proportion of fabric is not as overwhelming; the jeans here are from Soeur (the Napoleon style), the crochet mini is from ByLiv Handmade; the shoes are The Row and the necklace is from Pardo Hats

But how many ways can it be worn and what does it do for an outfit?

Kule polo, Soeur x Cafe Leandra shorts, old Valentino heels — try launching a red pump search on TRR you might find a good surprise

You can wear it as a top like in the example above, or as a contrast to lightweight fabrics

Saks Potts wool scarf, but I feel way more strongly about this one, Khaite silk tank (recently saw this black one at Cos which I liked too), Guzio mini skirt (comes like this too), Chanel mary janes (a product of my own “red pump” search on TRR; once you refine down to your size it’s not as overwhelming as it seems)

It also makes for a good bedrock layer when you’re wearing a dickie as the main event.

Soeur dickie, Sea New York pants (good alt 1, good alt 2), The Row boots (so many more good ones here; love the brown and black ‘Town’)

It can be an anchor within a look of extras

Vince sweater vest, Saks Potts skirt (dare I recommend this in its place?), La Double J x Cafe Leandra pants

The interior layer of another made-up suit:

What constitutes a made-up suit is any two garments of the same color, sandwiching a top. The key with a blazer is that your coat layers over it (this one is Tory Burch from last year; you’ll find a similar silhouette with a coat like this or also from Tory Burch, this, and a similar sensibility as far as the material with something like this); the pants are Saks Potts (they’re taffeta!) and sandals are Khaite; I recommend these, or if you’re a 36, these for the season — they are going to look great with socks/tights and straight leg pants/jeans

Or the vessel you choose to justify wearing two belts.

Bassike blazer — a thinner weave wool, more suit jacket than blazer but oversize and therefore good with the belts, which help to create a peplum effect; the track pants are Paco Rabanne and try these for shoes (if you can swing men’s shoes) or these (finally back in stock!)

Alo Yoga leggings, Prada shoes, Khaite bag (try this?) and a Rachel Comey top. If you don’t have a top like this, you can accomplish this look’s whimsy by choosing a simple shirt instead and clipping a rosette into the jacket lapel or adding a long strand of pearls, like this:

I did both because too much is never enough around here. There are ways to play with color too — if you have red shoes, you might want to try a corporate blue shirt (I love the color of this men’s Lemaire one and the fabric — flimsy enough to let your jewelry take center stage) to compliment them. I like how the pink interacts with both colors too. The leggings are Lulu Lemon

I especially like it to add dimension to a party look

The trick of nailing this one is matching your tights to your base layer top.

An alternative pass at party dready with a Rodebjer dress with a deep-V sweater styled over, and cropped with a fabric floral pin, Jimmy Choo black patent leather mules (these from Charles and Keith look good too), Swedish Stockings socks

This is a Simone Rocha dress. Same base look (dress, tights, heels) would be great with a fisherman knit like this styled over it

Or in the below instance to compliment corduroy underwear:

The Garment jacket, MNZ red sweater vest, Miu Miu underwear, Prada kitten heels

This is a more cropped blazer, which makes a good friend to two specific proportions: tiny shorts (demonstrated above) or skirts, or big pants/shorts like these (I have them — you can unroll them and re-roll them to adjust them to your preferred length, I prefer that they graze the floor).

It feels fresh with a mid-length skirt like this

Styled with a Polo denim shirt, Loulou Studios skirt, Swedish Stockings tights and Doen ballet flats

And is surprisingly fun with something more disarming, like this:

This is a gold dress I bought from a consignment shop in a size 8. It was mid-length and I hemmed it to hit right above my butt cheeks — I styled a Re/done denim skirt over it (folded over because I lifted it higher on my waist) and added light blue socks and green shoes. Re: dress, this shape is a great reference for style and this one on sale for $342 is almost a dead ringer 

Never mind that you can also always wear it as a belt…

Here are some good khaki jeans if trousers are not for you; a top like this or this is great in the picture one’s place (it’s a Real Real find by Rochas) is great, or here’s a very dramatic and expensive suggestion and the boots are Toteme. I got them half. off last year, which means maybe they’ll do that again at the end of this season?

But in the end, I think I have to say, the most satisfying way to wear a blazer now is…as a stand alone jacket.

Cafe Leandra x Pure Cashmere sweater, Khaite belt (an alt), Rentrayage jeans, Jamie Haller loafers, Delarge sunglasses, Pardo Hats knit cap

That concludes the styling portion of this episode. Here are 5 good blazers (same collage as the one at the top) to consider if you think they’re worth the try.

From left: Toteme blazer ($545 at SSENSE and, uh, $543 at Matches), Anine Bing dropped shoulder blazer ($550), Toteme fitted wool blend blazer ($780; also dropping in this one from Norma Kamali, which is cotton but still heather for $250), Vince charcoal grey blazer ($595), Tod’s checked wool blazer ($1,495), Marni blazer ($1,043), Jacques Wei wool-blend twill blazer with gold button ($622). Not pictured but beautiful, this Altuzarra jacket with a tie waist for $1,895

Have a great week,