In the nebulous void between casual and professional attire, there lies the lone blazer. Often mistaken for the more pedestrian Norfolk jacket (aka sports coat), a blazer is one of the most versatile items of clothing a man can own, particularly if he lives in an gentrified area where the restaurants require gentlemen to wear a jacket.
Men’s blazers, and how it all started
A quality blazer is a windbreaker, a fashion item, a place to store your EDC essentials, a way to accent your frame, and a piece of history. The modern blazer came into style in the early 1800’s as a jacket for the British Navy. It then took over for many years, simply because the particular cut makes a man look more slender, and broader of shoulder. Besides the cut, a blazer is defined by the material it uses (typically linen, cotton, or wool), and a tighter overall fit.
These are the attributes we considered when we went out to seek the 16 best blazers for men.
Factory Thompson Suit Jacket
Repurposed: The J. Crew people want to call it a suit jacket, and we’ll leave them to their delusions. Point of fact, this drab piece in slub linen is a diamond in the rough. It’s simple enough for a pub crawl, can be paired with nearly any tie and pants under the sun, and can quickly become a suit. Anyone seeking a bargain, take note.
Original Penguin Chambray Shawl Blazer
Rough & Tumble: The rules are changing as active wear becomes more formal and formal wear integrates more comfort into the designs. Literally 2% spandex, this machine-washable blazer would have been laughed out of the room five years ago. Now, it’s a comfortable, simple piece of outerwear for active guys.
Marks & Spencer Pure New Wool Buttonsafe
Overkiller: Marks & Spencer is part of the Warby Parker revolution of untamed millennials making interesting, affordable clothing that is also high-quality. The sheer audacity of the Buttonsafe makes it a fun novelty choice, but also a powerful look for the climber with big dreams and sharp teeth.
Reiss Sach B
Summer Surprise: The woven, slate gray appearance hints at a wintery aesthetic. In truth, this is a summer blend of light cotton and linen. It stands out in a crowd during the sunshine of July, and makes a slim and fit fashion statement whatever the weather. The mishmash of classic and contemporary shapes make it either arrogantly post-modern or playfully vintage. Either way, you win.
Relwen Woodsman Blazer
About the Work: It barely looks like a blazer at first blush, and doesn’t behave like one. The sleeves are intended to be rolled up, and the brown herringbone pattern is supposed to hide dirt and grime. Made of a wool, polyester combination, it’s hard to believe, but this is actually a fantastic, comfortable casual blazer for year-round wear.
Grey Prince of Wales Check Jacket
True Traditionalist: Foggy as a London night and cut in the old Brinsley fit, there’s more than a few English headmasters who still stalk the halls in one of these. Peaked lapels and patch pockets give it an accessible feel, while still offering a stern countenance. Best worn with a button-down.
Oliver Spencer Slim-Fit Stretch-Cotton
Complete Comfort: Cut from stretch cotton, the slightly wild, unstructured look comes from having lining only in the sleeves. While it looks loose, the peak lapels are a little more business than pleasure. Wolves in sheep’s clothing: Here’s your uniform.
Brooks Brothers Milano Fit Cotton Blazer
Fallen Idol: Brooks Brothers isn’t quite the name it once was, but you’d never know it to see the dynamic fit of this blazer. Pure cotton woven on Italian shores, then adorned with metal shank buttons, it’s just enough flash to be noticed, but not become gauche.
Billy Reid ‘Rustin’ Sport Coat
Casual Friday: Here’s one that rides the fence between sport coat and blazer. As an unstructured blazer, it’s clearly not cut for doing heavy business; nor is it quite the loose and airy sport coat the name leads you to believe. Whatever it’s called: It’s Italian cotton-linen designed by Billy Reid. Just call it yours.
Acne Studios Black Jack Travel Wool-Piqué Blazer
G-Man Black: Navy was the first color a blazer ever had. Black is the the last. As versatile as you would expect, when paired with jeans, it looks like an ordinary jacket. Put in a pocket square and you’re prepared for a charity ball. Commingled casual and formal this is truly what a blazer was meant to be.
Hackett Multi-Blue Plaid Blazer
Combination Platter: The Multi-Blue is an interesting mixture. It uses bits and pieces from all over the blazer’s long and storied past. The plaid is somehow classy, bearing tight fabric slashes around the midsection that are serious business. Partially lined yet able to breathe in the summer, few seasons phase this jacket.
Dries Van Noten Linen And Cotton-Blend Blazer
Half-Serious: Most manufacturers make very few true blazers, and the ones they do churn out are generally drab affairs in a few flat colors. The two-tone Van Noten breaks from the pack with a slight variance between a deep burgundy and a rich navy. Not right for Wall Street perhaps, but a casual wunderkind for dressing up and down at the same time.
Paul Smith A Suit To Travel In
Hidden Depths: Just another matte black jacket this is not. Made entirely of high-twist wool, it doesn’t wrinkle or crease easily, and can repel small amounts of water. Melton wool on the lining of the collar will keep your neck from chafing, and the natural buttons are a nice conversation piece.
Etro Brown Two-Button
Summer Enchantment: Etro can be a punchline to the outside world, with odd color schemes and gaunt, androgynous models sporting beards; but they make a fine product. Using a blend of silk and wool, this is no ordinary brown. It’s soft, supple, and makes patterned shirts explode.
Berluti Knit Blazer with Leather Trim
Homegrown: For more than a century Berluti has been raising the bar on what is acceptable in fashion. This knit blazer begins life as a standard navy jacket, but the addition of fine, soft leather trim brings a greater hint of masculinity to the staid piece. Adding resiliency without sacrificing class.
Perfect Blend: Known more for their suits, Brioni likes to “slum it” with a few blazers from time to time. This one is a blend of silk and wool offering a smooth look and feel that makes every outfit. Throw it over a blood-soaked chicken suit. The Tic could pull it off.