The wise man’s wardrobe is built on cornerstones: the T-shirt for the beach (or the bar), a pair of Derbies for work (or a wedding) and the blazer for, well, pretty much everything.
Despite menswear’s gradual drift from dandy to dressed-down, there remain those sartorial classics that never seem to lose their clout. The blazer is one such stalwart: it’s the piece you reach for when getting dressed to boss that job interview, for wooing the one that could be ‘the one’, or for any of life’s situations where it pays to look that little bit sharper.
But styling one isn’t always easy. Indeed, too many men spend valuable time trying to pair a blazer and trousers – time they could be using to do more important things like, you know, sorting their bed hair out. Or drinking (depending on the time of day we’re talking…)
Which is why we’ve compiled this handy list of the best blazer-trouser combinations, so you can spend less time deciding what to wear and more time wearing it.
Navy Blazer + Beige Chinos
An indisputable classic. If this combination of two quintessential menswear colours can’t make you look good, then we’re not sure what else will.
Honour the look’s preppy roots with a structured blazer that’s actually navy, rather than midnight or royal blue, and let the occasion dictate your choice of chinos: flat-front for casual dress codes; pleat-front for something that’s a touch smarter.
Tweed/Wool Blazer + Jeans
Not every man is about that suited and booted life. So if you’re looking for an alternative to pocket squares and Super 100s, rough your look up a little with fabrics that are tough-as-nails – but still good for town.
The definitive off-duty combo for colder weather, pairing a textured wool blazer with jeans ensures you stay warm without letting your style slip.
Keep the country vibe with a pair of leather brogues or give it a Gallic spin, as pictured here, with a Breton shirt and some mid-top trainers.
Unstructured Jacket + Jeans
Want the silhouette-enhancing lines of a blazer but the comfort of a cardigan? Then just cut the bulk.
Unburdened by the inner architecture of a regular, structured blazer (padding, lining), an unstructured style is lighter in weight, cooler and isn’t cut as close to your body, making it ideal for those of us who can’t see the difference between a suit and a straitjacket.
Given the unstructured jacket’s casual lean, keep the rest of your look consistent with a pair of dark jeans or chinos rather than formal trews.
Patterned Blazer + Neutral, Smart Trousers
OK, so the blazer is sometimes boring, we get it (it’s hard to stay constantly entertaining when you’re edging 200 years). If a plain colour style puts you to sleep, then perk your look up with some pattern.
It doesn’t have to be much – just a subtle check like the etched windowpane one here (on-trend for SS17, FYI) is enough to set you apart from the rest/get you noticed faster at the bar/attract potential breakfast partners etc.
Best keep your trousers low-key, though – you’re not the official entertainment.
Green + Blue
Right in that sweet spot between sedate and statement-making, green and blue is the colour combo for guys who don’t ‘do colour’. Owing to the fact that they’re neighbours on the colour wheel, there’s a natural synergy between these two shades that makes wearing them a cinch.
Like all neighbours though, an element of compromise is key. Which is to say if you’re opting for a striking bottle green up top, then what’s on your bottom half needs to take a back seat.
Similarly, if you’re opting for a pair of jade green trousers, your blazer needs to pale – in tone at least – in comparison. You don’t want a turf war in your tailoring.
Unless you’re so flush with cash that you’ve had to start burying it, cost-per-wear is probably still a concern when sizing up clothing purchases. Which means you need colours that play well with others.
This is especially true for tailoring; the price of T-shirts might mean you can buy them by the bag-ful, but blazers? Not so much.
Earth tones – off-white, beige, stone, camel, russet, khaki green, ochre, etc. – are exactly that. And not only do they work well when worn together and with punchier shades, designers’ latest outputs suggest they’ll be trending for the next year too.
Blame it on the gendered baby clothes, but we can’t think of a better colour for men than blue. Less sombre than black, not as boring as grey, but still every bit as wearable as both, this is one colour your wardrobe can’t be without.
So why not wear it head to toe? After all, all-blue isn’t the sole preserve of swindling estate agents with weak, damp handshakes. For a more sophisticated spin, try a tonal approach, pulling together a blazer and pair of trousers that are a couple of shades either darker or lighter than each other.
Pink + White
Speaking of gendered colours, did you know pink only started to acquire its feminine connotations in the early 20th century? Up to that point, it was considered a resolutely masculine diminutive of red – a colour that connoted passion, force and war at the time.
Today, it’s a strong contender for your warm-weather wardrobe. Worn right – i.e. with an anchoring pair of trousers in black, grey, white or another light neutral colour – pink can give your look the summer-ready punch it needs, not to mention prove you’re a man who knows how to navigate the trickier points of style.
Are these menswear matches made in heaven? Or could they do better?
Give your verdict (and shout-out any other combos) below.
With over eight years’ experience writing on men’s style, former blogger Cillian O’Connor delves deep into men’s collections, sorting the wheat from the chaff to deliver seasonal trends and failsafe style tips.
He has written for Metro, The Business of Fashion, The Irish Times, and Canvas8, and has consulted for brands including Gillette and Dan Ward.