Top 5 Men’s ‘Separates’ Combinations

Image: paul weller 2013

5 Classic Mix Match Combinations

Any style-conscious gent will already know that separates are big news for the seasons ahead. In fact, so much so, we included them in our SS14 street style trends round-up earlier this month.

Perfect for those who like to get the very most out of their clothing, separates – i.e. combining non-matching blazers and trousers – will not only breathe new life into your existing tailoring collection, but are perfect for creating a wealth of smart-casual or formal looks for a variety of occasions.

However, while anyone can put together two different garments, it takes a little more thought to get the colour/fabric combinations right. So, to ensure you are successful, this article aims to highlight five fail-safe separates pairings that utilise pieces the majority of men will already have in their wardrobe…

Navy Jacket With Beige/Khaki Trousers

Out of all the combinations this article will cover, a navy jacket with beige trousers is sure to prove the most versatile. Just as effective in the winter as it is in summer, this eye-pleasing pairing will have you looking your best whatever the occasion.

Although there are no strict rules as to what style of blazer you should wear – single/double-breasted, notch/shawl/peak-lapelled and one/two/three-button designs are all fair game – we would suggest opting for an on-trend double-breasted version for formal occasions, switching for a classic two-button design when looking to dress down slightly.

To complete your outfit, simply add a tie, shirt and monk-strap shoes for an evening wedding reception, or a crew neck t-shirt and minimal leather trainers when meeting friends for lunch.

Those wanting something a bit more relaxed for dress-down Friday or a night out should try swapping the suit trousers for khaki/beige slim-fit chinos and the shirt for a knitted white polo. Finish with loafers in spring/summer and more practical dress boots in autumn/winter.

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Example Combinations
Grey Jacket With Navy Trousers

Perhaps the most classic and timeless of these five combinations, a grey blazer with navy trousers is a match made in heaven. Perfect for both formal and informal events, this sleek and simple pairing is a foolproof option that any man can pull off successfully.

Whether worn to the office or for drinks at the weekend, these versatile and masculine hues will ensure you always look confident and stylish.

It’s worth mentioning, although we recommend a grey jacket with navy trousers, this combination works just as well in reverse – giving you two go-to outfits you can add to your repertoire. In fact, we would suggest teaming a navy blazer with grey trousers when you want something slightly more relaxed, switching for a grey jacket and navy trousers for formal occasions.

To complete the look, utilise other capsule wardrobe essentials: a crisp white shirt, neutral tie and black Oxfords/Derbies when heading to the office, switching for a ribbed roll neck and loafers for a meal with the other half.

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Example Combinations
Black Jacket With Grey Trousers

Best for those who like to appear smart and understated, black and grey – when combined with a shirt, tie and shoes – is the ideal combination for life’s more formal occasions. Yet while monochrome separates may instantly conjure images of the boardroom, by making a few alterations, you can also wear them off-duty.

Perfect for nights out, when you want to dress practically but look sharp, try switching your shirt and tie for a simple tee or polo, and your dress shoes for a more relaxed silhouette, such as leather loafers or trainers. To give your look an extra injection of flair and personality, finish with a printed pocket square or patterned silk scarf.

When it comes to creating your outfit, it’s worth remembering, similar to the previous grey and navy pairing, this combination works both ways. Whether opting for a black jacket and grey trousers or black trousers and a grey blazer, the outcome will be just as effective.

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Example Combinations
Tweed With Denim

One specifically for autumn/winter, this ever-popular combination has been a favourite amongst gentleman for generations. Ideal for those who like to take a more casual and rugged approach to their personal style, this heavyweight pairing is not only stylish but highly practical for our ever-changing climate.

To create an outfit, we recommend teaming with a pair of brown boots and a crew neck jumper when heading out for mid-week drinks, switching to a roll neck and leather brogues combination for smart-casual events. If you’re wearing selvedge denim (which you should be), remember to roll up the hem a couple of times to show off that internal selvedge edge.

When it comes to accessorising, due to the materials involved, we would suggest taking a similarly textured approach. For instance, a chunky scarf would be a considered addition when shopping at the weekend, while a wool pocket square and knitted tie would be perfect for business-casual office environments.

For those who are not fans of tweed – whether it be due to the feel, look or weight – jackets in other winter-appropriate materials such as wool, cord or flannel make worthy alternatives and would complement denim’s durable, workerwear roots just as well.

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Example Combinations
White Legwear With Coloured Blazers

This summer-ready separates combination screams French Riviera. Whether you opt for a blazer in sky blue, red/pink, green or yellow, teaming it with white jeans/trousers will produce a sophisticated look that oozes class and elegance, no matter where you reside.

To create your outfit, roll your trouser hems a couple of times and wear sockless with espadrilles and a t-shirt for an evening out on holiday, switching for a cutaway collar shirt, solid tie and penny loafers for a summer wedding reception.

When it comes to making a decision on what colour jacket you will wear, it’s worth bearing in mind your skin tone. For those that are blessed with a sun-kissed glow or olive skin, you are pretty much free to take your pick from any colour, whether it be a primary or pastel shade. However, if you are fair-skinned, it would be best to opt for a slightly darker hue to avoid looking washed out, such as deep red or petrol blue.

As mentioned previously in our white legwear article, it’s imperative you get the fit of your jeans/trousers right. Although skinny cuts are great for those who want to make a style statement, they’re not for everyone and aren’t particularly practical in hot weather due to their restricted airflow.

Instead, opt for slim through leg and narrow at the ankle and you’ll nail that sense of effortless chic that our continental cousins pull off so well.

Lookbook Inspiration

Example Combinations
Final Word

Separates are ideal for those men who like to dress smart and refined on a daily basis, without having to resort to a suit. Not only will mixing and matching your jackets and trousers help get the most out of your tailoring collection, separates can also be dressed up or down effortlessly to suit the occasion.

But now it’s time to hear from you – what are some of your go-to separate combinations? And will you be trying out any of the pairings above?

Make sure you let us know in the comments section…

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