Style 101: Blazer vs. Suit Jacket

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There may come a time when you’re rummaging in your closet for that perfect suit jacket, or a new blazer, and you might realize … “Wait … I don’t have either of those.” You might then also realize that no one has ever really schooled you on the differences between a blazer and a suit jacket. That’s where Style 101 comes in.

Tailored essentials are a must for every guy, even if you don’t find all that much reason to wear a jacket on the daily. Trust us: There will come a time when you need a stylish new blazer, or a stylish suit and suit jacket — and then, you’ll thank us. Wedding season is nearly upon us, and that next big presentation is on the way.

Blazer vs Suit Jacket - Blazer

Blazer

Blazers are inherently casual by nature, and can be worn on their own paired up with like-minded separates (think tan or grey chinos), whereas a suit jacket is the top half of, well, a suit. A blazer is a bona fide, timeless, tried-and-true men’s style staple, typically made of more hard-wearing fabrics like cotton or linen — as opposed to a suit jacket, which is often made from what you might call dressier fabrics, typically with some sheen or luster (think higher-quality, tightly fabricated wool or cotton). Blazers themselves also have sportier origins, as the original blazers were worn by English rowing club members — it’s a casual distinction that still endures today.

Our Pick:

Outerknown Ambassador Blazer

Blazer vs Suit Jacket - Jacket

Suit Jacket

The suit is the dressiest of what you might call daily menswear staples — it’s worn by businessmen, finance titans, CEOs, creative directors, accountants, writers (some of the time) … you name it, someone you know is wearing a suit to work today. The blazer is more suited for business casual offices and style situations, given that it can be dressed up (say, with tan chinos and a crisp white dress shirt) or worn in a more laidback way (a la with a blue Oxford shirt and inky blue dark denim).

Suit jackets also typically feature thicker lining and shoulder padding — much more slimmed down in recent years — than more casual blazers. Some of our favorite blazers are made of cotton and are unlined, all the better to be worn atop a T-shirt during spring or summer.

Our Pick:

Taylor Stitch Telegraph Jacket

In a nutshell: You’ll want to wear your casual, unlined cotton blazer with everything aside from sweats or shorts, but you’ll want to wear your suit jacket as part of a full suit (or perhaps as a separate with dressy black chinos — but that’s another conversation for another time). These days, plenty of things about your style can be customized, but you’ve got to start with the basics first — that’s Style 101 for you.