When it comes to matching blazers (or sports jackets) with shirts, guys get a little confused. The bad news is there’s no straight answer to this. The good news is that there are dozens (even hundreds) of combinations you can try.
Blazers have “casual” written all over them.
That’s why the choice of shirt is very wide. Very wide indeed. So let’s start with the blazer, because I assume you’ll buy less blazers than suits (obviously).
The “big idea” is to get one or two blazers and 5 or 6 shirts that you can wear interchangeably. All shirts should match either one or both blazers.
When choosing a blazer, you can opt for one with or without a pattern. Personally I recommend you get the first one in a solid color and the second one in either pinstripe or checks.
This way you’ll achieve two things:
1. Keep you on the safe side when matching blazers and shirts
2. Give you more freedom of choice when matching patterned shirts (otherwise you would have to match two patterns – not an easy thing to do)
The solid colored blazer
OK, so you’re off to buy a solid color blazer. You can go for a “safe” color or for something a little edgy – your choice. Safe (non)colors include: black, navy blue, dark blue, dark brown and different shades of gray.
If this is your first blazer, I recommend you go for one of these colors. The best part is that these “safe” colors are in fact neutrals, meaning they will work with pretty much any shirt in your closet, as long as they contrast with them.
If you’re wearing a black, navy or gray blazer, a light blue or a white shirt are the obvious choices.
The Golden Rule of Blazers: always try to make a contrast between the blazer and the shirt. Always. Yes, there are exceptions but unless you’re trying a more advanced outfit, you shouldn’t worry about them. For now, stick with a good contrast.
So if you’re wearing a black blazer, you have to remember that black works with everything except brown and navy blue.
With that said, you can wear a wide variety of light colors. You can stick with a simple white shirt but that would be pretty boring (unless you add a white pocket square). You can go for pale colors such as pale blue, pale yellow etc.
Another thing you can do is go for patterned shirts with your black/blue/gray blazer. I usually wear my black blazer with a checked shirt (white shirt blue checks) or a striped shirt (light blue and blue alternating stripes).
Sometimes, when I want to go crazy, I like to wear a pink shirt. The combination is eye-popping but the blazer’s color is there to make sure my outfit is still on the safe side. This is something you might want to wear when going to a club, for instance.
What about a brown blazer? A white shirt is the best thing you can pair it with (white shirts are very versatile, by the way).
Now let’s talk a little about blazers in bold colors. If the blazer is in a bold color, the secret is to wear a shirt in a “safe” color. You don’t want to mix a red blazer with a bright blue shirt – trust me.
So what color choices do you have?Here’s a few and I recommend that you stick with them. If the bold color is not in the list – don’t buy the blazer:
– light blue
Wear a white or a red blazer with a black shirt. Wear light blue blazers with either a black or a white shirt.
Wearing a patterned blazer can be difficult but the final result will most likely impress everyone. Take a look at the photo below.
By far the easiest pattern you can wear is the pinstripe. Pinstripes are very thin vertical stripes on a blazer or a suit jacket:
Matching a pinstripe blazer with a shirt is just like matching a solid color blazer. The pinstripes are almost invisible BUT…
the really cool thing you could do is to repeat the color of the pinstripes. Color repetition is great in any outfit.
Some really cool patterns…
Let’s take for instance this checked blazer. It’s made of tweed so you wear it on colder autumn and spring days. In the picture below, the guy paired it with a madras shirt (not a bad result though I’m not a fan of the madras shirt).
Here’s another checked blazer with a simple white shirt:
If you’re a newbie, simply wearing a patterned blazer with a uni shirt is enough. But if you want to go for a two patterns (pattern over a pattern), I definitely encourage you to try it before dismissing it as not being for you.
To contrast or not to contrast
If you’re somewhat advanced, you might get bored following the same old style rules. Some folks like to break them every once in a while. So how about you match, just this once, a blazer and a shirt of the same color? Mmmm, maybe the colors can be of slightly different shades.
Well, as long as you don’t do this with black or with bold or with colors that are too light, this might actually work.
For example, how about a dark blue blazer with a slightly lighter shirt? Or, the same thing only with brown?
I’m not even gonna show you photos of these, I want you to try experiment on yourself and, if you want, you can share the results with everyone else by placing a comment below.