Your blazer might only be a garment of choice for formal occasions, but this staple piece of clothing can also work exceptionally well for a variety of occasions, including that special date when you really want to impress the girl, or even an evening out with the lads. Unlike suit jackets, blazers are not usually paired with matching trousers and are less structured, this is what gives the blazer its versatility. A simple blazer helps men look more masculine and authoritative, who wouldn't want that! To rock the blazer outfit, we have a complete guide on what to wear under it, to give you that clean, fashionable feel.
Here are twelve recommendations for what to wear under a men's blazer, with something for every occasion
1. Dress Shirts
Dress shirts are in the wardrobes of all fashion-conscious men and they are the most common way to dress a blazer. The formalities of the blazer mean that you are inclined to wear it to formal occasions, buttoning the shirt up to the top and finishing it with a tie or a bow. It is exactly what you need if you want to give an impression.
Dress shirts are mostly in a solid colour and tucked into the trousers, have single/french cuffs and a stiff folded collar (use the one finger width rule to check whether the collar is the right fit). Because the dress shirt is a used for formal occasions and best tucked into your trousers, the length of the shirt should reach the bottom of your backside making sure that it wont untuck. You can wear suit trousers with the blazer but make sure they are not the exact same colour otherwise it would look like you can't find the suit jacket and you decided to wear the blazer and you have no fashion sense. Mostly worn for formal occasions to look dressy and polished. If not wearing a tie, always wear a pocket square for a formal look. To add jazz, add a metal tone lapel pin (best suited to the same colour as your watch). For a more casual look open the top buttons but always tuck the shirt in!
2. Business Casual Shirt
There is not much difference between the Dress Shirt and Business Casual Shirt. Dress shirts have a more stiff collar and are mainly available only in neutral colours. Business casual shirts come in many colours and patterns. They are usually worn in the workplace, hence the name, team it with the blazer for the look of someone who has it all!
There is nothing like the formal appearance of this good quality cotton for an everyday work look. This gives you a clean, no-nonsense business look. You can tie a tie around the neck if you need that extra lift for a meeting. Depending on how much you want people to notice your tie choose between the pointed or cutaway collar. Go for a more subtle colour to appear graceful and elegant, but of course go ahead wear the pattern shirt if that is what you have. To keep the outfit cool and more relaxed and less stiff, open the top buttons and leave the tie out. Because you are not wearing a tie, spice it up a pocket square on the blazer. Keep the whites and pale blue shirts for formal occasions such as the office and opt for textures such as herringbone for the more casual occasions. Most importantly, make sure that shirt is ironed!
3. Oxford Button-Down Shirt
This was created by John Brooks in 1896, and has a classic, retro, preppy feel to it. It is made with a thicker fabric than the normal dress shirt, with a button-down collar. The shirt is casual but also tries to be formal and therefore it succeeds at being a little of both that is why the shirt is perfect for different events, nice BBQ evening with friends, or going to a wedding, either way you wear it works.
The versatility of this shirt makes a perfect pairing for any blazer whether you are dressing it up or down. I would not wear suit trousers because of the casual style clash that is the oxford shirt and it would not fit well with the tailored trousers, you are better off wearing it with jeans, chinos or corduroys. Go for the lighter shade for a more formal event and a darker shade for the BBQ. It would be advised to not close all the buttons because it is made of that thicker fabric, the collar would drape down. It also looks well when you leave the shirt open and have a black or white plain tshirt showing. Wear it with a dark pair of trousers for a relaxed yet trendy look.
4. Hawaiian Shirt
This is a staple summer look that has many patterns that make you look and feel refreshed. The look is more suited for casual events on a warm summer's evening, the shirt popping up under the blazer giving you that extra bit of colour to the event while keeping warm when the sun goes down with the blazer.
The open collar makes it ideal for getting air on your chest, so show a bit of chest for a more slick look. There are several different patterns that you can get and the notable wide pointed collar is usually out over the blazer, but it can be kept unseen under the blazer if that is what you want. If you have a short torso keep the bottom of the shirt out to give length to the colourful shirt, otherwise you can tuck it in or leave it out depending on how cold you are. If you are feeling nippy, pop on a plain white tshirt under the shirt or tie a bandana around the neck. Because you are more likely to wear this shirt in the summer, a light coloured blazer would be better suited, but no doubt a dark coloured blazer will do just fine.
5. Flannel Shirt
When you think of a flannel shirt, you might think of a western boy on horseback with a thick checked fabric shirt. It has a very outdoor aura to the shirt which is why they appeal to all men. The idea with the flannel under the blazer is that they are very comfortable. This thick, soft fabric is a must to wear when the temperature drops. You can wear it open with a plain t-shirt underneath or close up the buttons leaving the top ones open because you would wear this outfit to a casual event. I would advise not to wear formal trousers with the outfit because of the relaxed fit that is the flannel.
6. Chambray Shirt
It has the look of a denim shirt but it is lighter and less stiff. It is not as light as an office shirt so this is ideal for those cooler days. It can be worn under a blazer as a casual and comfortable look; it is well suited for any laid back event. Keep it relaxed by wearing a pair of jeans or chinos.
One consideration that needs to be noted is that make sure if you are wearing jeans with this look (the fashion police might arrest me for saying that; double denim, but it is back!!), just make sure it is a different shade to the shirt and the jeans are of good quality, or if you don’t want to break the law just wear chinos. Or if you want to wear this shirt to a formal occasion you can wear suit trousers, grey coloured trousers would be the best colour for that.
7. Short Sleeve Shirt
It is a warm summer's day and you still want to wear a blazer and a shirt. It is too warm for two long sleeved tops on, opt for a short sleeve shirt. No one's gonna know and still you will look classy.
Short sleeve shirts come in many colours and patterns with open pointed collars. The shirt and blazer will look exceptionally stylish with a pair of shorts if it is that warm summer day in Ireland and you want to make the most of that day. Stand out from the crowd by wearing this outfit because more than likely every lad will be wearing a pair of O’Neills shorts and a jersey. This shirt works best with shorts, chinos, light denim trousers or linen trousers, keeping the look bright and summery. Again, the shirt is usually not tucked in or buttoned up for casual events but for more formal events tuck in the shirt.
8. Linen shirt
Often seen on millionaires on their yachts as they are worn when you feel like you are melting. These shirts are made from highly breathable fabric. I would advise for those extra hot days opt for light colours as they will absorb less, the lighter colour will instantaneously make you look and feel cooler.
With linen shirts you can experiment with different pastel shades that you wouldn’t normally wear, if you're going for the classic linen look choose white or pale blue. Pair the look with a light pair of chino shorts for the utmost summer. When it gets chilly your blazer will add an extra layer to the outfit.
9. Granddad Shirt
The biggest shirt trend at the moment are these Grandad shirts. They have a full front button up with a band collar. What we love about this shirt is that it brings a twist to an outfit because it is unusual, and you will stand out in the crowd. Most are made of high-quality cotton or linen.
Wear the shirt with the top buttons opened and with a blazer to feel laid back at a formal occasion; it is perfect for a wedding (that is if you are not the best man of course!).
Sweaters, a loose collarless jumper with long sleeves with no buttons or hood. This is perfect for the extra casual event but adding the blazer makes it acceptable to wear to events such as your niece's Christening or even going to a sports event and you want to go extra. It is a great way to add warmth, texture and sophistication to your look.
If you feel like you need to add something more, a plain coloured Oxford shirt underneath will make it more formal and polished. This is perfect for casual Friday at work or casual Saturday lunch. Try avoiding pastel coloured sweatshirts as it can look too preppy against the blazer, go for strong or plain colours such as navy, beige, brown.
11. T-shirt / Polo
When worn properly, a t-shirt and a blazer can be seriously stylish, just make sure both are slim fit. A plain white or black crew neck style t-shirt with a blazer....probably one of the most easy going yet stylish outfits. You would often see celebrities wear this as their ‘street style’ with a pair of sunglasses.
This outfit can be worn at a lot of events. A tight fitted t-shirt will show your carved abs and will get women's heads turning. The great thing about the plain shirts with the blazer is that they can be paired with several types of trousers and still look polished. Polo t-shirts can add a sense of formality and sophistication to the look with the blazer if that is what is needed. It’s a sportier look than normal shirts because of the buttons. Wearing a V-neck t-shirt with a blazer has a distinct chic feel to it. Partner most of the shirts with slim jeans or chinos and stick to plain colours to ensure you won't go wrong.
12. Roll Neck shirt
This is the ‘Rocks’ classic look; roll neck and blazer. This is ideal for winter, with the knit fabric. It is best to keep the shirt plain and the colour should be contrasting against the blazer. The darker colour be kept for a more formal occasion and the brighter colour for the lunchtime Christmas Market shopping.
The versatility of a blazer means what you wear underneath decides whether you have a formal or a casual look. If you are going for a formal look pair it with a shirt, close the buttons, choose block coloured shirts, add a tie, bow or a pocket square (for the really formal events) and tuck in the shirt. If you are heading to a casual event it is up to you what way you style it but again the less buttons closed, the more colour in the shirt, the smaller the collar (or no collar at all) and the less of the shirt you tuck into your trousers the more casual you will feel and look.