The staple blazer and shirt outfit has been at the forefront of men’s fashion for decades. From casual get-togethers to formal affairs, this look has carried men effortlessly through almost every style of event — but are you maximising its full potential?
Here, we’ve put together a fool-proof guide on creating a suave jacket and shirt outfit that’s fresh and on-trend. Not sure which colours, fabrics and patterns got together? Check out our shirt and blazer guide for style tips and tricks.
Colour - Your suit palette is perhaps the first feature of your look that people will notice — so it’s critical to get this right. Essentially, you can go down three avenues to pinpoint the perfect suit colour: block, tonal and statement.
Block colouring is your more adventurous option — and it’s a big trend in men’s fashion for AW18. When you colour block your outfit, you go for bright panels of contrasting, solid colours. Think electric blue blazers with canary-yellow ties and pure-white shirts. This is a tough one to perfect, but the trick is to contrast warm and cool colours and then tone it down with a neutral shade. Something like a steel-grey suit jacket with a blush-pink shirt and lemon tie or a red tweed blazer over a forest green shirt.
Tonal colouring is almost the opposite of block colouring, as you choose a single shade and wear its variants. Say you go for purple. You could throw on a velvet jacket in a rich, dark plum shade over a lighter, mauve shirt and polish off the palette with a bright lilac tie or dickie bow. Pick your favourite colour and just turn up or down the pigments on your shirt, blazer, trousers, etc.
Statement colouring does what it says on the tin: makes a statement. Similar to tonal colouring but focusing on a single shade surrounded by neutrals — like brown, grey, white, and black — this colour style exudes understated confidence. Pair a wine-coloured Oxford shirt with a rich, chocolate men’s blazer or go for a teal, seersucker suit with a white shirt and skinny black tie.
Texture - Next up is the fabric. You probably already have a favourite blazer texture, but if you usually stick to the same kind, maybe it’s time to switch it up. Fabric plays a big part in how formal or not an outfit looks, so make sure you get the combination right.
Go for the staple, lightweight polyester suit jacket and cool cotton shirt for a comfortable outfit during long occasions or try a boxy wool blazer and flannel checked shirt for a touch of old-time style that’s suited for casual events.
Brown or khaki tweed has an unmistakeably rural gentleman appeal and looks ideal with a plain white, cotton shirt and tweed waistcoat, while a clean and crisp white or silver jacket in linen delivers a laid-back vibe that goes great with a fine pinpoint Oxford cloth shirt — ideal for relaxed, outdoor events. If you’re after something formal but slightly against the grain, corduroy and velvet are spot on. The former is a type of woven cotton with a distinctive, raised texture that looks especially good in a rust or maroon shade with a white shirt in a twill fabric — the slight shine of the shirt will contrast perfectly against the thicker corduroy.
For the ultimate in masculine luxury, try velvet or satin. If you’re going for this fabric, make sure you do it in style by opting for a dinner suit or smoking jacket in a rich, elegant shade — like royal blue or emerald green. As a thin, light, modest fabric; smooth broadcloth shirts look best with luxe velvet or satin blazers — scarves and pocket squares also look incredible with this jacket fabric.
Pattern - The pattern can seal the deal on a good and bad jacket-and-shirt combo — and the trick is to not splice different types in a single outfit. Either go for a patterned blazer or keep this plain and enhance your look via your shirt.
Window-pane checks are large and bold — ideal for making a statement at an event that matters. Pair this style with a block-colour shirt and plain tie for maximum effect. Smaller checks are also in-season, so switch it round — keep your blazer plain and go for an Oxford shirt with a burgundy base-colour with navy gingham checks.
Vertical stripes create a longer torso and look great on men dressing to impress in a smart jacket and shirt. High-contrast shades are best for stand-out impact — think two-stripe coral and white or multi-stripe red, navy and white — and remember to consider the weight of your stripe choice. The thicker the stripe, the less formal the event.
For casual get-together with mates, tropical print-shirts are on top form this fashion season — we recommend keeping to the casual tone by pairing it with an ultra-lightweight cotton jacket. Alternatively, panel shirts let you combine multiple block colours that you can tone down with a neutral, wool-blend blazer.
There are many ways you can wear a shirt and jacket for a knock-out effect that’s on-trend for modern men. Combine the patterns, fabrics and colours above to create a look of your own or pair up with your dates dress at your next social event.