How To Wear A Blazer: Why This Well-Cut Wardrobe Staple Will Always Be Your (Sartorial) Best Friend

By Dan Ahwa
There’s a variety of fresh blazers styles to set the tone for 2024.

Even hybrid working can’t diminish the sharp power of a well-cut wardrobe staple. If in doubt, you can always throw a blazer on. Here’s how.

It’s about that time of year when some of us will be looking at how well our professional attire can serve us, particularly now in

If we’re still paying any attention to the international fashion week circuit, let me help you decipher one of the main takeaways: there were loads of blazers. For men, women, everyone.

A sign of the times that feels fairly self-explanatory in a moment when versatile dressing is crucial, this classic wardrobe staple came in a variety of choices, from the slick, rigorous tailoring at Victoria Beckham to the broad shoulders and nipped-in waists at Stella McCartney, as if plucked from Murphy Brown’s closet of power blazers.

If we’re over-analysing things, perhaps this is a response to the way global warming has altered our need for anything too heavy. When was the last time anyone invested in a heavy winter coat? Short jackets like blazers offer the kind of versatility required in our new age of hybrid working. In 2020, I threw one on for important meetings over a shirt and boxer shorts. Today, I’ve invested in the various assortment of relaxed blazers, louche and unlined options that aren’t too formal but still offer the kind of tailoring that supports me in a professional situation.

If you’re in the market for a blazer, you’ll be overwhelmed, as the pattern for a blazer is fairly set, whether it’s custom made or something plucked from the racks at your local shopping centre.

We’re specifically discussing the kind of everyday blazer you can wear with everything here; investing in one that works with your personal style and body shape requires a little trial and error.

If fashion trends are seen as a mirror of what’s happening globally (miniskirts = buoyant economy! Minimalism = recession!) then razor-sharp tailoring should help you feel pulled together in a world of uncertainty.

Sure, a blazer isn’t going to cure modern-day anxiety, but it may help you feel (for want of an otherwise overused word in fashion) “empowered”. But that’s the great thing about clothes; aside from the practical, they can be mood-enhancers too.

So what blazer to buy now and wear forever? Here are a few options to consider right now.

Relaxed-fit blazers

Oversized blazers require a little tact to ensure you find the right balance of loucheness required.

It takes a certain type of nous to deal with the volume of a slouchy, oversized blazer, and one quick pro tip is to consider wearing one with relaxed trousers or with a pair of equally slouchy jeans. A relaxed blazer is the sort of garment religiously worn by the fashion cognoscenti in Copenhagen, who know the value of volume and are often seen traipsing around town with an oversized blazer thrown haphazardly over a maxi dress or billowing trousers and sneakers.

Styling tip: For those that dare, the oversized blazer is the sort of thing that can work with no bottoms, transforming the blazer into a tailored cocktail dress with the swift addition of a belt for an after-five event.

For something with a slightly retro bent, this 90s power blazer has enough of a relaxed fit that it still feels pulled together. This option features exaggerated, padded shoulders, an oversized fit and shining metal hardware with pleated detailing at the back for a subtle point of interest.

Sheis known for creating perfectly languid tailoring and Juliette Hogan’s classic blazer features a single button closure with double jet pockets. For any and every occasion, meeting and event — this timeless option is the business.

The local fashion stalwart is particularly adept at a well-cut blazer, and this relaxed, cropped option is an ideal investment that will see you through any season in an elegant shade of grey.

Fitted blazers

A tidy blazer that skims the torso is a smart, failsafe option for any occasion.

The antithesis of an oversized, relaxed shape, an hourglass blazer skims the body and emphasises the shoulders. It’s an item that has its roots in post-war silhouettes favoured by everyone from Christian Dior to Mildred Pierce.

A nipped-in-waist effect is particularly great when you’re looking to team the blazer with something that has a bit more volume, like a full skirt or structured, oversized jeans.

When it comes to a fitted blazer, you can’t look past the time-honoured tuxedo blazer, a look popularised in the 70s by Yves Saint Laurent when he released Le Smoking tuxedo options for women.

Fast track to today, that legacy has lived on in the collections of several different designers, and locally, Tanya Carlson (one of the country’s leading experts on tailoring) delivers her fresh take on a tidy tuxedo blazer that’s perfect for those who need to segue from the office to an after-work function with ease.

A lightweight cotton blazer with plenty of shape to it, Caitlin’s cinched waist is the perfect investment for right now, with a pair of smart shorts or a tidy skirt for the office.

The Australian brand is synonymous with slick, nipped and tidy tailoring, so naturally, the inclusion of this waist-defining double-breasted option is a best-seller. Available in a crisp white with a sculptural gold button, this is a classic example of how a blazer works best as a key contributor to a minimalist outfit.

Double-breasted blazers

A double-breasted blazer offers more formality, as the garment was traditionally reserved for formal occasions.

These days, you can still wear a double-breasted blazer in any situation. Because the double-breasted blazer often has an overlapping lapel, you need to ensure the fit is correct, particularly at the shoulders. Unlike an oversized single-breasted blazer, an oversized double-breasted blazer can look ill-fitting, so consider a shorter hemline if you’re petite.

Whatever anyone says about avoiding a double-breasted blazer if you have wider hips, don’t listen. It is possible to find the right double-breasted blazer but remember to spend more time ensuring the blazer fits perfectly around the shoulders and chest.

Another local designer well-versed in giving tailoring a modern finesse, Karen Walker’s double-breasted option features exaggerated sharp peak lapels, crisp jetted pockets and six self-covered buttons that fasten high on the chest.

What’s better than a double-breasted blazer than a double-breasted blazer on sale? This relaxed option is designed for a loose fit with notched lapels and slightly structured shoulders.

The preppy styling of this Portmans number is a surprisingly good option if you’re on a budget, with its gold buttons and structured fit. This is a smart option for those looking for a classic with a twist.

Coloured blazers

Blazers in a hue outside of safe neutrals are a golden ticket out of Squaresville.

The great thing about fashion is there are no rules. I subscribe to the idea that you should wear whatever you like, but if you are someone needing guidance you’ll be pleased to know that not every blazer takes its colour palette from traditional menswear.

These days it’s not uncommon to find a blazer in a colour that suits you. Then focus on neutrals you can pair with your coloured blazer. Colours such as red or pink work particularly well teamed with brown or tan; and “cooler” colours such as green and blue team particularly well with black and white.

A sunny yellow linen option is the perfect choice for this time of year, fully lined and made from organically grown linen.

Here’s an example of a blazer that combines two key blazer ideas — block colours and oversized. This vivid hue is perfect for on- and off-duty days, featuring a sharp collar and lapel.

Some of you may have seen the National Party’s deputy editor Nicola Willis sporting this very blazer in Parliament recently, adding to her collection of coloured blazers — including one particular Maggie Marilyn number worn to the swearing-in of Cabinet last November. Whatever your politics, Nicola offers plenty of ideas around how to make a coloured blazer work in a highly professional environment, and this option from Wynn Hamlyn adds a point of interest that works well layered over a black dress for an easy outfit formula for the working week.

Patterned blazers

Choose wisely when it comes to mixing prints and tailoring.

For a concept that found its peak in 2013 at the height of statement necklaces and peplum dresses, a patterned blazer can be hit and miss. Like anything with a vivid print, keep it simple or focus on prints that are harmonious in colour.

For a professional environment, consider trying a patterned blazer with a block-coloured dress or a simple white T-shirt with a pair of trousers. The idea here is to keep it fresh and unfussy, so depending on your choice of a printed blazer, make this the main attraction and keep everything else understated and simple.

You can’t look past the prints that have for so long helped define men’s tailoring, and a traditional houndstooth check is an ideal place to start should you wish to try slipping into a blazer with a focal print. Even better, this check has been turned on its head in a perfect medley of white and cobalt blue.

Known for her choice of premium Italian fabrics, the local fashion doyenne has a range of ideal options for executives looking for something unique. Created from a linen blend, this whimsical blazer is best layered over a simple black dress or a white T-shirt.

Yes, an unconventional print, but who said every office worker was a complete square? For those with a little more imagination, this double-breasted blazer features a playful aquatic-inspired print that works well as the main event.

Leather blazers

It’s possibly too early to consider this option, but leather blazers are here to stay and what better time to invest in one than now?

At recent red carpet awards such as the Golden Globes and the Emmys, we noticed a number wearing black leather tuxedos. There’s the propensity to be weary of one for fear of looking like Tony Soprano, but as I’ve discussed previously in this story about the pros and cons of a leather jacket for men, it is possible to wear a leather jacket at any stage of your life so long as you keep things textural.

This is one investment better suited in the lead-up to autumn and winter where you can layer it easily over a hoodie or a piece of knitwear for a point of interest.

For women, a leather jacket can offer a more refined look that is acceptable to wear to the office over a crisp shirt and a skirt or tidy trousers.

Several designers have looked at vegan leather options too, so ensure you invest in a good-quality leather that’s easy to maintain and works with your style.

Again, a leather jacket needn’t be reduced to black — there are muted leather jackets out there that offer up the kind of versatility you require if you want to wear a leather jacket beyond the working week, but for the sake of this article, we’re discussing the versatility of a blazer, and what’s more versatile than one in black?

The American sportswear behemoth offers a selection of cool lifestyle fashion, and this clean-cut leather blazer option is the perfect example of a leather blazer for any time of year. Matched with a cream silk blouse and jeans, this is a perfect outfit formula for days when you’re uncertain of what to throw together.

If you’re keen on a leather blazer but have a tight budget, local label Moochi offers this in a rather generously cut double-breasted option for your consideration. Semi-fitted, this leather blazer is fully lined and the perfect investment as we segue into the cooler months ahead.

Made from fully lined 100 per cent regenerated leather, this menswear-inspired leather blazer has an easy single-breasted closure with two buttons, one welt pocket at the chest, two interior chest pockets, and two functional flap pockets at the hips.

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