Written by: By Sondra Wolfer
The outdoor heat and indoor chill of summer make dressing for the season a conundrum—unless you have a few dashing cotton blazers on hand. Also known as sport coats, these refined, yet easy-going garments help you weather changing conditions with aplomb. In a summer-ready blazer you’ll keep your cool on the walk to the office and still look professional when you get there, rather than feeling a soggy mess. Summer sport coats keep you comfortable when the air conditioning is set to ‘fridge,’ and also transition with ease to drinks with co-workers when the day is done.
What is a Blazer?
The blazer is a staple in any gentleman’s wardrobe. The Oxford English Dictionary gives us two primary definitions: ‘A coloured jacket worn by schoolchildren or sports players as part of a uniform’ and ‘A plain jacket not forming part of a suit but considered appropriate for formal wear.’ The name blazer arose from the bright colours on early versions of the coat tailored for members of sports and boating clubs.
For everyday men’s fashions, however, a blazer is essentially a solid colour jacket that is often styled with trousers of a contrasting hue. In summer, you’ll ditch the heavyweight blazers and reach for only lightweight versions. Just the thought of wearing wool when it’s warm and muggy is sweat inducing. Seersucker may be one of the most iconic summer coat fabrics for men, but it’s not an everyday look. Linen is a classic option too, but is more suited to holidays. For the greatest versatility, a cotton blazer is the way to go.
What Defines a Summer Blazer?
A summer blazer is unstructured, meaning there are no shoulder pads or internal layers that add tailored crispness to the traditional blazer. You also want to look for a coat that is unlined or half-lined, which keeps it breathable and lightweight. Here’s how to style a blazer through the warm months:
The Blazer at Work
Wear a lightweight cotton blazer over a short-sleeved linen shirt or polo shirt and you won’t become overheated on crowded busses or trains, or on your walk from the Tube stop to your office. If it’s a particularly warm day, take off the jacket and drape it over your arm or shoulder for a dashing look. Opt for a light-hued version when the sun is blazing so you’ll reflect rather than absorb the warm rays. To keep your look extra neat for meetings or presentations, pair your blazer with fitted button-up shirts, a natty tie, and plain front khakis.
The Blazer After Work
How you style a blazer after work depends on where you’re headed. If you’re off to the pub to meet friends or co-workers, ditch the tie and unbutton your shirt. Same goes for dinner out with your significant other. However, if you are going to an upscale restaurant, or meeting someone for a first date, keep the formal elements in place.
The Weekend Blazer
Here’s where the cotton blazer fully expresses its casual side. Wear an unstructured, neutral blazer over your favourite T-shirt and denim jeans to sport a laid-back look. Push the sleeves up your forearm or to your elbow for a devil-may-care, posh effect. A blazer with a pair of tailored cargo pants is a handsome, easy-going style. Play with contrasting colours. A bright pair of stretch trousers is snappy with a light-coloured blazer. Or mix a blazer with a bright, lightweight hoodie for a cool summer ensemble.
The summer uniform of trousers and a tee can grow boring before you’re halfway through July. Cotton blazers keep things interesting and, as a bonus, add casual elegance to any ensemble. So go ahead and experiment with the versatile, debonair look of a cotton blazer this summer. You’ll be rewarded handsomely.