The Versatility Of The Navy Blazer



If you’re a young chap in your twenties you might very well be slowly working your way up the corporate ladder. If so, chances are you’re in the process of acquiring a decent, respectable work wardrobe. You’ve probably already got at least one navy and a couple of grey suits, and if you’ve followed the advice given by my fellow Men’s Flair columnists you’ll have invested in a few pairs of shoes (black and brown) as well. But have you delved into the world of the navy blazer? If you haven’t, consider doing so this coming spring: there are a few items of clothing that are more versatile.

To be quite honest with you I was rather apprehensive about buying a navy blazer. They conjured up not-too-pleasant childhood images of silver-haired alcoholic windbags who propped up the members’ bar in my local golf club. In addition, the traditional brass buttons, which are a key feature on many traditional navy blazers, drew far too much attention to themselves for my liking. So, when I did eventually take the plunge I opted for an entirely unstructured cotton affair with horn buttons. It gets me smartly through the stifling humidity of Tokyo summers without suffering the inconvenience of death from heat exhaustion.

Grey trousers make natural partners for navy blazers. Their sobriety allows you to go mental with other parts of your outfit, or opt for a simple white-shirt-navy-tie combination that is truly timeless. A more contemporary look that I quite like is to pair a navy blazer with cargo pants or khakis. The key to pulling this one off is to find a pair that are as smart as any other pair of trousers in your wardrobe. The undisputed king of the smart-cargos-navy-blazer combo has to be Brunello Cucinelli. His wares effortlessly manage to blur the line between smart and casual clothing.


Andrew Watson is the editor of men's style blog He lives in Tokyo, Japan.


  1. Hmm… khakis I can see, but I struggle to imagine a pair of cargoes which would ever be smart enough for this setting.

    But perhaps that’s my UK-based understanding of what is meant by cargo pants.

  2. I agree with Paul. Even more ‘casual’ chinos I can see working with a blazer, but there is just too much of a formality gap between the marked thigh pockets of even the smarter cargoes and even the most unstructured jacket that could be considered a ‘blazer’. It just grates too much.

  3. I agree about the cargo vs chinos debate. You need clean lines to carry off a blazer and thigh pockets just don’t do it.

    The stone coloured chino is all very well but what about embracing some Mediterranean styling and mix it up with some colour? The Italians seem to wear a blazer even better than we do(although maybe not today when it’s minus 50 out there but once the sun comes out)….

    As an FYI a visit to Gieves’ new blazer room at 1 Savile Row is a must for anyone contemplating the blazer look. There’s a blazer to suit everyone there – as long as they’re not wearing cargos!

  4. The guy pictured on the left with the cargo pockets. Wow. No thanks.

    The guy pictured on the right — his trousers are too tight for a man that age, the colour of his khakis is horrible and the elements (the spread collar, that odd-looking belt) just don’t come together.

    The guy in the middle is rockin’ it, though.

  5. In my opinion the guy on the right is the winner here. Seems like a perfect fit on the pants, if they were more loose it would just look weird. The length is spot on as well. Shoes matches his belt and all in all its a very nice outfit, i could go for something like this myself.

  6. Go with the freakin’ classics.

    Cargo pants,

    you MUST be joking!

    Also, a navy blazer just isn’t right without the good ol’ brass buttons.

  7. Disagree on the brass buttons, Vincent — yes, they’re classic, but not obligatory. But then maybe I’m biased because I just don’t like them.

    But then also I’m an outrageous cheat who has been known to use the top half of my blue suit as a navy blazer

  8. Blimey… that was an incendiary response! FYI the cargos I have are very minimal: they have one pocket barely visible on the left thigh, and are well fitted. The look really needs a totally unstructured jacket in order to work. It also helps if live in the kind of climate (temperature-wise, not social) where cotton or linen clothing is a must.