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Once upon a time, a blazer was something you primarily wore to the office, a staple piece for corporate America. And it still is.
But these days, you could just as easily spot one on a stylish celebrity going out for coffee. And as the weather cools down for fall, we’re seeing them everywhere.
“Blazers are an essential capsule wardrobe item,” says Erica Ball, a Los Angeles-based personal stylist, fashion blogger and YouTuber. “It’s that versatile piece that you can really style from day to night.”
Of course, how people wear blazers can vary in style, color, texture and proportions. And this season’s crop has its own inclinations.
“Recently, all of these relaxed and oversized styles have come in,” says New York City-based wardrobe stylist Diane Pollack of Stylempower. “And they are absolutely still in, but we’re also coming back to more fitted and shaped styles. And we’re starting to see the large, ’80s shoulder pad look with a little bit of an attitude.”
Bold colors, leather and denim are all popping up, too — among other fashion trends. We asked fashion experts for help in navigating the fall selection in blazers. With lots of options on offer, which is the best blazer for you? And what are some ways to style it? Read on to learn how you might use a blazer to elevate your wardrobe.
If you’re looking for a blazer that will get you noticed, you’ll find it in the one pictured above. At the moment, that pop of color happens to be extremely popular among the fashion-forward.
“Bright colors are a universal trend right now,” Pollack says. “It could be chartreuse, hot pink, etc. — people are suiting head to toe in bright colors.”
This blazer is especially in vogue since red in particular is having a moment this fall. Plus, she says, “leather and leather-like materials have become a ubiquitous staple in many people’s wardrobes.”
If you like the idea of incorporating a hue that pops (but doesn’t overwhelm), start with a bright-colored blazer and choose the rest of your outfit to work around it.
“Whatever you pair it with, make sure everything else is more minimal and streamlined,” Ball says. “You don’t want your blazer to be this red leather statement piece and also have a busy print, wide-leg pants and crazy shoes.” Instead, go for neutral pants and a fitted shirt underneath.
The blazer above has that classic, “college professor” look, but it’s been updated with cheeky appliqués (she’s wearing her heart on her sleeve!) and an oversized fit.
“It’s taking something more serious, structured and classic and adding a bit of fun and uniqueness to it,” says Pollack. “Trendy people can really have fun with this.”
But Ball points out that if you’re only going to be buying one blazer to add to your wardrobe, the appliqués on this one might limit its lifespan.
“A blazer tends to be more of a high-ticket item, and I want my clients to have it for more than one season,” she says. “Those details might be fun, but they aren’t something that’s going to last. I think people tend to get tired of details like that.”
Looking for a blazer that will work for you in all situations?
“This one is really versatile,” Ball says. “You can style it for work, you can style it for daytime or nighttime.”
The fitted silhouette is flattering, and the neutral color pairs with anything.
“If she wore this with jeans, rolled up the sleeves — and added an elevated T-shirt and a pair of chic sneakers — that would work great for a casual day,” Ball says. “But she could also wear this with a silk blouse, slim trousers and a pair of pumps for work.”
Remember Alicia Silverstone’s character in the movie “Clueless?” This blazer would suit her well. (Granted, she would probably get a higher-end version of this trend — like this L’Agence blazer at Nordstrom’s.)
Pollack points out that you don’t have to pair this blazer with a matching short skirt.
“You could wear it with a pencil skirt or trendy trousers,” she says. “You could even wear it with leather or with denim.”
Witness two trends colliding: Oversized and (faux) leather.
“This blazer is made to look worn-in and vintage, like an old-school bomber jacket, as opposed to a crisp black one you’d wear going out,” Pollack says. “This could also be a good piece of outerwear and fit some layers underneath.”
This weighty wool blazer is roomy enough to pull on over a sweater and wear out on a brisk autumn morning. The belt creates a cinched waist — another big trend this fall.
“What’s nice about this is you still have a little bit of the oversized proportion, but then you do see her figure,” Pollack says. “So even though she’s wearing these big baggy pants, you can see more of her shape, which tends to be more flattering.”
Ball says she’d rather style this blazer with a slim straight pant or a raw hem edge denim. She’d also switch out the shoes.
“I know that athletic sneakers are more on trend, but I also think you could do a plain sneaker, like Common Project. Or, Sam Edelman has some budget-friendly ones in white or solid black. I think that would make the look a little cleaner.”
Looking for a standard staple to wear to the office? This timeless black blazer will do the trick.
“J. Crew always has a very conservative classic work blazer,” Ball says. “So if you want a modern suiting for work, this blazer would work for that.”
In a corporate atmosphere, this stretch-wool blazer is classic but also easy to move in. “It doesn’t look dated — it looks timeless,” says Pollack, noting that you could wear this stylishly at any age.
Another big trend for fall? “Denim, denim, denim everywhere,” Ball says. So if you do like to stay current, this blazer is right on the money. And Pollack points out that the blazer pictured above has classic appeal (because it’s a blazer), but the denim makes it look more casual.
Ball also notes that if you’re looking for a denim wardrobe piece that will last for several seasons, you might consider going with a denim jacket instead.
“A denim jacket will last, but a denim blazer is trendy,” she says. “It’s something that will be in and out.”
Oversized everything — jeans, shirts, handbags — continues to be the name of the game in fashion.
“I personally don’t love this trend,” says Ball. “Lots of people do love it, though. So if you do go for the oversized trend, I would say this one [pictured above] is good because it’s in a neutral color, and there’s not too much else going on.”
Pollack agrees that lately, the fashion-forward set has been breaking a big fashion guideline, aka the rule of proportions.
These days, she says, “somebody who is very trendy does often go with an oversized top and an oversized bottom.” She recalls that this was originally a style that was made popular by the Olsen twins.
The fashion rule they’re flouting? “If you have a baggy top, you’re going to want to wear a slimmer bottom and vice versa,” Pollack says. “Volume on one piece and then more fitted on the other. This is generally going be more flattering, because volume with volume can swallow you up.”
Though not technically a blazer, the nubby boucle jacket is worth mentioning here due to its recent re-emergence on the fashion horizon.
“I think you’re going to see a lot of Chanel-inspired styles this fall,” Pollack says. “Nubby boucle fabric is very popular, and these jackets often have the fringe edge and the braiding.”
Ball personally owns the jacket pictured above. She has found it to be a versatile piece that she incorporates into many an outfit.
“I like things to be minimal and classic, but the fringe gives it an edgy vibe,” she says. “It’s nice to have some texture for dimension. I can wear this with a T-shirt and jeans or over my shoulders with a formal dress for an event. It’s a great layer for fall.”
Any products or services mentioned above were selected independent of sales and advertising. However, Simplemost may receive a small commission from the purchase of any products or services through an affiliate link to the retailer's website.