How to choose the right jacket

Blazer Navy Single Breasted

Choosing a well-fitted jacket can take your style up a notch.
Image source: Blazer Navy Single Breasted from Samuel Windsor

What’s your favourite jacket? Do you prefer the traditional look of tweed or are you more comfortable in a classic leather jacket? 

If you’ve got an occasion to go to, it can be tricky to know which style men’s jacket to wear. Not to mention, it’s hard to know what the different names for men’s jacket styles even mean. Here are our top tips for choosing a suit jacket.

  1. There’s no formula for ‘the perfect jacket’. As long as it fits you well and works with your personal style, you’ll feel confident and look great.
  2. For a modern twist on tailoring, pair a single-breasted suit jacket with non-matching trousers or even jeans.
  3. A tweed jacket adds a country charm to any occasion, and can be dressed up as a full suit or worn casually.
  4. A dinner jacket is the only option for black tie events – and the opportunity to feel like 007 should be relished rather than resented.
  5. Having a well-fitting blazer in your wardrobe that you can throw over anything from jeans and a t-shirt to chinos and a white oxford shirt is a must.
  6. For everyday wear and dressing down don’t be afraid to go casual with a bomber, Harrington, or even leather or denim jacket. Just don’t wear it to the office.

Choosing a suit jacket

men in suits

‘You can’t go wrong with a suit’
Image source: The Everyday Man

Every gentleman needs a well fitted single breasted suit jacket. Pair yours with a crisp white shirt with cuffs that are slightly longer than the jacket sleeves.

For autumn and winter occasions, mid-weight wool is best. Got a summer party invite? Opt for a lightweight linen suit jacket in blue or grey. Remember: Although the conventional way to wear your jacket is with its matching trousers, that’s far from the only way to go. As John at The Everyday Man says, there are plenty of other options:

“Wear your plain suit jacket with a bold coloured trouser, chino or even smart jeans for a modern twist on classic tailoring that feels more comfortable for those who aren’t used to wearing a suit on a regular basis.”

Make this look work for you by choosing a shirt and shoes that complement the colour of your jacket and trousers; try a dark blazer worn with a light shirt, cream chinos and brown brogues.

Add a twist with a tweed jacket


Tweed is a country twist on classic style.
Image source: Shutterstock

If you’re looking for a quirky alternative to the classic wool suit jacket, try tweed. This durable fabric is suitable for most occasions. Bride Nikki was impressed when her groom sported a tweed suit on their wedding day:

“His suit had a lovely plum lining so he got a woollen tie to match and with it wore a pair of light brown brogues and his late father’s gold pocket watch. It was a traditional but quirky look and one he pulled off very well as did all the other ushers in their tweed suits.”

Give tweed a more urban spin by pairing a grey tweed jacket with a pale blue shirt, and coloured chinos or dark jeans. Dress this look up with a pair of black Oxfords or brogues.

When only a dinner jacket will do

A traditional black dinner suit

Traditional and very smart.
Image source: Nao Novoa

Who, when they see the words black tie on an invitation, doesn’t think of it as an opportunity to channel their inner James Bond?

The traditional dinner attire for gentlemen is a black or midnight blue single breasted dinner jacket, with silk or satin faced lapels. Wear this over a white dress shirt and finish off with a hand tied bow tie.

You can choose a jacket with peak lapels, which point upwards towards the shoulder, or shawl lapels, which form a curve that sweeps down the chest. Sartoria Lab’s Sarah Gilfillan offers her expert advice:

“Peaked lapels are a good choice if you have narrow shoulders (it diverts your eye out to your shoulders thus broadening them). If you have a very square face or very broad square shoulders then opt for a shawl collar which will soften the angles a little.”

Slip on a blazer

man in red blazer

A blazer will sharpen up any outfit.
Image source: Samuel Windsor

When a suit feels too formal but a shirt and jumper are too casual, a blazer is the perfect choice. Wear it with a button down shirt, chinos and loafers or brogues for the ultimate smart casual look. We’re thinking a day at the races, an informal cocktail party or a golf club social.

A navy wool blazer suits cooler weather, but on a warm sunny evening, a vibrant blue blazer looks fresh and summery. Stick to linen or a linen and cotton mix for less creasing.

Then there’s the classic corduroy blazer, a great choice if you’re dressing for an autumn dinner date. Pair it with denim or moleskin trousers. The guys at Grey Man Style are fans of cord:

“It has a tremendously “hip” retro vibe about it, too, so let the “new mod” in you shine through, put on a Miles Davis LP (you can’t do retro and listen to a CD or iPod recording, it’s just not right!), fix yourself a double espresso and relax, Daddy-O !”

For winter occasions, the dress code may be smart casual but you can still make a statement. Bloggers Clothes Make the Man say:

“One piece of clothing that guarantees to transform any outfit into a sophisticated, suave look, worthy of any event, whether that be held at the Dorchester or the Dog & Duck, is the velvet blazer.”

Layer up with a lightweight jacket

samuel windsor bomber jacket

A more casual jacket is great for everyday wear.
Image source: Samuel Windsor

Let’s face it, even at the height of summer there’s always a chance of rain. So when you need to stay cool but dry, a lightweight bomber jacket is the perfect choice for casual occasions. Choose a versatile colour like navy, stone or brown and you have a shower resistant jacket that’ll see you through the warmer seasons.

If you prefer a more classic vibe, the Harrington jacket is the answer. This functional design features flap pockets and a buttoned straight collar and goes well with a t-shirt, jeans and boots. According to fashion blogger Michael 84:

“A great thing about Harrington jackets is that they are very, very lightweight. That means you can layer up with a tee, shirt and jumper and stay warm as well as stylish teaming the jacket up with your favourite pieces.”

And let’s not forget the humble denim jacket. This durable wardrobe staple is ideal for an evening at the pub. Pair it with a shirt or a t-shirt in summer.

For those who need to release their inner rock God, there’s always the classic leather jacket. Great with black trousers and brogues, this fabric will keep you warm in colder weather. And it doesn’t have to be black. Fashion Beans Matt Allinson:

“Brown has always been a more stylish choice compared to the formal black. It’s very versatile when paired with nearly every colour and also helps you stand out from a sea of Joe Strummer wannabes.”

What’s your favourite classic jacket? Head over to our Facebook page and share away!

Posted in How To - Suits, Men's jackets.