Since leaving government work and not having to visit an office on a daily basis, my wardrobe has shifted toward the casual spectrum. My much-cherished navy wool blazers go rarely used, sitting in canvas garment bags.
A Suitable Wardrobe points out how the navy blazer sits in an odd “no-man’s land of formality” — and I suppose he’s mostly right, even if I tend to ignore his wisdom in my personal practice. Despite this, I think there’s an alternative to the traditional blazer that will probably be better suited for those of you in casual environments that don’t require a navy wool hopsack: the jersey knit cotton blazer.
Often unconstructed and lightweight, they exist as a hybrid, looking a bit more refined than a simple sweater, but not as formal as an odd jacket. They’re super comfortable to wear and most are extremely affordable, too.
I purchased mine from Brooks Brothers (please ignore the terrible styling shot they have) and have been quite pleased. I think it looks best with jeans, an OCBD and a silk knit tie.
There’s quite a few options available in a variety of price ranges. Depending on your lifestyle, you might end up wearing one of these more often than a regular navy blazer.
I’ve been getting a few questions about where one can get a cheap jacket for spring and summer that won’t break the bank, so I’ve found a few options that should make a good portion of you happy. For those of you on the ramen-noodle budget, this list is for you:
Lands’ End Canvas chambray blazer: $21.97 — My roommate actually owns this and it’s pretty nice. Lightweight and has the appearance of washed denim. Goes great with white denim.
Lands’ End Canvas nailhead oxford blazer: $24.97 — Looks like a bit of an improvement over the chambray blazer with lining only in the shoulders and sleeves.
Lands’ End Canvas vintage chino khaki blazer: $53.97 — Given it’s fully lined in polyester, it might not be the best choice for summer, but early spring and fall it could be a decent buy.
Onassis poplin 3-button blazer: $98 — Available in navy, grey, stone and red colors. Definitely cut shorter, so might be better suited for people on the short side.