What’s the Difference Between a Blazer and a Suit Jacket?
- by Off The Cuff
- April 21, 2023
- 5 min read
Men’s fashion is fascinating—on the surface, there isn’t much difference between many of the pieces worn by stylish men.
What makes men’s fashion so dynamic is the subtlety and detail-oriented nature of your wardrobe pieces.
For example, suit jackets and blazers—to the untrained eye, they might look like the same thing. However, style aficionados know that a suit jacket and a blazer are different types of coats with different use cases.
If you’re not sure how to wear these two pieces, we’ve got you. We’ll have you looking like a men’s style expert in no time!
Let’s dive into these two types of men’s coats and what makes them different.
What is a Suit Jacket?
A suit jacket is a tailored garment that is typically worn as part of a suit. It is designed to be worn with matching pants but can also be worn with other types of trousers on certain occasions.
The suit jacket provides a polished and put-together look that is perfect for the workplace or formal events. It is typically made from high-quality materials such as wool, cashmere, or silk and is available in various styles, colors, and patterns.
One of the key features of a suit jacket is its construction. Suit jackets are typically tailored to fit the body closely, with a structured shoulder, slim waist, and clean lines—especially when you go with a bespoke suit option. The sleeves are also tailored to fit the arms comfortably, and the length of the jacket is usually just long enough to cover the hips. With a suit jacket, the fit is the most important detail.
The front of a suit jacket usually features two or three buttons, although some styles may have more or less. They can also come in either single-breasted or double-breasted, depending on the look you’re going for. The lapels, which are the folded flaps of fabric that sit on either side of the jacket's opening, may be notched, peaked, or shawl, depending on the style of the jacket. Each type of lapel suits a different situation, with notched lapels being the most common and shawl lapels being reserved almost exclusively for tuxedo jackets.
The suit jacket is a classic and timeless piece of clothing that is an essential part of any professional wardrobe. Whether you're attending a job interview, a wedding, or a business meeting, a well-tailored suit jacket is sure to make you look and feel your best.
What is a Blazer?
A blazer is a type of tailored jacket that is commonly worn for formal or semi-formal occasions. Usually made from a solid-colored wool, cotton, or linen material, blazers feature a more relaxed and casual design than suit jackets.
One of the defining features of a blazer is its versatility—the right blazer can be paired with many different clothing options, from dress pants and a tie to jeans and a t-shirt. Blazers also come in various colors and patterns, allowing for high customization and personalization. Like the suit jacket, accessories are your best friend—watches and sunglasses are two prime accessories that can take your blazer outfits to the next level.
Blazers typically feature a single-breasted design with one or two buttons at the front. They may also have patch pockets, metal buttons, and contrast stitching, adding to their casual and relaxed aesthetic. Some blazers also feature a vent at the back, allowing more movement freedom.
Blazers can be worn for a variety of occasions, including business meetings, weddings, and other formal events. They are also a popular choice for more casual events, such as dinner parties, nights out, and other social gatherings.
Overall, a blazer is a versatile and stylish addition to any wardrobe. It can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion and paired with a range of different clothing options. Whether you prefer a classic navy blazer or a boldly patterned option, a blazer is a timeless and essential piece of clothing that every man should have in their wardrobe.
How Are They Different?
We know what you might be thinking. Blazers and suit jackets sound very similar, right?
It’s true—the two jacket types have many similarities. However, there are some key differences between the two. Here are some of the most important differences to keep in mind:
- Matching pants - One of the most obvious differences between blazers and suit jackets is that a suit jacket is almost always worn with matching pants made from the same fabric and color. You can wear a suit jacket with more casual pants, like jeans, but you’ll need to be careful about the type of jeans you pair your suit jacket with. Conversely, a blazer can be paired with a range of different trousers, from dress pants to jeans.
- Structure - A suit jacket is designed to be more structured and formal. It typically has a close fit and clean lines, with structured shoulders, a slim waist, and carefully placed pockets. On the other hand, a blazer is often less structured and more relaxed in style, with details such as patch pockets, metal buttons, and contrast stitching.
- Materials - While blazers and suit jackets can be made from various materials, there are some differences in the most common fabrics used. Suit jackets often use high-quality materials such as wool, cashmere, or silk. Blazers, on the other hand, may be made from a wider range of materials, including cotton, linen, or tweed.
- Versatility - Because a suit jacket is nearly always worn as part of a matching set, it’s considered less versatile than a blazer. A blazer can be paired with a broader range of clothing options, making it a more flexible choice for different occasions.
- Formality - A suit jacket is more formal than a blazer—they’re typically worn for formal events such as weddings, business meetings, and other professional occasions. Meanwhile, a blazer can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion and is often worn for more casual events.
Are Suit Jackets and Blazers Interchangeable?
In general, we would say that suit jackets and blazers are not fully interchangeable.
You could wear a suit jacket in a more casual setting with jeans, though you’ll need to be careful to pair it with an appropriate pair of jeans or chinos. However, it doesn’t work the other way—blazers cannot be worn as suit jackets since your suit pants are meant to perfectly match your jacket, from the pattern to the fabric.
Your best bet is to have both in your wardrobe—that way, you can create fun business casual outfits with a blazer and formal outfits with a beautiful bespoke suit.
However, we understand that option isn’t in every man’s budget. If you can only get one, we recommend going with a suit—while it lacks some of the versatility of a blazer, it can be worn at many formal events, such as weddings, where a blazer won’t always cut it.
Looking For a Classy Bespoke Suit?
If you want to feel confident in a well-fitted and classy suit, Joseph Abboud has you covered.
Wherever you are in your style journey, we have everything you need to feel confident and stylish, including ready-to-wear options, made-to-measure pieces, or bespoke suits tailored to your exact measurements. Our mission is to provide men everywhere with high-quality suits for any occasion, backed by concierge-level services and a vast selection of styles.
With Joseph Abboud, you can take your style game to the next level and achieve your dream suit. So why wait? Learn more about our bespoke suit process today and elevate your wardrobe to the next level.