What Is the Difference Between a Blazer & a Suit Jacket?

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What Is the Difference Between a Blazer & a Suit Jacket?
Knowing what to look for can help you distinguish your jackets from your blazers. (suit tie gerbera daisy flower white black formal image by Paul Retherford from Fotolia.com)

One of the first things that you will need to know when preparing for a night out on the town is the dress code. Is a jacket required? There is a difference between a blazer and a suit jacket, so be mindful when preparing for the occasion. Many men are confused about what makes a blazer different from a suit jacket. There are a few sure-fire ways to lessen the blurring of these all-important lines.

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Suit Jackets Defined

A suit jacket always comes with trousers and sometimes a vest. The fabrics are generally upscale, such as silk and fine wools. In addition, a suit jacket has a single, side or no vents, which are openings on the sides or backs of jackets. Some people also refer to these as slits. Modern jackets contain no vents and tend to fit a bit more snug as a result.

Blazers Defined

Blazers are usually solids in dark blue, navy, black, burgundy, dark green, red and white or ivory, according to My Custom Clothing. In addition, blazers must always have gold or silver buttons, while suit jackets should have matching buttons. Blazers can be single or double-breasted, meaning they have one or two rows of buttons. Typically, blazers have vents on the side rather than the back or no vent at all.

Pairing Your Top with the Right Bottoms

New fashions in blazers and suit jackets are limitless but still follow the basic guidelines, respectively. Generally, you can pair a blazer or odd jacket with just about any pair of matching trousers and either an open collar or a even a T-shirt if you are going for a casual but polished look. Jeans also make an excellent companion with a great blazer.

For the most part, pairing other slacks, trousers or jeans with a suit jacket is not recommended, as it doesn't present the sophisticated look that the suit jacket was meant to convey if it were being worn with the matching trousers. Don't ruin a look by not being sure about which jacket to wear.

Expert Insight

According to Nick Sullivan at Esquire, "In the U.S., blazer has come to mean anything that has sleeves and lapels and is worn with unmatched trousers, but there are key differences. He noted "...a blazer usually means a patch pocket, navy blue jacket with gold or (occasionally) silver buttons."

Regarding the suit jacket, Sullivan adds, "Finally, a suit jacket will always be made of the finer stuff, i.e., worsted wool, and smooth to the touch."

Remember, this is a general guide and the differences are not always so easily defined.

Considerations

When shopping for an odd jacket or blazer, keep in mind that the fabric and the cut are paramount. Decide on the ultimate goal of your style before you shop and keep it in mind. For sizing considerations, you should start with your suit size or have the clerk or tailor take your measurements for a good fit. If you are buying off the rack, be sure to make time to try on your selections before purchasing.

The sleeves of your garment should just cover the watch, and the back of the jacket should fall at least to the top of the thigh, covering your entire rear end.

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