It's an age-old myth that you must
wear a suit jacket with matching trousers and a necktie. After all, this -- along with a dress shirt -- creates the outfit that most people consider a suit. And omitting any of these items from your outfit will prevent you from achieving a complete and cohesive suit. This is just a myth, however, as it's perfectly fine to wear a suit jacket or blazer without an actual suit. But if you're planning to wear a suit jacket or blazer as part of a casual outfit, there are a few things you should know. By following the tips listed below, you'll create a cleaner and more cohesive appearance while rocking your suit jacket or blazer in style.
Don't Wear a Necktie
You only need to wear a necktie if you're trying to achieve a complete suit outfit. If you're only wearing a suit jacket or blazer -- and not matching trousers -- you can (and should) leave this accessory out of your outfit. Neckties are simply too formal, and wearing one will clash with the otherwise casual appearance of your outfit. This also applies to bow ties. Unless you're wearing a complete suit, you shouldn't wear a necktie, nor should you wear a bow. Leave these accessories out of your outfit.
Leave Shirt Collar Unbuttoned
It's recommended that you leave your shirt collar unbuttoned when wearing a suit jacket or blazer without a suit. Why is this necessary? Well, since you aren't wearing a necktie or bow tie, there's no real need to button the top of your shirt collar. Doing so creates an awkward appearance by revealing too much of your shirt. Instead, leave the uppermost button of your shirt collar undone. Not only does this look better, but it's also cooler and more comfortable.
Go With a Single-Breasted Jacket
When choosing a suit jacket or blazer, stick with a single-breasted style. As you may know, suit jackets and blazers are available in both single- and double-breasted styles. Single-breasted styles are characterized by a narrow flap of fabric on one side that overlaps the opposite side. Double-breasted jackets and blazers feature a larger, wider flap of fabric. Because of this, they usually have four to eight buttons, whereas single-breasted jackets and blazers have just one to three buttons. All things aside, however, single-breasted jackets offer a more casual look, thereby making them ideal if you're trying to achieve a casual, not-suit outfit.
Wear Matching Shoes
You'll have the freedom to choose from a variety of different shoes, boots and footwear when wearing a suit jacket or blazer without a suit. Rather than limiting yourself to formal footwear, such as leather Oxfords, you can experiment with casual footwear as well. However, you'll want to make sure that your footwear matches your suit jacket or blazer. A good rule of thumb is to choose footwear in the same color as your jacket or blazer. If you're wearing a black blazer, for example, try pairing it with black shoes or boots. Alternatively, if you're wearing a brown suit jacket, try wearing brown shoes. Maintaining cohesion between your suit jacket or blazer and footwear is essential to creating an attractive, casual appearance.
What type of pants can you wear with a suit jacket or blazer? You can always wear a pair of matching trousers, though that would be considered a suit. If you're trying to avoid the complete suit appearance, consider dark denim as an alternative. Dark denim has the perfect balance of formality and casual attire. Denim itself is naturally casual, but the dark tone of indigo makes it slightly more formal. As a result, it's the perfect type of pants to wear with a suit jacket or blazer. This is particularly true if your jacket or blazer is black. While indigo matches a variety of colors, black enhances and compliments indigo more effectively than it does other colors.
Press Your Shirt
Whether you wear a button-up dress shirt, a polo shirt or any other shirt, you should press it with a hot iron. Although there are wrinkle-resistant fabrics, there's no such thing as a wrinkle-proof fabric. And without a necktie or bow tie to cover part of your shirt, it will reveal even the smallest wrinkles and creases. Therefore, it's important that you press your shirt before wearing it. First, check the care label to ensure that your shirt is safe to iron. Unless it specifically says "do not iron," you can proceed to iron it to remove any wrinkles and creases.
Accessorize With a Pocket Square
Some men believe that pockets squares should only be worn with a suit. In reality, though, you can wear them anytime that you wear a suit jacket or blazer. Assuming your jacket or blazer has at least pocket -- which most do -- try accessorizing your outfit with a pocket square. After neatly folding the pocket square into your desired shape, tuck into your jacket's or blazer's breast pocket. A pocket square is a small accessorize, but it adds big value to your outfit by introducing new colors and textures. Just remember to choose a pocket square that matches the rest of your outfit. It doesn't have to necessarily feature the same color as your suit jacket or blazer, but it should flow with your other garments without clashing or otherwise creating a poor appearance.
Leave It Open
Although there are exceptions, it's usually best to leave your suit jacket or blazer open in the front if you are wearing it without a suit. Buttoning the front creates a more formal appearance. While this is good if you are wearing suit, it's bad if you aren't. Therefore, you should leave the front of your suit jacket or blazer open. You can still button it if the weather is cold. For most other occasions, though, keep it open to create a more casual appearance with your outfit.