The go-to fashion combination for Southern men is undoubtedly the navy blazer worn with khaki slacks. I often refer to it as the “Southern Man’s Uniform.” You can dress it up or down and worn properly, is timeless, classic and sophisticated. Here are some simple rules to follow and ideas that make this combination both versatile and fashion forward.
Fit and fabric are your top priorities. I highly recommend you find a knowledgeable men’s clothing professional that works at a quality men’s store. I’m not referring to the college kid working ten hours a week at Steinmart (speaking of this discount chain, comb their racks for Jack Victor sports coats and suits).
Ask colleagues who dress well for a salesperson referral. If you don’t know anyone, walk around a finer men’s store and approach a salesperson dressed the way you want to look. Ask them to show you their line of navy blazers and explain the differences in quality and fit of each one. A knowledgeable salesperson understands fit and will work with the store’s Taylor to ensure the shoulder’s, jacket length, back and sleeve length are altered to your body style. In the Memphis area, I would recommend Steve Coffman at Oak Hall or Tom Shelton at Brooks Brothers. Also, the folks at Hinton and Hinton in Oxford, MS have can offer you excellent and service too.
A center-vent blazer, two-button style is classic, but many have side vents which are in style and look great. If you only have one blazer, avoid a vent-less or double-breasted model, as they go in and out of style too often.
You may be tempted to order a 42 long blazer online. If you’re confident in the garment’s quality and fabric, that’s fine. Just remember alterations a still necessary. Find a reputable seamstress and allow them to make the necessary alterations.
The fabric is your next focus. A well-constructed blazer made of quality material should last many years. You don’t have to spend a fortune, but high-quality wool is important. Unless you’re purchasing your blazer strictly for summer wear, avoid linen or silk or any combination thereof. The material should feel smooth to the touch. You’ll realize quality material when you touch it. Trust me on this one. Most solid navy blazers can be worn year around.
An outstanding casual shirt line is Ledbury.
Fit and fabric rein here too. The advantage here is you have lots of options depending on if you’re dressing your Blazer up of down. I recommend you start with at least one quality pair of wool khaki trousers. A great example is the Ballin-Manchester Wool Trouser. They retail for around $195 at most fine men’s stores.
Should you purchase trousers with or without pleats? It depends. Pleat’s move in and out of style and they’ve made a resurgence lately. However, whether you wear pleats should depend on your body style. If you slim to normal, then pleats are an option. If you’re a large guy, avoid them like the plague. The reason is simple; they’ll make you look larger than you are. A single, reverse pleat trouser is always in style.
Cuffs or no cuffs? For dressier trousers, I recommend straight cuffs. I do wear cuffs on more casual slacks. For us Southern guys, cuffs are always acceptable.
What to dress up your Navy Blazer?
For a dressier look for your navy blazer, nothing beats a great pair or charcoal trousers. 100% wool is a must and I recommend plain fronts with no cuffs. Pair with a black belt, black dress shoes, and a spread collar shirt and you’ll have the look.
Finally, for a super casual look, pair your navy blazer with a pair of dark jeans and a super Pima cotton polo and you’ll fit right in at the next neighborhood block party.