Q: “What’s the difference between a Black Lapel blazer and a suit jacket?” – James D.
A: Not all things in menswear are clean-cut, and the difference between a suit jacket and a blazer is a prime example of this. Traditionally, a blazer meant a jacket of a solid color (usually navy or black) with gold or silver metal buttons, patch pockets and a softer construction. Think nautical, as the blazer really took off in the 19th century when the british royal navy changed their uniforms to something that closely resembled the modern-day blazer. A suit jacket, on the other hand, has always meant the jacket of a suit with matching pants. Easy, right?
Not so much…These days things the line has become a little more hazy, especially in the States. In fact, to put it simply–there really is no difference these days between a suit jacket and a blazer except that one comes with matching pants and the other doesn’t. This answer might be a bit underwhelming to some, but at least you can now provide a proper retort to your snappy coworker when he comments on your “blazer” merely being a suit jacket. This also means you can now get a little more casual mileage out of a leaner wardrobe by dressing down your suit jackets as a blazer. Just don’t try pulling off those pinstripes suit jackets as blazers–as we’ve advised before, some suit jackets are meant to be worn as suit jackets, with matching pants!
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