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The Secrets of Wearing a Blazer for a Perfect Gentleman Look

A must-have in every man’s wardrobe, a well-styled blazer elevates your look and helps you exude confidence and sophistication.

However, only a few know that there are multiple types of blazers, let alone how to choose the correct one, how to button it, or style it to perfection.

This guide covers everything you need to know about blazers: single vs. double-breasted blazers, British vs. American vs. Italian silhouettes, and how to style blazers for a flawless look.

What is a Blazer?

A blazer is a single or double-breasted jacket made from serge, hopsack, worsted, wool flannel, fresco, or linen, with one to eight buttons on the front.

Blazer Origin

While the blazer has stylistic roots in the uniforms of the 19th-century British Royal Navy officers, the term ‘blazer’ originated at the Cambridge University rowing club.

Origin of Navy Blazer

The students had bright red jackets, hence the “blazers” moniker describing the fire-like blazing color.

Blazers have several stylistic variations, each depicting either the garment’s historical roots (navy, infantry) or the wearer’s affiliation with a university, college, club, or sports team.

Navy Blazer with Crest

In such cases, blazers are adorned with crests, collar and pocket lines, and decorative buttons from pewter, brass, silver, mother of pearl, and gilt.

Blazer Types

There are two main types of blazers:

  • Single-breasted blazers.
  • Double-breasted blazers.

Both, the single and double-breasted blazers are cut or styled in three different silhouettes:

  • British blazer style – the most formal of all.
  • American blazer style – more relaxed look.
  • Italian blazer style – fitted to the body.

Choosing the correct type of blazer depends on the occasion and the look you’re trying to achieve.

Single-Breasted Blazers

Single Breasted Old Money style blazers

Single-breasted blazers have up to five front buttons in one row and are more suitable for business-casual events.

Silhouette types of single breasted blazers: English vs American vs Italian
Silhouette types of single-breasted blazers: English vs American vs Italian

Single-breasted blazers are ideal for business-casual occasions such as relaxed office settings (paired with chinos or dress pants), brunch or weekend outings with friends, outdoor events, or picnics, and date nights or casual social gatherings.

Double-Breasted Blazers

Old Money Style Double Breasted Blazers

Double-breasted blazers fold over at the front and have two columns of up to four buttons each, making them more suitable for formal events.

Silhouette types of double-breasted blazers: English vs American vs Italian
Silhouette types of double-breasted blazers: English vs American vs Italian

Double-breasted blazers are most suitable for formal occasions such as weddings (as a guest or part of the wedding party), formal business meetings or conferences, upscale social events or galas, and cocktail parties or formal dinners.

Blazer Buttoning Rules

According to the blazer dressing etiquette, each type (single-breasted, double-breasted, with one, two, or eight buttons, has its own buttoning rules, standing or sitting.

Buttoning a One-button Single-breasted Blazer

One button blazer buttoning rules

Standing rule – You can wear it with the button done or undone.

Sitting rule – Always undone.

Buttoning a Two-button Single-breasted Blazer

Two Button Blazer Buttoning rules

Always close only the top button.

Buttoning a Three-button Single-breasted Blazer

Three Button Blazer Buttoning rules

The middle button should always be closed, while the top and bottom buttons are optional.

Buttoning a Double-Breasted Blazers

Double-breasted blazer buttoning rules

For a classic look, you must button all the buttons (excluding the decorative ones).

However, for a more relaxed look or sitting, you can only unbutton the bottom button.

Never wear a double-breasted blazer unbuttoned. It is a definitive no-no.

If you are wearing a two-button double-breasted blazer, always close that button, even when sitting

One-button double-breasted blazer buttoning rules

Sprezzatura and Breaking the Buttoning Rules

Breaking the buttoning rules without making a sartorial catastrophe requires a profound understanding of Sprezzatura.

For example, there are circumstances where wearing a double-breasted blazer unbuttoned adds to your style.

Unless you are King Charles III, we recommend consulting a professional stylist when applying Sprezzatura to your blazer game.

Unbuttoned double-breasted blazer Sprezzatura style

Blazer Dos & Don’ts


  • The blazer’s shoulders should sit comfortably without divots or bunching.
  • The sleeves must hit at the wrist bone, allowing a quarter to a half-inch of shirt cuff to show.
  • The silhouette must skim the body without being too tight, loose, short, or long.
  • Experiment with ties, pocket squares, belts, and watches to create unique looks.


  • Avoid wearing a blazer that is ill-fitting, dirty, or ripped.
  • Refrain from pairing the blazer with overly casual clothing.
  • Steer clear of flashy accessories that can detract from the timeless elegance of the blazer.

Blazer vs Tailored Jacket vs Sports Coat

Blazer vs Tailored Jacket vs Sports Coat

Blazers, tailored jackets, and sports coats have identical constructs.

They all originate from the same Royal Navy uniform, so the only differences are minor, such as the fabric, buttons, motifs, etc.

For example, suit jackets, part of a tailed suit, have matching pants and are worn only in formal contexts, while blazers don’t have matching pants and can be worn in both formal and business-casual contexts, and sports coats are for more casual occasions.

Popular in navy and dark blue, formal blazers have metallic buttons with nautical motifs and are worn without matching pants. Blazers are the closest, stylistically, to the original British Navy uniform.

Tailored Jackets
Have variable lapel styles and can be worn either separately or with matching trousers from the same cloth and pattern as the jacket.

Sport Coats
Also known as sports jackets or smart casual lounge jackets, are adorned with club crests, have a loser design, and are worn without matching trousers for sporting purposes.

Style Like a Pro with The VOU

There’s a faster way to know how to style a blazer and that’s by ordering one of our styling packages for men.

More than tips on choosing the right blazer, our complete Fashion Styling package will identify and showcase your ideal colors, the best garments for your body shape, the best clothing brands, and how to style like a successful gentleman.

Imagine walking into a room and turning heads for all the right reasons, or picture yourself radiating self-assuredness and sophistication, knowing you’ve got the style game on lock.

That’s the power of mastering your old-money style with the help of our professional stylists.

We’ve helped countless men like you elevate their style and achieve the much-coveted silent luxury look so don’t hesitate and contact The VOU’s stylists right now for a free introductory class.

With over twenty years of front-row fashion and styling events, collabs with haute-couture houses, and a PhD in Luxury Fashion, Laurenti is an expert in crafting personalized looks that depict old-money sophistication.

With years of expertise in high-end fashion collabs and a PhD in Sustainable Fashion, Ru specializes in curating eco-luxe wardrobes for the modern gentleman seeking understated refinement.

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