It’s time to put to bed some myths floating around concerning blazers and in particular how teaming up a blazer with a pair of shorts can be both smart and casual. Many people when they think of blazers picture dusty old men sitting around smoking a pipe in a dark corner somewhere and for a long time you would probably be right to think that.However, blazers have found a new lease of life, while being reworked in the process opening them up to whole new age groups and style savvy men the world over. They are viewed with such different eyes now that combinations previously unthinkable are now firmly considered style staples.  One possible match is the controversial blazer and shorts combo.

Now you have two choices here, one formal and one casual both with different expectations, so we’re going to outline both separately below, ensuring you’re covered on both fronts…

Casual 

Unstructured blazers are perfect for the spring/summer especially when going for a more laid back look. Generally made from lighter materials (cotton or linen) unstructured jackets aren't required to hold as much shape – no shoulder padding or rigid inner structure here - making it softer and creating a more relaxed line. Rather than frame the shoulders it will follow the line and naturally drape closer to the body.

The summer in particular is a chance to be a bit freer with your fashion choices; letting loose and wearing clothing that cools you down and works together blissfully as a clothing combination. An interesting piece to go with the casual blazer is a pair of shorts. A number of different styles of shorts will work but a general rule of thumb is to steer away from over-the-top bold patterns and shorts that are made basically for the pool.

You’d be better served going for cut-off chinos that will work both on the streets, beaches and boardwalks.

Smart

This is an opportunity to pull out the structured blazer that has a shape more similar to that of a suit jacket. The shoulders are often padded/squared off giving you a more “manly” silhouette that will hold steady in surroundings or occasions that require a more scrubbed up appearance. Shorts-wise this is another opportunity to opt for the cut-off chinos or Bermuda shorts that give you the formal look you require, yet still remaining comfortable.

This is a look that can be worn virtually all year round, apart from when it’s snowing for obvious reasons. The colour palette you’re looking for will be a contrast in colours i.e. try to avoid both light colours on top and bottom or end up looking like a Victorian gent on a safari. A mix of the two or going for separate colours will work best, because matching the colour of the two will make you look like you’re wearing a short suit and that wouldn’t be a good move.

Conclusion These are two garments that need to be included in any self-respecting man’s wardrobe because they can be worn separately with any number of outfits and will work all year round. We talk an awful lot about fashion essentials – from the basics that no wardrobe should be without, to the individual items that will really take your style up a sartorial notch. Get the best of both worlds.

This is a guest post brought to you by Michael of Northern Threads, an online English designer menswear store specialising in clothing for the modern gent.