A blazer is a must-have for your wardrobe. It crosses seasons well by adding a light layer to anything from jeans to dresses. And it instantly adds a smarter, more structured look to any outfit.
I believe a navy blazer is the most versatile jacket a woman can own, especially if she’s over 50.
So what style blazer to choose?
In this post I’m going to talk about a casual blazer. These are single-breasted, sometimes with just a single button closure.
If they are lined they will have shoulder pads to give structure, but these will often be softer, smaller or more rounded than in less casual blazers.
Sometimes cut a little shorter to stop on your hips or top of the leg. The hem is often slightly rounded at the front opening.
A casual blazer can be dressed up or down so it’s a great resource. If you only buy one blazer and it’s got to do lots of types of day, then make it a casual blazer.
In a separate post (due mid-March) I’ll look at tailored blazers which work well for a stylish look at the office or even in the evening.
Blazer with white tee shirt
This combination has been in fashion for decades. Every few years the exact style of the typical casual blazer changes – it gets neater or slouchier. And over time the shape of the tee changes too – going from fitted with a scoop neck through to today’s boxier cuts and higher round necks.
But as these changes take years, any blazer and tee outfit you put together today will likely look just as good in the next decade!
You can let the tee hang down so the jacket and tee together cut you just above half-way on your silhouette. This gives a good straight focus down your centre to just below the hips. So it works well for larger waist-lines and heavier hips.
Or tuck the tee in to jeans or neater pair of trousers. You’ll need to mess about with the exact amount of shirt to tuck in. Personally I look better if the shirt comes to just over the waist. This gives me a one third/ two third silhouette to throw emphasis to my top half whilst the dark jacket still obscures the exact width of my rear.
Blazer with a striped top
Whether this is a simple striped tee or a Breton sweater, this combination is a match made in heaven.
It references the French navy (sailors that is). You’ll always get compliments with this duo. Wear it at the seaside on a breezy day – Ok you can put those shells in the pockets – or into town for a shopping trip. I don’t think sailors are known for their interest in retail, but somehow this maritime-inspired style seems to look right everywhere these days.
Blazer with a patterned shirt
This season, Spring 2023, the most fashionable pattern is stripes, especially blue stripes. But I didn’t have my striped shirt with me when I did this try-on so I’m showing a floral patterned shirt instead.
The collar on a shirt adds to the structured look of a blazer. It makes a casual blazer just a bit smarter.
The look today is a roomy boyfriend style shirt but any shirt you enjoy wearing will work well. Try it hanging straight down first of all. Then experiment with tucking it in all round, or just at the front.
I found the Marks and Spencer blazer I am trying on too short to cover the hem of my shirt. You can of course wear it like this today but I thought it looked a bit messy as the shirt only showed a small amount of hem under the jacket – as if I’d forgotten to tuck it in.
I often wear a longer shirt under a shorter top but I prefer it to look as if I meant it! So I usually look for a couple of inches at least between the two hem lengths.
Should a blazer have pockets?
Most blazers, both casual and smarter, show front pockets.
But traditionally tailored blazers often have just the pocket flap and no real pocket. This keeps the lines straighter and smarter.
I like my casual wear to have pockets. Yes, they mean the silhouette is less structured but they also allow you to play around with the overall look more.
I rarely put anything except my hands inside the pockets by the way! If you think – great, I’ve got some really useful pockets on this jacket and start loading them up with keys and your phone, you’ll lose the lines of the jacket altogether.
The sides will bulge at exactly the place you don’t want bulges and the weight of your items will drag down the front of the blazer so you don’t get that simple parallel lines look that helps us look taller and slimmer. Pop in a mask or a tissue but leave it at that.
Hands in pockets sends some of us over 60 or so into an immediate outburst of horror. But ever since the late seventies the no hands in pockets rule has disappeared in women’s fashion. Now it’s a ‘look’. So prance around in front of your long mirror – like I did here! – and try ruching up your jacket as you plunge your hands into your jeans pockets.
Or try one hand in the blazer pocket and the other on your bag. You’re looking for a stance that suggests confidence so no shrugged shoulders. I do remember Bob Dylan and his shrugged shoulders, hands in pockets, guitar over his shoulder looking super cool on a record sleeve, but that was a long, long time ago.
Try to emulate that angsty vibe and you risk looking as if you forgot to put your thermals on that morning.
What shoes to wear with a blazer?
Boots of any height, sneakers, flats, loafers all look right with a casual blazer. Each one just slightly changes the look. I especially enjoy wearing sneakers with a cotton blazer. Super-comfortable style is always worth investing in.
The only footwear I’d be careful of is any shoes or sandals that are especially lightweight. And that’s because a blazer adds bulk and weight to an outfit. If you still wear high heels these days they’ll look better half-hidden under wide pants if you’re wearing a blazer too.
Buying suggestions for casual navy blazers
Note: links to suggested blazers are affiliate links. If you click and buy I usually receive a small commission at no cost to you. For marksandspencer.com blazers could I ask you to use the UK links above if you are based in the UK. The links below all point to the US and international sites. Thanks so much for your support.
Hover over the set of images below to get the retailer, then click to get up-to-date sizes and information.
In these pictures I’m wearing a size 14 (US size 10) slim-fit single-breasted cotton-rich blazer by marksandspencer.com. It has a slight woven texture to the surface. It’s lined. And it’s washable. It arrived in perfect condition without creases – which made me very happy!
If you found this post interesting why not read one of these next:
Best sleeveless knitted tops over 50 – these are the sweater vests and sleeveless cardigans you will see everywhere this year
My Spring Capsule Wardrobe in 2022 – it’s a very casual set of outfits as my life is simple.