Versatility is king when it comes to the essentials in your wardrobe, and the classic navy suit is one of the most versatile pieces you can own.
But one of the best things about a great navy suit is that you aren’t restricted to wearing it just as a suit. Instead, you can separate the ensemble and wear each piece on its own. Just like that, your perfect-for-the-office suit dresses down to a perfect-for-date-night blazer.
Let’s talk about a couple approaches to pulling this off.
The first is to keep the general trappings of a suited, tailored look, but just ease up on all the details. Stick with a button-up shirt, but go for a casual cloth and cut instead of a crisp dress shirt. An OCBD is a go-to move here, but you can also think seasonally – linen for the summer or flannel for the fall and winter.
And even though you’re ditching the matching suit pants, you’ve got plenty of options for bottoms that will keep the look sharp but steer you away from the rigidity of a full suit. Just rocking a pair of contrasting wool dress pants takes the dressiness down a notch, but other solid options, including cotton chinos, let you really tinker with your level of formality.
Next, is what you see right here. What you are looking at is your ultra-classic, fail-safe method for dressing down that navy blazer (a.k.a. your navy suit jacket). Button-down shirt and slim dark denim. For the guy who wants to stay tailored but keep it on the sporty and casual side of the spectrum, this is your go-to move.
There is one very important thing to note about repurposing your navy suit jacket as a blazer: not all navy suit jackets are the same and fabric plays a huge role in whether or not it’s going to work. For example, if you’ve opted for a more formal navy suit – i.e. one with a fabric that has a sheen or looks smoother – do not attempt to wear the jacket as a separate. It’s just going to look wrong.
This is the main reason why we recommend purchasing your first navy suit in a hopsack fabric. Its more textured appearance makes it much easier to wear as a separate. And if you’re shooting for maximum versatility, choose a softer shoulder and a half canvas.