Spring is the time to get back on the blazer trail

PUBLISHED : Monday, 04 April, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 04 April, 2011, 12:00am


The blue blazer is the men's equivalent of the little black dress. It is classic and dependable. It never goes out of style. It is the backbone of a solid wardrobe and no man should be without one. Books should be written about this garment as they have been on LBDs.

When I was growing up and new to the ways of fashion, one of the best pieces of advice I received was that if your budget allowed for only one suit, buy one in navy. The reason for this is because you can wear the jacket and the trousers separately without looking like, well, like you pulled apart a suit's components.

Navy also has the effect of looking like black at night. You can lead people to believe that you own more than one good suit.

Another plus for the blue blazer is its versatility. It works well with most colours. You can pair it with grey flannel trousers for a dressy occasion, with chinos for Sunday brunch or with white jeans to affect the nautical look. Are you sold yet?

If you want something more off the beaten track, there's plenty to substitute this item with. This season, the blazer, or the sports jacket, showed up in many different styles, colours and materials.

What is spring-summer without a white blazer? At Dolce & Gabbana (HK$10,400) it was executed using crushed linen (1) in shades that were anywhere from blindingly white to just a shade off cream. Because of their relaxed shapes and draped shoulders, they give off the dressy casual vibe that is one of the bywords in fashion this season.

The white jacket is ubiquitous this season. There are the price- and eco-friendly pieces from H&M's (6) Conscious Collection (HK$299) to modern, slim-fit cut versions from Bally to Salvatore Ferragamo's pieces inspired by Picasso and Jean Cocteau.

Tomas Maier at Bottega Veneta (3) had a more polished approach to the white jacket (HK$16,580), showing it in a fabric - triacetate - with a slight sheen and rendered with precise tailoring.

If you don't want to look like a medical orderly it is important to find the right white jacket. You want one that is made from quality fabric and with a cut that fits just so. Jackets work well with chinos and pastel-coloured pants for that Hamptons summer holiday look. Pair them with an old pair of jeans to roughen them up. I personally would avoid doing head-to-toe white unless you're attending a beach wedding.

If you want something that's a little more fashion-forward and less traditional than white, there are other options. You can go the bold colour route, which is a strong trend this season. There's a cerulean jacket from Liberty of London and one in a shade of cornflower from Trussardi 1911(HK$14,000), both close cousins of the navy blazer but in a more vibrant and attention-grabbing shade. Jil Sander (HK$13,900) has a jacket in hot pink (2), which was shown with shorts on the runway. I would ditch the shorts and pair this with tailored black pants or a well-worn pair of jeans with a rip or two to make the look less outlandish. You can use these jackets from Liberty of London, Trussardi 1911 (5) and Jil Sander to attempt the colour-blocking look that is all the rage this season. Try to avoid looking like a walking Mark Rothko painting.

Then there are jackets that push the fashion boundaries; pieces for guys who like to stand out, especially if they want to be snapped by a style blogger. Dries Van Noten has a brown double-breasted sports coat with an exaggerated window-pane pattern in caramel. Zero Maria Cornejo's dramatic degrade patterned jacket is sure to get the wearer onto many style websites.

But of all the blue blazers this season, my favourite is the jacket from Yves Saint Laurent (4) in a colour that is between khaki and taupe. I like it because, while the shape is slim, the other details, such as the width of the lapels and the length of the jacket, hark back to traditional men's tailoring.

Unlike the styling on the runway, I would forget about the belt. I would leave waist cinching on jackets to women.

Shopping list:

Bottega Veneta The Landmark, Central, tel: 2973 0882

Dolce & Gabbana Alexandra House, Central, tel: 2877 5558

Dries Van Noten The Landmark, Central, tel: 2522 7402

H&M Queen's Road Central, tel: 2110 9546

Jil Sander and Trussardi 1911 at Joyce Boutique, New World Tower, Queen's Road Central, tel: 2810 1120

Liberty of London and Zero Maria Cornejo at Harvey Nichols, The Landmark, Central, tel: 3695 3389

Yves Saint Laurent Alexandra House, Central, tel: 2868 0092