I love a good blazer in the Fall. There are so many different styles and you can wear them in so many different ways. They add flair and fashion to almost any outfit. You can dress them up or down, wearing them with jeans, dress pants, skirts, dresses, and so much more!
Lately, I’ve been into the classic old money and quiet luxury styles, and blazers fit into these styles so well. A blazer tends to dress up any outfit, whether you style them up or down they add a structure and ambiance to the look that you can only get with a blazer. Blazers don’t only have to be workwear though. In fact, I often stay away from blazers in the workplace to not look overdone. I work in a really casual office environment when I do go in, and I definitely don’t need a jacket to complete my looks. However, I love a blazer for a night out or even in place of a fall jacket. Below, I’ve styled a few different blazer styles for women and linked my favorites!
History of a Woman’s Blazer
As I wrote in this post, How to Dress Down a Blazer, blazers were originally created as an uber-functional piece of outerwear for seamen. First appearing in Vogue paired with plain skirts in 1893, the women’s blazer came onto the scene. Blazers became a staple of a woman’s wardrobe at the turn of the century. However, as sports and leisure wear became more acceptable it was quickly swapped for sweaters and cardigans.
Blazers came back with a resurgence in the 1950s when schoolchildren made them more stylish. Then again in the 70s, Giorgio Armani presented his collection of men’s unstructured blazers in 1975. Again in the 1980s film American Gigolo when Richard Gere made Blazers sexy and was anointed the “King of Blazer”(Vogue).
Finally, blazers made their way into modern wardrobes in the late 2000s in colorful styles of blazers paired with our pencil skirts and statement necklaces. We wore our business casual fashions out to the bars in college to emulate Balmain’s blazers over evening gowns from 2006 and 2011 (Vogue).
14 Blazer Styles for Women
Plaid blazers are perhaps the original modern style. While tweed and linen are more suited for suit jackets and professional looks. Plaid was reserved for a bit of whimsy in the blazer. I love a classic plaid blazer because it goes with so many pieces! I write about style in it here, in my Fall capsule collection.
And I usually pair it with a classic white shirt and solid bottoms, but you can look at mixing patterns. When doing so, choose one larger pattern and one smaller pattern, too close in size and you will look more like a clown.
Wool blazers are the original, classic blazer style. Worn originally for function on ships, now typically styled for function and warmth in cooler climates. They can be styled as a great outerwear piece alone, or under a winter coat. I generally pair the wool blazer and dark jeans together, but you can also do dresses, straight, or wide-leg pants, or a pencil skirt. Generally, I’d go with a longer or slimmer style.
Most blazers today are not 100% wool, but rather a wool blend.
An unlined blazer is just as it sounds, lacking lining. The lining is typically a satin material intended to hide and protect the construction of the blazer underneath. It adds weight and warmth and encourages it to more simply slide on and into place.
While created with less material, an unlined blazer can be more expensive since the construction has to be cleaner, protected, and more accurate. The seams are often wrapped and protected to prevent fraying. An unlined blazer hangs looser and is lighter in wear.
Unlined blazers come in many fabrics, I love a knit or cotton style. I have a pink one in the photos below and styled different outfit ideas for spring and summer. Vince has gorgeous unstructured blazers. This is the only style blazer that I like with shorts and a T-shirt. It could be a v-neck t-shirt or crew neck, but stay away from polos.
Unstructured blazers, sometimes synonymous with an unlined blazer, are typically unlined, but not always and made to be styled more casually. While An unstructured blazer, depending on the fabric can be perfect for a casual blazer outfit, it doesn’t have to be casual. I have an unlined satin blazer and it is perfect for a night out. It has shoulder pads so it still has some structure in the shoulders, but the rest hangs much looser and sits lightly on my frame.
Too many people style blazers with causal shorts and don’t understand why the styles are competing. A lined blazer, with different functions today, was originally created for function and warmth, so wearing what was essentially an outerwear piece with shorts and sandals doesn’t make sense logically.
Single Breasted Blazer
I fully completed writing this post and started linking to blazers and realized I completely missed the most basic and popular blazer of all: the single-breasted blazer. This style comes in tons of different colors, patterns, and materials. While it can overlap with many of the other styles, I love red, satin, leather, and more.
Notch Lapel Blazer
Notch lapels are a classic style blazer with a notch in the collar or an angle cut-out in the collar. The notch has a V shape in the collar. It is very much a safe choice in collar style and will not stand out much. More often seen in a more casual setting, the notched lapel can blend in most scenarios.
Peak Lapel Blazer
Similar to the notch collar, but the peak lapel has a more defined, peak in the collar. It points upwards towards the shoulders and is a very classic style. Common on single and double-breasted styles. Looking like Harvey Specter can’t be a bad thing!
Shawl Collar Blazer
A shawl collar blazer is a rounded collar and a more modern style with no notch or peak. This is a more contemporary style that usually stays more narrow while the other styles can get wider. It is usually seen on tuxedos and in more formal settings.
Double Breasted Blazer
Like most blazers, the double-breasted blazer was originally made for men and modeled after Navy uniforms. The double-breasted part refers to the two columns of two or three buttons compared to a single-breasted option with only one column of buttons. This is one style you’ll want to wear buttoned up as the double-breasted blazer features two columns of buttons and makes your shoulders broader and waist appear more narrow.
Today women’s double-breasted blazers are more oversized. Still made to be worn buttoned up, but still fashionable to work open, these jackets will have more fabric if left hanging.
Typically jackets have a right angle at the closure on the bottom. Instead of meeting in the middle, the bottom of a cutaway blazer doesn’t touch and splits outwards towards your waist. Cutaway blazers are modeled after tuxedos for a more contemporary style.
Originally a part of the classic Chanel suit, tweed blazers, otherwise known as a boucle are still around in an almost identical style. This cropped style is intentionally boxy and intended to release women from the fitted cinched waists that were so common.
With the resurgence of high-waisted pants in the past few years, cropped blazers made their way onto the scene. These cropped styles are usually single or double-breasted and often have good structure. Often, but not always styled with pants and matching set styles, cropped blazers are trendy now, but won’t remain a classic style.
A jacket styled with structured shoulders, no collar, and button closure is considered a collarless blazer. While. Oftentimes looking like a tweed Chanel jacket, the history of a collarless blazer sits in skirt suits and tweed a la Emily Gilmore.
While it would be easy to copy that style and live in the quiet luxury era, it can look dated if not modernized, and in my opinion, can look tacky if not done well. Many people are jumping on this trend choosing Amazon versions and cheaply made sweaters made to look like jackets, and while I understand saving money on trends, it ends up just looking cheap and has the opposite effect of the quiet luxury trend.
Belted blazers came around. in the 80s. Often a longer style and either hip or thigh length, the belt serves to cinch the waist and create a slimmer look with the typically broader shoulders created with shoulder pads. My belted blazer below is one of my favorites for a classic but styled look.