I love blazers, but I hate that they look so professional. I’ve never worked in a business professional office, and have never been comfortable in business clothing. So if I wear a blazer, I want to dress it down. It’s so fun dressing blazers down to see how I can style them that won’t make me look like I’m an old college professor or heading to an interview.
This is a relatively new development for me, though. Blazers used to be something I reserved solely for interviews and then promptly hang in the back of my closet not to be seen until the next one. I’m sure the trends have something to do with my change of heart. The styles have shifted towards the more casual options. Now blazers are meant to look more stylish rather than professional. So, in addition to the styles changing, I also learned how to style them better so I don’t feel too stuffy.
Now I learned how to style them, I wear a relaxed fit blazer casually out to events, drinks, or even date night. It’s a great layering piece that both keeps you warm and keeps you looking super chic. The best part is, now that they’re in style you can find them relatively inexpensive. My deconstructed blazer, the one I’m wearing in these photos, is under $35!
The History of the Blazer
Blazers were created long ago for men for functional purposes. They served as a layer of warmth for seamen, traditionally made of thick wool, they kept sailors warm and blocked out the wind. The men looked so sharp in their blazers, they began to wear them on land as well, and so the trend began, and still lives on today for both genders.
Since we’re working our way back through the decades of fashion trends, I think we’ve about hit the 80s with this blazer style. Women have worn suits and blazers for a long time throughout history, but they really started to use them for fashion (over function or necessity) was in the 80s, the idea of the power suit expanding outside of the office was supposedly thanks to the popular TX show Dynasty (rebooted in 2017 and now on Netflix).
Later in the 90s, Clueless was another show that perpetuated the blazer trend. Cher and Dionne wore the best and most colorful blazers even in high school! Since fashions have gone back towards the 90s and 80s, we’re emulating their styles with a modern twist. Instead of wearing matching suits, we’re dressing the blazers down in a more casual way.
I dressed my plaid blazer down with leather leggings and booties. I layered underneath with a velvet cami and my favorite Free People bralette (if you watch my Instagram stories, yes is the one I fixed after Mia ate it). This look is both casual and edgy. I wore it out to run errands and go shopping. I ended up at an event that night, and the blazer was perfect to transition from day to night, but still looked nice.
How to Dress Down A Blazer in 2021
Choose an Oversized and/or Deconstructed Blazer
These styles are oftentimes one and the same. Choosing a blazer that is oversized but not too oversized is important. You don’t want to have one that is too large, so if it isn’t designed to be oversized, only size up once to keep it proportional. A deconstructed blazer allows for a more casual feel. Your suit blazers will hold their shape on the hanger, the shoulders will be stiffer, and your lapels will stay upright, unlike a deconstructed blazer which will hang more like a cardigan, and be a bit floppy.
Style Your Blazer with Jeans or Leggings
Causal bottoms dress down the blazer, so jeans or leather leggings are going to be your best bet. In the summer you can even choose shorts or a casual skirt. The bottoms are the most critical piece of the outfit because they are the other main focal point of the look. You can go with any style of jeans, I love my skinny jeans, but flares or straight-leg jeans would also look great!
Stay Away from Blouses or Collared Shirts
To me, a collared or button-down shirt screams “interview” from underneath your blazer, so I typically shy away from those. The exception here is a more casual style, oversized, chicly cut, or chambray option. In my opinion, a t-shirt or a cami is the best way to dress a blazer down. Graphic tees are the most casual option. I don’t gravitate towards button-downs in general, I always feel so uncomfortable in them! Definitely not me, so when I did wear blazers in a business professional setting, I usually chose a blouse. I don’t recommend blouses for dressing down a blazer either. The blouse, while less structured than your button-down, won’t give you a relaxed look.
Wear Your Blazer as a Layering Piece
Instead of building your outfit around your blazer, use it in place of an outdoor jacket such as a jeans or a leather jacket. This is a great way to wear a blazer in the winter! It’s sometimes awkward wearing a coat over a blazer, so instead, layer a top and a sweater then pair your blazer over top! It’s an added layer of warmth and style!
Wear Lower Heels or Flats with your Blazer
I’m not opposed to heels, obviously. However, when dressing down your blazer you’ll want a more casual option than stilettos or pumps. Usually, that means lower or block heels. Stay away from pointy toes and anything you’d wear to an interview. My favorite option is booties, or if you want to get super dressed down with your blazer outfit, try sneakers!