Relaxed blazers for men are like a little black dress for women – an essential wardrobe staple that transcends time and trends. There’s just something about a well-cut blazer that instantly elevates any outfit. The relaxed fit provides a bit more room through the body for easy layering and movement, without looking boxy or disheveled.
So how does one find that perfect relaxed blazer to add refined style and versatility to their closet? It can seem daunting with the abundance of brands, silhouettes, details and fabrics to consider. This guide will walk through the top characteristics to look for and provide the inside scoop on 5 of the best classic relaxed blazers for men. Read on to become a relaxed blazer expert and invest in pieces that will last for years to come.
What Defines a Relaxed Blazer?
First things first – what exactly makes a blazer “relaxed”? There are a few key features that distinguish a relaxed blazer from its slimmer suit jacket cousins:
- Silhouette – The body and sleeves have a slightly looser and comfier cut than a traditional tailored jacket, without going full oversized. It creates a casual drape through the shoulders and chest.
- Light padding – Relaxed blazers often have light shoulder padding rather than heavy rigid padding, for a softer look.
- Fabric – The materials are thicker and textured, such as twill, cotton, corduroy and linen blends. This contrasts with the thinner, dressier wools often used in suits.
- Laid-back details – Details like patch pockets, fetching color palettes, floral linings and textured buttons give off a casual, playful vibe.
- Business to casual versatility – While refined enough for the office, relaxed blazers are also comfortable and stylish for everyday wear.
This effortless aesthetic is what takes a relaxed blazer from formal to fashionable. Next let’s look at the cream of the crop…
The Top 5 Classic Men’s Relaxed Blazers
After extensive research, here are my picks for the best relaxed blazers around:
1. Oliver Wicks Shaw Unstructured Blazer
Oliver Wicks offers custom-made menswear, allowing you to fine tune the fit and details to perfection. Theirshaw blazer has all the makings of a future classic.
An unstructured jacket in soft navy or gray Italian wool, it epitomizes relaxed chic. The slim notched lapels, patch pockets, and textured buttons give it a refined edge. Available as single or double breasted, it provides a comfortable drape without looking disheveled.
Made to measure, it comes in standard US sizes up to XXL, tailored to your exact specifications. This versatility makes it perfect for both casual Fridays and client meetings. A truly personalized product with great value from Oliver Wicks.
2. Bonobos Unconstructed Blazer
Bonobos is known for making innovative, forward-thinking menswear with a signature relaxed vibe. The Bonobos unconstructed blazer delivers on both quality and comfort.
It’s made from a stretch cotton-poly blend with just a hint of flex. Available in fun springtime hues like rose, navy, and khaki, it’s a more fashion-forward take on a classic style.
The lightweight fabric and unpadded shoulders provide a sleek drape, while the slim lapels, two-button closure, and flap pockets keep it looking tailored. Signature curved hemlines and back vents finish the silhouette.
True to Bonobos’ ethos, it’s uber-wearable and designed for the demands of a modern man’s lifestyle. Easy, breezy, and carefree.
3. J.Crew Ludlow Relaxed-Fit Blazer
J.Crew has honed the relaxed blazer fit with their Ludlow style. It’s crafted from soft cotton with a wrinkle-resistant stretch blend. The result is polished but casual.
A notch lapel, two-button closure, and besom chest pocket maintain a dapper style. But the slightly rounded edges, patch pockets, and loose fit through the body give it laid-back flair.
It comes in versatile neutral tones from khaki to navy. While relaxed, the tailoring still maintains the right amount of shape rather than being overly boxy. Having a blazer you can dress up or down is key, and this one hits the mark.
Overall, J.Crew’s take on the relaxed blazer is unfussy yet structured – the perfect combination for looking casually polished without a lot of effort.
4. Banana Republic Traveler Blazer
Banana Republic has been outfitting modern professionals since the 1980s. The Banana Republic traveler blazer is specially designed for comfort and movement.
It’s a two-button blazer made from cool and breathable technical Italian fabric. This allows excellent range of motion. It also resists wrinkles, ideal for guys on the move.
A jacket you can travel or commute in while still looking sharp is a major plus. It features a classic notched lapel, flap pockets, and center back vent. The nipped waist provides subtle shape.
Available in versatile neutrals like navy and khaki, it layers nicely over shirts and sweaters. For the man who’s always on the go but still wants to look pulled-together, this is the blazer that can keep up.
5. Everlane’s Modern Blazer
Minimalist essentials brand Everlane really nails it with their modern blazer. It has all the elements you want in a relaxed jacket – soft Italian cotton, unlined interior, lightly padded shoulders, double vents, front welt pockets, and a casual but cool cut.
The two button closure and notched lapels keep it looking polished. The fabric has a touch of stretch for maximum comfort. And it comes in versatile solids from navy to stone that pair with everything.
Everlane keeps quality high and pricing fair. For a pared back, wearable blazer without designer price tags, Everlane is a go-to. This relaxed essential will quickly become a favorite.
While styling and quality differ, each of these top 5 blazers exemplifies relaxed refinement. Which traits are most important depends on your needs and style. Keep reading for tips on choosing the best relaxed blazer for your wardrobe.
How to Choose the Right Relaxed Blazer For You
Yes, relaxed blazers have a laid-back ease to them. But fit and construction should still be considered so you end up with one that flatters your body type. Here are key factors to look for when selecting a relaxed blazer:
Similar to suits, the shoulder seams should align with the end of your shoulders without sagging over or pulling across. Light padding helps the blazer keep its shape without being restrictive.
Make sure you have a comfortable range of motion in a relaxed blazer’s shoulders before purchasing.
Relaxed blazers often have functional buttons at the sleeve cuffs. Make sure the hem hits right around your wrist bone without pulling at the cuff when your arms are at your sides. Proper sleeve length helps the cuffs drape and function better.
While relaxed, the blazer should drape nicely without billowing out. Make sure it follows your torso without pulling at the fastened buttons. You don’t want excess fabric hanging or it looking like you’re swimming in it.
That said, it shouldn’t feel too fitted either or it loses that casual essence. Try different sizes and cuts to find the right balance.
The texture and feel of the fabric impacts the look and versatility. Stretch cottons, linens, and knit blends tend to be softer with better drape for maximum comfort. Wool, corduroy, and twills have more structure.
Consider the seasons you want to wear it and activities like travel when choosing fabric.
Neutrals like navy, black, gray and tan offer the most versatility. But don’t shy away from bolder hues and prints that express your style, especially for more casual relaxed blazers. Just ensure they complement your existing wardrobe.
Notch lapels tend to suit relaxed blazers best, providing a tailored look. Wider peak lapels come off as more formal. Consider the collar styles of your shirts – some pair better with peaked versus notched lapels.
Single breasted, two-button relaxed blazers give off an elegant, classic vibe. Double breasted blazers offer more of a statement, while one button styles provide a slimming effect. Choose based on your personal style and profession.
By keeping these fit and style factors in mind, you’re sure to find a relaxed blazer that looks like it was custom made for you. Now let’s look at how to rock a relaxed blazer as part of your everyday wardrobe.
FAQs and Answers About Relaxed Blazers
Relaxed blazers may seem straightforward. But there are still common questions guys have when integrating them into their closet. Here I’ll tackle some frequently asked questions about wearing and caring for relaxed blazers:
What is the difference between a blazer and a suit jacket?
While similar, blazers are tailored to be worn as a separate jacket, while suit jackets accompany matching pants as a set. Blazers also tend to feature more casual touches like patch pockets, textured materials, laid-back patterns, etc.
What shirts and pants pair best with a relaxed blazer?
Relaxed blazers pair great with polos, OCBDs, casual button-downs, and knit tops on the shirt side. Chinos, dark denim, trousers, and even dress slacks complement them on the bottom. Just keep the formality of each piece aligned.
Are relaxed blazers appropriate for formal business settings?
It depends on the specific blazer. More textured fabrics like nubby wool or tweed are likely too casual. But styles in Italian wool with refined silhouettes can still work for professional offices, especially if well-paired and fitted. When in doubt, opt for a more traditional suit jacket with dress pants for conservative business environments.
How can I style a relaxed blazer for a smart casual look?
Try pairing a relaxed cotton or linen blazer with dark wash denim, a polo or Oxford shirt, and leather loafers or boots. Add layers like sweaters and scarves in colder months. This creates a put together vibe that’s still approachable and fun.
What are the best ways to care for and maintain a blazer?
Check the fabric care instructions. Many relaxed blazers can simply be machine washed. For blazers requiring dry cleaning, try to clean only 2-3 times a year. Use a garment bag when storing. Buy a second button in case one falls off. Treat any stains immediately before washing. And invest in a fabric shaver to refresh the nap if needed.
How do I know if a relaxed blazer fits properly in the shoulders and body?
The shoulder seams should end right at your shoulders without sagging over. Move your arms to ensure ample mobility. The body should drape without pulling at the buttons when fastened. You don’t want overt billowing or pulling across the chest or back. Try a size up or down if in doubt.
Can I wear a relaxed blazer casually with jeans?
Absolutely! A relaxed cotton blazer pairs extremely well with dark wash denim. Just keep the rest of the look aligned – avoid dress shoes or heavily distressed jeans. Go for smart casual with button-down shirts or polos, clean leather sneakers, etc.
What are the pros and cons of single vs. double breasted blazers?
Single breasted blazers are more versatile and easier to fit properly. Double breasted styles make more of a statement and aren’t as slimming on some body types. Make sure you get the sizing right so you can properly fasten a double breasted blazer.
How do I choose the right lapel width and style for my body type?
Slimmer guys can pull off wider peak lapels while stockier gentlemen often suit notched collars better. The notched lapels on relaxed blazers are almost always preferable to peaks. Match your lapel to your tie knots as well – wider lapels pair better with bigger knot styles.
How versatile are navy and grey blazers compared to black?
Navy and grey offer far easier pairing options and are less harsh than black. Black blazers have a tendency to look like you’re wearing an orphaned suit jacket. Save black for more formal occasions versus daily wear. Navy and grey check the right versatility boxes.
Finding that perfectly relaxed blazer has a touch of art and science to it. Focus on sought-after fabrics, a refined yet relaxed silhouette, and versatility to get the most wear. Brands like Oliver Wicks, Bonobos, J.Crew, Banana Republic and Everlane have cracked the code.
A relaxed cotton or linen blazer will get you through balmy summer days in style. A wool or corduroy version adds a sophisticated layer when temperatures drop. And a navy or grey style offers pairing potential with nearly any outfit.
Here’s to moving beyond stiff suiting and embracing the comfort and allure of a classic relaxed men’s blazer. Have we convinced you to slip one on and see where it takes you? Let us know what you look for in the perfect blazer and your favorites of the top 5 recommendations. Tailor your style with this timeless wardrobe staple.