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What goes with what

How to match a jacket and trousers

How to match a jacket and trousers

Every year, fewer men wear suits to work. According to recent research, only one in 10 chaps suit up every day, with 34 per cent forgoing a two-piece entirely for anything other than a special occasion. While this is undoubtedly a good thing – you should feel comfortable at work, after all – it does pose a problem. When the trousers and jacket don’t match, how do you make sure they don’t clash?

“There are two big mistakes that most men make,” says Thread stylist Alice. “The jacket and trousers being too far apart stylistically, or too close together.” To help you land in the sweet spot, follow these three rules to ensure you match, but not too closely.

Your colours should rhyme, not echo

Smart-casual outfit

Photographed: Timothy Everest blazer (£250); MVP jeans (£30); Reiss polo shirt (£90); Reiss Chelsea boots (£195); Braun watch (£119); A.P.C wallet (£135)

Why it matters: “When wearing a blazer or suit jacket with trousers, you don't want the colours to look too similar,” says Alice. “You either need to match completely or not at all. For instance, a blue blazer with blue chinos will just look a bit off, as though you meant to wear a suit but grabbed the wrong trousers by mistake.”

How to do it: “Simply opt for different colours on top and bottom,” says Alice. “The easy way is to stick to neutrals, like black and blue, or grey and navy.” It also makes pairing your shirt, tie and pocket square simple as well.

Contrast your textures

Outfit with contrasting textures

Photographed: MVP textured blazer (available soon); Paul Smith trousers (£225); Common Projects Derbys (£405); Reiss pocket square (£30); Larsson & Jennings watch (£215); London Undercover umbrella (£65)

Why it matters: “Textures are the key to smart-casual looks,” says Alice. “They're a little less formal than classic suit fabrics and mixing and matching them enables you to inject some personality into your wardrobe. It requires a little more thought than just throwing on a suit but pays dividends in styling possibilities. Plus the contrast separates top half from bottom and adds depth.”

How to do it: “Opt for a different texture or material on top and bottom. So if you're wearing a tweed blazer, avoid a pair of tweed trousers unless it's a suit. It’s nice to have one that’s smoother, one that’s matte. So with a cotton jacket, opt for wool or denim for the bottom half.”

Keep things smart, or casual

Smart-casual look

Photographed: T.M Lewin cotton blazer (£159); MVP jeans (£30); MVP t-shirt (£15); Oliver Sweeney trainers (£199); Anderson belt (£109); Illesteva sunglasses (£165)

“The classic casual Friday mistake is when guys wear their Monday-to-Thursday suit jacket, but swap the trousers for jeans,” says Alice. “It’s too much distance – it looks like their legs and torso are going to different events. Instead, you need balance. Both elements should match the occasion.”

How to do it: “Think about where on the smartness scale you need to be, then make sure jacket and trousers match it individually. Generally, that means somewhere in the middle. An unstructured blazer with looks much better with jeans than a suit jacket would. But if you need to be smarter, than the suit jacket would work with formal wool trousers, in a different colour.”