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What goes with what

Q&A: Why can't I wear my suit jacket with jeans?

Q&A: Why can't I wear my suit jacket with jeans?

"I completely understand the desire to wear your suit jacket as much as possible," says Thread stylist Alice Watt. "Suits are usually investments, so it makes sense you'd want to wear them enough to get value out of them … which is why it's unfortunate that you can only wear your suit jacket with one thing: matching suit trousers." 

Here's how to wear either jacket: Blazers go well with jeans, chinos and formal trousers, but the tailoring and fabric of most suit jackets mean they only look right with their matching trousers.

The four key differences between suit jackets and blazers

1. Fabric texture. "Most suit jackets have a certain sheen to them. They're usually made from fine wool that's specially treated to be thin and light, and that fabric is too fine to go with more casual trousers."
2. Fabric thickness. "Blazers are made from thicker materials that give them a bit more heft and structure. Textured blazers (such as the one shown here) are my favourite type because they're so clearly not suit jackets. Unless you're talking tweed, suit jackets are always thinner than blazers." (For more on how to wear textured blazers, click here.)
3. Jacket length. "While suit jackets should always be long enough to cover your bum, blazers are usually at least an inch shorter. The shorter length is another part of what makes them more casual."
4. Matching trousers. "Obvious? Yes. But if you see that a jacket comes with matching trousers, that means it's part of a suit—and you can't wear it with jeans or chinos." 

Some exceptions ...

Because fabric texture and thickness are two of the four key differences between blazers and suit jackets, when it comes to tweed or nonshiny cotton suits, all bets are off. If your tweed or cotton suit jacket is on the shorter side (around mid-pocket length), feel free to wear it with trousers other than its matching pair.