There is little doubt that wearing a blazer with shorts is a polarizing topic in men’s style. Classics and traditional minded folks are horrified by it. Preps love it. The misguided trendsters also seem to like it. And with a quick Google search you can find an equal number of supporters for each side.
More consistent readers of my musings will know that my influences are largely classic and prep. That said, you may wonder where do I stand on this debate? But more importantly, where should most men stand. In short, I think it is okay to pair a blazer with shorts. But there is a time and a place.
The look is most at home at a summer soiree or other warm weathered fete. But it can get by at any casual social event; whether in the city, suburb or country. The look dressed down even further with a polo shirt instead of a dress shirt.
You may ask, what makes this look okay? I suppose the largest reasoning is righteousness by omission. If a jacket is required for an event, but pants are not, why can’t you wear shorts? Secondly, there is something so wrong about the look that it compels me to judge it as right. Somewhat like my love of gingham shirts with French collar and cuffs. The contradiction of the formalities provides some added visual interest. Then there is that whole ‘knowing the rules and breaking them’ and rebellion thing.
From a practical standpoint shorts are far cooler wearing than pants so in the warmest of weather the comfort provided can be paramount. Contrarily, there are the times when the blazer or jacket is an afterthought, such as when the air cools and a man needs an extra layer to keep warm.
Just as there is a time and a place, there is a right way and a wrong way to wear a blazer with shorts. Obviously, the worst way to do it is with ill fitting clothes. But following that, the more I think on it, the more I am of the opinion that the look works better with a slightly shorter jacket. Not something to the shortness of the Thom Browne silhouette, which seems to end around the break of the wrists (which no one should wear, ever), just something a little shorter than your normal suit jacket. Perhaps the jacket ending at or slightly above the top knuckle (metecarpophalangeal joint). The shorter jacket helps keep things in better proportion with shorts.
The blazer with shorts look is not for everyone. But for those of us who do it, it’s kinda like not wearing socks with your loafers. Not in the trendy way, but the other way; you get it or you don’t. Do you?