In my previous article on how to boost your AW12 style with ease, we touched lightly on an item that has a very strong hold of my heart – the patterned blazer.

Up until now, blazers, suit jackets and sports coats in ultra-traditional patterns such as windowpane check or houndstooth have been a thing of the past, worn by plaid fanatics of yore in huge box-like cuts.

But not anymore! These patterns have been updated by designers for the 21st century gentleman, along with a slimmer cut, shorter length and higher armholes. They also tend to have a minimal lining and a more natural shoulder, which makes them look slimming on any frame whilst at the same time providing an element of ease and comfort to any look. And let’s face it, who doesn’t want that?

The Checked Blazer

Realistically, although we constantly sing its praises, there is only so far a navy blazer can take you. I mean sure, you could buy tweed version, a double breasted beast or even a statement blazer in a bold colour like burgundy, but this autumn/winter (much like 2012 as a whole) is all about getting involved with pattern.

But don’t worry if you can’t tell the difference between checked plaid or windowpane, because you only really need one patterned blazer in your wardrobe and, thanks to the wide variety available from designers and the high street, it really will come down to your personal preference and what you think looks good on you.

Just remember to stick to neutral or autumnal colours like navy, brown, olive or grey and you won’t go wrong. My personal preference is either a houndstooth check in brown/beige or a navy plaid version.

How To Wear: The Checked Blazer

So how do you wear this updated piece of classic menswear? I know it’s a troubling thought, but like most things concerning style, just put your troubles to one side.

Confidence is the real key to pulling these jackets off – whether it’s pairing them with something unexpected like beat-up denim and a casual tee or simply incorporating more patterns into your current look, it’s all about being confident and comfortable in what you wear.

Men’s Checked Blazer Lookbook

Men's Checked Blazer Lookbook

Quick Tips

If you need a few quick starter points, then look no further:

  • KISS: Or keep it simple, stupid. If there’s one foolproof way of incorporating a patterned jacket into your look, it’s with simple, classic and versatile pieces. A pair of indigo selvedge jeans, white dress shirt and black grenadine tie comes to mind. As does a pair of black cap toe Oxfords. Consider this a beginner step.
  • Glen Plaid: If you fancy yourself a Cary Grant/Sean Connery, then this is the jacket for you. Keep it neutral in colour, slim in fit and don’t be afraid add some colour into your look! A colourful jumper or cardigan is a great complement to this sort of jacket, especially when they come in surprising hues such as teal, burnt orange or mustard.
  • Check Your Self: Whether it’s gun-check or gingham, these sorts of patterned jackets can be an absolute dream to wear. This is mainly because you can treat them as a solid when getting dressed. It makes the jacket less intimidating and means you can pair all kinds of plaid dress shirts and ties with it. Just remember to keep the shirt checks bigger than the small checks on the jacket – micro vs macro and vice versa is the key to pulling off pattern mixing.
  • Windowpane: This exploded plaid needs to be paired with small scale patterns in your shirt and tie combination, so think striped shirts and tartan wool ties. It also works well with tweed trousers in a complementing colour such as grey (with a navy jacket) or burnt orange (with brown).
  • Houndstooth: Like I said, this one is my jam. I pretty much wear it with anything. White jeans? Check. Brown herringbone tweed trousers? I’m on that. Mustard chinos and a plain tee? All day my friends. Seriously, go crazy!
Men’s Checked Blazers
  • Topman Check Patch Wool BlazerTopman Check Patch Wool Blazer
  • Selected Check BlazerSelected Check Blazer
  • Topman Biscotti Check Heritage Suit JacketTopman Biscotti Check Heritage Suit Jacket
  • United Colors Of Benetton Check Slim BlazerUnited Colors Of Benetton Check Slim Blazer
  • Asos Slim Fit Check BlazerAsos Slim Fit Check Blazer
  • He By Mango Prince Of Wales Check BlazerHe By Mango Prince Of Wales Check Blazer
  • He By Mango Prince Of Wales Check BlazerHe By Mango Prince Of Wales Check Blazer
  • Kent Charcoal Tailored Fit Check Suit JacketKent Charcoal Tailored Fit Check Suit Jacket
  • Gant Rugger Unstructured Slim-fit Houndstooth Wool BlazerGant Rugger Unstructured Slim-fit Houndstooth Wool Blazer
  • Mens Magee Wicklow K2 Tweed Check BlazerMens Magee Wicklow K2 Tweed Check Blazer
  • Wool Blend 2 Button House Check JacketWool Blend 2 Button House Check Jacket
  • Uniqlo Men Tweed Check Jacket+Uniqlo Men Tweed Check Jacket+
  • Ted Baker Rythjak – Wool Shetland Check BlazerTed Baker Rythjak - Wool Shetland Check Blazer
  • Sartorial Pure Wool Check JacketSartorial Pure Wool Check Jacket
  • Mr Rick Tailor Prince Of Wales Jacket 134063Mr Rick Tailor Prince Of Wales Jacket 134063
  • Acne Grey Patterned Drifter BlazerAcne Grey Patterned Drifter Blazer
  • Dolce & Gabbana Check Herringbone Wool BlazerDolce & Gabbana Check Herringbone Wool Blazer
  • Junya Watanabe Brooks Brothers Plaid Wool BlazerJunya Watanabe Brooks Brothers Plaid Wool Blazer
Final Word

Oh, and one final point: Don’t be too precious with this particular jacket. Wear the hell out of it. Fold it up and put in your gym bag or the backseat of your car. Let it make appearances at bars, pubs and parks. If it starts to show a little wear then be happy, that’s the sort of thing that turns an item of clothing into a one of a kind item that only you own. After all, they’re only clothes and there’s always elbow patches.

And for all your purists out there – yes, there is a difference between a blazer, suit jacket and sports coat and they all have different occasions they should traditionally be worn. Hell, I even wrote an article on the very same subject. But when it comes to an item in a bold pattern like the ones we’ve discussed, you only end up doing yourself a disservice by restricting yourself in this way. Rules were made to be broken after all.

But as always, rather than listening to me wax sartorial, I’d rather be hearing from you guys. Is this something that you would wear? Do you have any tips or tricks in regards to what to wear them with? Have I finally gone one pattern too far? Let me know.

Matt Allinson