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Patterned or Solid Jacket?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Do you guys prefer a solid colored blazer or something with more of a pattern on it like tweed, windowpane, glen plaid? please upload pictures of your favorites.  Trying to get an idea of what people like

post #2 of 8


post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thank you?

post #4 of 8

To be less glib, context is hugely important. Where are you wearing this jacket and what are you wearing it with? What other clothes do you have that you might want to wear it with? Does it work as a jacket at all, or does it look like half a suit?


The best practical discussion of context (with pictures) is here, and I won't do it any justice by rehashing it. It will make more sense, though, if you think of jackets from the ground up. At the risk of doing exactly what I said I wouldn't do:


  1. Thread: 
    • ​​Is it wool or something else? Cotton and linen are popular alternatives (but are by no means the only ones), but they only really work in a casual context in warm weather. If it's warm and the rest of your fit is casual, linen and cotton can look great. Otherwise, you're looking at wool.
    • I'm going to ignore the fact that wool can come from different animals and assume (mostly correctly) that it comes from something that says "baa."
    • If wool, is it worsted or woolen? Worsted wools make fabrics with a smoother finish (think of the standard business suit) whereas woolens are fuzzy. Flannel and tweed are both kinds of woolens. Woolen fabrics are more seasonal (fall/winter) and are little (flannel) or a lot (tweed) more casual than worsteds, but the next stages are hugely important in how much more. 
  2. Fabric: Some fabrics only really work as suits. In general, if the color is grey, if the texture is too smooth, if the pattern is stripes, or if the pattern is too subtle, it'd better come with matching pants.
    • What color is it?
      • Grey and navy can be worn with much more formal/city fits than other colors; a lot of people here might say say that grey for the most part only works as a suit or as pants, and that navy for the most part only works as a suit or as a jacket. Charcoal only really works as a suit.
      • Other colors (brown, green, tan/camel, etc.) will look better with more casual shirts, pants, shoes, and accessories.
    • What kind of weave is it? Most importantly, how much texture does it have?
      • There's a good guide to weaves in this (very) old guide from the USDA(!)
      • More texture makes it a bit more casual.
      • Some textured weaves are so pronounced (e.g., big contrasty herringbones) that they basically function as a pattern. These will generally work in the most casual contexts and can also get very busy quickly if they also have a strong pattern on top the weave itself.
    • Does it have a pattern? [I know, your actual question]
      • Stripes are for suits.
      • Checks come in about a billion flavors. The more obvious the check, the more casual it is and the better it works as an odd jacket. 
  3. Cut/silhouette: is primarily a matter of personal taste and what works well for your body shape. Other people have written well about this elsewhere.
  4. Features: 
    • Shoulder expression: Can be padded or natural, extended or natural, pagoda or straight. They can be sewn with or without roping, and like jacketsleeves or shirtsleeves (spalla camicia.) Better people have written volumes on this, but it mostly comes down to which styling you like the best. A few gross generalizations:
      • the less constructed the shoulder, the more casually it will wear (many, many, many exceptions apply.)
      • roping and built-up shoulders tend to lend a more militaristic look to a jacket, which will affect what other items work best with it
    • Hip pockets: Can be flap or patch. Welt (besom/jetted) hip pockets are too sleek and belong on very formal suits and dinner jackets, not odd jackets. Almost any odd jacket will look good with patch hip pockets (not always true for suits), but flap hip pockets can be fine too provided the rest of the jacket isn't too suity (see above.) 
    • Breast pocket: Can be welt or patch. A patch breast pocket makes the jacket much more casual.
    • Buttons: can be corozzo, horn, mother-of-pearl, metal, or leather. In general, the less the button looks like the fabric of the jacket, the better it works as a jacket (rather than a suit) and the more casual it becomes-- with the notable exceptions of light brown horn, metal, and mother of pearl on a navy jacket. Leather buttons on a tweed jacket are extremely casual and make for a jacket that can be worn very casually.
    • Hunting features (see vox's guide for examples) make for an extremely casual jacket.


Some examples of good jackets (solid and patterned) deployed in the right context:


Woolen fabric (tweed) with big windowpanes, patch hip pockets, and (relatively) natural shoulder. Casual and fall/winter. That's why it looks great with an open shirt (though I'd like a button-down collar better) and fuzzy flannel pants.This would look great with suede shoes or with boots. If you wanted to wear a tie, I'd go for a knit or something fuzzy. You could wear it with moleskins or cords instead of flannel pants. I think even a crewneck sweater without a collared shirt would work under this.

You could make this look stupid by wearing it with (list not exhaustive): charcoal worsted wool pants, a linen shirt, a white shirt with french cuffs, black stitch cap oxford shoes, a black-and-white glen plaid tie.


Very loud check (gun club check) with a patch breast pocket in a woolen fabric (I think it's a tweed) anda fall/winter color palette. Casual, and worn with a shirt and tie that are good examples of what works with a jacket like this.

You could make this look stupid by wearing it with: see above.


Solid navy odd jacket, worn relatively formally and well (courtesy of vox.) Hard to tell the fabric from a distance, but it looks like a traditional worsted wool blazer cloth. 3 patch pockets make it sufficiently "jackety."

You could make this look stupid by wearing it with: Not much, actually. There are lots of possible cominations with a solid navy odd jacket, which is why they're so often recommended as "essentials" and "standard."


Solid navy odd jacket in its most traditional of forms, the metal-buttons blazer. The fabric is fresco, which is a kind of worsted wool in a loose plain weave that has a "dry" (not shiny) texture and wears very light. 


Very different solid odd jacket here. It's solid green in a Donegal tweed (a woolen) with three patch pockets and some roping in the shoulder. Notice how terrible either of the last two shirts would have looked with this. The oxford cloth button-down, beefier and more casual, is perfect. The tie may be a little too businessy for this jacket for my taste, but that's a minor quibble and overall this is great.

Edited by turkoftheplains - 10/9/15 at 8:35am
post #5 of 8
Entirely personal preference and the purpose of the garment. There is nothing whatever to debate.
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by turkoftheplains View Post


Thank you so much for the comprehensive guide! I'll be using all this information to become not only more informed about jackets, but also to become a better contributor on this site.

post #7 of 8
Originally Posted by turkoftheplains View Post


Originally Posted by GBR View Post

Entirely personal preference and the purpose of the garment. There is nothing whatever to debate.

Agree 100%.

And why worry about what people like. You do know that you can have...like....VARIOUS types in your wardrobe...right?
It's not a uniform and you are not restricted to 1 or the other(s).
post #8 of 8
Personal preference and somewhat context dependent. If you're at a business casual event with a bunch of conservative folks who are wearing navy blazers, a navy blazer or solid jacket is probably your best bet. In general, more conservative event = solid or semi-solid odd jacket. If you're not bound by the event description, tweeds and patterned jackets can be a lot of fun. Own both, use both, love both.
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