Tip No. 1: Shop for fit
That shapeless sack you’ve been wearing to job interviews and funerals isn’t doing you any favours. The truth is most men buy their jackets at least one size too big based on some bizarre arm-stretching ritual that’s meant to ensure a full range of motion (as if we’re supposed to be doing calisthenics in the thing).
Blazer fit can seem like a dauntingly vague term, but its parts are actually quite simple and sensible. First, the entire jacket should follow the natural lines of your body. The back should lie flat, the armholes should be high enough to delineate your chest, the torso should taper inward to define your midsection, and the shoulders should end, well, where your shoulders end. Finally, the sleeve should show about a half-inch of shirt cuff, and perhaps most importantly, the proper length of the jacket should not be judged by standing stick straight to see if your hands can still cup the bottom. Instead, an easy rule of thumb is to get the blazer to barely cover your ass.
Tip No. 2: Beware of style
There’s a boatload of potential blazer styling blunders out there. But the biggest offenses undoubtedly come from guys who think they’re ahead of the curve. You know, the ones topping off their untucked, striped Robert Graham shirts with cross-emblazoned, rhinestone-studded sportcoats. If my own experience with solid navy that fateful evening is any indication, choosing basic over bling is always better. Sure, I could have gone with chalk stripes or a windowpane pattern in variety of more daring hues, but navy is the tried-and-true staple with which every man should start his collection.
Tip No. 3: Pricey doesn’t always pay off
That same guy who piles the cheese on his Robert Graham shirt is typically the one who also likes to label drop. Indeed, a well-made basic blazer can cost a pretty penny, too, but the most important thing to consider is fit (see tip No. 1 above). Fortunately, a tailored blazer can be had on any budget. Take mine for example: it’s nameless, costs less than 50 bucks at a sample sale and fits like a glove. In fact, it looks far better than many I own at prices that I’d rather not discuss.
I am, however, proud to say that my initial surprise over the power of the blazer has since turned into a successful harnessing of it. And for that sassy redhead from Elle Latin America, wherever you are, gracias.
It’s always worth investing a little time and energy into an item that will get you so much attention and make you feel so good.
Written by Adam Fox, this article originally appeared on AskMen.com