The leaves, tinged with orange, crunch under foot. The hot summer wind has said farewell, and the freshness of autumnal change is soon to make itself known.
You throw on a blazer over a buttoned up shirt, which is tucked into your worn-in jeans. As your hands dive into your pockets and you hunch to avoid the wind, you imagine a day spent in cafes, or perusing well-thumbed novels.
However, as you glance in the mirror before bounding out the front door, the whole illusion comes crashing down around you. You realise that instead of purveying the embodiment of cool. You’ve inadvertently appeared, to have raided the wardrobe of a presenter of Top Gear in the late 2000’s.

The jeans and blazer combo is fraught with danger, a thin tweed line that must be navigated with caution. The look, though deceptively simple, has no margin for error. Details matter when it come to straightforward silhouettes. Material choice and garment shape, are pertinent in keeping you on the right side of the thin tweed line. In order to look like a French history professor from a 60s film, and not a finance bro on dress down Fridays, here are a few aspects to keep in mind.

First and foremost, the cut and style of your chosen jeans and blazer is paramount. Ideally you want to have an overall fit that is on the relaxed, wider side. Avoid anything too tight, both up the top and down the bottom. You especially want to steer clear of overly contrasting shapes. An oversized blazer with drainpipe jeans is a cardinal sin.
Your blazer wants to be erring toward a more unstructured fit. With enough room around you shoulders, to be more than capable of taking on an unexpected game of badminton. The sack jacket, is an ideal option for this look. Something roomy enough to layer, whilst still neatly coming to a stop a few inches below your waist. Although we’re going for a less tailored approach, the length of the sleeves and jacket must still sit well on your body. When it comes to the hem and shoulders of the blazer, look for a softness round the edges of the silhouette. Liken it to the approachability of a round cake, like a Victoria sponge. You can keep your oppressive square cake tins to yourself.

As well as being a straight or wider leg, you want your jeans to have no break. Whether that means you have to cuff them or have them tailored, either present a viable solution to an extra long pair. That way you avoid appearing as though you raided an elderly relative’s wardrobe in a hurry.

This leads us on to material choice and layering. Up top, heavier wools or tweed are the go-to. Manufacturers such as Harris Tweed and Fox Brothers, are the cream of the crop. Drab is good, steer away from blazers with a high sheen. Double down on natural fibres, leave polyester at the door. The most common mistake with this look, is wearing a shirt that is too dressy when compared to the outfit’s other components. The shirt selection must follow along the same lines as the blazer. Avoid sheen, and lean toward a heavier cotton shirt. Throw a woollen crewneck or cardigan over the top of that, and you’re onto a winner. Adding that mid-layer only further softens the overall outfit, we’re getting our Vic sponge on.

When slipping something on to your feet, go for a shoe with heft. Think loafers, a derby or Tyrollean shoes. We don’t want to lose the feet underneath the width of the jeans. The chosen shoe must be capable of wading through sludge, running to catch the train, and climbing winding staircases. All activities that are to be expected when donning a blazer and jeans.

Lastly, but most importantly, is mindset. Rather than thinking that you’re dressing down a formal outfit. Approach it as though you are dressing up, a casual outfit. This is crucial in finding the balance when it comes to the shape and silhouette of the ensemble. Come the colder months this should be a comfortable, everyday outfit that you can dependably throw on, time and time again. Whether that be popping out to grab groceries, or purchasing a new typewriter, you will walk down the street with the air of someone in a particularly grainy romantic film.

To truly embody the shabby chic of a loose blazer and jeans. One must laud over and idolise those in pursuit of the quiet life. Put on a pedestal are: secluded writers, librarians, historians and museum researchers. When inevitably approached by a curious stranger on the pavement, be sure to reply with nothing but a smile. Watch, as your mystery snowballs behind you.

George Davies

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