How to wear the blazer and shorts combo

Five things to keep in mind while pairing your shorts with a blazer in the sweltering heat of the Middle East. 

August 23, 2016

A blazer and a pair of shorts? It’s no longer unthinkable. The look has been nagging in the back of menswear enthusiasts’ heads since some genius stylist decided it was a cool look for a magazine editorial in the late 2000s. It’s one of the most polarizing styling ideas in recent menswear history and has fuelled many a debate among fashion followers.

But the uptake of the trend, if you could even call it that, within the majority of the male demographic has been relatively slow. In fact, it’s virtually non-existent. Other than in editorial spreads and Instagram photos, I can’t actually say I’ve seen someone sporting the look on Dubai’s local streets. It’s understandable though, because the combo is a sartorial oxymoron in and of itself. If it’s hot enough to make you wear shorts, you’re not even going to think about wearing a blazer, right? It just doesn’t make sense. What kind of social situation would deem the look acceptable, anyway?

Having said that, I’m one of the few who really loves the look. It’s not for everyone, sure, but for those who can wear it right, it’s a great look to help you survive the summer season without shedding all your layers down to the bare necessities of common decency. It works especially well for men who love their blazers.

Pairing them with shorts makes a big style statement: You know your way around fashion and you’re not afraid to mix things up and make the clothes work for you. It’s treading a fine line, however, as it’s so easy to go wrong with something so adventurous. Follow these five tips to avoid looking like a fool who tries too hard.

1. Location, location, location

No matter the attitude you decide to wear it with, the blazer and shorts look is not going to fly in most business settings or any occasion that requires for semi-formal attire. You cannot go and dine at a restaurant that says jacket required, even though you’re wearing one. As a rule of thumb, only opt for this look for the most casual of occasions. Even if everyone is wearing a tank top, it’s always better to be overdressed than under. 

2. Shorts worthy of their name

Shorts are called so for a reason – they’re supposed to reflect the most basic adjective after which they were named. Anything below the knees is not acceptable under any circumstances. Go for a pair that ends about two to three inches above the knees. Beware of the law of diminishing returns though; shorter doesn’t mean better after a certain point. Otherwise you’d be better off wearing swim shorts with your blazer.

3. The right blazer is the only blazer to wear

We have already established that this pairing is only acceptable for casual settings, so why would you think it’s okay to figure your shiny jackets into the equation? Find blazer styles that blend into the outfit, not stick out as if you’ve just run out of proper trousers to finish your look.

Go for colours and patterns and play it up a bit. The length is also an important consideration – go for shorter jackets that end about three inches below the belt line.

4. Fit is everything

Even though you’re wearing shorts, you’re still supposed to cut a tailored silhouette to make this combination work. A great fitting jacket should only be worn with proportionately well-cut bottoms. They should fit well, meaning not too tight like a compression garment, and not to loose that they’re flapping in the wind. Allow for a gap of about two-three fingers’ width (depending on what kind of sausage fingers you have) all through out.

5. It doesn’t end where the fabric stops

When in shorts, even greater attention is directed towards the shoes because there’s nothing to partially cover them (excuse my use of a split infinitive), so this is an aspect that you’re really going to have to nail if you’re going to survive this styling choice. Driving loafers, boat shoes, derbies, even sneakers are great choices, it will all boil down to your personal preference.

But for the love of god, do not slip into your shiny Oxford lace-ups because you are going to look like you lost your own shoes and ended up raiding dad’s shoe rack to avoid walking barefoot. You need to maintain the casual theme from head to toe, so no formal shoes, please!

This article originally appeared on and is reposted here with the author's permission.