How to Wear an Unconstructed Jacket

Unconstructed jacket

What do you wear when an occasion calls for you to wear a bit less than a suit, but a lot more than casual attire?

An unconstructed (or unstructured) jacket or blazer is one answer to this question that will see men through from the workplace to a weekend gathering.

We’d go as far as to say an unconstructed jacket is a wardrobe essential, especially for the versatility it can provide. Here we’re looking at this wonderful jacket and how to wear it:

Free download: How to choose an unconstructed jacket

What is an unconstructed jacket?

An unconstructed jacket can be described like a shirt jacket or blazer. It retains the shape and hallmarks of more formal dress, but does not have shoulder pads, canvas or possibly even an inter-lining. (Some versions have no lining, or just a partial lining to allow for pockets).

Some other common features of the unconstructed jacket might include patch pockets, exposed seams and working cuffs.

The unconstructed jacket is often more like a medium or heavy-weight shirt, however it is cut like a jacket with vents, lapels and pockets. The goal is to be lighter in weight and have an artful casualness and elegance. The shape is more soft and loose, but this type of construction needs to be well-tailored and accessorized.

You will find unconstructed jackets in different wools, knits, linens or blended combinations. In fact, they have become a popular staple for men’s wardrobes.

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When to wear an unconstructed jacket

As we mentioned, one thing we love about this jacket is its versatility; that said, let’s start with when NOT to wear it. The answer is quite simple – in any workplace or on any occasion when the dress code is formal, an unconstructed jacket is not appropriate. It doesn’t have the padding, lining and stiffer lines that are expected in formal situations.

However, the unconstructed jacket has gained acceptance in many workplaces where the dress code leans more toward business casual. Think spring or summer wear – these jackets are lightweight and very breathable.

If you’re someone who travels a lot, an unconstructed jacket may be your new best find. The breathability means they are very comfortable and the unconstructed nature makes them easy to fold or tuck away. If you choose a jacket made from wool or a wool blend, the natural stretch of the wool helps any creases to drop out. (It’s often as easy as hanging your jacket in a steamy bathroom).

In fact, the unconstructed jacket usually requires less care than a tailored suit jacket. It will often stand for being rolled into a suitcase, meaning you don’t have to travel with bulky garment bags.

When else is a great time to wear your unconstructed jacket? After work! You’ll see people sporting this jacket at weekend events or social gatherings in the evenings. It allows you to feel comfortable in both the business and leisure environments because you won’t be over or under-dressed. In fact, you can still coordinate a slick ensemble that wouldn’t be out of place in settings where a higher standard of dress is expected.

Fitting your unconstructed jacket

While the unconstructed jacket doesn’t have the tighter formality of your tailored suit jacket, it’s still important to get the fit right. In any outfit, the key to looking sharp is how it fits. A sack could look good on a person if it is tailored to fit!

With this in mind, if you’re purchasing an unconstructed jacket off the rack, it’s important to buy the right size. It should fit you close to your body, yet leave enough room for layering. For example, on a cold day, you might wear it on top of a fitted Merino cardigan over the top of a t-shirt for a stylish casual look.

Of course, the best option of all is to have your unconstructed jacket tailored to fit you. This is something we can help you with here at Family Britches! 

How to coordinate an unconstructed jacket

The best thing about an unconstructed jacket is its versatility for different sorts of outfits. You could compare it to chinos – it’s not out of place in a more formal setting, nor is it overdone if you’re meeting someone for coffee at the weekend.

We find that the newer silhouettes in trousers and shirts compliment this type of jacket well. For example, our Canali Kei Model Unlined Sport Coat ensemble will look sharp in any business casual setting. Add interest to your outfit by choosing a shirt with a modern pattern.

unconstructed jacket

The above example features a slack in tropical wool, but you might also go with your regular dress trousers or some of the new stretch blends of trouser.

Your unconstructed jacket can be worn in a casual setting with shorts. For example, think about a weekend at the yacht club, pairing your jacket with chino shorts and a button-down shirt.

As another casualwear example, pair your unconstructed jacket with an upscale pair of jeans, a plain white t-shirt and some dress sneakers, boots or dress shoes. This is the sort of outfit that will look stylish for your weekend social outings.

While you can wear your jacket in less formal business settings, the look tends to be better without a tie. With this in mind, newer, trimmer fit shirts in performance fabrics, no-iron patterns or solids, linens and geometric patterns can coordinate well.

If you’re really unsure about how formally to dress for a situation, your unconstructed jacket is a great choice. In most cases, you won’t be over or under-dressed if you pair it with some tailored chinos and a button-down shirt. If you know the dress code is more on the casual side, something like a polo shirt can look sharp under your jacket.

In any situation, the unconstructed jacket can be the perfect replacement for a sweater, completing an outfit for the office or social events.

Download our tips on choosing your unconstructed jacket here

Final thoughts

The unconstructed jacket is a personal go-to for many on our team. The special thing about it is its versatility across a range of dress codes and situations. If you’re going from your business casual workplace to an event, this is the jacket that will see you through both.

Dress it up or down, roll it into your suitcase for travel and pair it with your jeans at the weekend. We recommend you get a good unconstructed jacket for your wardrobe – consider it an investment piece that will see you through many stylish ensembles.