Reader Mail: What to Wear with a White Blazer?

white blazerToday’s reader mail comes from someone curious about what to wear with a white blazer…

I heard that white blazers are very versatile for work, so I purchased one from Banana Republic:  Women: White blazer – White

But I was having trouble matching it up with other clothes (shirts, pants, skirts), because it’s such a stark white, and I can’t really wear white shirts underneath it. Any suggestions? Thank you!

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First, we would recommend adopting the policy that, when money and opportunity present themselves, that you always buy all pieces of a matching set.  We used to just buy cardigans, then wish we had the matching shell; the same will inevitably go with this blazer, which has several pairs of pants that match it (one of which is on sale: Women: Jackson sleek wide-leg pant – White).  That said, there are tons of things you can wear with a white blazer that are otherwise not matching.  Gray pants and a black blouse will be spiffed up and made more summery with a white jacket, perhaps with a bold necklace or pair of pumps to add a pop of color (think yellow or red).  The paisley printed blouse we featured earlier today would look great with a navy pencil skirt, accented with a white blazer.  Pretty much any color combination will work — we would even argue that the only one to avoid is black pants and a white shirt, worn with a white blazer, but that’s only because of our general distaste at wearing white and black together in combinations that might get you mistaken for a waiter.  (We understand that may be peculiar to us, though.  We’re working on it.)

The trick with having a versatile white blazer is to make sure that it’s fitted enough, or has enough details, that it doesn’t feel like you’re wearing a lab coat.  Avoid boxy shapes at all costs.  A belt, as illustrated in the photograph from Banana Republic, will make it more fitted — it will also let you experiment with brighter, fuller skirts that you otherwise might not be wearing to your job.

Readers, any other tips?


  1. my tip is = beware white pants that go on sale. in my experience, they are almost always too sheer.

  2. Wow, this is timely! I just bought two white blazers at Ann Taylor loft, one long-sleeved and one short sleeved, because they looked cute and summery, but still work-appropriate. Each was on sale for $40, down from $100 I believe, so I couldn’t resist.

    Of course, I haven’t worn them yet so I was wondering what else to wear with them.

    Normally I would agree with the advice on buying the whole set, but with white I think it’s a different story. I just can’t see myself wearing white pants or an entire white suit for some reason. I always envisioned wearing the white blazers with other colors, not as an actual suit.

  3. This topic sounds familiar…I once bought a white blazer, agree that I should have purchased the coordinating pieces, ended up feeling like medical personnel when I wore it so I gave it away.

  4. As a practical consideration, I would recommend NOT wearing bright colors underneath if you tend to sweat unless you know that the fabrics will not bleed. As an unfortunate perspirer, I’ve ruined many a white topper (cardigan, what have you) with streaks of whatever color tee or blouse I happened to be wearing underneath.

  5. I think a fitted pastel tee would look fantastic under that blazer, just perfect for summer.

  6. Soundreader :

    I purchased a white $1500 Armani blazer that was marked down to $80. It is a lightweight summer blazer and I found it to be just as versatile as a black blazer. I like wearing it with a bold colored silk top and tan pants or skirt.
    I agree that a white shirt with a white blazer is to be avoided, especially with black pants.

  7. Like the full skirt suggestion, I would also suggest a dress that otherwise might not be formal enough for work.

  8. Last summer I enjoyed wearing a white blazer with tailored jeans on “jeans days”.

  9. How timely! I’m actually wearing a white blazer today — I paired it with a black fitted tee, a gray skirt, and black Mary Janes — a combination that, without the blazer, would have been a bit too casual for the office.

    I think that white suit pieces, even if not worn together, are perfect throughout the summer; while the men in my office have to stick to their black-gray-navy wardrobes, these make me glad I’m a girl!

  10. I love white blazers. I have several (they seem to be a favorite at New York and Company, where I shop pretty regularly for bargains). My only advice is do not put a colored button down underneath. You may run the risk of looking too “Miami Vice”. I like silk shirts underneath my white blazers. I also like feminine, ruffled tops.

  11. I am SO GLAD to hear that someone else has my aversion to “looking like a waiter!” so many people can pull off a white starched shirt and black pants, but I swear I look like waitstaff, so i don’t attempt!
    I love wearing my white blazer over solid sheaths . . . also, with a black shell and black pants and then a bright necklace and shoes (not the same colours) is really fun.

  12. Thanks everyone for the suggestions – I never even thought about the risk of the “lab coat” look, but there are some great ideas on how to pull off the white blazer here!

  13. Mmm, white blazers. I like to wear mine with navy, because I think it’s such a great summer combo. Navy sheath dress, or navy pants or skirt with a nice bright dressy tank underneath.

  14. I’m actually wearing a white blazer today! The blazer is fitted and I paired it with a J.Crew (very) pale pink tank blouse and wide leg brown pants. Perfect for summer!

  15. I happened upon a white, crop-sleeve linen blazer on the Gap website – the cropped sleeves are helpful because my jacket sleeves are never quite long enough given my freakishly long arms! Any I love the idea of linen for the summer. Before I buy on-line (no Gap store in my small town), I was wondering if anyone had any experience with this particular blazer?

    By the way, the model wearing the white blazer on the website is wearing what looks like a white cami underneath, and I though it looked nice – not too much of the white underneath showed. Agree, disagree?

  16. I don’t know about the white jacket/pastel tee combo. I may be dating myself, but that’s just so Miami Vice.

  17. Jojo, I immediately thought “Miami Vice”! The BR image doesn’t remind me at all of that, but when I tried to picture myself trying to wear one, that’s what I thought of. A sales associate recently tried one on me (also from BR) that had buttons and detailing. It reminded me of John McCain’s Navy pictures.

  18. I love it. I’d wear it with a print blouse or shell that includes white in the print.

  19. I like the idea of pairing a summer classic like a white blazer with something a bit more edgy.

    For instance, a blazer like this worn with black harem pants and a nude-colored heel is still appropriate for the office, but a bit more unexpected than, say, a pencil skirt or matching trousers.

    I’m picturing it with a fitted gray camisole, brightly colored button earrings (think 80’s), and a wide silver cuff bracelet. Hair up in a high side bun, matte skin and coral lipstick.

    Sometimes it helps to think in terms of a total “look” as opposed to individual pieces.

  20. For instance, a blazer like this worn with black harem pants and a nude-colored heel is still appropriate for the office, but a bit more unexpected than, say, a pencil skirt or matching trousers.

    I feel like one of the more liberal dressers here, but I can’t imagine harem pants ever being appropriate for the office.

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