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!

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.

  21. Tamia,

    I like your style! I don’t think I would do it with harem pants necessarily, but a nice wide leg trouser in black would be fabulous! And I LOVE nude heels! (I actually need new ones. Has anyone seen a great nude heel under $100 lately??) I’m also a fan of the bright earrings and wide silver cuff! GREAT STYLE!

  22. I actually got the whole white suit from Banana Republic. While white is not the standard traditional suit – I’m still wearing it to my SECOND interview with the Creative Services dept of a company. I’ve put it together with a slate grey shell and silk scarf. Side note: It’s currently over 100 degrees. Also – met with someone in HR after the first interview who was wearing a white suit that day – so that made me feel better. Thoughts?

  23. I’m actually wearing a white blazer today. i usually like black though. I’m wearing it with Black jeans (flare), black tank top, black flats, and a black belt over the blazer. I was going to wear white pumps but decided against it

  24. I realize this is months later than the last post, (Feb 2010) and a year after the original thread but is Beatriz kidding? White blazer in February??? I hope it was a winter white in a winter fabric — not a summer fabric. And thank goodness you decided against the white pumps (ewwww, I think weddings for white pumps) . I never like white shoes with dark pants and no white shoes in winter, unless you are talking off white, winter white etc. Sorry but I guess I beleive in the fashion “rules” still…

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