by Barbara Cedillo Alvarez
Whether you're a college student going out on the weekend or a young professional relaxing with your friends, you want to put your best casual foot forward and dress well. A blazer can be the key to dressing up jeans and a T-shirt. Choosing a well-made casual blazer, a few pairs of classic or slightly distressed jeans, a white button-down shirt and tennis shoes will put you on the way to achieving a look perfect for a night out or even a casual day at the office.
Understand how to pair jeans and blazers. Both must fit properly in order for you to carry this look off, so select a tailored blazer. If you plan to go out for the evening, you can add a graphic or vintage T-shirt. However, this look is not appropriate for most offices.
Leave your oversize jeans at home and choose a more fitted pair. When wearing blazers, jeans that fit a little more closely work best. Make sure they are a "classic wash" jean: In other words, don't pick a pair with rips in them. Combining a tailored blazer with a dark-wash jean and a dress shirt can work in a business-casual office environment.
Don't worry that blazers will fit in only at the country club. Although country club members do wear casual blazers, you can still take a blazer out of your closet and put it on with a tailored shirt, jeans and a pair of tennis shoes. Leave your polished dress shoes at home; the tennis shoes will pull this look together much better.
Leave the top buttons of your shirt unbuttoned and forget the tie. You're going for the "casual polished" look, and buttoning the top two buttons and wearing a tie will force you to veer away from this look.
Add a sweater vest and a striped tie. For a prep school look, tie a tie loosely, not the way you do for the office and layer a sweater vest over an untucked dress shirt. You can also add a beanie to dress down the tie and vest.
Wear white athletic shoes for a more polished look or put on your favorite sneakers for a laid-back style. Leather sandals make the outfit look more very casual, and this look is best for warmer weather.
Adding a belt and tucking in a dress shirt will dress up the look and make it appropriate for a business lunch or more formal event.