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Thread: When is a Cotton Blazer appropriate

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    When is a Cotton Blazer appropriate

    I currently have a navy wool suit, navy cotton blazer, and a grey linen cotton blend blazer. I have been struggling with when it is appropriate to wear the navy cotton blue and the grey blazer. I am an IT manager for a bank and the IT staff wears button ups and chinos / dress pants. Nearly never more than that including people at my same management level. My CIO rarely wears a jacket and the same with his boss unless in meetings with other business units. So what's your opinion?

    Is it appropriate to wear a cotton blazer to the office? In meetings within IT? What about with other business units such as sales etc? What situations would you wear yours?

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    I'm also an IT manager and I've worn my cotton sport coat from Target to meetings and such. People seem to like it. You look a little more professional without coming off as overdressed. A cotton blazer/sport coat is probably your best bet. I used to wear a tie but I was out of place and people didn't think I was some kind of business brass and not relatable. Occasionally I still wear a suit and tie if I'm called on the carpet, so I try to avoid those days. Sales guys were usually in a wool or tweed sport coat, sometimes even in a polo.

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    I'm not in IT, but in a support function at work. Same deal: all of my suits and sportcoats are wool except for one corduroy blazer. I dress up to the level of the people I'm meeting with. That sounds arrogant. I don't mean to say that I dress down to other groups, but you know what I mean. If the brass wear suits, I'm wearing a suit. Typically, I'll save the corduroy for lateral-level meetings or for no-meeting days, which are rare. My general rule on style at work is that I want to subtly stick out to others who appreciate clothes (I think that's called "signaling", but that also has a negative connotation). Normally, that would be because of quality or attention to detail, not because I dressed incorrectly for the occasion. I can count on one hand the people at my job who would notice surgeon's cuffs or shortwings vs. longwings, and they'll usually just supply the "knowing nod".

    TL;dr: if you think a cotton blazer goes with the audience, fire away.

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    For me, cotton blazers are the Friday dress down type look. The other consulting groups in my government office dress very poorly, chinos and a poor fitting button up is dressing up. The athletic polo shirts are the majority. So I do mix in the cotton blazer if I am not going into DC and no big meetings planned.

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    It seems daunting until you actually do it. My workplace is pretty casual; almost no one wears blazers. Once I got promoted to management I did want to set myself apart a bit and began wearing a cotton blazer over the same clothes I wore before. The casual nature of cotton avoids looking too out of place, or like you are trying to look over-important. It provides a bit of distance between you and your employees since you're a little more put together. Ultimately, no one really cares unless you are way out of bounds and the newness will wear off quickly.

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    True but there's something else in play here that may complicate things for the OP. Namely that if he wears a blazer, he won't just be out-dressing his subordinates and peers, but also his boss and his boss's boss. How does that factor in?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slubby Linen View Post
    True but there's something else in play here that may complicate things for the OP. Namely that if he wears a blazer, he won't just be out-dressing his subordinates and peers, but also his boss and his boss's boss. How does that factor in?
    That was my experience. At my previous position, my boss wore a suit every day, and his deputy at least wore a tie. I did the same. Most days I just wore a tie, and a few times a month I would wear a suit if we were meeting with customers or some brass. At my current position my branch chief is much more laid back from a fashion standpoint and tells us not to wear ties. That is easy to oblige. I still wear the occasional casual blazer though.

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    I'm also an IT manager at a financial services company. Generally speaking, the IT folks that work at our company are business casual at best. When I wear blazers, it's typically cotton or tweed, (i.e. more casual fabrics). I'm wearing a chunky, cable-knit shawl-neck cardigan today. People would make comments in the beginning when I started wearing them, but got used to it pretty quickly and stopped. Still, I almost never wear wool blazers to the office these days. It just feels like I'm over-dressed when I do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by whereismurder View Post
    Ultimately, no one really cares unless you are way out of bounds and the newness will wear off quickly.
    This.

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    In a more casual workplace, I suspect that people won't even notice/be able to tell the distinction between a wool vs. cotton blazer.

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