Post pandemic weight gain vs your suits

Post pandemic weight gain vs your suits

Q. My suit pants are both out of style – pleated — and no longer fit my post-quarantine weight gain (or, realistically, even pre-quarantine). As long as I don’t try to match other pants to make a suit, is there really any reason I can’t use the suit jackets as blazers?

A. Generally, suit jackets should not be used as blazers, but there are some exceptions that may work.

Turning a suit jacket into a blazer is not necessarily difficult. On the other hand, the opposite – turning a blazer or sports jacket into a suit – is almost impossible. A few elements often found on blazers are totally out-of-place on a suit jacket. They include: pastel colors, contrasting buttons, and patch pockets.

But, what will make a suit jacket work as a separate jacket depends on a few factors. The color, and especially the jacket’s smooth fabric could make it too formal and too dressy to work as a separate jacket. Some examples:


  • If your suit is a classic solid-color navy wool or cashmere, it could work nicely as a blazer.
  • If the suit is a blue, gray, or brown tweed, it might work well as a sports jacket.
  • If the suit is a summer khaki, the jacket could match up with seasonal dark cotton pants.


  • If your suit is a textured fabric such as a solid gray flannel, it could pair with charcoal or black dress trousers and become a flannel blazer.
  • A rough tweed (a business suit with a country flavor) could certainly work as a sports coat.
  • On the other hand, if your suit is an elegant dark blue or charcoal gray pinstripe, it cannot work with unmatched trousers. The jacket would be too dressy and formal, making it inappropriate, conflicting, and incorrect.
  • If your suit is a smooth worsted fabric, or has a small all-over pattern, such as a classic glen plaid, it would read as part of a suit, not a blazer or sports jacket.

In regard to your pleated pants, as I have written before, you are right that pleats have been out of style in recent years. But, trousers are not difficult for most competent tailors to alter. They can be “let out” in the waist. Pleats can be made shallower or removed to make them “flat-fronts.” Pant legs can be slimmed to modernize them. And here’s a STYLE NEWS FLASH! Most fashions eventually return. I’ve heard reports that a few fashion-forward designers are introducing shallow pleats in their newest men’s clothing collections. So, maybe you might just have your pants tailored and tapered a bit.

If you do decide to break up your suits into separates and buy new trousers to make fresh combinations, look for solid color dress pants in colors that contrast nicely and are not too different in weight from your jackets.

Incidentally, since fit is so important to a man’s appearance, be sure your weight gain has not also affected the way your jackets now fit you. Have the tailor check whether they, too, might need altering. If so, they may only need some tweaking; a bit of shaping at the waistline will help update your look.

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