As the weather warms up, how do you set aside your suit without sacrificing your sharp style? A summer blazer is the answer; a versatile staple of any well-dressed gent’s wardrobe. Here’s everything you need to know about blazers.
What is a blazer?
Traditional attire for rowing teams and cricket club members, blazers first gained popularity during the 1920s. Developed from naval uniform jackets, at heart, a blazer is a tailored jacket, not as structured as a full suit, but still smarter than a sports jacket.
Designed to be worn with unmatched trousers, traditional blazers are tailored from coloured or striped fabric – never patterned. Blazers can be single or double breasted, and unlike sports jackets which are more informal, are gently tailored at the waist.
Menswear expert at The Art of Manliness, Antonio Centeno says:
“The most noticeable detail on a blazer jacket, blazer buttons can range from delicate smoked mother of pearl to heavy solid gold family heirlooms passed from father to son.”
As a nod to the jacket’s naval heritage, military style brass buttons and anchor designs are also a very common feature.
When should you wear a blazer?
Want to look smart this summer, but the occasion doesn’t call for a full suit? A blazer should be your first port of call. It’s perfect for pulling off a raffish yet refined look at sporting occasions like regattas, a trip to the races or an afternoon of test match cricket.
Alternatively, your can couple a blazer with contrasting trousers and a tie (or bow tie if you fancy something different), as a suitably smart look for a lunchtime meeting.
Fashion bloggers at The Idle Man say the blazer is the very definition of smart casual:
“Despite being associated with formal dress, a blazer should not be limited to more formal occasions and can be easily introduced into your day-to-day dress.”
Instead of wondering when to wear your blazer, we say, take it wherever, whenever, and pair with smart jeans, chinos, a sweater or even a t-shirt. Your blazer is guaranteed to put you a notch above the rest of the smart-casual crowd.
Fit and colour
As with a suit, your blazer should be well-fitted but allow enough room for ease of movement. For warm weather wear, allow a little more room, but not so much that you stray into sports jacket territory. Blazers may be single or double vented, and the perfect length is mid crotch.
Choose a colour that suits the occasion, and go for a style that reflects a little of your personality. If your blazer is for everyday use, navy blue is the traditional option, but you could also consider tan, brown, or grey. Bright blues are ideal for fun occasions, and for adventurous types, stripes are a snazzy option.
Other types of blazer
The reefer-style blazer is related to early naval jackets and is usually double-breasted, dark in colour and a formal choice for smart occasions. It’s best to wear it with a shirt and tie.
The club-style blazer is the staple of sportsmen, and tends to be single breasted (even single buttoned) and is typically of a brighter hue for a casual, sometimes flamboyant look. Try pairing with denim or moleskin, a plain white shirt and a pair of deck shoes.
The boating blazer is essentially a blazer with stripes. Accessorise with a boater or panama hat for outdoor events.
Finally, from across the Atlantic comes the seersucker blazer. Seersucker is a light crinkled fabric with thin stripes. These blazers can look really sharp with a pair of chinos and a colourful pocket square.
How do you wear your blazer? We’d love to hear. Let us know via our Facebook page