No longer reserved for the English gent or regimented Navy chap, the humble blazer has played a star role these past few seasons, since its debut nearly two hundred years ago. From the runway to the wardrobe, the blazer’s nostalgic roots only look to deepen in 2015.
And Bombs away, we say. Armed and ready to go, get to know the blazer and its many facets, before clicking through the slideshow of our 20 Best Blazers For Men.
The blazer traces its roots back to Cambridge University and its Lady Margaret Boat Club row team who, in 1825, created the blazer as a sporty top to row in. Worn in a bright shade for extra speed when competing, the term ‘blazer’ stuck. Not quite a suitjacket, the blazer stood alone as a fashion piece that could be worn outside of the boat too, so many men did.
Today, the blazer’s timeless silhouette, feel and fit means – even in the summer heat – it has its place. Not to be confused with outerwear, the blazer is not a coat. It won’t form the outer layer of a winter look and its fabric weight and slim fit mean its best layered or as a summer cover.
Nor is the blazer simply a matter of splitting a regular suit, grabbing the jacket and doing away with the trousers. The key to the blazer is knowing where it is you’re going and for what purpose it is required. But don’t stress. This piece of sartorial cloth rides well with flexibility. Dressed up, dressed down – any man can roll with the blazer.
The unstructured blazer is for those gents who are maybe more blue-collar or artsy in profession and don’t have the workplace ‘need’ to be traditional. Or, they prefer a relaxed approach to incredible style. These blazers are designed to mould to the body, are relaxed and boast less rigid shape.
They still cut sharp on the shoulder and can hug close to the body of the wearer. But, unstructured blazers give a softer, relaxed fit – falling from the shoulder peak fluidly. Stripped bare, the unstructured jacket is just that – unstructured, so the typical inner folds and shapes given to retain a jacket’s shape, are gone.
Casual details maybe be added though; front pockets, exposed seams, lack of lining, multiple buttons and sometimes buttons in contrast colour to the jacket fabric itself. The lapel will nearly always be a shawl type (rarely a peak).
Plus, they are more likely to be made from one piece of cloth, so they are thinner, making them great for winter layering or going solely as a light add-on for summer.
The structured jacket is for men who need to look orderly for work and stylish at the same time – no room for creative licence here. The structured blazer is all about the fit; cut super close to the body and maximising shape, with the padding, linings and the inner jacket mechanics (that only a tailor knows best) worked brilliantly into the piece. Richer looking, the structured blazer requires quality fabric and engineering.
It will normally carry more defined shoulders, feel luxurious to touch and hug the body to enhance the slim fit. At first glance too, the jacket will appear simpler, elegant, with minimal details and can carry any three of the lapel types: peak, shawl and notch.
A colour statement, the red blazer is perfectly 2015 – be it a wild night out or Sunday lunch with the relatives. From vermillion to cherry to almost-maroon, red will give back some fire to your wardrobe. And in the form on the blazer, the colour becomes a classic. Pair with something textural and neutral in colour; grey-ish herringbone trousers for nights and stark white chino shorts for hot days.
Effortlessly European, the white blazer is a summer must-have. Heat reflective and as matchable as black, this Cannes-esque colour goes swimmingly with other nautical hues; navy pleated pants for the night or cherry cropped chinos for the days. Chuck on some boat shoes and sail away.
The navy blazer is the most versatile of the lot, colour-wise. So go get one, tout de suit, for any day of the week. Then, invest in a pastel hue (mint, pink, orange) or cobalt blue for 2015. Dashing for work and corporate events, pair it with grey trousers, a white, crisp tee or button shirt and tan brogues.
With the insurgence of prints on outerwear and tailoring at fashion week, now is the time to check yourself with a patterned blazer. Give your look the professor makeover with windowpane check or go micro-cubed if you’re after safe. Then, let the Gatsby vibes take you from the day into the night.
The only rule? Keep the base colour of the blazer strictly organic toned; that is, cream, brown, grey, green or blue – the colours of the earth and ocean.
The spring/summer season is when the blazer really shines. Stick with linen, a lightweight, natural fabric that breathes and allows heat to escape from the body. Linen’s tendency to crush means its far better as an off-duty blazer fabric choice.
The next step up from linen, cotton is also relaxed, it breathes well but is more luxurious to touch. Cotton is also a superb yarn to form fabric blends with silk, wool and polyester, adjusting the quality of the fabric (Tip: avoid heavy amounts of polyester).
Take note by reading how much cotton is in your blazer and if a blend, opt for wool – for both seasons. Corduroy is a thick cotton where the yarn is twisted to form rifts. It’s a very English way of dressing and its density makes it a nice winter layering fabric.
Also naturally derived, wool is the classiest way to don a blazer. Merino to mohair, a super luxe blazer with boast the subtlest of sheen in natural light and will hold its form graciously – ideal for the workplace and formal occasions. Tweed and herringbone are both textural fabrics and their ruggedness works nicely unstructured – best for winter, too.