Facts & Stories

Red and blue striped doublebreasted Bladen blazer

The Blazing Blazer

According to many sources, the name "blazerA usually dark navy single or double breasted jacket with brass or horn buttons." traces its roots from the jackets of the late nineteenth century English sports club scene, which were often decorated with bright-coloured stripes, so called "blazers". (Tradition has it pinned down to one club in particular, namely the Lady Margaret Rowing Club of S:t Johns College, Cambridge.) Others maintain that the name originates in 1837, when the crew of the frigate HMS Blazer were introduced to the jacket of this kind, in honour of a visit by Queen Victoria.

Both cannot be right – and in fact, in one regard the argument between the two seems to be wrong-headed, since it really concerns not one, but two, different articles of clothing: The double breasted blazer is the naval one. According to some, civilians with a keen interest in the navy suggested the look to their tailors, for jackets worn in outdoor settings. Others say that in fact it was the opposite – naval officers who wanted a kind of civilian version of their impressive uniforms. And although some people still refer to the double breasted blazer, with six gilt (or brass) front buttons, four sleeve buttons and flapped side pockets, as the "classic blazer", its popularity is on a steady decline, much because of its more formal, you may perhaps say stiff, image.

The single breasted one on the other hand is a garment no wardrobe can do without. Now always dark blue (except in the United States, as evidenced by the popular Brooks Brothers' bottle green version) – in its early days it could be any colour; powder blue, green, even red or yellow, and sometimes it was striped in combinations of these. And since few people nowadays belong to clubs, its brass buttons now usually bear the mark of its maker, and the club badge on the breast pocked is seldom seen.

Though the air of academic whimsy seems long since evaporated from the blazer, its air of sophistication has not. Apart for those requiring formal wear, there isn't a social context that does not embrace its understated elegance – it's sharper than a tweed jacket and more light-hearted than a suit, and it seems to welcome colour around it, as well as colourful people in it.

It is, in fact, the non plus ultra of casual smart.

Average: 3.6 (37 votes)


The blazer at it´s best!

The brass buttons and the club badge are the things that will make your Blazer stand out in a positive way. That is if your club or regiment has a good ring to it...

Blazers and Reefers

Let us not confuse the blazer with the reefer jacket.

The yachting "reefer jacket" is a descendant of the 19th century Naval "pea jacket"; it is a fairly formal garment. Made of very dark blue heavy doeskin (for preference) or just possibly barathea, it is double breasted, has four cuff buttons and eight front buttons, six working and two placed further apart for show; it has a formal collar and four cuff buttons (working).

It is specifically a yachting garment, worn with the relevant Yacht Club tie or a black tie with Club tiepin and with black buttons with the insignia of the Yacht Club concerned. It should be worn with a white shirt and grey flannels and deck shoes unless worn (as it can be) as a subsitutue for a DJ at yacht club functions ashore, in which case DJ trousers and patent leasther shoes are correct.

A reefer should never have a badge on the pocket and brass buttons on a reefer indicate that you are a paid member of the yacht's crew...(this rule is relaxed in Scandinavia).

White trousers with a reefer jacket are a debatable point; possibly correct in summer, but grey flannels are safer.

One would never wear a cravat or an open necked shirt with a reefer but one can of course do so with a blazer.

Looking for that blazer....

Who, these days, makes blazers like the classic burgundy/navy striped one pictured in The Blazing Blazer report above?


Word choice

One need not say "butt" you know, as in "keeping your 'butt' covered. Couldn't you have higher standards and adhere to them?

classic burgundy/navy striped one pictured in The Blazing Blazer

Can anyone inform me as to where I may be able to purchase the Blazer pictured in this article. The burgundy/navy striped one.

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