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The Story Behind the Blazer Jacket

Written by: Robert Charlton | June 17, 2015.

A stylish blazer jacket is prerequisite for any fashionable gent’s wardrobe in the modern day, and it’s an item available to wear during any season. Whether it’s for wearing in work, formal, casual or any other type of environment, it can be linked to any number of styles, but despite this, you might be surprised to learn where its origins lie.

In its current form it has existed in menswear for not far off 200 years, it can first be traced back to the 19th century when members of the Lady Margaret Boat Club at Cambridge University began to wear a gentlemanly sports jacket to row in. They wore it in a distinctive scarlet cloth to distinguish themselves as part of the team and consequently people referred to their jackets as “blazers”, coining a new term for their uniform which would stick for years to come.

The jacket itself is distinguishable from a suit or a traditional formal piece as it can be worn completely separate to traditional accompanying items like trousers, ties and shoes. The term has evolved and a blazer is something that can be added to most outfits to add a dash of formality. Further down the line in its history when the Henley Royal Regatta came into existence – the most prestigious boating event in the UK season – stripes became part of the traditional make-up of their blazers, with teams opting to mix that with pale colours. Eventually it caught on in other sports such as tennis, golf, cricket and sailing, who all wore them in light materials and helped it become a sportsman’s jacket.

It also became something the military could use in their increasingly practical uniforms, notably in the navy, but it took a little longer to hit mainstream fashion and it wasn’t until the Mods of the 1960s and 70s came along that it did so.

Another reason that blazers have become so popular is likely due to their prominence in the Ivy League style of clothing in America which mimics the trend set by university sports teams in the UK. Today, you’ll notice that the “preppy” style is popular all over the US and Europe too.

Usually blazers are cut in a more relaxed fashion than generic suit jackets and they can often be shorter too, with metallic buttons in a naval style to reflect the boating origins. The material is usually quite durable, allowing them to be worn everyday by the likes of school pupils, athletes and workers in various other job sectors around the world.

How to Wear:

Because of their casual nature it’s possible to wear them with almost anything. Usually it will be with anything from buttoned shirts, open neck polos or simply plain t-shirts, but it could also be with many varieties of shoes and trousers or even shorts.

Gentleman’s Gazette offers this handy advice on wearing a blazer:

“Chinos in khaki really make navy pop, and with a shared military background it is also historically a good companion. Today, many men combine a blazer with jeans, loafers or boat shoes and a button down Oxford shirt, which is acceptable as well, and maybe more appropriate for casual outings.”

Today, you’ll find expertly crafted blazers by some of the best renowned labels in the world. At Mainline Menswear there are options from a number of brands such as Hugo BOSS, Armani and the likes of Luke 1977 and G-Star RAW.

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