Wardrobe Basics: The Blazer

I was recently at lunch with a friend of mine for a part business, part social meeting. Probably due to the fact that I live in a suburban area where dress standards are more relaxed, I was pleasantly surprised at how many men I saw enter the restaurant with a black or navy blazer. I guess I should not be so surprised. With the suit disappearing from many workplaces over the past two decades, the navy blazer (or odd jacket) has really come in to its own and rightly so. The blazer is the male equivalent of the women’s ‘little black dress’.

The origin of the blazer is still hotly debated to this day. It is possible that its inception came from the uniform of the crew H.M.S Blazer of the Royal Navy or from cricket attire sported in the later part of the 19th century in Great Britain. Regardless of where it came from, the blazer has been a staple of the well-dressed man for over 100 years. While navy blue has long been the standard and most popular colour among men, recently there has been a shift to black. Navy is still the best choice for men as it is more flattering to a man’s complexion and is slightly less formal than its black counterpart. The discerning trait of a traditional blazer are the buttons that are made out of brass, silver or gilt, though now it is more common to see them with horn suit buttons.

The blazer works in a myriad of situations; whether for meetings in a suburban area or casual business environment, sporting events or afternoon parties on the weekend paired with tan trousers or chinos and loafers. It is also equally at home for cocktails and other late day occasions when accessorized somewhat differently with mid-gray trousers, a white shirt and black shoes. Many men have also been sporting them with jeans, giving it an even more relaxed look. While the blazer can never take the place of a suit, it deserves a special place in a man’s wardrobe.

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