The story of The blazer and reefer jacket no 5
In the middle of the 1800s James Gievetook took over a tailor's in Portsmouth, on England's south coast, one of the country's most important port towns. The firm has long had sea-faring customers and in particular the British Navy. Alongside the life-vest one of Gieve & Co.'s most famous garments is the Reefer Jacket no 5. This figure-hugging jacket many consider to be the original model for the modern double-breasted blazer, was sewn up for the lieutenants of the British Navy. The model had four rows of buttons, pointed lapels and high-buttoning, which produced an elegant uniform with a sporty feel. The garment spread quickly during the thirties and the double-breasted blazer matched with grey flannel pants, became a popular alternative to the standard suit. The name blazer is said to have originated in much calmer waters. During the late 1800s the Lady Margaret Boat Club of the University of Cambridge introduced a special club jacket. The jacket which, depending on one's rank within the rowing association, was worn with gold or silver buttons was sewn from a scarlet cloth that was called “a blaze of colour”. Several boarding schools later adopted the garment, wearing the blazer with emblems on the breast pocket and engraved brass buttons. In the sixties the Mods took over the club jacket and wore a wide striped, highbuttoned, single-breasted version. In the eighties the double-breasted club blazer in navy blue fabric was worn by yuppies, often together with khaki-coloured chinos and oxblood red tassel loafers. Today, blazers have an obvious place in the male wardrobe. They can be found everywhere from American preppy labels to deconstructed interpretations by Italian jacket specialists.
Cashmere enthusiast and designer Brunello Cucinelli shows how a double-breasted suit should be worn.