The story of The blazer and reefer jacket no 5

Plaza Magazine UK & Europe - - MANUAL -

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.

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