SIM­PLE STYLE

THE BLAZER

The Simple Things - - | APRIL THINGS - Words: CLARE GOGERTY

“Put on a blazer and you will im­me­di­ately feel well groomed”

Af­ter a win­ter spent bun­dled up in cos­set­ing-but-shape­less jumpers, it feels good to wear some­thing more struc­tured, more tai­lored. A gar­ment that has ac­tual shoul­ders, boasts sev­eral use­ful pock­ets and trans­forms any out­fit from scruffy to smart. It is time to put on a blazer.

For­tu­nately, this spring there are many blaz­ers to choose from. De­sign­ers and high-street shops have re­dis­cov­ered this most use­ful gar­ment. Fash­ion edi­tors have adopted it like a new uni­form and lined up at front rows in match­ing blaz­ers like they were pos­ing for a school pho­to­graph.

If you ac­tu­ally wore a blazer to school you will be fa­mil­iar with its com­po­nent parts: it is cut more ca­su­ally than a suit jacket, has three patch pock­ets (the breast pocket some­times adorned with a crest), lapels and, ocas­sion­ally, pip­ing and brass but­tons. The but­tons are a left­over from its boat­ing ori­gins: the word ‘blazer’ is said to de­rive from the bright red flan­nel jack­ets worn by Lady Mar­garet Boat Club, the row­ing club of St John’s Col­lege, Cam­bridge, in 1825. The jack­ets, worn to keep row­ers warm dur­ing chilly train­ing ses­sions, were thought to ‘blaze’ with colour. The blazer is part of the uni­form of var­i­ous other sport­ing bod­ies, in­clud­ing cricket and tennis as­so­ci­a­tions, which have adopted it for off-court/pitch ac­tiv­i­ties; the armed forces, who em­bel­lish it with a reg­i­men­tal crest, and air­line pi­lots. It was also an es­sen­tial item for mods dur­ing the 1970s, who favoured a blazer with a thick/thin stripe and cuffs with mul­ti­ple but­tons.

Those who wear a blazer now rarely be­long to any such as­so­ci­a­tion. They just ap­pre­ci­ate its use­ful­ness: a blazer can be worn over al­most any­thing you al­ready own, of­fer­ing a layer of warmth and stylish­ness in one easy hit. Wear one with tai­lored trousers, a white polo-neck and loafers and you chan­nel the soignée style of Katharine Hep­burn; slip one on over jeans and a T-shirt to feel like a celeb caught shop­ping by the pa­parazzi; or wear with a high-neck blouse and wide-leg trousers to come over all fash­ion for­ward. That’s the great thing about a blazer: it doesn’t mat­ter how you wear it, put one on and you will im­me­di­ately feel well groomed. And that’s one thing you can’t say about a jumper.

Tai­lored but ca­sual: a look we can all get on board with

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