“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