An evaluation and discussion of what a modern classic wardrobe should consist, with focus on quality and considerations of cost and availability.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
The Blue Blazer
The backbone of any gentleman's wardrobe is the navy blue blazer. The historical roots of the blazer are lost: some claim that it is based on a uniform favored by the captain of the HMS Blazer in the Victorian era, others claim that they were once brightly colored jackets worn by the crews of Oxford, producing a blaze of color. Whatever the historical precedent is, it is not so significant; today it is the quietly dashing foundation of the man's wardrobe.
Eventually you will have several blazers, but you will start with one. I recommend, for your first lone blazer, a decent quality worsted wool model with subdued brass buttons. The cut should be an un-tapered three-button, cut to have the middle button fastened normally and the top and bottom buttons left undone. Patch pockets at the hip level are traditional - this jacket is the heir to a working-class tradition, so the simpler construction fits. The reason for the lack of taper is twofold: 1) for comfort in a variety of situations, and 2) to facilitate layering over sweaters and heavy shirts.
Your blue blazer may be worn with khakis and a sport-shirt for a dashing casual look, or with our best dress shirt and dark gray flannel trousers as a substitute for your most formal suit. With a crisp dress shirt, a conservative silk necktie and a pair of good gray flannels, a blue blazer will take you to the most formal of affairs.
Once you have your wardrobe established, you may wish to expand your blue blazer collection. You should have a good quality heavy "doeskin" flannel single-breasted model as your most formal winter jacket, and a hopsack blazer for those summer picnics. If you like, you may include a double-breasted blazer, but not your most formal models - double-breasted jackets are best reserved for deck parties on the yacht or the cruise. Avoid the urge to don a skipper's cap.