by Richmond Truex
Every gentleman has his go to outfit. Usually this includes a navy blazer with dress khakis or grey slacks and a white button down shirt. You can vary this ensemble with other patterned pants and shirts. This versatility of wearing a blazer makes it a staple for any gentlemen’s wardrobe. While it may be looked on as a casual jacket, it is better to show up over dressed in your blazer than underdressed sans the blazer.
The roots of a blazer date back to the HMS Blazer uniform for all officers and sailors. The captain would decide on the look of their crew’s uniforms. The captain wanted to smart up his crew when he heard Queen Victoria would inspect his ship. He made them wear blue and white striped seaman’s sedate sweaters and navy blue jackets in a short, black buttoned, double breasted, reefer-style – “reefing” the sails reduces the area of sail exposed to the wind. This side vented, double breasted blazer became part of the nautical fashion inspired by Britain’s naval power and empire building. The reefer evolved to become part of the officers dress uniform in the style we know today.
Today you can change numerous features of the blazer. Fabric can be a 100% wool, cashmere, wool and silk, linen, and a silk wool, and linen combination. Then you can choose 2 or 3 button model, center or side vent, linings, working buttonholes and buttons. The buttons can be bone, engraveable, enameled, mother of pearl buttons, shiny brass, shiny nickel or coin buttons will convey the look and role of your blazer.
The navy blazer is actually the most formal jacket apart from wearing a suit. One can call it traditional and conservative. It passes the jacket required test and elevates any business casual to business appropriate. It will take you to meetings, conferences, lunches at the club, and out to dinner.