One of the iconic piece in menswear is blazers. The proper definition of blazer has got hazy with time and this can affect your judgement if you are to purchase one in the near future.
Some people think that every jacket worn without matching pants are blazers. A men's blazer is an off jacket that is cut without a matching pair of pants. Blazers in most ways falls in between a suit jacket and a sports coat. The difference is mainly in the fit of the blazer. Blazers are little roomier than a suit jacket but more fitting than a sports coat.
As most of the men's garments blazers too have a long history. There are multiple speculations on the origin of the blazers. This is because this style traces back at least to 100 years and was a style that was worn by kings and elites. It also has a naval history where the sailors wore it as a part of their uniform. The style of blazer that we currently have is actually a mixture of two various jacket styles, a single breasted style that is originally from rowing clubs and a double breasted style that is from Britain.
Modern blazers are available in both single breasted and double breasted styles. It is the best way to add a new range of outfits by pairing them with different pants and trousers. Single breasted blazers are versatile and work the best when you have to change outfits often in a single day. Single breasted styles are more casual than the double breasted ones and are the best for events like parties and weddings. It has a single line of buttons and you can wear it with a tie to your office while removing the tie and replacing the pants with jeans gives a casual attire.
Double breasted blazers are more formal than the single breasted ones and are the best for formal events. There are two rows of buttons on the blazer, unlike the single breasted style. The front of the blazer is layered and hence can add some bulk to a lean person. If you are purchasing your first blazer it is best to go with single breasted style which is much more flexible and can be worn to most of the events.
Single breasted styles are also called as unstructured blazers and when hearing first it may sound like a bad thing but it is not. The name is because the structure of this blazer is not as strict as the double breasted style and has an easier and casual style to it. In recent times the clothes that are comfortable and easy but at the same time retains the air of formality are the most preferred ones. Unstructured blazers are the right pick in this case and has no shoulder padding or chest canvassing. Some blazers do not even have a lining or could have some lining that allows space for a couple of inside pockets.
The unstructured blazer is mostly a medium to heavyweight shirt instead cut like a jacket with all details like lapels, vents and pockets incorporated into it. This the important aspect of an unstructured blazer is the cut of it. The blazer has to be well cut to hold it's shape. For example in an unlined blazer, the inner seams should be properly taped that is the stitching should be covered so that water doesn't enter through the seams.
The resulting garment is the best for summer season since they are lightweight than your normal suit jacket because of the absence of lining. Getting the blazer in a fabric that is more breathable like linen allows the air to pass through making it ideal for hot days. They can be folded easily and more comfortable to wear. Selecting a good blazer in wool assures the best performance if you dislike creases.
The best advantage of this blazer is its stylish versatility. When worn with a decent pair of chinos it maintains its formality but looks chilled if worn over a t-shirt and jeans. There are different styles by which you can wear an unstructured blazer.
The main thing to remember about this blazer is that they are not a part of a suit and trying to wear it with a similar colored pants would be a grave mistake. There will always be a slight difference between the texture or shade of the blazers and trousers since they are cut from different materials. If this detail bothers you it is best for you to stick with whole suits.
Unless it is required there is no need to don a traditional tailored jacket on Sundays. But unstructured blazer gives a relaxed look than can be easily pulled off even in weekends. If you have a blazer that has a distinctive shade pattern or texture pair it with a classic neck t-shirt, jeans and sneakers for a cool look. You can exchange the t-shirt with wool cardigan for chilly days. But if the blazer is plain and solid the shirt with which it is paired is best to have patterns like stripes so that the whole look does not seem monotonous.
In recent times the business world is seen more adaptive towards the smart casual look for its working environment. Though there are still companies that require a full formal attire increasing number of institutions are giving green signal to comfortable outfits. Unstructured blazers are the best to obtain the smart casual look. Pairing a classic colored blazer with perfectly tailored chinos, a button down shirt and a pair of leather shoes gives the best look for meetings and even weddings.
They can also be styled to give out a perfect formal attire look. If you prefer these blazers to a full suit the select the pieces as separates and create an ensemble of your own. For formal purposes, it is best to go with wool or cotton fabrics. Styling it with a pair of flat front trousers in a contrasting colour than that of the blazer and a crisp white shirt will make the cut. The shirt better be also an unstructured one like button down Oxford than a dress shirt. The look can be completed with a matching tie that either coordinates with the blazer or the trousers and a pair of classic Oxford or Derby shoes. For an additional touch of formality, a tie clip or silk square can be added to the outfit.
Though the blazers have an English origin they are now widespread around the world. Hence there are different styles of blazers available according to the area of its use. Though the basic structure remains the same there are minute changes that makes it ideal for the particular area.
For example, a traditional American style blazer is a 2 button navy jacket that has soft shoulders. notch lapels are provided and the pockets of the blazer are either patch or flap type. It is most likely to find centre vents though double vents is the ideal pick since it can work well with almost all body types.
English style blazers differ from the American style in the build of the jacket. The English style is built around for more structured shoulders with a suppressed waist. They are available both single and double breasted style and have less of a box shape. They mostly have double vent and peak lapels. The single breasted style mostly have 3 buttons and sometimes reduce to two.
The Italian style of blazers are made from lightweight fabrics and the build of the jacket, on the whole, is less structured. The shoulders are made soft and flexible and the inner lining is gently constructed which makes the jacket the most comfortable to wear. The Italian blazer style is mostly seen as a reflection of the wearer's own personality and hence they are designed according to their individual tastes.
The buttons on the blazer jacket is one of the most noticeable detail. It can range from delicate mother of pearls to solid gold that are heirlooms of the family. The common manufacturers mostly use simple brass buttons. Though most people do not care about this detail some change the buttons according to the seasons. Mother of pearl is for summer and spring while silver works best for fall as gold do for winter.
The fabric of the blazer is also an important thing to notice while purchasing a blazer. The classic choices are wool and cotton but materials like silk and velvet are becoming quite popular. You should select the material considering the garment's breathability, look and it's insulation properties.
Wool is the most popular fabric and it may be due to the fact that it is versatile. The material can keep the wearer warm or cool depending on the weather and hence can be worn all around the year. They also breathe well and absorb moisture to an adequate level. If you need a business casual look wool blazers must be your choice.
The next popular fabric is cotton and they are less expensive than wool fabrics. Being a natural fibre cotton breathes well and performs well in hotter climates. However, they are not to be used during winter.
Cashmere is another great fabric that comes from goats. They are considered a luxury item and thus are expensive. They breathe well and are one of the best warm fabrics. The downside of this material is that they can wear out fast since they are very soft. Therefore careful maintenance is required and are best used for only occasional special events.
Linen is basically a summer fabric and have an incredible ability to keep the wearer cool. They are lightweight and can breathe easily. They are the best for summer weddings and parties. They wrinkle easily but that look also isn't much bad to look at.
If you are a person who prefers a rugged look then leather blazers are the best choice for you. They give out a dangerously stylish look and Hollywood simply adores the look. For people who are against animal products, faux leathers are available.
Silk though it may not seem like it is a breathable fabric and is also very comfortable to wear. They are considered a luxury fabric and hence the price range can be high. The only downside of the fabric is that you could sweat a little with the fabric on but as the material breathes well it is rarely an issue. Silk blazers are best to be worn to parties since the sheen of the fabric may be a overdo for normal events. Silk has a luxurious look to it and you can try brighter colors on the fabric.
Velvet blazers are more common in Europe than it is in the United States. They are preferred by men who like bold outfits. It is the look you need to go for when you want to be the talk of the party you are attending. The luxurious look of the fabric garners attention automatically. They are available in classic colors like black and navy but as you already have the attention try out holders colors like red, burgundy and olive green that gives you a rich look.
For people who find these fabrics expensive, there is an alternate option. There are always blazers available that are made from a blend of any two fabrics. These are always cheaper than a blazer that is made from a single fabric. They also combine the benefits of both the fabrics for example wool can be blended with high end fabrics like silk which produces luxurious airy and comfortable blazers. These blazers will definitely be cheaper than the whole silk blazers.
The blazer' s style also sometimes influences the fabric from which it is made. Two-button and three button blazers look good in all materials. Single button blazers are light and thin hence they look good in materials like wool, cotton and silk.