In Praise of the Blazer

Let’s clear this up once and for all. The navy blazer is the single most versatile, elegant and essential item in a gentleman’s wardrobe; on this we will brook no argument. Whether worn formally with a smart shirt and tie or with casual chinos and a polo - from the boardroom to the beach club, the navy blazer is the adaptable tailored jacket ne plus ultra. But what even makes a navy blazer? Just what is it that makes this garment so indispensable? And do you really need one?

First principles: a navy blazer is an archetypal, smartly cut, unpatterned navy sports jacket. It can be single or double-breasted, though single tends to be more common, and it’s the only kind of jacket that you should sensibly consider adding gold buttons to. Cloth can range from flannel to worsted to something more lightweight such as a linen - but it must be plain. Classic, unadorned elegance is the order of the day - no excess frippery, just a bloody good jacket done well.

As for why it’s called a blazer, well, it’s complicated. An apocryphal and oft-repeated story goes that a British navy captain of the HMS Blazer wanted to impress Queen Victoria, and thus dressed his crew in navy jackets with distinctive gold buttons - indeed, this is where the idea that navy was the only colour for a true blazer began. However, the term actually predates this event and comes from a completely different source - its first recorded use was in the 1852 Cambridge University Almanac & Register, describing the sports jackets of the Lady Margaret Boat Club of St. John’s College. Notably, these jackets were red rather than navy, although there is some debate as to whether the term was used to describe their colour, or the speed of the rowers ‘blazing’ across the water. Regardless, by the late 1800s it was a hit, adorning well-to-do gentlemen throughout Britain and the Continent, and by the early 20th century it had crossed the Atlantic, becoming the de facto uniform for Ivy League and prep school campuses.

Navy blazers, for reasons that are hopefully now obvious, are one of our most common requests - if a gentleman is looking for a catch-all garment that can elevate almost everything he could think of pairing it with, then there is no better choice. We’ve put particular care into our house ready-to-wear blazer - with our milder climate in mind, we’ve used a hardy wool hopsack that wears beautifully but offers plenty of breathability and a wonderfully crunchy handle. We’ve also opted for a more understated dark horn button - a bit more versatile and great with casualwear, although these can be replaced with gold for a truly classic look at sir’s request. And however you want to style it - be it over a polo with jeans or with your finest dress shirt and tailored trousers, the navy blazer is the reliable and timeless garment that will make your wardrobe feel complete.

 

In Praise of the Blazer | Dispatch
Crane Brothers | In Praise of the Blazer
Crane Brothers | In Praise of the Blazer