What Is A Blazer?

The history and essential qualities of this most versatile and elegant of gentlemen’s garments.

George Lazenby, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)

No question about it — easily dressed up or down, the perfect travel garment, the blazer is the most internationally civilised, adaptable, all-purpose and essential tailored item in a gentleman’s wardrobe.

The multipurpose jacket, at home in the boardroom or on board a yacht, the blazer can be worn with lisle polo shirt, jeans and loafers, or pristine broadcloth dress shirt and tie, dark grey worsteds and suede shoes; and virtually anything in between when it comes to trousers — lightweight flannel, cavalry twills, gabardines and linen, cotton poplin, fine wale corduroy, khakis, or even tartan trousers — a very ‘American country club’ look.

Before we go any further, though, I wanted to bring up this business of nomenclature. Some of the less enlightened have taken to referring to any sports coat as a blazer. This is wrong. All blazers are sports jackets, but not all sports jackets are blazers. A true blazer is defined by its very dark blue colour, an absence of pattern, and pristine cut. And it’s the only sports jacket that traditionally takes metal buttons. (This will become important later on.)

Contributor

G. Bruce Boyer

Published

January 2022

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