The Blazer - Another living fashion legend

There are single- and double-breasted/navigation blazers and they have different origin. The single-breasted, leaning on the double-breasted, is most commonly in navy blue, but ascends to the club jacket that could be in every wished color. The Navigation blazer arises from the short double-breasted jacket, worn in the 19th century by the mariners. It's named that way, because the captain of the frigate, HMS BLAZER, ordered for his crew a specific type of jacket, which was first dressed in 1837 for the visit of Queen Victoria. Thanks to the royal condescension that this innovation caused, this type of jacket was soon adopted on other ships, too. But it is not precisely possible to see how the blue blazer with gold buttons reached the wardrobes of citizens.

Probably inspired by the mariners non-mariners ordered for themselves jackets in this style to wear it on sport events. It is also possible the navy officers to ask their tailor to sew them such jackets as civilian variation of their uniform, which soon began to be copied by other customers. This thesis is supported by the fact that Gieves & Hawkes (one of the Savile Row bespoke tailors) as a traditional supplier of Navy are at the same time the highest instance about the Navigation blazer.

The Blazer - Another living fashion legend
Navy wool popsack Double-breasted blazer by Gieves & Hawkes

The origin of Navigation blazer from the Military Navigation gives it an intermediate status somewhere between a sports coat and a suit jacket. With its festive blue color and glittering gold buttons, it undoubtedly looks more formal than a plaid tweed jacket, but compared to a dark gray suit, it reveals some sort of operetta sense that reminds some fictional nonexisting uniform.

As for the single-breasted blazer, it has no military background. It comes from the club jackets that in the 19th century are worn by the British boating societies. The navy blue is not mandatory, although a single-breasted blazer in other colors is not commonly seen, despite the American love for blazers in bottle green, magenta or yellow. The Single-breasted blazer has three externaly appliquéd pockets, although today it could be found with pockets with flaps. Since few men are members of some sort of sport associations, whose emblem is shown on the glittering buttons, some guys wear their single-breasted blazers with blue or enamelled buttons.

Without the gold buttons, the difference between the single-breasted blazer and the sport jacket becomes more and so the single-breasted blue blazer with blue buttons just is just a blue jacket, looking more formal than a sports jacket.

With gray flannel trousers and brown shoes, the the single-breasted blue blazer is a favorite outfit in France, Italy and Spain and is a sort of uniform for Southern Europeans who wear it at work or at leisure. You can say that the classic navigation blazer is limited to a parlor panache transferred outdoors. Too formal for leisure, too Playboyish for the office, but much liked by young people. Thus in the eternal return of the blazer little something changes, not to say almost nothing.

The Blazer - Another living fashion legend
Single-breasted rich blue wool and mohair Summer blazer by Gieves & Hawkes

Who loves blazer, wears it on occasions for which it was created and during which it can effortlessly shine - informal garden parties, sports events, holidays and, of course, at the end of the week.

The fabric? - Blue worsted serge, flannel... It could be excellently combined with light gray or anthracite gray flannel trousers, so loved by the famous Fred Astaire or velvet trousers in any color. About the combination of navigation blazer and Cavalry-Twill-pants the traditional Cordings of Piccadilly say that it is the English men's uniforms - it perfectly suits jeans and with a matching tie - the man will never fall into fauxpas.

The buttons are made of brass or gold, for example by London Badge and Button Company - a traditional fashion house of Jermin Street - or maybe excessively expensive antique buttons from military uniforms, acquired at an exciting auction. I was wearing for a long time a navy blue double-breasted blazer with silver antique buttons of the Maltese police...


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Tags:blazer, military, single-breasted, double-breasted, origin, style, navy

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Dandy is a writer and fashion critic. He is the perfect connoisseur of the Dandy style and the fashion ambassador of Be Global Fashion Network. He has his own column called "Fashion Police" in which he comments on the style of men.

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