History of Fashion – Birth of the blazer and how to wear it. Like a Lord.

May 5, 2022

The Blazer has become one of the most well known and timeless garments worldwide. So much so, that the term is used nowadays to describe almost any kind of jacket, which is not at all correct. The Blazer is a very specific Jacket with a particular purpose. Therefore let’s do a little history of fashion research and see when and how was the birth of the blazer. 

If you click on the video below, you have this article in the video version, accompanied by historical films and images.  

The Brief Story of the birth of the blazer

There are two versions of the origin of this beloved garment. The first claims that the red jackets worn by the Lady Margareth Boat Club in Cambridge were seen as the rowing boats were seen „setting the water ablaze“. In the video, we got the exact image of Lady Margareth’s team rowing and wearing the daring jacket.

The second version of the birth of the blazer refers to another moment in history. In 1837, the captain of the frigate HMS Blazer, belonging to the royal navy, on the occasion of the royal visit by Queen Victoria, ordered a blue double-breasted jacket with gold buttons depicting the coat of arms of the frigate, as the new uniform for his crew, and hence the name. Most experts tend to believe the second version to be the more probable.

There are some rules on how to wear your blazer properly

First, take into consideration that the Blazer is casual attire. Mainly, at beginning of the 20th century up to the 1940s, the jacket was used solely during the day and at the seaside during summer vacations. It is after WW2 that the jacket started to make its appearance in the cities. And only from the 1970s on being worn at night as well. But despite the natural changes in the dressing code, as stated in the beginning, it remains a casual attire.

Being for casual looks, it is very flexible about possible combinations. You may use the navy blue piece with actually any trousers colour, with or without a tie, plain, striped or checkered shirts, foulard or not. The only immutable rule is; never ever with black shoes. This rule comes from the HMS Blazer uniform, which was the doubled breasted blue jacket, white trousers and brown shoes. Today other shoe colours are accepted, and even white sneakers (and only white), but again never black.

The original jacket is double-breasted with golden buttons and single-breasted with golden or silver buttons. Likewise, there are some colour alternatives with green or red. But that is as far as a Blazer can go; any other variation in colour is now a sports jacket but no longer a blazer.

Needless to say that the Blazer has become a unisex piece.

Feature image – Wikimedia commons