Blazer Issues

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For reasons I can’t explain I seems to have the greatest trouble dressing a Blazer. This may sound an odd admission given that the blue blazer is about as flexible a garment as you can conceive, and why it is generally recommended that every man has one.

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Being an Englishman my preference is for the double breasted blazer, which is the direct descendent of the original jacket created by the crew of His Majesty’s Ship Blazer.  The advice that every man should have one in his wardrobe is, in my view, sound. You can’t deny that the Duke of Kent in the picture above looks elegantly turned out.

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I have no problem wearing it with jeans and chinos – particularly bright coloured chinos – for those semi-formal occasions when a suit and tie is overkill and jeans and jumper bad form. It looks great with one of Nino Santoro’s big collar vibrant shirts –which has become my default setting.

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My problem comes when I try to dress the blazer formally. My aim is to look like the two jokers above – who you may recognise as the creative impulses behind Barker Black. However, so far I always end up looking like the Major from Fawlty Towers. My effort at Goodwood is proof. The problem is that being a youngish man of thirty (ambitious), it is difficult to get that sense of tradition and easy formality, while at the same time not prematurely ageing myself.

Now it may be my selection of the double breasted blazer that’s getting me into trouble. As garments go it does come with some baggage, in terms of it being the uniform item of old boys retired from the Armed Forces, but it shouldn’t be that hard, should it?


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Andrew Williams blogs at BespokeMe and is based in London. His clothing label Bulldog & Wasp represents his philosophy that style is a frame of mind not just a state of dress.

Comments

  1. I agree, with the fact that everyone does say the navy/blue blazer is supposed to be the first one that every man pics. Being younger myself, I think as far as clubs etc. go the basic black blazer is a lot more flexible. Blue should come more into day casual wear and business casual wear with jeans etc.

  2. Barima says:

    Firstly, I find the Major rather stylish. It helps that during his appearances in the 1970s, even the most conservative of garments were cut with a certain abandon rather than to an inflexibly bland standard
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    Secondly, something of that principle has been applied to the Miller brothers’ own clothing. They have definable silhouettes: cleanly lined and trim, which bring the overall ensembles to life. It’s not my style of life, but they’re utilising a deliberate awareness of aesthetics, nonetheless
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    My experience regarding that balance you seek is that it is more rooted in consideration than in daring. My own flamboyance would otherwise be flamboyance for its own sake

  3. Jake says:

    Andrew – I know what you mean. Personally, I like my blazer with chinos, but I do find that this can look a bit samey and obvious.
    My preference at the moment is to wear it with a pair of fairly lightweight brown herringbone trousers – I think blue and brown look great together, but my trousers are a slightly unusual and less traditional choice to wear with a blazer which helps stop me looking like too much of a cliche. Or at least, that’s the theory.

  4. Stephen says:

    Single breasted, no gold buttons. Perhaps not truly a “Blazer”, but much easier to dress up & down. I either let the shirt (ala the D of K)or the tie do the talking, together with a pocket square and let the trousers decide the level of formality, cuffed and pleated flannel or straight plain front chinos sans cuffs. I own one with and one without the bright gold buttons. Truly the Swiss Army knife of any man’s closet.

  5. Patrick says:

    Man Prince Michael is a really sharp dresser. Check this shot out http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/blogs/formulaone/web.0621royals480.jpg
    I think there are a number of reasons. First, all the other photos feature men with very trim builds. Also, your sleeves do not expose any cuffs, making the jacket seem too large. Also, the other examples feature ties and shirts with more subdued colors and prints than what you’re wearing, and in the other examples, the men either have their hands in their pockets or have their coats fastened.

  6. Paul says:

    The blindingly obvious problem here is that you haven’t buttoned the jacket up – the abundance of fabric which an open double breasted number displays is not calculated to suggest either lissome youth or old fashioned elegance. If it’s too hot to keep a double breasted jacket done up one would be better off in something single breasted, as the Barker Black boys ably demonstrate.

  7. Patrick says:

    or perhaps a db in linen or cotton.

  8. Kalle says:

    Why wouldn’t you want to look like the Major? He has a great look and an attitude to match. I’d much rather be like him than Basil Fawlty.

  9. David V says:

    I don’t see how it can be a problem It is the easiest thing to do right. Age has nothing to do with it. I wore one in my very early twenties with no issue. There is this idea among the young that some of the most common items in men’s wear is somehow too old for them. I think it has to do with the preponderance of young men who still dress as they did at 12.

  10. TintinATL says:

    An earlier commenter hit the nail on the head: unbuttoned, the DB blazer doesn’t work at all – way too much fabric flopping around.

    However, I think your real problem is the tie. It’s the tie that pushes you into Major territory. Notice that the Barker Black boys’ ties have smaller patterns and a less gaudy color and finish. They’re also slimmer.

    Send the tie back to 1998 where it came from, and try a silk knit tie – like http://www.boden.co.uk/en-GB/Mens-Accessories/Scarves-Ties/MB047/Mens-Knitted-Silk-Ties.html – for a more contemporary approach. (The navy with dots it a good start; I’d start with that rather than the stripes.)

  11. Tuk Tuk says:

    The Duke looks, as always, effortlessly stylish. However the Duchess really needs to add some colour to the shoes. They appear to give her “stumpy” legs and exxagerate what I believe our lady friends call “cankles”. I apologise for being so ungentlemanly as to point this out however….

  12. Patrick says:

    not that it’s important, but he’s not a Duke eh?

  13. TintinATL says:

    Indeed, he is Prince Michael of Kent. And indeed, the Princess looks frumpy.

  14. Tuk Tuk says:

    apologies. I always get confused between the minor royals.