A blazer is an essential form of outwear that every man should own. Not to be confused with a sportcoat or suit jacket, it’s a semi-formal coat that was traditionally created made of wool, featuring silver and gold buttons. Of course, the times have since changes, and now blazers are available in a wide variety of styles. With so many different choices available, however, choosing one can be daunting task, especially if this is your first time shopping for a blazer. So to help you get started on the right track, we’ve created a blazer shopping guide, revealing the nuances of this classic garment and how to pick the best one for your particular needs.
Blazer vs Suit Jacket and Sportcoat: What’s the Difference?
It’s a common assumption that blazers, suit jackets and sportcoats are all the same. While they certainly share some similarities in terms of style and function, they are each unique with their own respective characteristics. Of these three articles of clothing, suit jackets are the most formal. They are typically made of either wool, cotton, linen, or various blends, complete with a pair of matching trousers. Sportcoats, on the other hand, are the least formal, often made of durable tweed. And lastly, a blazer falls somewhere in the middle, with it being more formal than a sportcoat but less formal than a suit jacket. This balance of formal and casual attire makes it a versatile garment that can be worn for a wide variety of occasions.
History of the Blazer
The blazer has a long, rich history dating back several centuries. According to Wikipedia, the blazer originated during the early-to-mid 1800s, during which it was featured in The Lady Margaret Boat Club. This club coined the term “blazer” due to the garment’s bright red-colored fabric. Although blazers are now available in just about every color under the rainbow, the term stuck and is still being used today.
It wasn’t until the 1960s, however, when striped blazers entered mainstream popularity. This led to a revival of this classic garment so to speak, with men from across the world looking to own, and wear, this brilliant form of outerwear. In the years to follow, some notable musicians like The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, The Animals, The Moody Blues, The Troggs, and many others were spotted wearing blazers. It’s safe to assume this increased visibility played a key role in the ever-growing popularity surrounding the blazer. Today, blazers remain one of the most popular styles of men’s outwear, with some guys preferring them over sportcoats and suit jackets.
Benefits of Wearing a Blazer
There are several perks associated with blazers, one of which is its versatility. As stated above, it’s more formal than a sportcoat yet less formal than a suit jacket. Why is this important? Well, because of its uniquely moderate formality, it can be worn for just about any occasion possible. Whether you are running errands around town, attending a business meeting, or going out on a dinner date, you can’t go wrong with a high-quality blazer. It’s a sure-fire way to enhance your appearance while staying true to current fashion trends (blazers are trendy).
Another reason why you should invest in a blazer is because they are comfortable. Let’s face it, not all jackets and outwear are comfortable. On the contrary, some of them are downright uncomfortable. If a jacket is made of synthetic materials, it could rub against your skin, causing pain and severe discomfort. Thankfully, this isn’t a problem with blazers since they are typically made of either ultra-soft cotton, wool or linen.
Blazers are also warm, making them the perfect choice for those otherwise chilly fall and winter months. When the mercury drops, you can always grab a blazer to stay warm. With that said, however, blazers can still be worn during the spring and summer, so don’t assume they are only suitable for cold weather. Blazers have an unmatched level of versatility, making them ideal for year-round use. Regardless of the season or time of year, you can’t go wrong with a high-quality blazer.
Tips on Choosing a Blazer:
- Consider the color when choosing a blazer. Do you want a single-color blazer? What about a multi-colored blazer? Generally speaking, it’s best to stick with black or other dark colors for formal events, whereas lighter colors work best for casual wear.
- Check the blazer to see if any stitching is exposed. Small threads, when exposed, could lead to bigger problems down the road. This is why it’s a good idea to stick with high-quality, professional made blazers. Sure, you can probably save a couple bucks by purchasing a cheap, poorly made suit, but it will end up costing you more in the long run due to its susceptibility to damage.
- How many buttons does the blazer have? Much like sportcoats and suit jackets, blazers are made with different button quantities. Some may have just two buttons, whereas others may have three or even four. Regardless of which one you choose, a good rule of thumb is to leave the bottom-most button unfastened. This will create a cleaner and more stylish appearance.
- American-style blazers are characterized with a navy color and two buttons. It’s a simple yet stunning garment that many guys prefer.
- Pay close attention to the shoulders when choosing a blazer. Ideally, there shouldn’t be more than 1/2 an inch of space in the shoulders, allowing your arms to move freely but not so much that it looks oversized.
- Avoid buying off-the-rack blazers, and instead choose a bespoke blazer that’s made according to your own measurements. By ordering your blazer here at StudioSuits, you’ll have the option to specify your measurements, ensuring that it will fit just right.
To recap, a blazer is a semi-formal style of men’s outwear that falls somewhere between a sportcoat and suit jacket. It was originally made of cotton, wool or linen, but you can find them in many other fabrics and blends.