The blazer is a fashion icon, a key element in any man’s wardrobe, important in defining his personal style. A well-cut blazer can be slipped on to add style and character to jeans and T-shirt, or chinos and dress shirt. Though historically the blazer had certain distinctive characteristics – cut more casually than a suit jacket, slightly more formal than a sports jacket – in Boggi Milano’s collection it presents a wide variety of styles, from Easy Formal through to the relaxed Smart Casual looks.
Pure wool Napoli blazer
This look shows that a blazer, worn with appropriate accessories, can become a garment suitable for evening occasions and smart office use. Made in Loro Piana Zelander Four Seasons S’130 wool hopsack, its sharply tailored looks are enhanced by the shirt and tie, the wool waistcoat, and the pocket square. It is available in two colours, cornflower blue and navy.
Stretch cotton Brescia blazer
This stretch cotton blazer is distinctive for the fabric texture, and the vintage-look custom dyeing that add a fascinating visual motif at the hems. Unlined and with deconstructed shoulders, the garment provides a relaxed and informal look, perfect with denims and a crew-neck sweater.
Pure wool Mantova blazer
The 100% wool hopsack fabric has a marked texture that gives this blazer a three-dimensional effect. Though the deconstructed shoulders and patch pockets are typical of a casual style, the navy colour gives it a semi-formal look that works to perfection with a polo shirt, a pair of grey chinos and a pair of sneakers for an impeccable office look.
Green Brescia jacket in cotton-linen blend
Layered looks are an important part of Boggi Milano’s Spring/Summer 2019 collection, as can be seen from this outfit featuring the green Brescia-cut jacket in herringbone cotton-linen blend with vintage-look dyeing, deconstructed shoulders and patch pockets. In the photo it is shown coordinated with a green cotton jersey T-shirt, with contrasting blue shirt and denim jeans.
History of the blazer in two versions
What connection is there between a jacket and the concept of fire? There are two alternative stories narrating the origin of both the name and the garment. The first begins with George Spencer, 2nd Earl Spencer, great-great-great-grandfather of Princess Diana. In his role as First Lord of the Admiralty, in 1797 he had the task of finding a name for a Royal Navy ship, and came up with Blazer, the name of one of his foxhounds. In the Royal Navy, ships’ names are passed down to successive vessels, and the third of the seven H.M.S. Blazers that have existed was launched in 1834. Three years later, Queen Victoria was scheduled for a visit to H.M.S. Blazer, and the ship’s Commander, wishing to impress the sovereign, commissioned a smart version of the reefer jacket, part of a sailor’s uniform worn in harsh weather. The new jacket was double-breasted, with brass buttons displaying the naval rope and anchor motif. The garment initiated a trend in the Royal Navy, and it was soon imitated by civilian men. So, in this version, it all started with a dog named Blazer!
A garment for college rowers
The second version begins with rowers at Cambridge, who wore loose-fitting thick flannel jackets during cold training sessions and early-morning races. Soon these garments were customized for each rowing club, with bright colours and distinctive patterns, so that in races, spectators could easily distinguish each crew. More specifically, rowers at the Lady Margaret Boat Club, founded as part of St. John’s College, Cambridge, wore bright red jackets, which acquired the name “blazer” in reference to their fiery colour. The rowers began wearing their blazers on dry land, giving rise to a fashion – colourful jacket over trousers of a different colour – that became a menswear classic. The club was founded in 1825, and an 1852 document states that the red “blazer” was part of the club uniform, and so the origin of the term is somewhere between these two dates.
Which version is correct? Perhaps both, perhaps neither. But there is no doubt that the blazer has been with us for at least 180 years and it shows no signs of going away.