The origin of the blazer
How the preppy menswear staple became one of the season’s must-haves.
THE STORY BEHIND IT
Whether it’s single-breasted or double-breasted, wood-, plastic-, or gold-buttoned, in tweed, wool, or velvet, with vents or without vents – the blazer is always an essential and iconic part of men’s- and womenswear. For many young boys and girls around the world, the jacket serves as a first encounter with formalwear by being a key piece in school uniforms and an essential piece of clothing to get the preppy look.
The origin of the blazer dates back to 1825 from a rowing club at a university in Cambridge, England. To indicate membership, the club members all wore blazing red flannel jackets which – because of the colour – were nicknamed blazers. Evidently the nickname stuck. Even though the jacket was born in Britain, it was the Americans that made the look world famous. With their intention to signify belonging and inclusion, the jackets were fundamental at Ivy League universities and the sports teams and secretive societies that form a part of them.
It started as an important part of the preppy look, but the blazer has been a part of several fashion movements over the course of its existence. In the 1960s, for example, it became particularly popular with the British mod sub culture that were inspired by the times’ rock ’n’ roll icons The Who, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks and The Beatles – who were often seen in brightly coloured or striped blazers with wide flaps. If you don’t remember the 60s, Austin Powers sported a similar (perhaps a bit exaggerated!) look in the late 1990s blockbuster films.
In the beginning, the blazer was a menswear staple, but nowadays it’s just as essential in womenswear and became an important part of business attire when women entered the male dominated workplaces in the mid-1900s.
Ultimately the blazer became so popular and widely worn that its connotations to prep schools and secretive societies have faded. Today it’s an everyday item that will smarten up any look and has had a big comeback on the 2016 and 2017 runways. Wear it over your slip dress if you want to look less bare, with denims and a tucked shirt to look smart casual at the office, or in blazing red if you’re off to a rowing club in Cambridge.
The blazer is modelled by Lara Mullen (Premier Management). Lok Lau (CLM) did her hair and Anya De Tobon (Link Details) worked her makeup magic.