We get quite a few emails from readers about the difference between a blazer and a suit jacket. We spoke to Alex Wilcox, owner of Lord Willy’s, a great men’s haberdasher in New York City, to tell us a little bit more about the historic jacket and what to look for when buying one.
A bit of history:
This style of jacket originated from HMS Blazer. As the story goes, the young Queen Victoria was to visit the frigate and the captain made the crew sew on brass buttons to their uniforms to give them a more elegant look. They did so and the queen was so impressed that she commanded that all Naval officers wear ‘blazers’ with brass buttons on them from then on. And they still do.
The blazer has more of an air of playfulness. This is a jacket you throw on for an outdoor party; a night out with friends and even to travel in. The blazer is elegant but ‘off duty’ so you can get away with no tie, an open shirt button and a pair of jeans.
Double Breasted Blazers:
- Double breasted is another option. It should not be your first blazer because the fit just doesn’t work for everyone. It also is very elegant and cosmopolitan but is for the more confident blazer wearer. (Also, the double-breasted looks awkward when not buttoned. We are talking to you David Letterman!)
- There is a four button, which is more relaxed, and more Continental (think of those Italian and French playboys).
- The six buttons is more English and ‘stiff upper lip’.
Things to look for in a blazer:
- A blazer is usually navy.
- There are black and grey blazers too, but again, navy is most common.
- A good blazer will have brass or chrome buttons.
- The lapels and silhouette are always classic in form, but the lining can be a little more fun (think surprise patterns or colors).
- The length of the jacket should be shorter than your average jacket. This lends a sportier air to the jacket.
- Pair your blazer with dark denim or a great pair of chinos.
For some blazer inspiration, check out this round-up for a variety of options.