It won’t be a surprise to anyone who knows – or follows – me to note that I’m really enthusiastic about blazers.
I believe the blazer is the most useful item a man can own in the 21st century. It’s the loyal “man’s-best-friend” of wardrobe, and the most democratic of all tailored jackets. A blazer can be as formal or as casual as the person wearing it chooses: sported over t-shirt and jeans, with cords and a turtleneck, or, most classically, with proper grey trousers and a club tie; it’s pretty much impossible for the blazer to be worn incorrectly.
We’ll skip the folklore about the origins of the blazer and whether or not it’s really a proper blazer if it doesn't have metal buttons — I have and wear both with equal aplomb (to say nothing of a favoite, much worn, double-breasted version as well). But there is a real difference between a blazer and a sport jacket. A blazer is simply a standalone jacket in a solid color. That’s it. Full stop. A sport jacket, on the other hand, is distinguished by the fact that it always features pattern or texture -- or both. Now you know.
I’ve made blazers for clients in any number of colors – another great aspect of the single, solid-color advantage of a blazer. In fact, I recently made a fire engine red cashmere DB that the client wears not only with jeans, but upgrades the entire concept by swapping it in as a dinner jacket with formal wear.
Talk about versatility.
But, even the most refined and luxurious navy blazer can look a bit prosaic -- simply based on its ubiquity.
My solution? Wait for it…
The drop dead, killer elegant, absolutely always correct — black blazer.
Yeah. There. I said it. Every man should consider a black blazer an essential addition to his wardrobe.
Just think about it; a black blazer can be styled in same wide variety of ways as can its navy cousin; chic with everything from blue denim to tan corduroy, but it’s a bit more emphatic, a mite bolder take. I mean, when pairing navy with either of the trouser options described, there’s always a chance you might be presumed to be a Midwestern banker (not that there’s anything wrong with either Midwesterners or bankers, but given the option, wouldn't it be more fun to be taken for a pirate?)
With a black blazer, there’s never a whiff of the pedestrian. It is not for the feint-of-heart; a black blazer, to my thinking, is clearly and exclusively for the aficionado class.
Which is why we make black blazers in a rich array of different cloths — everything from Vicuna to cashmere and from flannel to linen. I most often recommend clients wear a black blazer crafted from a mid-weight wool or cashmere.
The reasoning is simple; it’s just so completely versatile.
Let’s imagine that you’ve made the leap, added a black to your wardrobe of various navy-blue options and now possess an unabashedly exquisite black cashmere number.
Let’s suppose you’re buckling your swash, packing a valise and preparing to set off on a world tour…
Starting out in LA you suavely but collegially pair your black blazer with a white oxford shirt, denim jeans and black loafers…Then you jet off to NY and wear it with grey flannels, a blue poplin shirt, a silver tie, and brown suede shoes…After that, it’s on to Paris where you pair your dapper black blazer with tan cords, an Aran sweater and chukka boots…
At last, you find yourself at a black-tie evening in London, and cut a serious dash by electing to wear the blazer as a dinner jacket — pairing it with black-watch tartan trousers, a pink pleated dinner shirt and monogramed slippers (fortune favoring the bold, as the saying goes).
While this last may not be a traditional black-tie ensemble, for the business traveler commuting to four cities in one week (or for any stylish gent headed pretty much anywhere), a black blazer saves a lot of luggage space and imparts confidence about what to wear. It’s the all-purpose garment — and executed in our New York Refined style, I think it’s pretty darn perfect.
So, never ditch your trusty navy jacket, but, by all means, do consider the upside of adding a black blazer to your wardrobe.
And maybe, someday, consider red (but that’s a whole other story).