TRUE BLUE: A HISTORY OF THE NAVY BLAZER
The blazer has always had a distinctly nautical flair. The origins of the name are lost to history, but each (perhaps apocryphal) tale is inexorably tied to the water. Some of the more fanciful stories involve the crew of the HMS Blazer and take place in the years before the British Royal Navy standardized its uniforms in the mid-1800s.
The blazer has always had a distinctly nautical flair. The
origins of the name are lost to history, but each (perhaps apocryphal) tale is
inexorably tied to the water. Some of the more fanciful stories involve the
crew of the HMS Blazer and take place in the years before the
British Royal Navy standardized its uniforms in the mid-1800s. One states that,
during a review of the Blazer not long after taking ascending to the
throne in 1837, a young Queen Victoria was so thoroughly taken by the sight of
the crew in their dapper dark blue coats that she declared on the spot that the
style would henceforth be known as a blazer. Another tale of the HMS Blazer traces the jacket’s name to something of a
style competition between the crews of the Blazer and the Harlequin. Yet another credits a frustrated captain in
implementing the jacket as a way to curtail his crew’s tendency toward sloppy
story that holds the most water traces
the name to the bright—or blazing—red jackets worn by the members of a rowing
club at St. John’s College, Cambridge, England. The jackets were worn to
identify members of the club while they competed in regattas—like a predecessor
to the sports jersey of the modern era. The practice caught on, first at other
Cambridge colleges, then spreading farther afield and birthing what we now know
as the rowing blazer. The style is characterized by eye-catching colors, sharp
stripes and contrast trim—often in grosgrain for a textural twist—at the edges.
While some rowing blazers still serve their intended purpose, warming and
identifying rowers at regattas, the style is also firmly entrenched in the
wardrobes of the sartorially savvy.
By the time the blazer reached American soil and was wholeheartedly embraced by Brooks Brothers in the 1930s, this iconic design had settled into the shape we know and love today—a quietly sophisticated jacket of deep navy blue, often accented by gleaming brass buttons. It has become the foundation of the polished man’s wardrobe, eternally stylish and versatile. Paired with dark wool trousers, it is appropriate for all but the most traditional offices. With chinos and a button-down-collar shirt, it epitomizes American style, while the act of adding one over a sharp white shirt and jeans exudes an effortless air of laid-back polish.
Brooks Brothers Vietnam:
– Ho Chi Minh: L1 – 19 & 20, Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi, District 1 – ☎ (028) 3939 0477
– Hanoi: 31 Hai Ba Trung, Hoan Kiem District – ☎ (024) 3266 8206