blazers

Know First Who You Are . . .

and then adorn yourself accordingly. –Epictetus

I could have gone all Happy 2017 but that isn’t my style. I have a foundation I have built upon for decades and I have a preference to deviate from societal norms. Hell, my parents did not adhere to societal norms so why should I?  My duty is to keep up the tradition!  But I digress.

A year has passed and I am hopeful as a reader you have grasped what I have presented and have grown stylistically.  If you frequent here, I truly appreciate it.  If you have been able to apply some of the things I have presented here and you expand from it, you are obviously are heading in the right direction!   I established this blog because I have something to offer.  A different perspective and a desire to see one succeed at creating their own image.  We are bombarded with standards.  The standard may work for some but it may not work for all.  As I have elaborated in the past, have a foundation and expand your horizons.  In my opinion, it is important to incorporate elements of your personality, your culture and who you are into your style.  This is how we evolve.  We have to guinea pig ourselves.  It is important to ask questions but not so much one cannot make a decision without input from our peers. We experiment until we find a formula that works.  When the formula becomes stagnant, we search for ways to get back up to spec.  It’s very simple to say but a whole different ballgame to put it into action.  But if you want something bad enough, you will do what it takes (within reason, I hope) to achieve.  Anyhow, enough of my rambling.  Let me touch on something every wardrobe should have, the double breasted blazer.

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The double breasted blazer has nautical and sporting origins.   Better known as the reefer jacket, it was 20170101_085229adopted into fashion.  It has had its periods of popularity.  In recent years it has made a comeback.  The jacket is characterized by the overlapping front just like the pea coat.  On the inside of the jacket there is what is known as a jigger.  It assists in keeping the jacket tight.  One fastens this first, then the respective middle button.  There are rules for buttoning too when it comes to the double breasted blazer.  Always button the middle button only juxtaposed to the single breasted, one will always keep the top button fastened.  Leave the jacket buttoned when sitting down.  The extra material flopping around to say the least, will appear unflattering whereas with the single breasted, one unbuttons the jacket.   The versatility of the double breasted blazer is one to enjoy.  They can be worn in formal as well as casual settings.  Spend a few hours on Pintrest and prepared to go michin with all the possibilities this piece of clothing brings!  Just like the single breasted blazer and sport coat, they are made with different materials as well as different 20170101_091218colors.  The ones above left and right are a linen-cotton blend made by Stafford.  I have spoke highly of JC Penneys in past writings and will continue to do so.  These jackets were of the classic fit but as usual, my tailor made them perfect.  One will see the gold/brass buttons just as you will see on a single breasted navy blazer.  But if this is too much, you can always find them with regular buttons.  You can have your tailor replace them or if you’re feeling a little daring with your buttons, go with something avant-garde!  As with everything you purchase, fit reigns supreme.  You should have a good idea what brands suit your body best.  In addition, you should know when something needs tailoring.  Every so often, one can metaphorically hit the Powerball and what is purchased off the rack or second hand fits perfectly.  If you were pondering life with a double breasted jacket, whether it would be a suit or blazer, I strongly recommend you consider it!  Until next time, jal ga!

*Feature picture: Shoes: 14th & Union, Tie: Ling Dai Jing Pin, Pocket Square: SantoStefano
Top left picture: Blazer: Stafford Collection, Shirt: Alfani Red, Pocket Square: Feather and Smith
Top right picture: Blazer: Stafford Collection, Shirt: Alfani Red, Pocket Square: Jack Spade
Bottom left picture: Blazer: Christian Dior Monsieur, Shirt: Calvin Klein, Tie: Brooks Brothers, Pocket Square: Jospeh Abboud

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Blazing A Trail . . .

Is something one can literally do when when deciding the right combination of shoes, trousers, shirt and blazer.  The blazer beginnings originated with the Lady Margaret Boat Club  – founded in 1825 – at Cambridge University’s St. John’s College adopted a gentlemanly sporting jacket with which to row in, in a vivid scarlet cloth to distinguish themselves as part of a team. Thanks to the bright shade, the term ‘blazer’ evolved; not quite a suit jacket, designed as a stand alone piece that can be worn to add a dash of formality. By the time the annual Henley Royal Regatta rolled around in 1839, lavish stripes as part of the uniform had become part of the blazer’s DNA, each team’s outfits designed to be easily distinguishable from one another.  Just as lexicon over the decades has experienced a semantic drift, the blazer, one may say has experienced a fashionistic drift. 

As previously stated in my first post, Creating Your Own Style, one the of the classics 20160124_072603every man should own is the navy blazer.  In addition, once comfortable with the navy blazer, look to expand your color palette.  For starters, search for colors that are synonymous with a particular season.  Secondly, there are materials that are most suited for these seasons.  Cotton, linen and seersucker are the go to for Spring and Summer.  Corduroy, flannel and tweed are the go to for the Autumn and Winter.  I currently own 7 blazers as well as 4 sport coats.  It sounds as if I spent a decent amount of currency but I didn’t.  I spent a total of $374.88.  There are 7 retail store brands, 2 (what are considered) low end brands and one high end brand in the group.  Roll call as follows:

  • Stafford Collection cotton sport coat (pink) $44.99
  • Stafford Collection cotton/linen blend sport coat (windowpane khaki) $44.99
  • Merona cotton blazer (khaki) $29.98
  • Merona cotton blazer (olive) $29.98
  • Merona cotton blazer (navy) $39.99
  • Mossimo flannel blazer (charcoal) $45.00
  • Jach’s NY wool blazer (herringbone brown) $34.98
  • Croft & Barrow hopsack blazer (navy) $59.99
  • Chaps sport coat (grey plaid) $29.99
  • Chaps corduroy sport coat (tan) $39.99
  • Ermenegildo Zegna wool/silk blazer (grey plaid) $14.99 (Moya?!)

Yes, JC Penney’s again.  Kohl’s.  And Target?  Surprisingly, Target has improved their quality of clothing.  The 3 Merona blazers are half-lined and unstructured.  The khaki and olive blazers fit perfect.  I am aware the chances of purchasing off the rack and having it fit sans alterations is a Buddhasend.  Of course the navy blazer has two problems.  The sleeves are a bit long and it has functioning buttons.  Having this tailored would most likely cost more than the $40 investment.  So what is one to do?  Improvise, adapt and overcome.  I wear this very casual. copy And what I did with the sleeves in some many circles is frowned upon.  But for me, it works well and it may work for you.  I am not attending a formal gathering.  I’m indulging a vineyard atmosphere where the patrons dress whatever they are feeling.  What one will gather by having your fundamentals down, you will be able bend the narrative to suit what you are trying to stylistically achieve.  It is high risk, high reward.  If you are a go-getter, do the same with the way you dress and adjust accordingly.

copy2In this low quality pic, one can observe how I rolled the sleeves of the blazer and folded the shirt sleeves over the them.  I’m attending my friend’s baby shower (Yes, apparently men can do this nowadays).  Simple, very casual and it works.  There will be no formal wear time for this blazer.  I have a structured Croft & Barrow (Kohl’s brand) blazer for such occasions.

Ten of the purchases above were made with coupons and sales.  The Ermenegildo Zegna, I found on Ebay and it is second hand.  I won it for $2.99 so who cares about $12 shipping?!  Not I.

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Designer clothes as well as cars, exercise equipment & houses (to mention a few) are merchandise one can purchase used.   There are thrift shops all over the world housing high end clothes just waiting for someone to have their Master’s in Frugalnomics bring them home.  This blazer fits me well but I will have proper alterations done.  And, this is one thing you will need and I will discuss down the line, you need a good taylor tailor.

The options I have presented will help boost your dress game.  I am cognizant there will be individuals who will express their displeasure in some of the aforementioned brands.  Quality is important.  The Target brands I touched on briefly are of good to great quality and most certainly not a tier or two below high end.  You want the opportunity to wear your clothes for all occasions, often or not so often.  Taking care of your clothing regardless of the price point is very important.  It cannot be stressed enough.  At the end of the day, only you are aware of your spending limits.  Listen to everyone who has suggestions but remember, they won’t making any purchases for you.  Jal ga!