Unless you’re a swing dancing revivalist or a Mad Men fanatic, you probably have to agree that the gradual dissolution of dress codes over the course of the last few decades has been a good thing. Admittedly, there’s something satisfying about watching seas of identically dressed men commute to their city jobs in archival news reels, but the reality of actually having to dress the same as everyone around you isn’t so appealing.
We’re lucky to live in a time when self expression is prized over conformity, and people can wear more or less what they like. However, in freeing ourselves from the tyranny of rigid fashion frameworks, there have been casualties, namely the tailored jacket. Shoved further and further to the back of our collective wardrobe over the course of the last 20 years, the blazer now sits unloved and overlooked, all but disappeared from the world of men’s jackets.
For all its merits, it’s not entirely surprising that the blazer has been largely abandoned. It is a bit of an intimidating style, and for so many of us it’s not sufficiently removed from memories of school uniforms, or school teachers, for that matter. A suit will always have its place, even if its just for job interviews, weddings, and funerals, but a lone jacket can be more of a perplexing proposition. It can seem as if it’s caught in a middle ground – not smart enough for properly formal occasions, too stuffy for everyday life – but look closer and you’ll find that the tailored jacket is one of the most versatile and easy to style pieces a man can own. Those who close the door on the tailored jacket are denying themselves a world of sartorial wonders. If you’re still unconvinced, then you need only look to the right places for guidance.
It can be hard to imagine incorporating a blazer into your daily rotation because these days we’re short on role models who demonstrate how it’s done, but travel back to the ‘80s and ‘90s and you’ll find plenty. Chief amongst the casual blazer advocates is perhaps the one and only Richard Gere, whose heyday uniform consisted of washed out black jeans, dark polo shirt, and a slouchy blazer cut from some quietly luxurious fabric. It’s a look that’s sophisticated without any pretense; cool without any effort. It’s worth remembering at this point that a tailored jacket is neither uncomfortable nor impractical. If properly designed they are cut with comfort and mobility in mind, all while subtly flattering the wearer, whatever their shape. You can wear them over shirts, knitwear, t-shirts, and best of all they have just as many pockets as your chore jacket does, making them useful as well as stylish.
Another man who knew the value of a well-tailored jacket was Mickey Rourke in the ‘80s, whose go- to look was not unlike Mr. Gere’s. He opted for tailoring that was loosely cut but still flattering, and styled his blazers casually, wearing them over denim shirts, t-shirts, and occasionally a bare chest, although we must stress this is a highly advanced style move and should be approached with extreme caution, if at all.
Chore jackets, bombers, gilets, truckers – they’re all great, but in overlooking the blazer you’re considerably limiting your options when it comes to outerwear. Our Mizumi jacket has all the comfort and easy-to-wear appeal of the aforementioned styles, but with an added helping of sophisticated sex appeal. No need to dig out a shirt and tie, just throw it on over whatever you were already wearing and see the results for yourself. The same goes for our Conde jacket, which features enormous patch pockets as a little nod to workwear, should you have separation anxiety from your French artisan’s jacket. And once you’ve accepted the blazer into your heart, it’s only a short leap to embracing a classic overcoat, like our Notch coat which takes the blazer’s essence and dramatically elongates it.
A world of new style possibilities awaits.
Rubuen wears the Mizumi jacket. Available Online and In-Store Now.