Sunday, September 11, 2011
A man needs several dark blue odd jackets in his wardrobe. Now let me clarify this by pointing out that not all blue odd jackets are blazers, just as not all blazers are blue odd jackets. The intersection of the two terms however is a well populated place and for the purpose of this essay I will use either name interchangeably to mean a not quite navy or darker blue coat with or without metal buttons and either single or double breasted.
The place of the blue odd jacket in the wardrobe is unique. Too casual for business and too formal for most casual wear, it resides between the two. It can be worn for cocktails with gray flannels, for travel with a pair of jeans and, as Emily Post wrote many years ago, it is a good choice for church or lunch in the country.
With all these opportunities a man should really have a blue odd jacket for each season. A few days ago I mentioned G. Bruce Boyer's navy cotton double breasted with black horn buttons (those right out of the pages of Apparel Arts by the way) and something like that or its brother in linen is good for warm weather. A Finmeresco or mid-weight lambswool or cashmere coat with horn buttons will take a man through the shoulder seasons, and a heavier flannel or hopsack does the trick for the cold (dark blue Donegal tweed makes a nice change of pace).
The blazer was first worn with cream colored flannel trousers and those are still the best choice in warm weather and clean locales, and it is now worn most often with gray. Be careful by the way that your own gray is no darker than medium so that jacket and trousers have an appropriate contrast. Tan or stone trousers also complement blue. Whatever the color, weights and materials need only be seasonally appropriate. Choose cavalry twill and moleskin in winter; gabardine is nice for shoulder season and fresco, cotton or linen are good for the heat.
Striped neckties are at their best with blue odd jackets, as are emblematics of all types to which one is entitled. Demonstrating the blazer's flexibility, tattersall shirts look good and at the other end of the formality spectrum so do dress shirts with checked bodies and white collars and cuffs paired with a bow tie for an early evening drink.
A man can not have too many dark blue odd jackets.