26 October 2010

On Blazers

The shocking truth was bound to come out sooner or later. That is, I do not own a navy blazer. In fact I do not own a blazer of any kind. I sent the last one away a month or so ago. The prep underground is quivering with the news, I am sure.

This is crucial. Having practically grown up in navy blazers, as you well know, I have come to detest them and have not worn one in years. Frumpy and undaring, adopted by every pimple-faced prepster from here to Halifax, the blazer is the safe, comfortable choice for unimaginative men everywhere. It screams overgrown schoolboy, aspiring pompous prep, and suburban mall security guard. Can you feel it?

Navy blazers! I once owned four of the damned things. One from Brooks Brothers, a 2-button model, and the next two from Southwick, one with a coveted 3/2-roll as I discovered later. The last was a beloved 2-button Burberry number, lightweight and side-vented, acquired in my early 20s, and worn to smart events round Greenwich and Manhattan.

But no more. Upon sad reflection I seem to discard clothing items with the same velocity with which I get rid of wife, mistress, girlfriend, and household pet, but that is a subject for another column. A navy blazer, despite what they say, is a strictly optional item. Like a dress shirt, it is disposable. Still, the ramifications of choosing to wear one require precise consideration.

Life, as we all know, is just one long photo opportunity. So think before you wear. Do you really want to be mistaken for a security guard? Or, worse, a lawyer? Do you really want to be caught dead in a car wreck on Pacific Coast Highway wearing a department store blazer? Think of what your chums would say. I certainly do.

It is time for you to come clean. Do you own a navy blazer? And if so, why?

37 comments:

Orthodox Trad said...

"undaring"
"unimaginative"

I take those adjectives as compliments, sir.

"Surtout, pas trop de zele".

Talleyrand

Tabitha said...

I want one Admiral, round these parts everyone is dressed in the urban fad du jour, ( peep toe booties, faux leather leggings) I want the succour of a navy blazer, I'd give anything to be able to wear my old school uniform again and only bother about weekend clothes.

I shed everything too although so far have limited myself to a pet, boyfriends and clothes, it's bad habit isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Yes. Five, I think at the last census, you will not be surprised to learn. I find the pockets really useful.

Fatfriend.

Easy and Elegant Life said...

Interesting. I do have to admit to not wearing a light grey pair of trousers and black shoes with a navy blazer as it does scream "security guard".

Still, I like my blazers, in particular my DB. Burberry makes a trim, elegant version that is a cocktail classic in my eyes. Try one on. You'll be swimming against the current. Languidly.

Dutch Uncle said...

Years ago, something like the following dialogue took place between Johnny Carson and Tony Randall, who always appeared on Johnny's show in a navy blazer and gray flannels:

Johnny: "Don't you have any other clothes?"

Tony: "Sure, I've got a whole wardrobe full of navy blazers and gray flannels".

I can think of far worse role models than Tony Randall.

Belle de Ville said...

No navy blazer?
This is just so wrong in so many ways.

Silk Regimental said...

Yes, I own three navy blazers - two S, one DB. I waited until I read your entire post - as my fingers were punching 911 on my automated voice terminal - and I was going to have you taken into custody.

Se la vie Mr Cod! Do as you wish - you (and I) deserve it. But I love my blazers - they are a backdrop for all the rest of the stuff in my closet!

v. Braun. said...

Interestingly I quite agree with you there on many points.

Like you I also had one by Burberry (or maybe Daks am not sure now) with side-vents that I also quite liked but I lost it in a recent move. Now I only have one (maybe two?) jackets that could come close to the definition of a blazer: a middle blue linen/cotton mix (Boglioni) for summer but it disqualifies cause it doesn't have shiny brass or 'gold' buttons...and two tweed middle blue ones, one thinner, 'i.e.' modern-style and one thick 'thorn-proof' Harris tweed.

Des Esseintes said...

Admiral,

your verdict is a tad harsh, I'd say. Isn't it coloured somewhat by your desire to get rid of any visible connection to the American mainstream?

What about a proper bespoke double-breasted number?

dE

The Lost One said...

I've one.

Why?

Well, to fit in with undaring and unimaginative powers-that-be, natch.

A.E.F. said...

Admiral, Of course I don't own a blazer, not least because I'm a girl. A Navy Blue reefer was a part of my school uniform for far too long and those - like husbands - are memories I prefer to discard in haste and without a backwards glance. Pets, on the other hand are the only thing I never get rid of. when they die I have them stuffed and place them in chairs in the drawing room so I can feel I have friends. (Although the only place the pony fits is the downstairs loo).

Anonymous said...

I agree with you for about 99 out of 100 blazers.

A well-tailored, butter-soft, solid cashmere Loro Piana blazer (especially if it is lined with an Hermes scarf) from Bergdorf's and similar goods are my examples of exemptions.

John Wesley said...

Daring and imaginative people know how to make a blazer (S or DB) look fresh, original and individualized.

Options:
--Turtleneck sweater (obviously)
--Fair Isle sweater (w/single B)
--Turned-up collar
--Scarf
--Neckerchief
--Pocket square
--Boutonniere
--Plaid work shirt (esp. w/ DB)
--Painters pants
--Yellow corduroy pants
--Windowpane trousers
--Bill's red chino (Is this the one Cod would hate?
--St. Tropez fisherman's shirt

None of the above could be confused with a mall security guard. (Besides... You can spot badly tailored polyester a mile away.)

Disposing of your blazer collection is your personal (and respected) "statement."

I feel secure enough not to give a shit what anyone thinks when I wear mine.

A decently cut blazer with good buttons* is an international classic -- beyond reproach.

--John Wesley

*Daring and imaginative options abound. (I hate plain flat shiny discs.)

Cyprian Korzeniowski said...

I do not own one, but I have nothing against wearing one. As a college student I am making a statement merely by not wearing the offensive melange of Goodwill finds that adorn the ever present hipsters. A nice tie will set me apart from most of the faculty.

RulingPart said...

I think I'm on safe ground when I state that the navy blazer is universally accepted as a classic, basic wardrobe item. It's one of those things that doesn't change much, because there's nothing much to change. It's a solid, classy piece of clothing and I'm very pleased with mine.

Think of how you'd react if I said "you know what's really overrated? Black cap toe oxfords!" It just doesn't process through the dendrites.

On the other hand where I live seeing somebody walking around in any sort of sport coat is pretty rare, so perhaps I haven't seen enough to sport coats to become sick of them.

Anonymous said...

So, you edit your comments based upon the views you want to express???? I thought better of you, but I should have known with all the bullshit you espouse.

I am calling you out little man. You want to act like a free market, high bourgie,,, fine. When I am in the Laguna Beach area next, I will be using other blogs to call you out. Until then, I shall not read your racist, prejudice, homo-erotic crap. Mercenary my ass.

Hilton said...

I considered wearing my only navy blazer of twenty years for a drunken stroll on a promenade with a lady over the weekend, but decided upon corduroy instead. I well understand your position, sir.

However, are we to believe that you do not own three in orange from your beloved H-E-R-P-E-S?

Main Line Sportsman said...

I have 2...Brooks wool for Fall/Winter and a light worsted Calvin Kline for Spring/Summer. trust me...I never look like a Mall security guard when so attired...Blazer hate must be a West Coast thing.
And what is up with the vitriol from that Anon 20:07 post...racist? Homo erotic? Where?

The Classicist said...

Good God, Cod--- Have you gone bloody bonkers?
What's next? Chucking out all your tasseled slip-ons?!

Decades ago, while living in San Francisco I was told that certain members of the "right crowd" were having their blazers relined in Hermes scarves.

Totally decadent, (possibly criminal) but not the least "undaring" or "unimaginative" ... would you not agree?

Cheers!

Homo-Neurotic said...

Re: 16th comment by "Anonymous":

You mention "homo-erotic" like it's a bad thing!

SOFIA said...

interesting))

http://newbloodstyle-hautecouture.blogspot.com

David said...

I have five or six, I use them to tone down some of my crazier outfits or when I'm uninspired and getting ready for work.

So I'm taking it you either wear a suit or some other type of jacket instead? Perhaps you could do an awesome blazer alternatives post to inspire us towards new style endeavors.

Georgina Howard said...

a blog is a piece of personal property in a public forum but personal nevertheless. commenting on a blog is akin to entering a person's home and as such views should be expressed with care and respect - any well educated and courteous person can express contradictory or opposing views without rancor. All blog writers reserve the right to not publish comments - for whatever reason they choose just as everyone reserves the right to ask someone to leave their property. Your impression and interpretation of what you perceive to be the views expressed on this, or indeed any other blog, are colored by your own evident anger and narrow-mindedness. We live in a free country we are all entitled to our points of view (whatever they are) without fear of persecution or harassment. We can also choose to ignore and stay away from those we don't agree with. While school-yard bullies are tolerated, and we can choose to make fools of ourselves with outbursts of intolerance and bitterness, we are not entitled to inflict anonymous threats.

Boston Bean said...

Just came back from San Francisco. First visit in 30 years. People were so badly dressed that I cancelled the L.A. leg of my trip, because I knew that it would even be worse there.

How I wished I had seen a blue blazer or two!

Anonymous said...

Georgina is clearly a very nice person, but I don't entirely agree with her. It seems to me that blogging (dark and lonely work, but someone has to do it..)is like running for public office; you have to be able to take everything from fair comment, via mild abuse by warped self appointed so called humorists like me, to the frothy ravings of the terminally unhinged. I don't suggest that Codrington deliberately seeks to provoke the latter, but I'm sure he is sufficiently grown up to look after himself when they fulminate against him.

Fatfriend.

P.S. I forgot; I also have a couple of stripy ones - do they count?

Proprietor said...

'91 through '09 served time in (mostly) and around (some) the financial services industry...

Never had a need for a navy blazer - wore suits all the time...

Now that I work for an old client, where the dress code is, well, flexible, I picked up two BBrothers and a Faconnable (all 3 button, side vent, 1 wool, 1 cotton, 1 cash/wool blend).

And, yes, I pair them with wool gabs, seersuckers, jeans, etc... Having spent almost 20 years away, I am glad to have them as a way to dress up in a casual environment...

I have a close friend, ex-military who hates wearing suits... Makes him feel like he is back in uniform, so, I can understand your perspective...

initials CG said...

Blue blazers?

Only in a deep, rich 100% cashmere and very plain buttons. Tailored, of course. Side vents. Charcoal trousers, not grey...White-cream flannel trousers just once a year. Never tan. Not ever. Shoes? obviously well polished browns, the older and darker, the better.

Naturally, if you're wearing something like this, everyone will know it must be 'casual' Friday

Will said...

My god Cod, do you really think it necessary to impersonate Georgina Howard simply to defend your point of view?

Anonymous said...

Admiral - As the ass who left the prior comment, I apologize fo a drunken misplaced rant. I am seeking help for alcohol and or anger. No physical threat was implied, merely a duel of blogs. I shall not darken your door again.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous #16.

I, too, have had a comment "edited."*
Deleted is more like it; certainly the "Admiral's" perogative.

Although I suspect there is a fair amount of alcoholic fantasy and bullshit, I think this blog is well-written, and I enjoy it on a regular basis.

And, I don't think "homo-erotic" is a bad thing; rather a compliment to the Admiral's high level of sophistication. However, I perceive precious little about this blog to be homoerotic. I guess it's in the eye of the beholder.

*not recently

Hilton said...

The navy blazer has become the uniform jacket of the prig.

John said...

I was rushing through Grand Central this evening when a female bum asked: "sir, do you work here?"

I think it must have been the navy blazer. I have 2 of them, one Polo center vent and one with side vents from Paul Stuart. Love them both and wear them frequently.

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

Will ~ Who is 'Georgina Howard'?

I find indifference is usually the best response.

Trailer Trad said...

I love it. 99% of the traderati have six navy blazers in their closets and you poo poo them. Brilliant way to stir the pot.

Ian from Downunder said...

First off AC, thanks for inviting me into your web home! The following is for my fellow responders:
I suspect AC was just stirring the pot in his article on blazers but even if he was quite serious, the chap is only expressing an opinion. So, c'mon folks, some of you need to lighten up a tad! I thought AC was very generous to publish some of the comments. That said, if he ever starts advocating throwing out his cordovan weejuns, we should commence an 'intervention'. I'll bring the duck tape. Regards,
Ian from Downunder.

Anonymous said...

It's usually not what you wear but how you wear it.

Ariel said...

Bloody fools think that "homo-erotic" means homophobic.