• I'm happy to introduce the Styleforum Happy Hour, our brand new podcast featuring lively discussion about menswear and the fashion industry. In the inaugural edition, a discussion of what's going on in retail today. Please check it out on the Journal. All episodes will be also be available soon on your favorite podcast platform.

  • STYLE. COMMUNITY. GREAT CLOTHING.

    Bored of counting likes on social networks? At Styleforum, you’ll find rousing discussions that go beyond strings of emojis.

    Click Here to join Styleforum's thousands of style enthusiasts today!

Rant: meaning of the word "blazer"

Geezer

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2009
Messages
414
Reaction score
61
Sorry, this has been really bugging me.

A "blazer" is a particular type of odd jacket. There are three basic types:

(a) a single-breasted odd jacket of bright colour, usually striped, often with metal buttons, derived from the late 19th Century odd jackets worn by English school, college, or university rowing and other sports clubs, now largely obsolescent outside Henley Regatta;

(b) a double-breasted odd jacket of dark navy cloth, with metal - usually brass - buttons, emerging in the late 19th Century as casual wear, and based on naval uniform, allegedly the uniform worn on HMS Blazer;

(c) a slightly later hybrid of the two: a single-breasted odd jacket, usually navy (sometimes green, or burgundy, respectively for golfers and the colour-blind or tasteless), usually with metal buttons. See also "school blazer", which is an (a)/(c) hybrid for children.

It is on SF acceptable to replace metal buttons with mother of pearl ones, while the garment remains a blazer. Traditionally, a club/school/college/regiment woven badge might also be sewn on the left breast pocket, though this has largely fallen into disuse.

At some point in the last decade or so, a bunch of twerps with square glasses and bad haircuts employed in marketing and advertising decided, whether through intensive focus groups or in a moment fuellled by Chablis and cocaine, that "blazer" sounded cool, whereas "jacket"", "odd jacket", "sports jacket" or "sports coat" did not. So every odd jacket is now advertised as a "blazer". But they are not blazers. No matter what it says on the seller's website, or what the salesthing says in the shop, any jacket not meeting the categories above is NOT a blazer. It is a jacket, odd jacket, sports jacket, or sports coat.

Rant mode off.
 

Master-Classter

Distinguished Member
Spamminator Moderator
Joined
Jul 18, 2007
Messages
8,508
Reaction score
1,243
of course, this is news? You're preaching to the converted.

then again there them rule and then there's what the people are doing... I make it a point to specify when I'm talking about a blazer versus sportscoat but to most people it's all the same.
 

Macallan

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 9, 2010
Messages
841
Reaction score
37
Originally Posted by Master-Classter
I make it a point to specify when I'm talking about a blazer versus sportscoat but to most people it's all the same.

or when they call a sports jacket a 'dinner jacket' - I corrected a friend everytime he commented on my jacket on a night out, although he was complimenting the jacket I had to correct him.
 

Geezer

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2009
Messages
414
Reaction score
61
Originally Posted by Master-Classter
of course, this is news? You're preaching to the converted.

then again there them rule and then there's what the people are doing... I make it a point to specify when I'm talking about a blazer versus sportscoat but to most people it's all the same.


I'm with you. If it was news, it was news in around 1907.

But we currently have an epidemic of 2 kinds of thread.

First is "what do you think of these basically inoffensive but inelegant and poorly structured shoes?". To which the answer is "they are basically inoffensive but inelegant and poorly structured shoes; if you can afford better, buy better, if you can't, yeah, fine, whatever."

Second is "what do you think of this blazer?". To which part of the answer is "it is not a bloody blazer".
 

Will C.

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 4, 2010
Messages
220
Reaction score
0
Have to especially love it when the jacket that is being miscalled a 'blazer' is a tweedy or checked sportcoat. Ha!
 

kungapa

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2010
Messages
838
Reaction score
26
Originally Posted by Geezer
(a) a single-breasted odd jacket of bright colour, usually striped, often with metal buttons, derived from the late 19th Century odd jackets worn by English school, college, or university rowing and other sports clubs, now largely obsolescent outside Henley Regatta;

(b) a double-breasted odd jacket of dark navy cloth, with metal - usually brass - buttons, emerging in the late 19th Century as casual wear, and based on naval uniform, allegedly the uniform worn on HMS Blazer;

(c) a slightly later hybrid of the two: a single-breasted odd jacket, usually navy (sometimes green, or burgundy, respectively for golfers and the colour-blind or tasteless), usually with metal buttons. See also "school blazer", which is an (a)/(c) hybrid for children.


My counter-question to this is:

Why is category (c) an acceptable usage of the term, whereas later uses of the term is not acceptable? At what point does an evolving term become enshrined as a rule?
 

saiyar1

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2010
Messages
414
Reaction score
6
Originally Posted by Geezer
Sorry, this has been really bugging me.

A "blazer" is a particular type of odd jacket. There are three basic types:

(a) a single-breasted odd jacket of bright colour, usually striped, often with metal buttons, derived from the late 19th Century odd jackets worn by English school, college, or university rowing and other sports clubs, now largely obsolescent outside Henley Regatta;

(b) a double-breasted odd jacket of dark navy cloth, with metal - usually brass - buttons, emerging in the late 19th Century as casual wear, and based on naval uniform, allegedly the uniform worn on HMS Blazer;

(c) a slightly later hybrid of the two: a single-breasted odd jacket, usually navy (sometimes green, or burgundy, respectively for golfers and the colour-blind or tasteless), usually with metal buttons. See also "school blazer", which is an (a)/(c) hybrid for children.

It is on SF acceptable to replace metal buttons with mother of pearl ones, while the garment remains a blazer. Traditionally, a club/school/college/regiment woven badge might also be sewn on the left breast pocket, though this has largely fallen into disuse.

At some point in the last decade or so, a bunch of twerps with square glasses and bad haircuts employed in marketing and advertising decided, whether through intensive focus groups or in a moment fuellled by Chablis and cocaine, that "blazer" sounded cool, whereas "jacket"", "odd jacket", "sports jacket" or "sports coat" did not. So every odd jacket is now advertised as a "blazer". But they are not blazers. No matter what it says on the seller's website, or what the salesthing says in the shop, any jacket not meeting the categories above is NOT a blazer. It is a jacket, odd jacket, sports jacket, or sports coat.

Rant mode off.



Wow, don't you think your energy should be applied to something else? It must REALLY bother you enough that people call some sorts of jackets a blazer to post such a rant.

Who cares what they are advertised as? I can see if there was some direct negative impact or even some externality, but really?
 

Will C.

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 4, 2010
Messages
220
Reaction score
0
Originally Posted by kungapa
My counter-question to this is: Why is category (c) an acceptable usage of the term, whereas later uses of the term is not acceptable? At what point does an evolving term become enshrined as a rule?
Fair question. I think the answer is that category (c) in the OP's definitions covers a species of jacket that is still culturally and historically related to the blazer proper. In this case it's not just an evolving term; the evolving term signifies a garment that is itself evolved from the garment originally signified. In contrast, when silly people start calling tweed sportcoats and orphaned suit jackets 'blazers', our sartorial taxonomy is dilluted into an unmeaningful mush. The question is not whether terms and their usages are allowed to evolve; the question is whether the vocabulary's capacity to express interesting distinctions is being improved or being weakened by these shifting usages.
 

viator

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2009
Messages
708
Reaction score
14
Originally Posted by saiyar1
Who cares what they are advertised as? I can see if there was some direct negative impact or even some externality, but really?
+1
 

Featured Sponsor

How many pairs of shoes do you own?

  • 1 - 4

    Votes: 16 3.4%
  • 5 - 10

    Votes: 80 17.1%
  • 11 - 20

    Votes: 153 32.7%
  • 21 - 30

    Votes: 78 16.7%
  • 31 - 40

    Votes: 40 8.5%
  • 41 - 50

    Votes: 27 5.8%
  • 51 - 60

    Votes: 16 3.4%
  • 61 - 70

    Votes: 9 1.9%
  • 71 - 80

    Votes: 13 2.8%
  • 81 - 90

    Votes: 4 0.9%
  • 91 - 100

    Votes: 4 0.9%
  • 100+

    Votes: 28 6.0%

Related Threads

Forum statistics

Threads
427,557
Messages
9,200,753
Members
193,192
Latest member
llloyd4

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by

Top