The Navy Blue Blazer: a timeless piece in constant reinvention

The Navy Blue Blazer: a timeless piece in constant reinvention

The blazer jacket is an iconic piece of clothing that has stood the test of time, seamlessly blending style, elegance, and versatility.  From its naval roots in the early 19th century, the blazer has evolved into a symbol of sophistication and fashion sense. The fascinating history of the blazer jacket spans various continents, social transformations, and trends.

A fashion icon with sea legs 

Everything begins in the early 1800s, when the prestigious British Navy adopted a double-breasted, dark blue jacket, often referred to as a "reefer jacket." This uniform was as functional as it was visually striking compared to other versions at the time thanks to its brass buttons and clean lines. The term "blazer" itself is believed to have originated from the blazing red colour of the ship's boilers.

The blazer wasn’t only a uniform for the powers of the sea, it also holds a deep association with the sport’s world. In the mid-1800s, rowing became a popular sport in England, and the blazer quickly became a distinctive addition to team uniforms, each club had a unique and recognisable design. 

By the late 19th century, blazers had populated other sporting clubs, such as cricket and tennis clubs. The blazer came to symbolise a sense of belonging, team spirit and camaraderie. This very visible identity made from a mix of bold colours, trimmings and emblems extended beyond the sporting field and began influencing the way people dressed everyday. 

The blazer becomes a social marker

The blazer also entered academic institutions, most notably the more prestigious ones like Eton, Harrow, and Oxford and Cambridge universities. It entered their imposed dress code, clearly signalling exclusivity, a strong tradition, and clearly marked a certain affinity . The jackets often showed off colours, insignias, or distinctive patterns, infusing their wearers with a sense of  pride and unity.

Social clubs and gentlemen's societies also adopted the iconic  jacket. Club members wore blazers to display their affiliations and succeeded in creating a sense of exclusivity. Soon, the blazer became synonymous with high society, sophistication, and a certain air of refinement.

Popular with the ladies

While the blazer was initially dedicated to masculine wearers, it gradually found its way into women's fashion. Much like the men, the blazer entered women’s wardrobes through sports. In the early 20th century, pioneering women like tennis player Suzanne Lenglen began adding blazers to their athletic attire. This marked a turning point, as the blazers symbolised a certain degree of power and sophisticated style.

From formal to casual wear

The blazer began to shift away from the air of exclusivity it carried after the wars, becoming a garment worn by a larger set of people. Away from traditional dress codes, it became more casual and shifted to match the trends of the time. While it remained a staple of elite institutions like the Ivy League schools in the United States, it heralded in the “preppy style” widely sported by students and youths. 

Similarly to the famous safari jacket, the blazer is worn on all sorts of occasions today and has undergone various adaptations and interpretations. Designers experiment with different cloths, cuts, patterns, and colours, catering to a diverse range of tastes and preferences. The blazer has become an essential wardrobe item for both men and women, effortlessly elevating any outfit, forever exuding sophistication and class.

Navy blue: a universal colour for understated elegance

Over the centuries, navy blue has emerged as the preferred colour for a blazer for a number of reasons. 

  1. Reflecting its origins in the British Royal Navy, the blazer adopted the same colour as the dark  blue uniform jacket known as a "reefer jacket." Reminiscent of the vast ocean, this shade became intrinsically linked to the naval heritage and thus with the blazer. 
  2. Elegance: Navy blue exudes both sophistication and confidence. Its deep, dark hue is both refined and universal, allowing it to integrate any context. Navy blue has a classic and understated quality that makes it suitable for both formal and business attire to casual more relaxed ensembles.
  3. Versatility and Practicality: Navy blue is a highly versatile colour that complements various skin tones and pairs well with a multitude of other hues. It almost serves as a neutral base, making the navy blazer a wardrobe staple that easily fits every occasion. 
  4. Timelessness: Over the years, navy blue has emerged as a classic colour in men's and women's fashion. It transcends fleeting trends and remains a reliable choice for timeless style. In short, it has stood the test of time. 

5 . Worldwide popularity: Navy blue blazers have gained widespread acceptance across different cultures and fashion circles. Today, both men and women choose this essential piece to effortlessly elevate an outfit. 

While blazers are available in a range of colours and patterns today, the ubiquity it has gained over time remains unrivalled. Its enduring charm surely still has bright days ahead!

Dormeuil fabric quality and the navy blue blazer 

Acknowledging the ubiquity and timeless quality of the blazer, Dormeuil has sought to offer a selection of suiting fabric that could both live up to its rich heritage. As one would have many expectations around a time enduring piece, we also wanted to find the right touch of novelty. 

The Rising Sun collection celebrates the spirit of warmer and longer days. The collection presents airy cloth for the best suit material for summer and its vibrant energy. The vivid tones, ranging from orange to ecru, pay homage to the palette of the early hours of the day. This collection speaks to a more playful approach with a cheerful take on the navy blue blazer. 

Balancing out the lighter options , merino wool meets bamboo creating suiting fabric that offer a unique texture that is at once soft and airy. Also in this collection, linen and silk take lightness a step further making for featherweight luxury fabric for clothing with special hand and sheen. 

Dormeuil fabric quality always seeks to respond to evolutions in men and women’s sartorial choices. The Mohair collection offers fabrics for a classic take on the navy blazer with a twist. At once soft and resistant, mohair wool is extremely comfortable on mild summer evenings. With its inherent elasticity and unparalleled lustre, mohair maintains a crease-free appearance. 

This season sees the arrival of a light and breathable seersucker woven from mohair wool which presents a subtle crinkled effect. The navy blue blazer takes on a distinctive look, reflecting the wearer’s taste for a trend led yet quiet approach to dressing.

The history of the blazer jacket is a testament to its enduring appeal and influence in men’s and women’s wardrobes. From its humble naval origins to its integration into various styles, from athletics to social functions, the blazer has solidified its position as a timeless fashion icon. To this day, it never ceases to be a go-to option for all types of situations. Whether in formal or casual settings, the navy blue blazer remains synonymous with elegance and timelessness. Reinventing this piece while retaining its many inherent qualities means addressing  the many sartorial transformations that run through our  societies. This is a challenge Dormeuil takes on at every new collection and has become an integral part of our expertise.