How to wear a boating blazer in summer

How do you stay looking sharp in the heat of the summer sun? Easy – switch your suit for tailored separates. A pair of smart trousers and a summer blazer will keep you cool as a cucumber as you put less well-dressed gentlemen in the shade. Here’s everything you need to know about boating blazers.

What is a summer blazer?

Boating blazers traditionally feature colored stripes like this Hamble blazer from Samuel Windsor

Boating blazers traditionally feature colored stripes
Image: Hamble blazer from Samuel Windsor

A boating blazer is a tailored jacket which finds its origins in sportswear worn by the upper classes in Britain and America during the early 20th century. To allow for ease of movement when rowing, or playing cricket, a blazer had a looser cut than a suit jacket and was a less structured garment. The word “blazer” actually refers to the bright colors sporting teams used to wear and indeed, still do.

Designed to be worn with unmatched trousers, traditional summer boating blazers are tailored from colored or striped fabric – never patterned. Unlike a nautical blazer which is navy blue and features brass buttons, a boating blazer is single breasted and gently tailored at the waist.

Members of British boating clubs are said never to wash their blazers – the dirt and stains which inevitably appear represent a reminder of the jolly times the wearer has enjoyed with his chums. Fortunately, there’s no reason for you to emulate this filthy habit.

When should you wear a boating blazer?

This Torbay blazer from Samuel Windsor is a versatile addition to your summer wardrobe

A versatile addition to your summer wardrobe
Image: Torbay blazer from Samuel Windsor

A boating blazer is perfect for pulling off a raffish yet refined look at sporting occasions like yacht club dinners, days at the races or perhaps a summer festival or fair. You can also wear your boating blazer with smart chinos and a tie at celebratory summer events like weddings, christenings and anniversary parties. Any time you want to inject some fun and charm into your ensemble – reach for your summer boating jacket.

In fact, a boating blazer is a surprisingly versatile addition to a gentleman’s wardrobe. It also looks great with smart jeans over a sweater or even a t-shirt. Your blazer is guaranteed to make you stand out for all the right reasons.

How should a blazer fit?

Gently tailored, boating blazers are designed for comfort like this Marlow blazer from Samuel Windsor

Gently tailored, boating blazers are designed for comfort
Image: Marlow blazer from Samuel Windsor

Your boating blazer should be well-fitted but allow enough room for ease of movement. For warm weather wear, allow a little extra room, but not so much that you lose that gently tailored look.

The guys at the Effortless Gent say: “Jackets should cover the seat of your trousers (or slightly less, if the jacket is particularly slim). If a jacket hangs lower than that, it’s not how a blazer should fit.

Wearing a colorful boating blazer is about having fun – go for it – choose the hue that appeals to you the most and which reflects something of your personality. Bright blues are ideal for fun occasions, and for adventurous types, stripes are a snazzy option.

Other summer jackets

Linen blazers are a stylish way to smarten up a pair of chinos like this Langton linen blazer from Samuel Windsor

Linen blazers are a stylish way to smarten up a pair of chinos.
Image: Langton linen blazer from Samuel Windsor

Seersucker makes a wonderful alternative to the traditional summer boating blazer. During weaving, alternate warp threads are placed under tension so that when the fabric is removed from the loom, they shrink back to give the cloth its famously cooling dappled texture. A seersucker jacket is fabulously preppy – a real must.

Try wearing a linen jacket for a subtle summer style that’s also immensely comfortable to wear. Flax fibers are naturally moisture wicking and, being much thicker than cotton, form a looser weave which encourages the air to circulate. Go for traditional stone or cream or, for a cooler vibe, slate blue is an excellent option.

Smart occasion – reach for your navy blazer. This single or double-breasted garment takes its design cues from the naval uniform of yesteryear. With its polished brass buttons and structured shoulders, a nautical blazer is perfect for evening events where some formality is required.

How do you wear your summer blazer? We’d love to hear. Let us know in the comments below.

Posted in Men's Style Guides.

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